Chelsea’s key battle against Sunderland tonight as Blues look to take advantage of Arsenal slipup

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Chelsea are on a superb run at the moment but must take advantage of Arsenal’s slip up yesterday to break free at the top of the table.

All of the celebration over the Gunners will be for naught if the Blues can’t get three points at the Stadium of Light, not always the easiest place to go.

Sunderland have a decent record against Chelsea and have a good history of beating big teams at Christmas – just ask Man City whose title aspirations have twice been punctured by Sunderland at New Year.

With Didier Ndong suspended, Sunderland will have to change their team around to cover for the midfielder. The gap he leaves in the middle of the park will be heavily exploited Pedro, or by Willian who may come in to replace the Spaniard. Jan Kirchoff is a solid defender but will likely be occupied by Diego Costa, leaving the time and space in front of what will be a packed defence to Chelsea’s Brazilian winger.

If Willian can be productive in this space Chelsea should brush the Black Cats aside. If he struggles against the wall of players ahead of him, the Blues could be left waiting for a moment of sheer Costa brilliance, as they did at the weekend against West Brom.

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