Chelsea v Sunderland Preview: Ba set to return as Blues welcome Di Canio to Bridge

Chelsea v Sunderland Premier League match and betting odds preview.

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Stamford Bridge, Sunday April 7th; kick-off 15:00. Ref: Neil Swarbrick

Chelsea striker Demba Ba should return for Sunday’s match after being cup-tied for the Rubin Kazan game, probably replacing Fernando Torres at the front.  Defenders Gary Cahill and Ashley Cole remain injured.  Sunderland will wait on David Vaughan and Carlos Cuellar who will undergo fitness tests (groin, ankle respectively) for Paolo Di Canio’s first game in charge.

Chelsea will be glad to be back at Stamford Bridge, having failed to win any of their last four away games. The Blues’ away form (over five games) is actually worse than both Queens Park Rangers and Villa’s.  But Sunderland is a rich source of points for Chelsea – they’ve won 15 of their last 16 Premier League clashes with Sunderland. They tend to score plenty against them at home, netting 36 goals in 9 EPL games against Sunderland at Stamford Bridge.

Paolo Di Canio, who has already had to contend with a torrid media frenzy over non-football issues,  inherits a Sunderland side who have the worst record in the Premier League in the last 8 matches – just three points gained. He is the fifth manager to start his time in a Premier League job with a trip to Stamford Bridge. None of the previous four have won there.

It’s a big ask for Sunderland to win against the might of this expensively assembled Chelsea outfit who rarely lose two in a row.  Will the ‘new manager effect’ kick in for the Black Cats?  Good betting odds if it does, but perhaps not where the smart money will be.

Prediction: Chelsea 4 Sunderland 0
Betting odds on full time result: Chelsea win 1.33, Draw 5.00 Sunderland win 10.00
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Probable line-ups:
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech, Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Luiz, Bertrand, Ramieres, Mikel, Oscar, Mata, Hazard, Ba.
Sunderland (4-4-2): Mognolet; Gardner, O’Shea, Bramble, Rose; Johnson, N’Diaye, Larsson, McClean; Graham, Wickham.