Chelsea will travel to the Stadium of Light for their match against Sunderland on Wednesday hoping to inch closer to league leaders Arsenal.
- (Photo: Reuters/Darren Staples)
Chelsea is now in sole possession of second place in the league after winning their last two outings against West Ham and Southampton.
Jose Mourinho's side is only four points off the pace and has a great record against Sunderland, having won 16 out of their last 17 Premier League encounters.
Mourinho will be without Brazilian defender David Luiz and midfielder Oscar. Luiz is overcoming a knee injury while Oscar was forced off in Sunday's 3-1 win over Southampton with an ankle problem.
Sunderland goes into the game in last place but is only three points shy of the relegation line. They have been playing better and have won their last two home games.
Sunderland manager Gus Poyet spent three years as a player at Chelsea and understands that if they cannot score goals they will have a slim chance of beating his old club.
Gus Poyet's side earned a point from their draw at Aston Villa on Saturday, but he will know they will need to maintain their solid home form if they are to have any hopes of staying in the top flight.
One bright spot is the fact that Sunderland defender John O'Shea was able to train ahead of Wednesday night's tough Premier League clash with Chelsea.
The Republic of Ireland international ended Saturday's 0-0 draw at Aston Villa with a groin problem, but appears to have recovered and is thought to be part of the starting XI.
However, keeper Keiren Westwood and defender Carlos Cuellar remain on the injured list and will not be considered for the match.
Kickoff for the match is at 2:45 ET and can be watched online here.