The Special One is now the Sacked One. Chelsea’s disastrous defence of their title culminated in the exit of Jose Mourinho. It has been a difficult season for the Champions with key players failing to live up to their usual high standards. In such circumstances, the manager usually takes the fall. Due to Mourinho’s reputation at Chelsea, a poor start to the season meant he had more time to turn around the season. Every bad result meant that the patience of the hierarchy at Chelsea continued to wear thin. Sadly, it did not look that they had truly turned the corner at any point in the season.
The Chelsea star players have failed to perform this season (with the exception of Willian).
They will be expected to raise their game. If they miraculously do so in this game just 48 hours after the Portuguese manager was fired, will that make Mourinho’s claim that he has been betrayed by his players true? Chelsea’s recent form has been terrible. They have only taken four points from their last seven games, losing five games in that time.
Sunderland arrives at the Bridge in similar precarious position. This season has already seen a change of manager. They will be buoyed by the fact the miracle escape of 2014 included a victory at the Bridge and will hope for similar fortune against a Chelsea side lacking in confidence but with a lot to prove. Their records against Chelsea, however, have been poor with the Blues winning 18 of the last 21 meeting with the Black Cats. The Black Cats though will be encouraged by their improved recent showings which have seen them win two out of their last five trips to Chelsea.
Falcao is doubtful for the game with a calf injury while Hazard could miss out with a hip injury sustained at the defeat at Leicester City.
Lee Cattermole and Larsson are injured with back and knee problems respectively while Coates is doubtful due to illness.