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Preview: Sunderland vs Chelsea

The season hasn’t really started yet for Chelsea.  All thee matches they’ve played in the Premier League have been sluggish to say the least, with an opening day goalless draw, a late winner after coming from behind against West Brom, and another frustrating game against Norwich up until the goalkeeper getting sent off.  The problem has been that they struggle to break down well organised teams and defences – which is why Stoke, West Brom and Norwich have all done reasonably well against them in spite of having less fire-power.

Andre Villas-Boas’ big task before the window closed was to get someone who would add that creative element to their game – and in Juan Mata it looks like they have found a diamond.  He only played a few minutes against Norwich but was a catalyst for some great attacks, and seems to have no fear.  Add deadline day purchase Raul Meireles into the mix and you can see that Chelsea should have greater invention going forward.

Coach Boas criticised both attacking midfielder Frank Lampard and striker Fernando Torres earlier this week, so it’s hard to see them making the line-up for their game against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.  The game is also a week too early for Didier Drogba to be involved, which leaves Chelsea with some interesting options up-front – will youngster Romelu Lukaku be given his chance, or will it fall to Daniel Sturridge to carry the attacking threat?

It looks as though Nicklas Bendtner will be making his debut for Sunderland, and after his two goals midweek for Denmark he will fancy his chances.  Similar ex-rivals John O’Shea and Wes Brown might give this match an extra bite too, though given the Rokerites poor form at home we can’t see past a win for the Blues.

Last Match
Swansea 0-0 Sunderland
Chelsea 3-1 Norwich (Bosingwa 6, Lampard (pen) 82, Mata 90+11)

Form
Sunderland D-L-D
Chelsea D-W-W

Match Odds

Chelsea 8/10 (Ladbrokes)
Sunderland 9/2 (William Hill)