Chelsea vs. Sunderland: Preview and TV schedule

Ian MacNicol

Paolo Di Canio's reign at relegation-threatened Sunderland begins in earnest with a tough trip to Stamford Bridge.

With the hackneyed Di Canio fascism controversy (hopefully) addressed and out of the way, attention now turns to on-field happenings, where Sunderland will be searching for their first win in eight on Sunday afternoon. Having lost their last three away games consecutively while Chelsea have won their last four at home, things don't look good.

However, with Chelsea having fallen against Southampton in their last league match, their fallibility was once again revealed, giving Arsenal half a chance of overtaking them in the race for fourth place. The Gunners are currently occupying the final Champions League spot after their win against West Brom yesterday, with Rafa Benitez's side having a one point deficit to overcome if they are to reclaim fourth.

Sunderland's problems come at the other end of the table, with them slipping to within a point of the relegation zone. It is perfectly feasible that at the end of this weekend, they will find themselves in the bottom three. Good fortune has well and truly deserted the Black Cats, who are without a couple of key players. Top scorer Steven Fletcher and captain Lee Cattermole are out until the end of the season, while defensive duo Carlos Cuéllar and Wes Brown remain doubtful.

As for Chelsea, who come into this game on the back of a Thursday evening Europa league clash, they're without Oriel Romeu, as well as Ashley Cole and Gary Cahill, who have been ruled out for a couple of weeks with their respective problems.

Chelsea injuries and suspensions

Out: Oriel Romeu (knee), Ashley Cole (hamstring), Gary Cahill (knee)

Sunderland injuries and suspensions

Out: Steven Fletcher (ankle), Lee Cattermole (knee) In doubt: Carlos Cuéllar (ankle), Wes Brown (knee)

Match Date\Time: Sunday, 3 p.m. local, 10 a.m. ET

Venue: Stamford Bridge, London, England

Online: Fox Soccer 2Go (U.S.)

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