Chelsea old boy Gus Poyet will again look to throw a spanner in the works at his former club when Sunderland host the runaway Premier League leaders on Saturday.
Manager Poyet took his bottom of the table team to Stamford Bridge in April and they caused a mighty shock, winning 2-1 to inflict the first home league defeat on Jose Mourinho in 78 matches in charge of the Londoners.
The victory galvanised Sunderland’s fortunes and they went on to avoid relegation. It also effectively wrecked Chelsea’s hopes of winning the title.
Seven months on Sunderland will have the opportunity to end in-form Chelsea’s run of 19 undefeated matches in all competitions this season.
“Chelsea are strong and at this moment in time they are unbeaten but we hope to work hard and if we do then maybe we can pick up a positive result,” Sunderland goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon told the club’s website (www.safc.com).
“We have already shown against good sides that we are a hard team to beat especially at home because the support we get from the fans is very important and it can change the game.”
Former Manchester City goalkeeper Pantilimon said it was imperative that 14th-placed Sunderland went into the match with the correct mindset.
“These types of games are what make you a football player and they are what make you want to pursue a career in the game so we are all looking forward to it,” he said.
“It is also very important for us to head into the game with the right mentality and a strong work ethic.”
Mourinho’s Chelsea go into the fixture at the Stadium of Light holding a six-point lead over second-placed Southampton at the top of the table.
Sunderland have won only two league games this season but their predicament is nowhere near as bad as it was in April as they lie three points clear of the drop zone.
Poyet’s team face a daunting task against a buoyant Chelsea side who equalled their best away result in the Champions League on Tuesday by romping to a 5-0 win at Schalke 04.
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