Sunderland v Chelsea preview

New Sunderland manager Steve Bruce has really brought a breath of fresh air to the last remaining North-East club in the Premiership, and they are looking like a lively and ambitious team at last.

The purchases of Lee Cattermole, Darren Bent, Lorik Cana, Fraizer Campbell and Da Silva have strengthened the Sunderland squad enormously, and they looked assured and in control against Bolton, despite only winning 1-0. But they will gain in confidence after that.

But can they cope with Chelsea? The Black Cats can certainly hope for a better showing than in previous meetings, as you have to go back to the year 2000 to see the last win by the home side against the Blues.

Chelsea have won on their last four visits to Sunderland, and if they intend to seriously challenge for the title again this season, they will expect to extend that run here.

Chelsea may have only beaten a dogged Hull City side with a winner in the dying minutes, but they created untold chances and on another day could have wrapped up the game even before half-time and then increased their lead after the break.

The Chelsea fans will be hoping that Drogba and Co have now located the space between the nets and can start putting the ball in the right place in this game!

Other than the long term injury, Joe Cole, Chelsea should have a full squad for Ancelotti to choose from. The £18m addition Yuri Zhirkov is expected to be fit for this, but is likely to only make a cameo appearance as he will be slowly integrated into the team. Malouda should start on the left wing again.

In the seven games under Ancelotti so far, Chelsea have amazingly scored two goals in every single one, and i think we can expect the same again in this game, and i am going to stick my neck out and say that Sunderland will also score so that Chelsea fans can have their usual nail-biting performance!

Bruce will have his players fired up for his first league game at the Stadiulm of Light as manager, and he will want to see them go down fighting, even if Chelsea do manage to overpower them in the end.

So my prediction is a hard-fought 2-1 win to the Blues.

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