Despite Jose Mourinho incessantly playing down Chelsea’s hopes of winning the Premier League title, the Blues have admirably kept pace with the teams at the top of the table. After chasing down Arsenal and Manchester City for long periods of the season, the Blues will now have to see off new contenders Liverpool in order to claim the title.
While many have pointed to Chelsea’s clash against Liverpool next week as probably the biggest game in the title race, the Blues must consider the visit of Sunderland as an equally important clash.
While it might look a straight forward on paper for Chelsea, Manchester City found out recently that Sunderland are willing to fight for their lives to preserve their top-flight status and the Blues can only afford to be complacent at their own peril against the Premier League’s basement side.
Probable Chelsea Lineup vs Sunderland
Petr Cech did not have much to do against Swansea last week but when called upon, the 31-year old was more than upto the task, producing a couple of fine saves.
Chelsea are expected to do most of the running against Sunderland this weekend as well but the Czech Republic international will once again have to keep his concentration levels high against a dangerous counter attacking side like the Black Cats.
The Chelsea back four consisting of Branislav Ivanovic, Gary Cahill, John Terry and Cesar Azpilicueta have arguably been the division’s best defensive line this season and look a certainly to start on the weekend as well.
Ashley Cole will once again have to be content with a place on the bench and the England centurion will probably be accompanied by David Luiz.
Mourinho will undoubtedly have one eye on the Champions semi-final clash against Atletico Madrid while selecting his midfield and will probably not risk star man Eden Hazard this weekend which means that the impressive Mohamed Salah will continue on the wings, with Willian probably deployed on the other flank.
Nemanja Matic also looks like a certain starter in midfield alongside Ramires while it will be interesting see if either Oscar or Andre Schürrle get the nod to start as the creative force for Chelsea. The likes of Frank Lampard and John Obi Mikel are in contention but will probably not be handed be a start.
Demba Ba has been enjoying bit of a purple patch of late, scoring a couple of vital goals for Chelsea and it will not be a surprise to see the Senegalese international lead the line once again on Saturday.
Samuel Eto’o and Fernando Torres will be also be pushing for a start as well though, with the duo looking to make an impression to be selected in Chelsea’s semi-final clash against Atletico Madrid.
Cech; Azpilicueta, Cahill, Terry, Ivanovic; Salah, Ramires, Matic, Oscar, Willian; Ba