Di Canio was a surprise appointment as Head Coach of the Black Cats following the sacking of Martin O’Neill, with the Italian now heading to Stamford Bridge with his team in the hope that they stay away from the bottom three places of the table.
Earlier in the afternoon, Liverpool will look to finish the season strongly when they face West Ham United, while Newcastle United have little time to recover from Thursday’s 3-1 defeat to Benfica when they entertain a Fulham side who recently beat QPR.
Liverpool v West Ham 13:30
Quite whether Brendan Rodgers wants another Europa League campaign next season is anyone’s guess, although the Liverpool manager will be aiming to finish as high up the table as possible and that looks like resulting in fifth or sixth place.
The Reds have been in decent form recently and should prove too strong for West Ham on Sunday, even if a best price of 4/11 (bet365) looks a touch prohibitive considering the Merseyside club have won just over half of their games at Anfield.
Liverpool have five wins in their last six matches and they produced a slick performance to win 2-1 at Aston Villa last weekend, with Rodgers starting to assemble a strong squad which means that Martin Skrtel, Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge are struggling to get into the first team.
The performances of Philippe Coutinho have been eye-catching since the Brazilian arrived from Internazionale and Ladbrokes go 7/1 about the midfielder scoring the first of this game, while fellow south American Luis Suarez is predictably short in this market at odds of 3/1.
West Ham have lost more away games in the Premier League than any team bar Reading, having been beaten ten times although they have claimed three important victories which means they are likely to avoid the drop this term.
However, the Hammers are only six points clear of the drop zone and will set their stall to try and earn a point at Anfield, with bet365 going 9/2 that this match ends all square, while an away win can be backed at odds of 8/1 with the same firm.
Chelsea v Sunderland 15:00
Paolo Di Canio enjoyed some fine moments at Stamford Bridge as a West Ham player and the Italian will be hoping to make a winning start on his managerial bow with Sunderland, with the Black Cats having seven matches to save their Premier League skin.
It is clear that club owner Ellis Short recruited the former Swindon manager on account of his motivational skills, although there is a world of difference between steering a club to League Two success and keeping a famous club in the top flight.
Sunderland are a 10/1 chance to claim a famous win under their new Head Coach and they will be up against a team who have played a lot of games recently, with Chelsea having lost at Southampton before beating Manchester United in the FA Cup and then Rubin Kazan in the Europa League.
Even so, the Blues currently sit outside the top four places after Arsenal’s win at West Brom and Rafael Benitez will be well aware that victory is paramount in this match after slipping up at St Mary’s last weekend.
Eden Hazard, Oscar and Branislav Ivanovic were among the players rested from Thursday’s match, while Juan Mata was withdrawn before the end of the match. There is also every chance that Demba Ba will start in attack and he’s a 4/1 poke (Coral) to score the first of this contest.
Chelsea are no bigger than 4/11 (Paddy Power) to claim victory and will be a popular accumulator selection against a team that are not enjoying a good run of form. The visitors are without top scorer Steven Fletcher for the rest of the season.
Newcastle v Fulham 15:00
The fixture list has recently been kind to the Cottagers in the sense that they recently went to White Hart Lane after Tottenham had played a tough Europa League game and the same thing happens this Sunday.
Newcastle were in Portugal on Thursday night and took the lead against Benfica before losing the match 3-1, with Alan Pardew now concentrating the players’ minds on an important top flight match which could have a large bearing on whether they stay in the top flight.
Just three points separate the Magpies and the drop zone, although the bookies make the north-east side firm favourites at 11/10 (Paddy Power) to claim victory, with Newcastle boasting particularly strong recent home form which has seen them beat Anzhi, Stoke, Southampton and Chelsea.
Papiss Cisse has been getting among the goals recently and Sky Bet go 5/1 about the Senegal striker scoring the first goal, although United might be feeling a touch jaded after their trip to Benfica, with Fulham out to finish the season strongly.
The Cottagers are unbeaten in their last five matches, having drawn at Norwich and Sunderland as part of that run before landing a 1-0 victory at Tottenham. Bet365 have 3/1 about an away win on Sunday and that man Dimitar Berbatov could be the player to back at 15/2.