Chelsea travel to the Stadium of Light to face Sunderland for the second time in three weeks, with a place in the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup up for grabs on this occasion.
Sunderland were outplayed by Chelsea in their recent Premier League meeting, but capitalised on the Blues’ failure to adequately defend set-pieces effectively enough to make the game close at 4-3. Since then, manager Gustavo Poyet has experienced further frustration, as poor defending saw them lose to Tottenham before finding themselves unable to break through against West Ham despite controlling the game for long spells.
In Jose Mourinho’s comeback season, Chelsea continue to be somewhat unconvincing, as it took some desperate defending at times to hold off struggling Crystal Palace at the weekend. They are, however, still fighting on four fronts, and the win over the Eagles leaves them just two points off Premier League leaders Arsenal. Mourinho will also fancy his chances of winning this tournament, having won it twice in his first spell at Stamford Bridge.
The home side will be without injured duo Kieren Westwood and Carlos Cuellar, while Jack Colback misses out again through illness.
Chelsea are likely to make changes with their upcoming game at Arsenal in mind. Branislav Ivanovic is definitely out, due to suspension.
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