Premier League Preview and Prediction: Sunderland vs Chelsea

Competition: Premier League – Sunderland vs. Chelsea

Venue: Stadium of Light – Saturday, May 7 – 15:00 BST (10:00 ET) 

Match Odds: Sunderland 9/5 – Draw 5/2 – Chelsea 7/5

Match Preview

Sunderland welcome Chelsea to the Stadium of Light on Saturday afternoon in a game which could play a huge part in the battle to avoid relegation from the Premier League.

The Black Cats have put together a solid run of form which has seen them lose just once in their last eight in their efforts to avoid the drop. They sit one point outside the relegation zone with a far better goal difference and a game in hand on rivals Newcastle in 17th.

Sam Allardyce has steadied the club and given them a great chance of survival but there is still plenty of work to be done. His side come into this tie off the back of their 1-1 draw against Stoke.

Sunderland lost 3-1 in the earlier meeting between the sides this season but will be expected to be a tougher task for Chelsea this time around.

Last seasons meeting between at the Stadium of Light ended 0-0. A draw would be a solid result and give Sunderland confidence heading into their game in hand in midweek.

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Chelsea come into this tie battered and bruised from their 2-2 home draw against Spurs, which is being referred to as the ‘Battle of the Bridge’ after an intensely entertaining London Derby.

Guus Hiddink’s side came back from 2-0 down to earn a draw and showed grit and determination which has been missing on the whole from Chelsea for the majority of the season.

Chelsea players and fans alike will be happy to see the back of this season and their pitiful attempt to defend the title. They will be looking to finish the campaign in the strongest form possible.

The Blues will be looking ahead to next season and the pressure will be far less intense for them than Sunderland in this tie, which may just play into the home sides hands.

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Team News

Sunderland have just one injury concern heading into this tie as Billy Jones looks a doubt.

Chelsea look likely to without two players through injury as Kurt Zouma remains out and Loic Remy looks doubtful.

Key Points

Sunderland’s last five: D/L/W/D/D

Chelsea’s last five: W/L/L/W/D

Key Stat: Sunderland have failed to score in their last three home games in the Premier League.

Key Player: Jermain Defoe – Sunderland’s main goal threat has netted 14 goals in 31 games this season and is playing a key role in their efforts to remain in the Premier League.

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Score Prediction

Sunderland 2-1 Chelsea – Sunderland are desperately chasing three points here and their performances over the last eight games would warrant them getting a win. Chelsea’s performance is unlikely to be as intense as Monday’s and they may get caught out yet again this season if they are not fully focused.


Premier League Preview and Prediction: West Ham vs Sunderland

Competition: Premier League – West Ham United vs. Sunderland

Venue: Upton Park – Saturday, February 27 – 12:45 GMT (07:45 ET)

Match Odds: West Ham 5/6 – Draw 13/5 – Sunderland 16/5

Match Preview

West Ham welcome Sunderland to Upton Park on Saturday lunchtime for a clash between two teams with very different aspirations as we enter the final third of the Premier League season.

The Hammers are currently in seventh, hunting down a European spot and have a chance to heap the pressure on Manchester United and Southampton who sit above them.

With the advantage of playing before their rivals, Slaven Bilic’s side can lift themselves to fifth with victory and they’ll come into this game with confidence after a resounding 5-1 win away at Blackburn in the FA Cup last weekend.

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Judging by the high standards West Ham have set themselves this season, it’s fair to say they’ve stuttered slightly in the Premier League recently – since a run of three consecutive victories, they’ve managed just one win in their last five (D2, L2).

Sunderland, by contrast, are scrapping for every point in a relegation dogfight at the bottom of the table as they sit in nineteenth, although they’re only one point off safety.

Sam Allardyce has had the luxury of two weeks to prepare his players for yet another vital fixture and they’ve been on a warm weather training trip to Dubai, following an excellent 2-1 win at home to Manchester United last time out.

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The Black Cats have lost just two of their last seven games (W3, D2) and will be hoping that they are just starting to find some form at a crucial time in the season.

The reverse fixture provided entertainment and eventually ended in a 2-2 draw at the Stadium of Light back in October.

Team News

Winston Reid (hamstring), Enner Valencia (ankle) and Andy Carroll (hip) could all return to the squad for West Ham this weekend following injuries, while Diafra Sakho (thigh) who has been out since November is back in full training but may not be risked. Joey O’Brien (hamstring) and James Tomkins (calf) remain out.

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Sunderland have a number of injury doubts heading into this one. Billy Jones (hip), Younes Kaboul (ankle), Jan Kirchhoff (hamstring), Seb Larsson (knee), Jeremain Lens (hernia) and Duncan Watmore (ankle) are all likely to miss the game with injury.

Key Points

West Ham’s last five: L/D/W/L/D

Sunderland’s last five: L/D/L/D/W

Key Stat: Sunderland have failed to win away from home against a Premier League side in the top 12 this season (P8, W0, D1, L7).

Key Player: Dimitri Payet – It’s impossible to look past the Frenchman as the key player in any West Ham game at the moment. He’s in the form of his life and is a frightening prospect for any defence. With seven goals and five assists in 19 Premier League appearances this season, he’s bound to be the difference once again this weekend.

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Score Prediction

West Ham 2-1 Sunderland – West Ham will fancy their chances against a Sunderland side that don’t travel particularly well. Sam Allardyce returns to another of his former clubs and will make life difficult for the Hammers, but the home side should have enough to edge it.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Burnley vs Leicester City

Competition: Premier League – Burnley FC vs. Leicester City FC

Venue: Turf Moor – Saturday April 25th – 15:00 BST (10:00 ET)

Match Odds: Burnley 7/5 – Draw 12/5 – Leicester 9/5

Match Preview

It’s Burnley vs. Leicester in the Premier League and it’s crunch time at Turf Moor on Saturday afternoon as two of the bottom three battle in a huge match with both clubs’ future surely on the line in this one.

Sean Dyches’ Burnley have been so resilient of late, and have picked up some very impressive results at home over the course of the season with a win over Manchester City and draws against Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur.

They will be expecting to therefore beat lesser opposition in Leicester and the home fans will be expecting to win, especially as they beat champions Manchester City at Turf Moor last month. The win over the reigning champions is their only win in 12 games though – worrying form especially if you are staring down the barrel of relegation.

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With questions still surrounding Danny Ings future, and Burnley resigned to the fact they will lose their star striker come the summer, they will need to beat Leicester to remain in the Premier League for another season at least. That’s because next summer see’s the new TV deals come into effect and they will give clubs like Burnley some financial backing to do some business.

If Burnley can win this it could leave Leicester City in a bit of a mess and derail their own safety ambitions so this is a huge clash.

The Foxes won’t be easy customers as they have been very impressive of late, and if they play like they have in the last three, they will definitely remain in the Premier League next season.

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Leicester have given themselves a fantastic chance of escaping their bottom three by winning their last three on the spin and now only remain in the drop zone on goal difference behind Hull City. Another bonus is that they have a game in hand over their relegation rivals, but that is against Chelsea next week in a game the Blues can wrap up the title in, depending on their result against Arsenal.

The worrying form for Leicester is that they have only picked up 11 points from a possible 51 on the road this season. The away win at West Brom two weeks ago was their first since December.

Having scored seven in their last three games, Nigel Pearson’s side will be looking to keep hitting the back of the net, and outfox the Burnley backline to give themselves the best chance of survival.

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After this game for Leicester they face just one more away from home and will play at the King Power Stadium in their other four remaining games, which gives them another huge boost with regards to staying up.

The reverse saw the two sides battle out for a 2-2 draw with Ross Wallace equalising late in stoppage time for the Clarets to deny Leicester City all three points.

Team News

Burnley will be without Ashley Barnes, who was sent off against Everton last week, as he serves a one match ban, plus Dean Marney is out as is Kevin Long, who will be out until the Autumn.

Leicester City have doubts over David Nugent and Marcin Wasilewski, with Richie De Laet expected to come in if Wasilewski is ruled out of the relegation clash.

Key Points

Burnley’s last five: W/L/D/L/L

Leicester’s last five: D/L/W/W/W

Key Stats: Burnley have not beaten Leicester in any of their last eight meetings, stretching back to August 2010. They have lost their last three home games against the Foxes, scoring just once.

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Key Player: Leonardo Ulloa – The Argentine striker found his goalscoring touch against Swansea City last weekend and will be hoping to add to his tally of eight goals as he looks to try and reach double digits before the season is out.

Score Prediction

Burnley 1-2 Leicester City – Leicester City have some terrific quality and in the confidence they are in, they can inflict some serious damage to Burnley with goals coming from all angles. It’s difficult to see the Clarets keeping Leicester out and that could result in another win for the away side.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Leicester vs Swansea

Competition: Premier League – Leicester City vs. Swansea City

Venue: King Power Stadium – Saturday, April 18th – 15:00 BST (10:00 ET)

Match Odds: Leicester 11/10 – Draw 23/10 – Swansea 5/2

Match Preview

It’s crunch time for Leicester City’s season as they play host this weekend to a Swansea side looking for their best ever Premier League finish.

Nigel Pearson’s Leicester have bridged the gap between fellow relegation strugglers recently with back-to-back wins and will be hoping to make it three on the bounce as they look to pull of a great escape.

They are currently three points off of safety and the battle should go down to the wire as Leicester can produce results with five of their last seven at home, starting with Swansea on Saturday.

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It is important that Leicester take something from this game as they have the worst home record in the Premier League this year. That will need to improve if they are to avoid the drop.

Leicester City’s home record in the Premier League: P14 – W3 – D5 – L6

Swansea could be without striker Bafetimbi Gomis on Saturday as the striker left the Everton match early following a hamstring injury last week, and his absence will be a blow to the Swans.

With not much to play for, and only a slight chance of European football, Swansea are arguably playing for pride now, with a best ever Premier League finish on the cards should they finish 8th.

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They equalled their record points tally in the Premier League with a draw at Everton last week and know another point will set a new record.

Swansea’s away record in the Premier League: P15 – W5 – D3 – L7

Garry Monk has done a stellar job up to now, and it’s not in his nature to set up a team that won’t attack so we’re hoping for an open game that should thrill.

Team News

Leicester City have no injury or suspension concerns for this week so Nigel Pearson has a full squad to pick from. However, we are expecting the same XI to play from last weekend’s win at West Brom, with David Nugent playing the number ten role.

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Swansea City will be without Kyle Naughton and Tom Carroll, who remain long-term absentees. Jefferson Montero, Nelson Oliveira and Bafetimbi Gomis are all doubts but Montero and Oliveira will be pushing for a start. Neil Taylor is out serving a suspension.

Key Points

Leicester’s last five in the Premier League: L/D/L/W/W

Swansea’s last five in the Premier League: L/L/W/W/D

Key Stat: The home team has won this fixture in the last seven meetings between the two sides in all competitions.

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Key Player: David Nugent – With an eye for goal and a knack for being in the right place at the right time, Nugent could be the difference in this one.

Score Prediction

Leicester City 2-2 Swansea City – We’re hoping this will be an open game with plenty of goals. Leicester need to try and pick up all three points but a score draw looks the most likely result against a solid Swansea side looking to set a record points tally in the Premier League.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Hull City vs Chelsea

Competition: Premier League – Hull City vs. Chelsea

Venue: KC Stadium – Sunday, March 22 – 16:00 GMT (12:00 ET)

Match Odds: Hull City 13/2 – Draw 100/30 – Chelsea 4/9

Match Preview

Hull City battle Chelsea at the KC Stadium on Sunday afternoon as the Blues look to strengthen their case to be Premier League champions, while a win for the Tigers would further cement their place in the division for the 2015/2016 season.

Hull are looking to score their first goal against the league leaders since their promotion back to the Premier League.

Chelsea will be hoping to bounce back following their 1-1 draw at home to Southampton last weekend, whereas Hull are heading back to the KC after a 0-0 draw away at Leicester City.

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Six is the magic number in this fixture

Hull are on 28 points, only six points clear of the relegation places, compared to Chelsea who are six points clear of second placed Manchester City.

Six is also the number of games Hull have won all season, with four of those coming at the KC Stadium.

Chelsea have lost twice and drawn four on their travels this season, totalling six games in which they’ve failed to take all three points when playing away.

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Finally, since Hull’s promotion, the three fixtures between these two sides have ended in a 2-0 win for Chelsea, meaning Chelsea have scored six goals against their opposition since the beginning of the 2013/2014 season.

Team News

Hull City have recently been rocked by the news that striker Nikica Jelavic has been ruled out for six weeks after surgery on his knee. Robbie Brady and James Chester are out but expected to return after the international break. Tom Huddlestone will be suspended after his red card against Leicester. The good news for the Tigers is that Mo Diame and Liam Rosenior should return to the squad this weekend after long term injuries.

Chelsea on the other hand, have no fresh injury concerns with John Obi Mikel the only absentee going into this game. The Blues are likely to field the same lineup as the one that drew with Southampton last weekend.

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Key Points

Hull City’s last five in the Premier League: W/W/L/D/D

Chelsea’s last five in the Premier League: W/W/D/W/D

Key Stat: Hull City haven’t beaten any team in the top of half the table this season as it currently stands.

Key Player: Eden Hazard – The talented winger is vital to Chelsea and always makes them tick. He will be hungry to carry on his goalscoring form against Hull having bagged two goals in his last two games against the Tigers.

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Score Prediction

Hull City 0-2 Chelsea – Chelsea to cruise to a comfortable and routine win against Hull with the same scoreline they’ve beaten the Tigers by in their last three meetings.

Encouraging Dick Advocaat stat suggests Sunderland will be safe

Sunderland are in trouble. There is no doubt about that. The club sit just one point above the relegation zone and sacked Gus Poyet earlier this week, bringing in Dick Advocaat just one day later.

The Dutchman faces a tough task in trying to keep the Black Cats in the Premier League in what is his first job in English football.

Sunderland have won just four league games all season and are without a win in six following last weekend’s shock 4-0 defeat at home to fellow relegation strugglers Aston Villa.

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Advocaat has plenty of experience as the 67-year-old has managed at eight different clubs from the Netherlands, Russia, Germany and a four-year spell with Scottish side Rangers from 1998-2002.

He has also enjoyed international coaching roles with six different nations and has managed his homeland on two separate occasions.

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Advocaat will become the oldest manager in the Premier League and will hope his wealth of experience can prove valuable.

He has an average win percentage of 54.5% through his coaching career so far and if he can transfer that record into the final stretch of Sunderland’s season, the Black Cats will more than likely be safe.

Projected Sunderland points tally based on Dick Advocaat's career win percentage

Projected Sunderland points tally based on Dick Advocaat’s career win percentage

It must be noted that this is simply a projection based on the previous successes Advocaat has enjoyed. A projected final tally of 40 points would surely be enough as no team has been relegated with a minimum of 40 points for the past 11 seasons since West Ham were with 42 points in the 2002/03 campaign.

The task of turning things around at Sunderland in the middle of a fierce relegation fight is a new challenge for the Dutchman but he will hope his experience can help to make an immediate impact.

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A tough end to the season will see Advocaat and his new team travel to West Ham this weekend, while tough away trips to Arsenal, Stoke, Everton and finally Chelsea on the final day of the campaign also lie in wait.

To pick up the projected 14 points, Sunderland will need to win at least three of their last nine but it will likely need to be more unless they can draw their other six remaining matches.

Home games against rivals Newcastle, followed by Crystal Palace, Southampton and Leicester will all be seen as winnable by Advocaat and he must now turn all attentions to fixing things quickly before Saturday night’s trip to West Ham.