Chelsea head to the North East on Saturday to take on a struggling Sunderland side this weekend. While the Blues have little to play for, the Black Cats are fighting for their lives. Will Guus Hiddink be able to get his side up for this clash, or will they hand Sunderland a lifeline in the battle to avoid the drop?
Following the incredible game with Tottenham on Monday night, Chelsea are ninth in the league table. They can’t get much higher than that, and right now their league position doesn’t really matter. Sunderland are in a much more important fight, as they look to claw their way to safety.
The Chelsea players’ motivation is the big question ahead of this game. They were clearly up for the match with Spurs, some in the squad admitted that openly. That late push to get level was better than anything the team have done this season. But will they put on a show like that again?
There’s no great rivalry with Sunderland, and they have no real interest in the relegation fight. The players should want to win every game, but the fact that they suddenly turned it on for a crunch game with Tottenham is worrying. Have they just been sitting in first gear all season? And if they have, why hasn’t anyone sorted that out?
There are teams who tend to give up at this stage of the season, they’re also sitting around ninth as well. Once mid-table sides resign themselves to having nothing to play for, thoughts turn to their summer break. Hopefully Guus Hiddink can inspire his side ahead of this one, so that they can finish the season strongly.
There’s a chance that John Terry is in his last run of games at the club. While he’s not officially signed for anyone else yet, he’s also not been offered a new deal. The captain returned to the side on Monday night, and he’s set to start again on Saturday. As things stand, his final game will come against champions Leicester at Stamford Bridge.
Hiddink put out a very strong side against Tottenham, but expect a few changes here. This will be another chance for a few younger players to get a start. We’re also hoping that Eden Hazard starts once again, the decision to drop him against Spurs is still a baffling one.
However they line up at the weekend, hopefully they can repeat the display against Tottenham here. Not only do the travelling faithful deserve it, but it also ruins the relegation fight when teams just surrender points to those at the bottom. Hopefully the Blues will put up a fight here, with just three games left. After this they face Liverpool away and then Leicester, and fans will be desperate to see them finish an awful season on a high note.
LCN Verdict: 1-1 draw