Chelsea v Sunderland Preview (Premier League) – 24th May 2015

Chelsea host Sunderland in their final league game of the season, knowing they’ll lift the Premier League trophy after the game. Stamford Bridge should be in the party mood ahead of this game, but the team will want to go out on a high, and Jose Mourinho will have them focused.

Expect a couple more changes ahead of the final game, with another slightly weakened team likely. Ruben Loftus-Cheek has started for the last two games and should keep his place, while there will be a few more youngsters who will likely come off the bench. Diego Costa could start again, while Cesc Fabregas will miss out after he was sent off in the 3-0 defeat by West Brom last time out.

That result probably won’t have too much bearing on the team selection here, as Mourinho was happy enough to make excuses for his side post game. Playing on the day that the title is lifted is something every player wants to do, and it’s hard to see the manager disappointing his key players after a long season. It’ll be a mix of the regular and the new, slightly looking ahead to next season, whilst also celebrating the current one.

Sadly, this may be Petr Cech’s last ever chance to walk out in front of the Blues’ fans, and he’s currently struggling with a minor injury. He should be back in time for Sunday, and hopefully he gets a game ahead of a likely move in the transfer window. After 10 long years of service, the Czech stopper deserves the well wishes of the supporters after an incredible spell between the sticks for the club.

This game was to be one of the three with sides fighting against relegation, until Sunderland went and took a point at the Emirates on Wednesday night. The Gunners were below par, but the Black Cats showed resilience to move on to the 38 point mark that secures their safety. They have already drawn with Chelsea this season, at the Stadium of Light back in November, so the Blues know how tough they can be to break down.

That result takes a lot of the edge off this game, as the visitors are no longer fighting for their lives. Just like the Blues, they’ll now be looking forward to next season, and they’ll probably mix their team around a little. It would have been interesting to see how the side looking to beat the drop would have done against a team waiting to celebrate at the final whistle, but Sunderland fans will be glad that’s no longer the case.

Whatever happens on the day, the champions will enjoy the evening. It’s going to be an incredible mix of celebrating the legends who could leave, basking in the glow of success and welcoming some possible new academy graduates. On top of that, players like Andre Schurrle and Mo Salah will be back for their medals, making it a day to savour for players past and present.

LCN Verdict: Chelsea to win 3-0