League Cup Preview: Sunderland v Chelsea

Jose Mourinho has his sights set on winning the League Cup for a third time as Chelsea prepare to face Sunderland in the quarter-finals.

The Portuguese won the competition twice in his first spell at Stamford Bridge and they are just two victories away from reaching yet another final.

Eden Hazard scored twice earlier this month when Chelsea won 4-3 in a thrilling Premier League clash at the Stadium of Light.

That was their sixth consecutive win against Sunderland and they will be favourites to progress to the semi-finals, denying former Chelsea favourite Gus Poyet a trophy in his first season in charge of the Wearside club.

Chelsea come into the game on the back of a hard-fought 2-1 London derby victory over Crystal Palace on Saturday.

That victory ensured Mourinho's charges are just two points behind leaders Arsenal ahead of the clash between the two sides a week on Monday.

But first up is the long trip to Wearside and Mourinho is set to makes changes to his side.

Defender Branislav Ivanovic will play no part after picking up his fifth booking of the season against Palace, so Cesar Azpilicueta is set to play at right-back and Ashley Cole is expected to start.

Mark Schwarzer is also likely to start in goal, while Frank Lampard, Demba Ba and John-Obi Mikel will be hoping to be handed a spot in the XI.

Chelsea lost on penalties in the UEFA Super Cup in August, but Mourinho is not planning to put his players through extra spot-kick practice ahead of the quarter-final.

He said: "I practice a lot and we always lose on penalties. This time we don't practice."

Sunderland remain bottom of the Premier League with only nine points after they were held to a goalless draw at West Ham on Saturday.

But Poyet was encouraged by their display at Upton Park and a victory over Chelsea would be a big morale boost for his side.

Jack Colback missed out at the weekend due to illness and Poyet will check on his availability ahead of the game.

Defender Carlos Cuellar (hip) and goalkeeper Keiren Westwood (shoulder) could miss out once again.


SHARES
comments