It’s Premier League match time at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea are set to host Sunderland in game-week thirteen.
Sunderland are coming off a 1-1 draw against Tottenham at White Hart Lane. Steve Bruce’s squad equalised immediately following van der Vaart’s 64th minute strike to give Spurs the lead, the Black Cats will take courage from that performance ahead of their upcoming meeting with the Premier League champions. Asamoah Gyan scored his third goal in two starts and the Ghana skipper underscored how crucial he is going to be to Sunderland’s fortunes this season.
Between the Sunderland posts, Gordon, playing his first game of the season after recovering from a broken arm, was brilliant on the day, beginning with a third minute save that kept Luca Modric from putting Spurs ahead early. Later, Gordon stopped a Bentley strike on the stroke of half-time. Gareth Bale was off-colour and did not test Sunderland’s back-line.
Steve Bruce replaced Richardson with Malbranque and the move resulted in animmediate opportunity with a free kick awarded after Malbranque was brought down by Gomes just outside the box. Sunderland were lucky when Bentley was booked for diving after a challenge by Zenden inside the box, when it could easily have been a penalty in Spurs’s favour. That said, the Black Cats dominated a match they should have won.
Chelsea barely managed to eke out a win against a stolid Fulham on Wednesday. But the Stamford Bridge squad will be happy that they took full points and extended their lead over second placed Man United in the table, while exorcising the ghosts of Anfield where they lost to Torres-inspired Liverpool last week. Fulham owe it to Schwarzer between the posts for not having gone down by a bigger margin.
Chelsea kept the pressure up in the first half after Essien put them ahead off a Malouda cross in the 31st minute. But Ancelotti’s charges came under immense pressure in the second half and only a goalkeeper of Cech’s calbre could have kept out the scoring opportunities Fulham created, especially an outstanding volley by Zoltan Gera in the 82nd minute that Cech punched clear.
Chelsea will be without Michael Essien in the weekend’s game against Sunderland; the Ghanaian was sent off late in injury time after a lunge on Fulham Dempsey.
Sunderland have drawn four of their matches on the road this season, while losing the other two to Newcastle and Wigan. Chelsea have had a perfect record at home, winning all six matches played at Stamford Bridge. Sunderland would do well if they snatched a point from Sunday’s game.
Sunderland’s starting eleven against Tottenham Hotspur comprised: Gordon, Onuoha, Turner, Bramble, Ferdinand, Henderson, Cattermole, Riveros, Richardson, Zenden and Gyan; Bardsley, Wellbeck and Malbranque took part as substitutes.
The following players were in Chelsea’s starting eleven against Fulham: Cech, Bosingwa, Ivanovic, Terry, Cole, Essien, Mikel, Zhirkov, Kalou, Drogba and Malouda; Ramires, Sturridge and Ferreira were used as substitutes.