Sunderland vs. Chelsea: Squad News, TV & Streaming Information, Preview

Tom Dulat

Last time Chelsea traveled up north, they lost 2-0 to Newcastle. Let's hope this one goes a bit better. It should, for Sunderland are not very good.

Gus - or Gustavo, as Mourinho calls him - Poyet is a Chelsea hero.  To me, he managed to remain one despite subsequent associations with Tottenham Hotspur, both as a player and as a coach.  As the man who counts the winning goal versus Real Madrid in the Super Cup among his 49 scored for the Blues (including this "glorious" effort vs. Sunderland, the club he now manages), I wish him all the best in whatever current or future endeavor he may be involved in.

But not tomorrow.

Tomorrow, I wish an end to his home winning streak (three in a row since taking over as manager, including a derby win over Newcastle and a massive upset over Manchester City).

I wish for his strikers to continue their misfirings of epic proportions (Sunderland have scored more than one goal in a league match just once all season, and have a league-worst 8 goals in 13 matches, just slight better than Crystal Palace who have scored 8 in 14 matches).

I wish for his defenders to resume their head-spinning rate of concedings (Sunderland, along with Fulham, have conceded a league-worst 24 goals in 13 matches, but only 4 in the last 5 matches).

I wish for them to remain at the bottom of the Barclays Premier League, to where they've fallen after Crystal Palace beat West Ham United 1-0 just now.  Sunderland had 1 point when Poyet took over; now, five matches later, they have 7.  It'll take a big effort to stave off relegation, but I wish for that effort to begin/resume only this coming weekend.

I wish for a Stadium of Darkness, for winter is coming and the wall's been breached.  Sorry, Gus.

Date/Time: Wednesday, December 4, 2013, 19:45 GMT; 2:45pm EST; 1:15am IST (next day)

Venue/Location: Stadium of Light, Sunderland, The North

Forecast: Colder, but there's a decent chance that the Sun will make an appearance, which is super weird.  Not at game time of course, because by then it'll be dark.  Duh.

On TV: none (UK); Premier League Extra Time (USA); none (India); elsewhere

Online: NBC Sports Live Extra (USA)

Sunderland squad news: John O'Shea, famous for being the least likely man ever to amass almost 400 appearances for Manchester United, should be fit again after picking up a small knock on Saturday.  Fellow 32-year-old Carlos Cuellar will not.  Goalkeeper Keiran Westwood may or may not be injured - it's tough to tell - but he probably wouldn't start anyway since Poyet's been rolling with Arsenal reject Vito Mannone.  Fun name: Vito.  Every time he stops a shot, he stands up and yells 'YOU GOT VETOED!' at the opposing player.  And if he doesn't, then he should start.  (But not tomorrow; the weekend's fine.)  And speaking of rejects, Sunderland's the current home of Fabio Borini as well.  Borini does have infinity times more league goals than Jozy Altidore.

View from the enemy: Roker Report - there are even some words from Graham MacAree up there right now, so you won't feel too weird with all that red surrounding you.

Chelsea squad news: David Luiz remains out with a mysterious mystery knee mystery, while Oscar's brave words of being fine have been refuted by Mourinho.  Samuel Eto'o's back in training, but I doubt he'll take part until the weekend.

The key for the Blues will be rotation.  Last week, Mourinho tried to stick with the winning combinations and it backfired spectacularly (not that there was anything spectacular happening on that Tuesday night in Switzerland).  I expect he won't make that mistake again.  He confirmed that Ashley Cole will start one of these two upcoming matches, while I'm sure André Schürrle or Kevin De Bruyne would welcome a few minutes in the Premier League as well.  Of course, you don't want to rotate too much or just for the sake of rotating, but that's why they pay him the big bucks, to figure all this out.

Previously: Besides that hilarious 0-3 home aberration under Carlo Ancelotti in 2010, Chelsea have not lost to Sunderland in well over a decade.  Last time, it was Paolo Di Canio's debut match as manager that Chelsea won 2-1, with Kilgallon and Azpilicueta trading own goals and Ivanovic scoring the hockey-style winner by deflecting David Luiz's long-range shot.  Oh, there was also this from Phil Bardsley once.  Never forget!

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