Chelsea vs Sunderland: Home side can face up to tough test

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Only a win will do for Chelsea, as they return to league action at Stamford Bridge for the first time since their shock 3-1 defeat at the hands of Aston Villa.

They are 4/11 to get the victory they crave, and while it won’t be straightforward against a much-improved Sunderland outfit, Chelsea should have enough to ease the pressure on Andre Villas-Boas.

If you do believe that Martin O’Neill’s resurgence of the Black Cats can be extended here though, 8/1 is the lengthy price available on an away win.

The Wearside outfit have won three out of four away games in all competitions under O’Neill’s stewardship, and it is 7/2 that they collect only a second draw of his short reign so far.

While the travelling side are the form team of the Premier League, Chelsea should just have too much quality in their ranks, and a narrow home win is the expected result.

The 8/1 odds for a 2-1 Chelsea victory look appealing.

Chelsea have also dropped only two points when leading in games at half-time this season, and so punters could be tempted to take advantage of the 5/6 odds for the Blues to be victorious in both halves.

The Blues to win with two or fewer goals scored in the match looks an interesting market, and could be worth a bet at odds of 5/2, while a home win with three or more goals occurring may be a shrewd punt at 1/1.

The London outfit are also 1/1 to hit two or three goals in the match, while the same price for both teams to score in the match looks unmissable, considering the uncharacteristic generous defending demonstrated by the home side this season.

James McClean could exploit such defensive frailties, with the impressive winger at 4/1 to score at any time for Sunderland, while Frank Lampard always looks a value bet for first goal at 9/2.

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