With Reading on the horizon on Tuesday and that possibly being a little more important than today's clash, Martin O'Neill decreed that Steven Fletcher was not fit to start, but John O'Shea was fit enough to return to the starting lineup following a recent injury.
Connor Wickham is given the nod in attack with the Scotland international out.
Sunderland (4-4-1-1): Simon Mignolet; Phil Bardsley, John O'Shea, Carlos Cuellar, Danny Rose; Adam Johnson, Seb Larsson, Craig Gardner, James McClean; Stephane Sessegnon; Connor Wickham
Substitutes: Keiren Westwood, Fraizer Campbell, Louis Saha, Jack Colback, David Vaughan, Matt Kilgallon, Titus Bramble
Newly appointed Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez hasn't had the best of starts to life at Stamford Bridge and is still in search his first Premier League victory with The Blues.
Chelsea also have the Club World Cup this coming week in Japan, which may have influenced the Spaniard in his team selection as Oriel Romeu was given a rare start in central midfield, while Oscar was relegated to the bench.
John Obi Mikel and John Terry both miss out through suspension and injury.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Petr Cech, Branislav Ivanovic, Ashley Cole, David Luiz, Gary Cahill; Oriel Romeu, Ramires; Juan Mata, Eden Hazard, Victor Moses; Fernando Torres
Substitutes: Ross Turnbull, Frank Lampard, Oscar, Paulo Ferreira, Marko Marin, Ryan Bertrand, Cesar Azpilicueta
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