Gus Poyet made changes and indeed one baffling decision as he selected his side to play Chelsea this evening.
Good news came in that John O'Shea was fit enough to start and take the captaincy, while Jack Colback also returned to the starting lineup.
Somewhat confusingly though Craig Gardner keeps his place in the team at the expense of Seb Larsson, while a change is made in attack with Jozy Altidore coming in for Steven Fletcher.
Sunderland (4-3-3): Vito Mannone, Phil Bardsley, Andrea Dossena, John O'Shea, Wes Brown, Ki Sung-Yeung, Jack Colback, Craig Gardner, Emanuele Giaccherini, Fabio Borini, Jozy Altidore
Substitutes: Jordan Pickford, Valentin Roberge, Ondrej Celustka, Lee Cattermole, Steven Fletcher, Seb Larsson, Adam Johnson
Meanwhile Jose Mourinho also made changes from the weekend, although perhaps not as many as expected given the squad at his disposal.
There were returns to the lineup for Frank Lampard and Willian at the expense of Michael Essien and Oscar, while players such as Samuel Eto'o remain at home.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Petr Cech, Cesar Azpilicueta, John Terry, Gary Cahill, Branislav Ivanovic, Frank Lampard, Ramires, Willian, Juan Mata, Eden Hazard, Fernando Torres
Substitutes: Mark Schwarzer, Ashley Cole, Kevin De Bruyne, Demba Ba, Michael Essien, John Obi Mikel, Andre Schurrle