Chelsea v Sunderland match preview (Premier League) – 19th December 2015

Chelsea host the Premier League’s second lowest positioned side on Saturday, as the champions go searching for a much needed league victory. With the Blues set to spend Christmas Day in the bottom half of the table, can they at least get a win to give their fans a little cheer after a truly awful season so far?

Jose Mourinho doesn’t have too many injury worries ahead of this game, with only Radamel Falcao currently ruled out. Eden Hazard had to go off injured during the game at Leicester, and it remains to be seen if he’ll be back in time for this one. Also, if he does suddenly recover, would the manager even want to put him straight back in the team?

We do expect to see several changes from the poor display at the King Power, with several heads probably set to roll. At this stage Mourinho has already dropped everyone in the squad, but it’s hard to see him maintaining a team who are playing that badly. Seeing as he’s tried everything else, could a formation change be in order?

The manager has to make some kind of big change soon, because their current set up simply isn’t working. A new formation could at least give them a fresh approach, and it might shake up a few of the stars who currently appear to be sleepwalking through the season. While a top four place seems beyond this team, they can’t simply be left to rot for the last few months of the campaign.

If there’s any team to test out a new system against, it’s Sunderland. Sam Allardyce has made a few improvements since taking over, but they aren’t Premier League quality right now. He’ll likely have a busy January window, as there are gaps in his team that need filling. Sunderland should be a straightforward game for the Blues, but there are only a couple of spots between them in the table right now.

Failure in this game could well be the biggest indictment of Mourinho’s coaching this season. It would show how far the team have fallen in the last couple of months. But, having said that, people would have little confidence in backing the champions to win this weekend.

The defeat to Leicester wasn’t just a poor result, but it was also a dreadful performance. There’s not going to be much confidence in this team right now, so it’s hard to see the Blues blowing anyone away. They’ll be functional, and a win is possible, but it will be a struggle.

We’re going for a narrow home win, which will probably even be seen as a bad result. Right now, though, all Mourinho and his team need are points, the display isn’t important. Given how many defeats they’ve suffered, a return to winning ways would start to make fans happier before Christmas.

LCN Verdict: Chelsea to win 1-0