Sunderland v Chelsea preview: Eden Hazard set to miss trip to Wearside
Last Updated: 14/12/16 6:41pm
Chelsea are set to be without playmaker Eden Hazard when they seek a 10th Premier League win in a row at Sunderland on Wednesday.
We understand that the Belgium international, who has been in impressive form so far this season, picked up a knock in Sunday's 1-0 win against West Bromwich Albion.
Hazard was replaced by Branislav Ivanovic with 11 minutes to go at Stamford Bridge and has stayed at the club's training ground in Cobham to receive treatment on the problem.
However, when questioned on Hazard's unavailability against Sunderland, Chelsea declined to comment.
Diego Costa was on target against the Baggies as the Blues extended their winning streak on the weekend and Antonio Conte's side can go six points clear of the chasing pack by collecting another victory at the Stadium of Light.
At the other end of the table, Sunderland have won three of their last five matches, but slipped back to the bottom after a 3-0 defeat at Swansea on Saturday.
"We've been there for most of it so it's not something new to us," said manager David Moyes afterwards.
"But we aren't back at square one, because we've got ourselves back in with a fighting chance and a few weeks ago we didn't have that."
Sunderland have won their last two home games in the league, and haven't won three in a row at the Stadium of Light since February 2012.
Sunderland will be without long-term absentees Duncan Watmore (knee) and Lee Cattermole (hip) while Paddy McNair remains out with a knee injury.
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Fabio Borini (groin) and Jack Rodwell (hamstring) are also unavailable and Didier N'Dong misses the match through suspension.
Chelsea could have defender John Terry available after a month out, but Hazard misses out with injury.
Sunderland beat Chelsea 3-2 in May having won just once against the Blues in their previous 10 Premier League games (D1 L8).
Chelsea haven't lost successive Premier League games against Sunderland since March 2001.
Jermain Defoe has scored against Chelsea with four different Premier League clubs, the only player to have done this (West Ham, Tottenham, Portsmouth and Sunderland).
Defoe has either scored (eight) or assisted (two) 10 of Sunderland's 14 Premier League goals so far in 2016-17 (71%).
This fixture has seen 111 goals scored in 30 Premier League games, averaging at 3.7 goals per game.
The Black Cats have kept just one clean sheet in their last 16 Premier League games.
Chelsea are unbeaten in their last 15 Premier League games played on a Wednesday, last losing to QPR in January 2013 (W8 D7).
Chelsea are on a run of four successive Premier League away victories and will be looking to win five in a row on the road for the first time since April 2015.
Paul Merson's prediction
Didier Ndong will be a miss for Sunderland through suspension as he is the engine in their team. They had a shocking result against Swansea and I can't see anything other than a Chelsea win.
Chelsea are having to work hard for their wins and West Brom were a bit unlucky not to get anything at the weekend. But Chelsea have champagne moments in their team and they are rock solid at the back.
PAUL PREDICTS: 0-2 (Sky Bet odds 11/2)
Chelsea are 4/11 with Sky Bet, with Sunderland 15/2 for the win and 4/1 for a draw. The Blues have only conceded twice in their current fine run of form and can be backed at 5/4 to win to nil and 7/4 to prevail by 1-0, 2-0 or a 2-1 scoreline.
Costa heads the first goalscorer betting at 5/2 with Defoe considered the hosts' main threat at 17/2 to break the deadlock. Find out what the Soccer Saturday pundits and Jamie Redknapp are tipping in their Sky Bet tips here.