Media mash-up: Pundits preview Chelsea clash

Media mash-up continues as a batch of local reporters preview Sunderland’s latest fixture providing insight, analysis and opinion.

Next up, Nick Barnes, James Hunter and Richard Mennear preview the Lads’ home match against Premier League pace-setters Chelsea.    

James Hunter (@JHunterChron) – The Chronicle

After three wins in their previous four games, Sunderland's defeat – and performance – at Swansea City came as a major disappointment. Just when it seemed the Black Cats might have turned the corner, they slipped up against one of their main relegation rivals. At least the pressure will be off when Chelsea visit the Stadium of Light. Instead the weight of expectation will be on the league leaders as they look for a tenth successive Premier League win. And Sunderland have proved several times in recent seasons that they are capable of causing an upset against the Blues – as Chelsea found on their last visit to Wearside in May. As at Liverpool a couple of weeks ago, the important thing is that Sunderland show defensive resilience and do not suffer a crushing defeat. The odds are that Chelsea will win, but you just never know.

Nick Barnes (@Tweed_Barnesy) – BBC Radio Newcastle

Saturday’s defeat at Swansea was a setback but it wasn’t fatal. A win would have certainly allowed us to breathe a little more easily ahead of Chelsea and Watford but as David Moyes rightly pointed out before the run of three wins in four they would have to go on spasmodic runs like that throughout the season in a bid to avoid the drop. Yes, it was a big opportunity missed but you also have to give credit to Swansea and their approach to the match. Now Sunderland face a Chelsea team brimming with confidence. It’s a big ask, of course it is, but these are the scenarios that favour the underdogs. Didier Ndong will be missing through suspension but that will give someone else an opportunity and to hopefully grab that chance to shine and make a name for themselves. If Victor Anichebe can unsettle the Chelsea defence and Sunderland show some grit in the middle which was lacking at Swansea, then who knows. At the very least Sunderland will want Chelsea to leave the Stadium of Light knowing they’ve been in a match. Tactically it wouldn’t surprise me to see Moyes match Conte with three at the back.   

Richard Mennear (@RichMennearJP) – Sunderland Echo

The best thing for Sunderland after the 3-0 defeat to Swansea City is to get straight back into action. And this week is a very busy one with Chelsea at home tomorrow night before the visit of Watford to the Stadium of Light on Saturday. Two huge games against two in-form Premier League sides. Sunderland will have been wounded by the loss to relegation rivals Swansea at the weekend, the players have a point to prove after a poor second-half collapse. It had all been going so well recently too, with three wins out of four. Given the busy nature of this week there is no time to feel sorry for themselves though and David Moyes is right, it is also important not to panic.  Chelsea are gunning for the title and pose a threat all over the pitch.  The suspended Didier Ndong is a big loss, with Moyes without the energy levels of Ndong and the injured Duncan Watmore. This is a different Chelsea side to the one Sunderland beat last season but the home form at the Stadium of Light has been improving.  A big night lies in store.

The views expressed within this article are the views of the individual contributors and not necessarily those of Sunderland AFC.

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