Last Updated: 07/04/13 4:55pm
The final whistle goes! An important victory for Chelsea, but a tough start to life as Sunderland boss for Paolo Di Canio.
Torres has the chance to feed the overlapping Benayoun, but goes the other way and the pass is too strong for Ramires.
Good to see N'Diaye back on his feet. He heads off briefly but soon will be back on. Cech gathers from Sessegnon's pass after the re-start.
N'Diaye is down and clearly winded, Luiz goes over to offer his apologies. No malice there, purely accidental.
Luiz's clearance hits N'Diaye from a range of about a yard and leaves the powerful Sunderland midfielder on the deck.
Cech fists Johnson's corner away, McClean's scuffed shot is no danger and Luiz completes the clearance.
All of Sunderland's players set up in an offside position, before moving as the free-kick comes in, but Cech gathers with ease.
Wickham is down after being caught in the face by David Luiz's elbow. Very questionable from the Chelsea defender.
Bardsley's cross is only half-cleared by Mikel from Wickham, before Ramires completes the job. Bit of a lack of movement up front from Sunderland there.
Di Canio is urging his side on from the touchline, but the clock is against them now in their battle to get something from this game.
The two men go head-to-head again, but McClean's attempt to go round the outside of his opponent are fruitless.
Luiz gifts the ball to Johnson with a terrible pass. He runs at the Chelsea defence and curls a shot narrowly wide.
Luiz's afternoon could be over as he limps to the sidelines. Gardner has a word on the way off, which is nice to see. John Terry is about to join the fray for Chelsea.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the field, David Luiz is down and looks in some pain with his right boot off. He was injured in a clash with Gardner moments ago.
Chelsea go close to a third as Mata's neat flick finds Oscar in space in the area. His cross is met by the head of Torres but goes just over the bar.
Having taken the lead, Chelsea are now very happy to be patient with the ball in defence, waiting for Sunderland to come out and put them under pressure.
Rose goes into the book for a late challenge on Hazard which leaves the Chelsea man in a heap on the turf.
More danger from Chelsea as Mata wriggles free in the box before his low shot is deflected behind before Oscar drives a powerful effort following the corner narrowly wide and into the side-netting.
Di Canio and Benitez are both on their feet in the technical area, as they have been for much of the game, with the former now having it all to do if his side are to take anything from this game.
The corner is headed away to Luiz outside the box and he drives it back in with Ivanovic deflecting the ball beyond the unfortunate Mignolet. Big challenge for Sunderland now.
Hazard plays a one-two with Oscar but N'Diaye stands firm in the area as the Chelsea man looks to wriggle away.
What an impact from Torres. There may have been a huge slice of luck for the goal, but his driving run had Sunderland back-pedalling immediately.
Torres makes an immediate impact as he drives towards the Sunderland box and feeds Oscar. His first touch allows Mignolet to save, but the ball deflects off Kilgallon and rolls agonisingly home.
Chelsea make a change with Demba Ba making way and Fernando Torres joining the fray, complete with mask.
The two teams head back out for the second half. It's going to be a big 45 minutes for both Chelsea and Sunderland.
Score update from White Hart Lane which will be of interest to Chelsea fans, where it has finished Tottenham 2 Everton 2.
Sunderland have looked generally solid at the back and have arguably had the better chances, with Sessegnon and Johnson both going close before the own goal. Simon Mignolet has not truly been tested by the home side.
Referee Swarbrick brings the half to a close. Cesar Azpilicueta's own goal is the difference between the two sides.
Good play from Wickham as he tries to take on Luiz only to see his shot deflected behind for a corner.
Bertrand has time and space to pick a cross after Bardsley slips, but he finds only the head of O'Shea.
Wickham wins a free-kick from Luiz in his own half, but then loses the resulting aerial battle with Ivanovic. Rose is back on and OK to continue.
Rose requires some treatment on the pitch, while Wickham gets some words of wisdom from Di Canio during the break in play.
Mata's whipped ball is headed away by Sunderland and the visitors clear, before play is stopped with Rose, Gardner and Luiz briefly down after a clash in the area.
Stunning long-range pass from David Luiz goes fully 50 yards to find Juan Mata down the right. He cuts back and looks for support but Sunderland are able to clear.
David Luiz whips a low ball into the box which Ba flicks up before attempting an over-head kick which goes well wide.
Promising play from Sunderland with N'Diaye getting forward. Johnson then has a chance to either shoot or cross. He elects to do the latter but only finds a blue shirt. Poor.
Ba jogs back on, although he is moving gingerly, just as Bertrand's cross is headed goalwards by Ramires, but straight at Mignolet.
Nasty challenge from Gardner there as he lunged in with his foot coming off the top of the ball and connecting high up on Ba's leg. Benitez shakes his head on the touchline.
Good play by Wickham as he releases Sessegnon, but the Sunderland forward is blocked on the edge of the Chelsea box.
A Chelsea free-kick is flighted into the box towards Ivanovic but his header goes up and over the bar.
Nice play between Oscar and Hazard on the edge of the Sunderland box but the visiting defence holds firm
Sunderland immediately launch a counter-attack with Sessegnon finding Johnson in space on the right of the Chelsea box. He looks to curl one beyond Cech into the top corner but connects with Luiz's face. Two key moments in the match in the space of 60 seconds.
Luiz's free-kick is half blocked by the wall, it breaks to Ba but Kilgallon makes two superb blocks on the Chelsea man.
Free-kick to Chelsea in a dangerous central position about 25 yards out after Gardner brings down Ramires.
Chelsea appeal for a penalty after Kilgallon's arm is raised as he challenges Ba in the air for Hazard's cross. Swarbrick gives a corner which comes to nothing.
Great play from Sessegnon as he gets away from Luiz before out-muscling Bertrand in the box. Referee Swarbrick sees a foul on the Blues player, though.
Luiz's long ball forward is flicked on by Ba towards Mata, but the flag goes up with the winger well offside.
Mata looks to thread a pass through to Bertrand, but O'Shea is there to block the full-back, who has been very keen to get forward.
Decent spell of pressure from Sunderland looks to have ended as Sessegnon is challenged by Ivanovic. The ball is regained by the visitors and Wickham tries a shot from outside the box but it lacks power and accuracy and rolls wide of Cech's post.
Oscar runs at the Sunderland defence and gets a slice of luck as the ball deflects back to him off Gardner before he lashes over the bar from range.
Johnson clears for Sunderland after more Chelsea pressure, but Wickham's first touch is poor and he gives it away cheaply.
Good judgement from O'Shea as he allows Azpilicueta's ball towards Ba to go beyond him and out for a goalkick.
Miserable touch from Mikel puts the ball out and Sunderland now have the chance to clear their lines.
Johnson's cross is headed away by Ivanovic. The ball comes back in and Sessegnon has a great shooting chance but blasts into the side-netting with Wickham waiting for a pull-back on the six-yard box.
David Luiz releases Bertrand down the left with O'Shea heading clear after the full-back's cross into the box.
Paolo Di Canio, sporting a fetching jumper under his suit jacket, emerges from the tunnel and takes his place on the bench. He waves to the visiting supporters and then briefly embraces John Terry.
After their eye-catching kit launch the other day, when the entire first-team squad was covered in blue paint, Chelsea have safely opted for the more traditional look today.
Toby Day writes: "Supporting Chelsea today with a prediction of 3-0 or 4-0! With Demba Ba starting with Mata, Hazard, Ramires, Oscar and Obi behind him, I think we'll do well!"
The players head for the sanctuary of the dressing rooms for some final words of wisdowm with kick-off rapidly approaching.
The two teams are currently out on the pitch at Stamford Bridge going through their warm-up routines. It's a decent day in West London and the surface looks in good enough condition despite having already had two matches on it this week.
Usman Abdulqadir says: "In a way, Benitez's line-up represents the future of Chelsea. The attacking intent is obvious. Also, the midfield anchor of Mikel and Ramires worked quite well in the past. So, I'll be bullish and go for a 4-0 home win. COYB."
John Spalding writes: "Optimistic today and hoping Sunderland get a vital 1-0 win via a Wickham goal and a strong performance from our defence!"
Chelsea fan Tim Sheehan from Ireland is unimpressed with Benitez's team selection and writes: "Has Rafa got a personal vendetta against John Terry, or is he just plain stupid that he can't see that JT is still the best centre-half in the Premier League."
Iain writes: "Can only see a Chelsea win today. Final score 4-1 to the Blues with Mata getting three and Ba one. Wickham will get Sunderland's one."
Sunderland fan Liam from South Shields has been in touch. He's put plenty of thought into this one, saying: "In Demba Ba's last two games v Sunderland he's missed a penalty and scored an own goal. Red card, anybody? In O'Neill's first game for Sunderland he brought on James McClean and got us the win, because of that. Mandron and Laidler could be Di Canio's McClean. I'll say 2-2. Demba Ba OG and Wickham for Sunderland. Hazard and Lampard for Chelsea. Demba Ba will also miss a penalty and get sent off."
Opta stat No.5: Chelsea are unbeaten in five league matches at Stamford Bridge, winning each of the last four. Sunderland have won none of their last eight Premier League matches (D3 L5).
Opta stat No.4: The Black Cats have picked up one point from the three games they have played without Steven Fletcher this season (D1 L2). Without Fletcher's goals, Sunderland would be rock bottom of the Premier League table with just 21 points from their 31 games.
Opta stat No.3: Paolo Di Canio will become the fifth manager (including caretakers) to start his time in a Premier League job with a trip to Stamford Bridge. None of the previous four have managed to win (D1 L3).
Opta stat No.2: Fernando Torres (who starts on the bench today) has scored six times against Sunderland in the Premier League, including a double in the last meeting between the two. They are his joint favourite opponents (along with West Ham).
Opta stat No.1: Chelsea have won 15 of their last 16 Premier League clashes with Sunderland, losing the other. The Black Cats' only victory over Chelsea in the league since the end of March 2001 came at Stamford Bridge when they won 3-0 in November 2010.
Time for a couple of stats from our friends at Opta prior to kick-off. Sunderland fans may want to look away now...
So, what do you make of the Chelsea and Sunderland teams? I would say it's difficult to argue with Benitez making five changes given their schedule, while Di Canio's selection of Wickham over Graham is the main talking point from a Sunderland point of view.
Mundoo Adam Halym, from the Maldives, no less, writes: "I think today's match is an acid test for Chelsea. If they want beat Sunderland, Rafa must use Hazard very freely."
Luke Burgess writes: "Going for a 3-1 win to the Blues with Mata getting one and Hazard and Ba grabbing one each. Connor Wickham for Sunderland."
Sunderland fan Jamie Cogle from Kent is first in touch to say: "Very excited for Di Canio's first game. I have a good feeling about this, but I won't hold my breath. Viva Di Canio!"
Chelsea: Cech, Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, David Luiz, Bertrand; Ramires, Mikel; Oscar, Mata, Hazard; Ba. Subs: Turnbull, Ferreira, Terry, Lampard, Marin, Benayoun, Torres.
Sunderland: Mignolet, Bardsley, Rose, O'Shea, Kilgallon, N'Diaye, Gardner, Larsson, Johnson, Sessegnon, Wickham. Subs: Westwood, Graham, Colback, McClean, Mangane, Mandron, Laidler.
Paolo Di Canio has named Connor Wickham and Matt Kilgallon in his first starting XI. Full team news to follow shortly...
The team news should be with you around 2pm, with there likely to be significant changes to both starting XIs as Benitez rotates his Chelsea squad to cope with their demanding fixture list and Di Canio looks to make his mark on Sunderland.
Sunderland, meanwhile, have had over a week to lick their wounds following the 1-0 home defeat by Manchester United which ended O'Neill's tenure at the helm, but are on a miserable run of form, with five defeats and three draws in their last eight games.
Today's clash is Chelsea's fourth in the space of nine days, with their Premier League defeat at Southampton followed by home victories over Manchester United and Rubin Kazan in the FA Cup and Europa League respectively.
Our friends at Sky Bet have a host of markets available on today's game, with Chelsea very short favourites at 2/7, the draw on offer at 9/2 and Sunderland currently 9/1. An outsider romped the Grand National yesterday, so you never know....
If you want to have your say on today's clash, Sunderland's appointment of Paolo Di Canio, Chelsea's battle for silverware and a top-four finish or any other pressing matters (preferably relating to football) then drop me a line to firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @skysportsrobp and I shall publish a selection of the best prior to kick-off.
Chelsea supporters are likely to have one ear on events at White Hart Lane as top-four rivals Everton tackle Tottenham, with that match kicking off at 2.05pm.
The stakes are arguably higher at the other end of the Premier League table, with Sunderland just one point above the bottom three. Di Canio's men could find themselves in the drop zone by 6pm if they fail to win today and Wigan triumph in their crucial showdown against QPR at Loftus Road.
Chelsea counterpart Rafa Benitez continues to attract the ire of many Blues supporters, but they remain in contention for silverware on two fronts in the FA Cup and Europa League, while victory today would lift them back into the top four of the Premier League.
The departure of Martin O'Neill and subsequent appointment of Paolo Di Canio generated significantly more column inches that the Black Cats would have liked, and all eyes will be on the Italian today.