How Chelsea Will Line Up Against Sunderland in the Premier League

Rowanne WesthenryFeatured ColumnistApril 18, 2014

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 14:  Chelsea Manager Jose Mourinho speaks to Assistant Steve Holland prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Chelsea at Goodison Park on September 14, 2013 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Chelsea welcome Sunderland to Stamford Bridge this Saturday for the first of their very own "four more games." Arsene Wenger might not be happy that the fixture was moved to accommodate the Blues’ upcoming Champions League semi-final, per the Daily Mail, but Jose Mourinho will have all eyes on the league.

John Terry confirmed this focus when speaking to the official Chelsea website after the match against Swansea City:

The manager said before our game regardless of that result, if we don't win our game we will make it very easy for them. We won our game and the pressure's still on the teams above and below us.

It's very tough but it's very important we keep winning our games. It's out of our hands at the moment. We still need City to draw or lose a game and we still have to go to Anfield so it's a massive end to the season for everyone.

The manager won't let us run away with it. We've got a few days to prepare for the Sunderland game and that's our big focus now.

Cesar “Dave” Azpilicueta has revealed in the official Chelsea magazine that he is happy with his nickname, despite the confusion it causes. He has made the case for Mourinho not to spend on a replacement left-back in the summer and will surely start on Saturday. Gary Cahill and Terry have formed a formidable partnership in the heart of the defence, with Terry in particular performing above expectations. Branislav Ivanovic should complete the back four.

Nemanja Matic will be ineligible for the Champions League match, giving Mourinho the impetus to use him in the crucial Premier League run-in. Ramires is likely to start alongside the Serbian as Mourinho assesses his players ahead of the trip to Atletico Madrid next week.

SWINDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 24:  Marco van Ginkel of Chelsea lies in pain after a challenge lead the midfielder to suffer a torn anterior cruciate ligament during the Capital One Cup third round match between Swindon Town and Chelsea at the County Ground
Michael Steele/Getty Images

For the first time since September, Marco van Ginkel will be available from the bench. The youngster played the full 90 minutes for the Under-21s against Aston Villa as he continues his recovery from the horrible knee injury that hampered his season so early.

Mohamed Salah joins Matic on the ineligible players list for the Champions League semi-final, but the Egyptian winger has flourished in the last few fixtures. With Eden Hazard set to miss this game through injury, Salah could be handed his second start. Andre Schurrle and Willian should complete the attacking trio, with Oscar available from the bench.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 01:  Fernando Torres of Chelsea applauds the crowd during the Barclays Premier League match between Fulham and Chelsea at Craven Cottage on March 1, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Per The Independent, Fernando Torres looks increasingly likely to be leaving when the summer transfer window opens, and he is unlikely to start on Saturday considering the form of his fellow frontmen. Samuel Eto’o’s best performances for Chelsea have come at Stamford Bridge, while Demba Ba added to his dramatic winner against Paris Saint-Germain with the breakthrough against Swansea City last week.

Whichever striker Mourinho opts to start, they will need to improve on their statistics from the Swansea game. According to Squawka, just three of Chelsea’s 26 shots were on target, which is simply not good enough for a squad of the Blues’ calibre.

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Sunderland may be rooted to the bottom of the Premier League, but they will not roll over for Chelsea. They have beaten the Blues already this season in the League Cup quarter-final, and they put three goals past Petr Cech in the reverse league fixture. As Terry told the official website after the Swansea fixture: “They're fighting to survive relegation, and between relegation and fighting for the title, we have to be hungrier than them.”