UK time is: 22:29:20
Vital Login
Social Login

Choose your club

Other Sites

Network Navigation

Vital Partners

'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Chelsea Preview (H) - December 8

A SUNDERLAND HOST Chelsea in the Premier League on Saturday with both sides looking to arrest their recent poor form.

The Black Cats are winless in three but have posted just two victories all season, whilst Rafael Benitez's Blues have not won in seven, with the 52 year-old Spaniard overseeing the last three games - 0-0 draws against Manchester City & Fulham and 3-1 reverse at the hands of West Ham.

Benitez hardly endeared himself to Blues' supporters during his Liverpool days with comments about Chelsea's supporters and Roman Abramovich's bankrolling of the club.

However, three games without victory are hardly likely to have softened the feelings of the West Londoner's support towards the Madrid-born boss.

Whilst Fernando Torres' form is yet to pick up under Benitez, one man who has benefitted from the former Valencia boss' appointment is right-back Cesar Azpilicueta.

The 23 year-old Spaniard only joined the club from Marseille in the summer but has thus far failed to dislodge Branislav Ivanovic at right-back. Benitez though, has been quick to move Ivanovic to centre-half and introduce Azpilicueta at right-back, a move which has seen David Luiz drop to the bench.

Pamplona-born Azpilicueta has represented Spain at U16, U17, U19, U20 and U21 level, as well as turning out during this summer's Olympic Games.

After three seasons and 99 league appearances with Osasuna in his homeland, Azpilicueta moved to Marseilla where he spent just two full seasons before joining Chelsea this summer for a fee reported to be £7m.

Despite his relative youth, the 5'10 full-back has already tasted international success, winning the 2007 U19 European Championsips and the 2011 U21 European Championships as well as two French League Cups and two French equivalents of the Community Shield.

In midfield, Juan Mata is in blistering form despite the departure of Roberto Di Matteo.

Deployed in one of the three supplementary striking positions behind the main forward, the 24 year-old already has five Premier League goals this term - one less than he scored during the whole of last season.

Unsurpriosingly his seven goals in all competitions make him the Blues' top-scorer thus far this season.

The diminutive attacker was an Andre Villas-Boas signing, but already Benitez is the 20-cap Spaniard's third manager at Stamford Bridge.

Despite his superb from since moving to the Premier League from Valencia in a deal worth £23.5m last summer, the Real Madrid youth product features sparingly for Spain - a strong indicator of the depth in their considerable talent pool.

Another one of the multitude of attacking talents available to Di Matteo is Brazilian international Oscar.

The lithe 21 year-old only signed for the Blues during the summer but has immediately become an important part of the attacking triumvirate behind Torres.

Two excellent goals on his Champions League debut against Juventus in September - including one stunner - were enough to introduce the former Sao Paulo and Internacional playmaker to English football.

Nimble and fleet of foot, the 5'11 attacker has already bagged four goals and four assists in 18 appearances fort he club.

Chelsea will be without John Terry (knee) and Frank Lampard (calf), though Daniel Sturridge should be fit to return following a hamstring problem.

Martin O'Neill won't be able to call on Wes Brown just yet, but Titus Bramble should be fit enought to take Matt Kilgallon's place.

John O'Shea and Lee Cattermole are both out.

Steven Fletcher will have jab and his reaction will determine whether or not he features.

Predicted line-ups:

Sunderland:
Mignolet; Bardsley (c), Bramble, Cuellar, Rose; Johnson, Larsson, Gardner, McClean; Sessegnon; Wickham.

Chelsea: Cech (c); Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Cahill, Cole; Ramires, Mikel; Moses, Hazard, Mata; Torres.

Referee: Mr M Halsey.




Use your social login to comment on front page articles. Login using you Facebook, Twitter, Google or LinkedIn accounts and have your say!



Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The Journalist

Writer: safc123 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday December 7 2012

Time: 8:45AM

 

Have Your Say

Log in...
with your social network     OR     with your Vital account

Recent Sunderland A.F.C. Articles

Winger Believes Cats Did Well To Draw (Monday September 15 2014)

Poyet Looking Forward To First Win (Sunday September 14 2014)

Stats: Sunderland v Tottenham (Saturday September 13 2014)

Team News: Sunderland vs Tottenham (Saturday September 13 2014)

Coates and Alvarez Set To Star At S-o-L. (Friday September 12 2014)

Tottenham Duo Set To Debut At S-o-L. (Friday September 12 2014)

Craig Pawson in Charge Sunderland v Spurs (Thursday September 11 2014)

Coates Cant Wait To Work With Poyet. (Wednesday September 3 2014)

Black Cats Sign Argentine Winger (Monday September 1 2014)

Archived Sunderland A.F.C. Articles

List All Vital Sunderland Articles
Have your say
Click here to suggest an article
Click here to suggest a poll

Vital Members League (view all)

1. Barry Green 7
2. Wattsy44 6
3. andyj1973 5
4. treader 1
5. colin1 1

League Results (view all)

Latest Results
Sunderland 2 - 2 Spurs
Q.P.R. 1 - 0 Sunderland
Sunderland 1 - 1 Man Utd
WBA 2 - 2 Sunderland

League Table (view table)

Team P W D L GD Pts
12. Leicester City 4 1 2 1 -1 5
13. West Ham 4 1 1 2 -1 4
14. Stoke 4 1 1 2 -1 4
15. Sunderland 4 0 3 1 -1 3
16. Q.P.R. 4 1 0 3 -8 3
17. Crystal Palace 4 0 2 2 -3 2
18. Burnley 4 0 2 2 -3 2

Breaking League News

» Arsenal : 16/09/2014 21:56:00
Liverpool: LFC vs. Ludogorets Razgrad Team News
» Liverpool : 16/09/2014 19:02:00
Robinson Loaned To Preston
» Aston Villa : 16/09/2014 18:28:00
Who Will be Between the Sticks v Schalke?
» Chelsea : 16/09/2014 17:51:00
Di Maria in Exulted Company
» Man Utd : 16/09/2014 17:39:00

Current Site Poll (view all polls)

MOTM v Tottenham
Suggested By:  
Mannone 1%
Brown 0%
O'Shea 0%
Vergini 0%
van Aanholt 0%
Álvarez 0%
Rodwell 0%
Cattermole 14%
Larsson 0%
Johnson 28%
Wickham 0%
Giaccherini 65' 0%
Buckley 65' 0%
Jordi Gómez 80' 57%