Chelsea will have the chance to become one of the first clubs to book their spot in the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup when they go up against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light this evening.

The Blues go into the game off the back of a disappointing performance in the Premier League against Crystal Palace - but it was still a case of job done as they secured a 2-1 win and the points they needed to move them within two points of leaders Arsenal.

Despite that, manager Jose Mourinho was clearly unhappy afterwards and will likely ring the changes, not only to keep his players as fresh as possible during the hectic Christmas but also to allow a few of his non-regular starters a chance to stake a claim to a first-team spot.

Chelsea, who beat Sunderland 4-3 in a thrilling league game less than a month ago, will look for the same outcome as Mourinho seeks his first silverware of his second spell in charge at Stamford Bridge.

Standing in his way is former Chelsea favourite Gus Poyet, whose Sunderland side remain bottom of the Premier League despite some improved performances under the Uruguayan.

Chelsea, who haven't lost to Sunderland since 2010, will be without Branislav Ivanovic, meaning Ashley Cole will likely return.

Ryan Bertrand and midfielder Marco van Ginkel remain out of action.

Predicted Chelsea team to face Sunderland: Schwarzer, Cole, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Luiz, Essien, Mikel, Willian, Mata, De Bruyne, Eto'o

Predicted score: Sunderland 2-3 Chelsea

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