In recent seasons, the most notable thing about "Big" Sam Allardyce has been his propensity to pull off annoyingly good results, while still in charge of West Ham United, against Chelsea and Jose Mourinho. Something, something, 19th century football and all that jazz. But his out-tactic-ing ways failed in our first meeting this year, with Chelsea running out 3-1 winners at the start of the second post-Mourinho era. He will be keen to avoid a repeat with the Black Cats scratching and clawing for their Premier League lives.
As Rob points out in our opposition analysis, this is nothing new for Sunderland, who have finished in the last five non-relegation spots (i.e 13th-17th) seven out of the eight full seasons since their return to the Premier League in 2007. They'll be lucky to do even that again this season. Must be exhausting, as the ten managers during that time (including two caretakers) would no doubt attest to.
Chelsea's struggles this season have been rather exhausting as well. Fortunately, only three games remain, and after denying Spurs the title, very little of actual consequence left to achieve. Theoretically, we can just enjoy these games then.
Date / Time: Saturday, May 7, 2016, 15:00 GMT; 10am EDT; 7:30pm IST
Venue: Stadium of Light, Sunderland, England
Referee: Mike Jones — third game this season with Mr. Jones; one home loss (Bournemouth), one home draw (Everton) our luck so far.
Forecast: Cloudy with a slight chance of excitement
On TV: none (UK); USA Network (USA); Star Sports 1 / HD 1 (India); elsewhere
Streaming online: NBC Sports Live Extra, NBC Deportes En Vivo Extra (USA); Start Sports (India); BBC 5 Live (radio, UK); Chelsea TV (radio, int'l)
Sunderland team news: Right back Billy Jones is doubtful, though he had lost his place to the Great American Hope DeAndre Yedlin a few months ago already. Everyone else is available, including former Chelsea trainees Patrick van Aanholt and Fabio Borini, as well as leading scorer Jermain Defoe who, at 33, is having his most productive season since 2009-10 with 14 league goals.
Sunderland have won just one game in the last two months, but they've also lost only one while drawing the six others. One point at a time, Allardyce is trying to ensure another season of Premier League football — having that come at the expense of great rivals Newcastle would make that a little bit sweeter even.
Chelsea team news: Everyone other than long-term injury absentees Kurt Zouma and Loïc Rémy are available, including Thibaut Courtois, who has finished serving his two-game suspension. With Hiddink talking about respecting the occasion and the competition, a full-strength lineup is expected.
Despite Monday's rousing success, Chelsea have just two wins in our last nine matches in all competitions.
Previously: Actually, I'm still loving Hazard's goal from Monday more than most things in life right now.