Sunderland endured a day to forget in South Wales as Swansea City cruised to three points at the Liberty Stadium.
The Black Cats were bright in patches but they never really got going, with a Gylfi Sigurdsson penalty opening the scoring following the interval after Jason Denayer was penalised for handball.
And when it rains, it pours.
Within two minutes the Swans doubled their lead as Fernando Llorente’s angled finish nestled into the net, with the Spaniard grabbing his second from close range late following an elusive run from Jefferson Montero.
It was a frustrating afternoon for David Moyes and his side but there will be no time to dwell, with Antonio Conte’s high-flying Chelsea in town on Wednesday evening.
Sunderland have made one change to the side that swept aside champions Leicester City last weekend, with Seb Larsson coming into the starting XI at Swansea City.
Duncan Watmore – ruled out for the season – missed out, as Fabio Borini returned to the squad for the first time since August.
The opening ten minutes was fractious and tense as both sides attempted to assert their dominance on the game, but it was Swansea who were first to test their counterparts as Modou Barrow’s mazy run set alarm bells ringing.
Papy Djilobdoji was the man to clear the danger and Sunderland soon settled into their groove, with Anichebe’s effort deflected wide before Lamine Kone’s header was blocked.
World Cup winner Llorente was next to try his luck but his header looped well-wide, with a number of meaty challenges setting the tone at a sodden Liberty Stadium.
Barrow was first up with his thumping challenge sending Anichebe into orbit, but the first yellow card came just before the 20-minute mark as Didier Ndong crashed into Jay Fulton.
A moment of pure class followed as Jordan Pickford’s trademark ‘sidewinder’ sent Anichebe and Defoe into opposition territory, but after wriggling clear the latter’s effort whistled over the top.
It was the first real opening of the game and it settled down the previously rapturous home support, with the next big chance falling to Jones who could and should have pulled the trigger from close range after being fed by Anichebe.
Instead, the flying full-back attempted to find Defoe who was quickly crowded out as Swansea cleared.
It opened the door for the home side who mustered their best chance of the opening period moments later, but it went to waste as Alfie Mawson headed over from six yards following a sublime delivery from Sigurdsson.
Swansea remained on top and enjoyed their best spell of the game, but a fine intervention from Kone to deny the lurking Llorente ensured parity remained at the break.
Moyes’ side made a bright start to the second period but when Defoe fired wide they were swiftly made to rue a key opening.
Denayer was the offender, raising his arms to block Wayne Routledge’s cross, and the linesman instantly signalled for a penalty which was converted by Sigurdsson.
Moments later it could have been 2-0 as Pickford produced a majestic save to deny Barrow, but within seconds Sunderland had a mountain to climb as they switched off and Swansea made them pay.
A low corner was rolled into the near post and the Black Cats failed to react, with Llorente quickest to react as he rolled the ball into the corner.
The Spaniard could have made it three before the hour mark when Sigurdsson’s wicked ball towards the back post was diverted back across goal by Barrow, but he was unable to connect and a glimmer of hope remained with 30 minutes to play.
However, it was Swansea who remained in the driving seat with Pickford producing further heroics to deny Amat from point-blank range.
But on 80 minutes he was powerless to prevent a third as Llorente wrapped up the points, the former Juventus man planting a free header into the corner after a fine run from Montero.
Sunderland rallied but Fabianski produced a stunning save when it mattered to tip Djilobodji’s effort onto the crossbar.
And that proved to be that as a disappointing afternoon came to a close, with Sunderland swiftly turning their focus to Wednesday’s clash against title-chasing Chelsea.
Swansea City: Fabianski, Amat, Taylor, Mawson, Britton, Llorente (McBurnie 84), Routledge, Barrow (Montero 76), Rangel, Sigurdsson, Fulton.
Substitutes: Nordfelt, van der Hoorn, Fer, Cork, Naughton.
Sunderland: Pickford, Jones, Djilobodji, Kone, van Aanholt, Denayer, Ndong (Kirchhoff 59), Larsson (Januzaj 56), Pienaar (Manquillo 85), Anichebe, Defoe.
Substitutes: Mannone, O’Shea, Khazri, Borini.