By FOX SPORTS staff
The visitors looked like they might succeed in pulling off an upset when Cesar Azpilicueta sent John O'Shea's headed attempt past Petr Cech just before half-time, before a spirited Fernando Torres led Chelsea's fight-back after coming on during the second period.
A surging run from the Spaniard resulted in him picking out Oscar near the edge of the penalty area and the former Internacional man's mishit came off Matthew Kilgallon for the second own goal of the night. The win was then sealed midway through the second period when Branislav Ivanovic deflected David Luiz's attempt past Simon Mignolet.
Petr Cech - 6.0
Although there were instances in the first half where Stephane Sessegnon and Connor Wickham broke toward him at speed, Cech spent the game largely untroubled. The Sunderland attackers rarely put together moves that resulted in shots on goal, so the Blues custodian hardly broke a sweat in this one.
Cesar Azpilicueta - 6.0
The former Marseille man seemed to have two left feet in the run-up to O'Shea's goal and should have done better in his attempt to clear away the danger. Nevertheles, his error is likely to be forgotten given that Chelsea picked up three points.
Branislav Ivanovic - 7.0
Sticking his task of nullifying any threat Wickham would have caused to Cech's goal, Ivanovic turned in a fine display in front of the team's fans. He would very likely have gotten a pat on the back from Rafa Benitez regardless of whether he had scored the team's winner.
David Luiz - 7.5
It would have been tough for anyone in the Chelsea defence to outshine Ivanovic, but Luiz did just that. The Brazilian was alert to the movements of Sessegnon and often served as the base from which Chelsea started their attacks, thanks to his characteristic surges upfield.
Ryan Bertrand - 7.0
With the Sunderland attackers hardly troubling him in this one, Bertrand kept himself busy by helping out in attack. Making himself available down the left flank, the Englishman linked up with Eden Hazard and Juan Mata to overpower the right side of the Black Cats defence.
Ramires - 6.0
There were very few box-to-box runs from Ramires in this one, as the Brazilian turned in a quiet display. Leaving the attacking to Hazard, Mata and Oscar, Ramires stuck to his position alongside Mikel in front of the defence to frustrate the Sunderland attackers.
Mikel - 7.0
The Nigerian was a picture of discipline and hard work in this one, coming out on top in the midfield battle with Alfred N'Diaye. Dispossessing anyone that crossed his path and uncharacteristically leading Chelsea counter-attacks during rare instances in the second period, Mikel was one of Chelsea's standout performers in this game.
Oscar - 6.0
Struggling to get into the game for most of the first period, Oscar put himself in the right place to collect Torres' cross during the opening exchange of the second half and was lucky that the deflection off Kilgallon fooled Mignolet. The midfielder got into the flow of things after Chelsea fought back, but he has yet to replicate his sparkling European form.
Juan Mata - 5.5
It was a similar story for Mata, as Chelsea's star playmaker seemed to lack an inventive touch for the first 45 minutes of the game. Although the Spaniard livened up in the second half, it was still a lacklustre display by his standards.
Eden Hazard - 5.5
The Belgian barely touched the ball in this game, with Bertrand sending in more crosses from his flank. Struggling to get the better of his marker, Hazard's best contribution to the game was the series of fouls he won for Chelsea in the second period.
Demba Ba (on 45') - 6.0
There were no clear-cut chances for the former Newcastle man in this one, before his game was tragically cut short by injury.
Fernando Torres (on 45') - 6.5
Some sections of the Chelsea support might not have been too pleased to see Torres come on for Ba, but the Spaniard proved his worth by instantly having a hand in his team's equalizer.
Yossi Benayoun (on 85') - 6.0
Frank Lampard (on 89') - 6.0
Simon Mignolet - 6.0
The Belgian could do very little about the goals he let in during this game, as both of them came under strange circumstances. Definitely the busier of the two goalkeepers in the second period, Mignolet would no doubt be thanking his lucky stars that he did not end up conceding more.
Phil Bardsley - 6.0
Demonstrating willingness and bravery during his runs up the flank, Bardsley took part in several Sunderland attacks. However, his wayward crossing often meant that he wasted the hard work of his team-mates in bringing the ball upfield.
Danny Rose - 6.5
The Englishman achieved a good balance of attack and defence in this game, driving up the field to release through balls and coming back in time to slow down Mata-led counter attacks. Rose's alert performance ensured that his direct opponent would have to fight tooth and nail to use his flank as a base to launch an attack.
John O'Shea - 6.5
Sunderland's goal would never have come to pass had it not been for O'Shea's determined leap to meet Adam Johnson's corner. The former Manchester Unite player was also a picture of composure in the heart of defence, despite coming up against some of the Premier League's most talented attackers.
Matthew Kilgallon - 6.5
Alongside O'Shea, Kilgallon can also assure himself of a place in Di Canio's good books after this performance. He was hardly ever caught out of position and should count himself unlucky to have been credited with an own-goal while trying to halt Oscar's attempt.
Alfred N'Diaye -6.0
As Sunderland's midfield enforcer, N'Diaye was always going to find himself up against it in the game against the Blues. The Frenchman did the best he could to protect his defenders, although his efforts seemed to fade as the second half wore on.
Craig Gardner (off 82') - 5.5
There was plenty of energy and desire on show from Gardner that unfortunately amounted to nothing for the Black Cats. The midfielder was also lucky to have finished the game with just a yellow card after some bone-crunching tackles on the Chelsea attackers.
Sebastian Larsson (off 71') - 5.0
As one of the more inventive players in the Sunderland line-up, Larsson was somewhat disappointing in this game. Playing tidy yet simple passes, the Swede seemed clueless at times as to how to get the better of the Blues defence.
Adam Johnson - 6.0
The former Manchester City man was full of tireless running, keeping Bertrand guessing as to whether he would cut in or send in a cross. However, Johnson remains in need of a lesson in decision-making as he often played the wrong sort of passes during crucial junctures.
Stephane Sessegnon - 6.0
Easily Sunderland's brightest spark in the first half, Sessegnon became nothing more than a bystander in the second period. The former Paris Saint-Germain player was also guilty of trying to do too much on his own.
Connor Wickham - 5.5
The young Englishman looked uncomfortable in his position as the lone man upfront, with his poor first touch often signalling the end of any chance of a Sunderland opening. Like Sessegnon, Wickham was also guilty of turning in an anonymous second half.
James McClean (on 71') - 6.0
Running with intent and energy the moment he came on, McClean managed to cause Azpilicueta some problems down the left flank, but was not able to alter Sunderland's fortunes in this game.
Jack Colback (on 82') - 6.0