Paolo Di Canio

Preview: Chelsea v SAFC

by Ashley Houghton

A look ahead to Di Canio's first game at the helm.

Paolo Di Canio will take charge of his first Sunderland game on Sunday as the Black Cats travel to the capital to play Chelsea.

Di Canio has inherited a Sunderland side without a win in eight matches including three defeats in their last three away games.

Rafael Benitez’s Chelsea will provide a stern test for Di Canio’s side; the Blues have won nine of the last ten games between the two sides.

Equally, the hosts haven’t lost back-to-back Premier League games since May 2012, a record they’ll be hoping to maintain after last Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at Southampton.

However, if Di Canio can organise the Black Cats defence he stands a chance as Sunderland have only failed to score once against Chelsea since 2009.

Sunday’s game will be Chelsea’s fourth in nine days after they host Rubin Kazan on Thursday in the Europa League.

A win for Sunderland would move them onto 34 points and as a high as 12th in the Barclays Premier League whilst also strengthening their battle against relegation ten-fold.

Chelsea will also be keen to cement their place in the top four as they are being hotly chased by London rivals Arsenal.

They can also leapfrog Tottenham Hotspur in third place if they defeat the Black Cats and the North Londoners fail to beat Everton.

Frank Lampard has the most league goals for the Blues with 12, one more than Sunderland’s Steven Fletcher who has been ruled out for the remainder of the season with an ankle injury.

Sunday’s clash with be the 116th between the two in all competitions with Chelsea winning 55, Sunderland 39 and 21 draws.


  • Chelsea are unbeaten in five league matches at Stamford Bridge, winning each of the last four.
  • Fernando Torres has scored six times against Sunderland in the Premier League,
  • Paolo Di Canio will become the fifth manager (incl. caretakers) to start his time in a Premier League job with a trip to Stamford Bridge.
  • As a player, Paolo Di Canio scored 66 times in 190 Premier League appearances. Only against Leicester City (6) did the Italian score more goals than against Chelsea (4).
  • Only Manchester United (13) have scored more headed goals than Chelsea this season (12).
  • Sunderland have conceded a league-low four headed goals in the league this season.
  • John Terry scored his 30th league goal last weekend. Sunderland are one of three teams he has scored against three times (along with Charlton and Arsenal).