Sunderland v Chelsea

Saturday, 10 September

Sunderland v Chelsea

Stadium of Light

Kick-off: 1500 BST

Last season: Sunderland 2 4 Chelsea

Chelsea remain unbeaten but have been far from impressive this season but Saturday's away trip to Sunderland could provide the perfect tonic for new manager Andre Villas-Boas.

The Blues have seven points from their first three games, after beating West Brom and Norwich and drawing with Stoke and Villas-Boas couldn't have asked for a better fixture to coax the best out of Fernando Torres.

The misfiring forward didn't make the substitutes bench for Spain's Euro 2012 qualifier against Liechtenstein and, after only scoring once in nineteen appearances since his £50m move from Liverpool, Villas-Boas has said he would have no hesitation in dropping the Spaniard should his poor run of form continue.

Asked about Torres' lack of goals, Villas-Boas said: "It can never compromise the objectives of the team and the things you want to achieve. It's not just about scoring goals, it's about creating opportunities and he's been doing that. The moment when it compromises the running of the team I think it has to come to an end.

"I have no problem dropping players," the Chelsea boss added.

But Torres and Chelsea will be confident of securing all three points at Sunderland. The Black Cats have lost 13 consecutive meetings with their opponents and have failed to win any of their opening three games.

New signing Raul Meireles could make his Chelsea debut at the Stadium of Light, while goalkeeper Petr Cech, defender David Luiz and striker Daniel Sturridge are also in contention. Didier Drogba (head) and Michael Essien (knee) are both absent but Juan Mata could make his full debut after impressing in the 3-1 win over Norwich.

Sunderland manager Steve Bruce will hope his deadline day signings can arrest the side's poor run of form. The home side have not beaten Chelsea at the Stadium of Light in seven meetings stretching back almost 11 years but Bruce is hoping new Arsenal loanee Nicklas Bendtner can bolster a strike force that has scored just once in six-and-a-half hours of football.

Asamoah Gyan misses out with a hamstring injury but Titus Bramble and Michael Turner are expected to return from injury.

Probable starting XIs:

Sunderland: Mignolet; Bardsley, Brown, Bramble, Richardson; Larsson, Cattermole, Gardner, Colback; Bendtner, Sessegnon.

Chelsea: Cech; Ivanovic, Luiz, Terry, Cole; Ramires, Lampard, Mikel, Mata; Anelka, Torres.