Sunderland - Chelsea: Preview, Line-ups & Score Prediction

Chelsea face their second-furthest away trip of the season versus Sunderland at the Stadium...

Chelsea face their second-furthest away trip of the season versus Sunderland at the Stadium of Light this Saturday.

As unlikely as it may seem, there's still a chance the Blues could qualify for Europe. Chelsea will play continental football next season if Manchester United and Liverpool clinch the FA Cup and Europa League title respectively, and Southampton lose their two remaining league fixtures.

It might be a long shot, but it's certainly something to play for.

Conversely, our hosts are in the thick of a fierce relegation scrap for the fourth year running. Sam Allardyce's Black Cats are in 18th position prior to kick-off and, with tricky matches against Everton and Watford to come, will be desperate to gain three points and heap pressure on fellow strugglers and arch rivals Newcastle.

Sunderland Team News

Sam Allardyce has been blessed with a clean bill of health for the season run-in with Billy Jones (groin) the lone absentee for the Black Cats.

Bournemouth Starting XI Prediction

Mannone | Yedlin, Kone, Kaboul, Van Aanholt | Kirchhoff | M'Vila, Cattermole | Borini, Khazri, Defoe

Previous Six Meetings

Chelsea 3-1 Sunderland (Premier League, December 2015)
Chelsea 3-1 Sunderland (Premier League, May 2015)
Sunderland 0-0 Chelsea (Premier League, November 2014)
Chelsea 1-2 Sunderland (Premier League, April 2014)
Sunderland 2-1 Chelsea (League Cup, December 2013)
Sunderland 3-4 Chelsea (Premier League, December 2013)

Score Prediction

If Chelsea can the reproduce the same intensity and desire shown in the second half against Tottenham during midweek, Sunderland will find us very difficult to cope with.

But regardless of which Chelsea turns up, the home side will undoubtedly be up for the contest with their Premier League status potentially hanging in the balance.

Many were probably hoping to see a few of the brightest academy products get a few minutes in the closing stages of the season. But with an eighth-place finish and European qualification up for grabs, Guus Hiddink is likely to reconsider any plans he had to throw new faces into the fray.

I think this will be hard-fought 2-1 win, Hazard to nab his fourth goal in three games. What are your score predictions?

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