Chelsea v Sunderland: Match Preview


Chelsea v Sunderland; Stamford Bridge; Barclays Premier League; Saturday 14 January 2012, 15:00

Team News

Chelsea captain John Terry and joint-top goalscorer Daniel Sturridge have both been declared fit for the Blues this weekend, but Andre Villas-Boas will not be able to call on Salomon Kalou or Didier Drogba who have left west London on African Cup of Nations duty.

Branislav Ivanovic and John Obi Mikel remain sidelined, and Florent Malouda is also doubtful, but the Portuguese tactician has been boosted by the news that long-term absentee Michael Essien could be in contention at Norwich next weekend.

Meanwhile, Sunderland hope Nicklas Bendtner will recover in time for this weekend's Stamford Bridge clash, while Martin O'Neill hopes to be able to recall Phil Bardsley and Connor Wickham.

Fraizer Campbell continues to work on his fitness but Wes Brown, Jack Colback and Titus Bramble are all out injured.

Safety first, says Mignolet

Simon Mignolet is looking forward to facing Petr Cech on Saturday, with both men set to wear protective headgear when Sunderland visit Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea in the Barclays Premier League this weekend.

The Belgian international fractured his eye socket and broke his nose during a collision with Aston Villa striker Emile Heskey back in October, and the Black Cats stopper has been forced to wear a facemask since his return to action.

Mignolet says he has taken inspiration from the Blues keeper during his own recovery, after Cech found himself in a similar position after suffering a depressed skull fracture five years ago.

Cech has continued to wear his trademark head guard ever since that incident, and Mignolet admits he is likely to continue wearing his own head accessory for a few weeks yet.

"I have a lot of respect for him [Cech]," said the 23-year-old. "He will be wearing his protective helmet and I'll have my mask - it's almost become his trademark.

"Doctors have initially told me to wear it until the end of February, maybe a little bit longer to be safe. I still have some bruising around the eye, but it's just one of the job's perils.

"All you focus on when you are playing is saving everything. You can get injured, but putting your body on the line is what you are paid to do."

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