Sunderland can beat Chelsea, says Cats legend

John O'Shea and Santiago Vergini celebrate winning at Chelsea last season
John O'Shea and Santiago Vergini celebrate winning at Chelsea last season
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NIALL Quinn sees no reason why Sunderland cannot burst Chelsea’s bubble and bring their unbeaten Premier League run to an end.

Sunderland host league leaders Chelsea at the Stadium of Light on Saturday teatime with Gus Poyet’s side looking to inflict their first defeat of the campaign.

Quinn believes the Black Cats are capable of causing a major upset and should take inspiration from when Sunderland inflicted the first Premier League home defeat on Jose Mourinho, with April’s 2-1 victory at Stamford Bridge.

The former Republic of Ireland international is now a respected television pundit and will be in Germany tonight to watch Chelsea take on Schalke 04 in the Champions League.

He believes their midweek trip to mainland Europe may have an affect on Saturday’s match.

Quinn said: “You just never know and Sunderland away may be the one to end their run.

“They ended their home record last year and Sunderland can take great heart from that.

“This game won’t be straightforward for Chelsea, despite things going so well for them at the moment.

“There are a couple of mitigating factors that may give you cause to believe Sunderland could do it.

“Chelsea will have travelled midweek and Sunderland will have had an easier preparation.

“I do think they will play a changed team at Schalke 04 so it will be interesting to see how they line up against Sunderland.

“The form right now says it will be very difficult but Sunderland need to get at them and remind them what it is like up here,” added Quinn who scored 61 goals in 203 games for Sunderland between 1996 and 2002.

Beating Chelsea is a mammoth task facing Gus Poyet’s side, with the league leaders boasting a seven-point advantage at the summit, winning 10 and drawing two of their 12 matches so far.

They have already been compared to Arsenal’s “Invincibles” side of 2003-04, when the Gunners went the whole campaign without suffering defeat.

While Quinn recognises their added strength this season, he still believes there are more twists and turns to come this campaign.

Quinn said: “Sunderland have had some great days against Chelsea over the years and you only have to look at the back end of last season, which proves the point.

“But Chelsea are different this year.

“They have something extra – a lot extra in Diego Costa – who is their stand-out player.

“They are playing a fantastic brand of football this year.

“It is going to be hard to stop them (winning the league) as everything is just going so well for them.

“You look at Manchester City and they hobbled over the line at the weekend and Manchester United have taken a long time to get going.

“A lot of the usual challengers have found it hard going.

“You look at Southampton at this moment in time to keep the gap at seven points, which is incredible.

“Chelsea are going so well and the other four clubs, who you would think would have a chance, just haven’t hit the ground running at all this season.

“But you still feel there is more hope for surprise victories this year.

“Chelsea seem unbreakable but there is something about this year that makes you thing – there are major results still to happen,” added Quinn, who said Mourinho will have reminded his Chelsea side of the April defeat ahead of the weekend.