Preview: Sunderland vs. Chelsea
Steed Malbranque is Sunderland`s only new fitness worry entering the final game of the season. The Black Cats will be without Craig Gordon and Nyron Nosworthy, and George McCartney is also likely to miss out despite being in full training for the last couple of weeks.
Regardless of the outcome of today`s game, and whether Sunderland remains in the top flight, this game will likely be Ricky Sbragia last game in charge as well as the last appearance of a number of players. A new manager will likely bring in new players, and with Djibril Cisse, Tal Ben Haim and Callum Davenport`s loan spells coming to an end and a number of players linked to Roy Keane`s Ipswich, it will likely be a new look Sunderland lining up in the first game of next season.
Squad: Fulop, Colgan, Bardsley, McCartney, Ferdinand, Davenport, Collins, Ben Haim, McShane, Edwards, Richardson, Tainio, Reid, Whitehead, Leadbitter, Malbranque, Yorke, Cisse, Jones, Healy, Murphy.
Michael Ballack, Ricardo Carvalho and Deco are all in contention to start after recovering from illness and injuries. Despite having one eye on the FA Cup Final, Guus Hiddink will still likely field a full strength side in his final league game in charge.
Chelsea Squad: Cech, Hilario, Bosingwa, A Cole, Terry, Ivanovic, Alex, Carvalho, Belletti, Ballack, Obi, Lampard, Kalou, Malouda, Di Santo, Drogba, Anelka, Essien, Mancienne.
Last 6 at the Stadium of Light:
15/03/2008: Sunderland 0, Chelsea 1
15/01/2006: Sunderland 1, Chelsea 2
05/04/2003: Sunderland 1, Chelsea 2
09/12/2001: Sunderland 0, Chelsea 0
14/10/2000: Sunderland 1, Chelsea 0
04/12/1999 Sunderland 4 Chelsea 1
A win will ensure that the Black Cats remain in the Premiership. However, should Sunderland fail to win, the Mackems will only go down if both Hull and Newcastle win.
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