Will the Black Cats visit prove a good omen?

Chelsea continue their Premier League campaign on Saturday by welcoming Sunderland to Stamford Bridge.

After last weekend’s 4-0 FA Cup success over Portsmouth, the blues will be looking to record their third successive win in all competitions.

Andre Villas Boas’ men ended 2011 with a disappointing home defeat at the hands of Aston Villa and will surely want to get that first home league win in 2012 at the first available opportunity.

Whether the Gary Cahill deal will be tied up before the game remains to be seen, whilst young midfielder Josh McEachran looks to have sealed his loan move to Swansea.

There are no fresh new injury concerns for the hosts who will be boosted by Michael Essien’s return for the reserves in midweek whilst Daniel Sturridge is still troubled by a knee injury which has ruled him out the clubs leading scorer for the past two matches.

But despite Sunderland being defeated at home by Chelsea back in September, the visitors will not provide an easy challenge for the blues.

In fact, the Black Cats have looked a different prospect under the guidance of Martin O’Neil who has already worked wonders.

Since his arrival at the helm of the Stadium of Light his side have won 4 out of 6 including their last three. Most notably the stoppage time win over Premier League leaders Manchester City.

This new found form led to O’Neil being named manager of the month for December despite his short tenure.

Not only have results been impressive but the North East Outfits style of play has been admiral with the O’Neil stamp evident already, and this doesn’t look like just a short term fix.

The emergence of James McClean has also been a big plus for the visitors who looks a coup after signing from Derry City in the summer, with the Irishmen netting in his last two games.

With ground to make up on 3rd place Tottenham and just one point separating Chelsea from 5th place London rivals Arsenal and more importantly the final coveted Champions League place, three points are vital for the West Londoners.

With the January transfer window now open perhaps AVB may be sleeping a little easier if his side have  secured all three points by 5’oclock on Saturday afternoon.

According to the superstition luck favours those who see a black cat, and who knows maybe the Chelsea manager may have a slice of luck he’s due some.

Simon Blaquiere


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