Sunderland v Chelsea: Black Cats can bring Blues’ run to a halt

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On face value, this is the perfect game for Antonio Conte’s men to extend their nine-game winning run in the Premier League. They’re up against a side who currently find themselves rooted to the foot off the table, two points off safety and some 26 off their opponents.

But it won’t be that simple, and the Italian boss should approach this one with caution.

That’s because the Black Cats’ record against Chelsea in the last three years hasn’t been that bad. For starters, in that time, they’re unbeaten at home against the Blues, winning two and drawing one of their games in all competitions.

They’ve also lost just two of their last six meetings with the west London outfit, and head into this fixture off the back of two consecutive league wins at the Stadium of Light.

Granted, David Moyes’ men were brushed aside at the weekend away at Swansea, but we’ve seen enough in the last few weeks to suggest that things are beginning to click in the north-east.

Of course, once again, Sunderland have Jermain Defoe to thank for much of their recent success. The 34-year-old already has eight for the season, that’s four more than he managed at this point last year.

He netted the winner in this fixture back in May, and at 8/1, we’re not going to rule out the possibility of him scoring the last goal again.

Both teams have managed to find the net in eight of the last nine meetings between Sunderland and Chelsea in all competitions, with 33 goals being scored in that time.

That’s roughly 3.6 goals-per-game, meaning there could be some value in the 6/4 on offer for over 3.5 goals to be scored in the game. Meanwhile, 10/11 says both teams score.

Diego Costa has been in deadly form this season, having already netted 12 goals – that’s just two less than the whole Sunderland team have managed combined. He’s scored against the Black Cats twice in as many seasons too, and at 7/10, there’s every chance he could get on the scoresheet again.

But he’ll be up against former Blues defender, Papy Djilobodji, who’ll be playing with a point to prove. That means it could be difficult for the visitors to break this Sunderland side down.

David Moyes would certainly take a draw from this one, and 4/1 says he manages to do exactly that.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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Alex Apati

Having graduated from Birmingham City University with a degree in Creative Writing with English, Alex joined the News team following a three year stint working for Ladbrokes behind the counter. When he's not watching darts, he's throwing them. Failing that you'll find him YouTubeing Thierry Henry's greatest Arsenal goals.