Sunderland aiming to wreck Blues title bid after stunning Man City
While the Easter bunny is preparing to dish out chocolate eggs, the Black Cats travel to 3/1 title contenders Chelsea, knowing that three points will be the sweetest treat they can deliver to their fans.
We’ve all heard of the Christmas miracle, though Sunderland need an Easter extraordinaire if they are to ease their almost imminent threat of relegation, perhaps reflected by them being heavily odds-on at 1/8 to go down.
Jose Mourinho knows that everything is to play for, and the Blues’ fate is in their own hands. It’s actually quite simple. Win their remaining four league games, and the Premiership trophy returns to west London.
Despite probably owing Sunderland a favour – after they all but nearly knocked Manchester City (now 6/1) out of the title race running in midweek – Mourinho is more likely to treat opposite number and former Chelsea player Gus Poyet to an expensive bottle of wine post-match, rather than tell his team to go easy.
Stamford Bridge is a fortress under the reign of ‘the Special One’, and he is yet to lose a league match in his two spells in charge so far, so for a team rooted to the bottom of the table this fixture could not get any harder.
Sunderland boss Poyet may take little comfort that Chelsea will be without their leading scorer Eden Hazard, though with Mohammed Salah waiting in the wings there is not only strength but quality in depth. The Egyptian who already has two league goals since his move in January, has been largely impressive, and is 7/1 to notch the opener.
Phil Bardsley is still suspended, and Ki Sung-Yeung is sidelined with tendonitis; apart from that, Poyet is expected to name a largely unchanged team to one that drew with Manchester City. Striker Connor Wickham, who netted twice at the Etihad, is 9/2 to score at anytime. He proved himself against a strong City defence, and goes in search of third in almost as many days.
Mourinho, who has rotated his strikers consistently all season, may opt to start with Demba Ba who has struck three in four matches. His physical presence makes him a handful, and he connects well with crosses. The front man is an enticing 3/1 to net two or more.
Clear favourites, Chelsea are 1/5 to pick up maximum points, though Sunderland who put up a fight last time out are 6/1 for the draw and 11/1 to better their last result.
Chocolate might be far from Mourinho’s mind, though nothing less than a win here could leave him with egg on his face.