Chelsea F.C. will visit the Stadium of Light on the Wear River on Saturday to take on Sunderland A.F.C. in a Barclays Premier League match.
The Blues are in third place in the standings and are still very much in contention in the Premier League table. They trail Manchester City by seven points but have some competition. Tottenham Hotspur has won three consecutive matches to draw even with Chelsea at 26 points. West Bromwich Albion is also locked in with 26 points of its own.
Sunderland, on the other hand, is struggling to do anything at the moment. The club is currently sitting at No. 17 in the table with 13 points.
Where: Stadium of Light, England
When: Saturday, December 8 at 10:00 a.m. ET
Watch: ESPN2 & ESPN3
Live Streaming: Watch ESPN
What's at Stake?
Chelsea could definitely use a win against Sunderland in order to gain some ground on Man. City. The Blues are struggling and a victory here could help them turn around their recent misfortunes and make a run at the leaders.
Sunderland doesn't have too much to play for at this point.
It's going to take more than a win here for the club to reverse its fortunes and get back on track.
What They're Saying
Chelsea, the defending title holders, were recently eliminated from the European Champions League. That has shifted their focus towards the future. Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez is optimistic, despite his club becoming the first holders to fail to survive the group play stage, according to Alex Young of Goal.com:
We now have to think about Sunderland [on Saturday] and the Europa League. But the game was so good today and we can see a lot of positives for the future. We pressed well, we created chances and scored a lot of goals.
Sunderland midfielder Craig Gardner said the Black Cats can get back on track and beat Chelsea if they play the way they did in the second half against Norwich, according to Alex Hess of Goal.com:
We are desperate for a win. We need to start pushing on...Chelsea will be tough but if we can take that second-half performance into Saturday's game, we can win... We're slowly starting to find our form. The problem is we need to find it quickly.
Sunderland Player to Watch: Steven Fletcher
Fletcher is the Black Cats' leading goal-scorer with six goals netted.
The Scottish striker is enjoying a successful first season on the pitch for Sunderland and could make it even better by leading an upset over Chelsea at the Stadium of Light.
His five goals in the month of September (in four matches) earned him honors as Barclay's Premier League Player of the Month, according to PremierLeague.com.
Chelsea Player to Watch: Fernando Torres
Torres has been struggling on the pitch as of late but netted two scores against a poor Nordsjaelland side in the Blues last match. If his teammates can help set him up, the trusty veteran may be able to get back into the swing of things.
The Spanish striker has been battling injuries but could be returning to full strength at the right time for the Blues. He certainly has the ability to change games if he gets in a rhythm, no matter who the competition is.
Chelsea is reeling from its elimination from the Champions League. At the same time, the Black Cats are desperate and crazy things can happen in times of desperation.
For that reason you should expect a first half that is dominated by the Blues but a resurgence in the second half that puts Sunderland ahead.
Sunderland 3, Chelsea 2