Revealed: The statistics that show why Sunderland do not fear the champions
Sunderland take on the Premier League champions tomorrow - but how have they fared in previous seasons against the title winners?
The Black Cats’ first season in the Premier League was in 1996/97 and they claimed the scalp of the ’96 champions Manchester United.
The game at Old Trafford brought a 5-0 defeat, but in front of 22,225 fans at Roker Park in March, 1997, Sunderland sealed a memorable 2-1 win.
Michael Gray and John Mullin scored for the home side and although an Andy Melville own goal gave Alex Ferguson’s Red Devils hope, they could not find an equaliser.
Here’s how the teams lined up.
Sunderland: Perez, Hall, Kubicki, Bracewell (Williams 84), Ord, Melville, Gray, Ball, Mullin, Bridges (Russell 74), Kelly. Subs not used: Preece, Howey, Eriksson.
Man Utd: Schmeichel, G Neville, Irwin, P Neville, May, Johnsen, Beckham, Poborsky (Solskjaer 57), Cantona, McClair, Cruyff (Cole 57). Subs not used: Van der Guow, Casper, Giggs.
Following seasons in the Premier League brought little success.
In 1999/2000 Sunderland drew 2-2 with champions United at home but lost 4-0 at Old Trafford.
A season later brought a 3-0 loss at Old Trafford and a 1-0 defeat back on Wearside.
United were also the reigning champions in the 2001/2 season and recorded a 4-1 win against Sunderland at Old Trafford and 3-1 at the Stadium of Light.
Arsenal won the title that season, and the following campaign they had two wins against Sunderland - 3-1 at home and 4-0 at the SoL.
Sunderland’s next season in the Premier League was in the 2005-6 season when Chelsea were the reigning champions. The Blues won 2-0 at Stamford Bridge and 2-1 in the North East.
Seasons 2007-8, 2008-9 and 2009-10 all saw Manchester United as the reigning champions.
There were defeats all the way for Sunderland, except for claiming a 2-2 draw at Old Trafford in 2009 when only an Anton Ferdinand own goal in the last minute denied them the three points. Darren Bent and Kenwyne Jones had scored for Sunderland.
The 2010-11 season finally saw Sunderland beat a reigning champion again - and what a win it was, Steve Bruce’s Black Cats beating Carlo Ancelotti’s Blues 3-0 at Stamford Bridge.
Sunderland’s goals came from Nedum Onuoha, Asamoah Gyan and Danny Welbeck. There was also that dance from Bolo Zenden!
Here’s how Sunderland lined up: Gordon, Onuoha, Bardsley, Cattermole (Riveros 90), Turner, Bramble, Richardson, Henderson, Gyan (Malbranque 83), Welbeck (Elmohamady 90), Zenden.
The Chelsea line-up included a young Patrick van Aanholt on the bench.
Sunderland’s next win against reigning champions came in the 2012/13 season when they beat Manchester City at the Stadium of Light, an Adam Johnson shot beating Joe Hart to seal the points.
Sunderland: Mignolet, Gardner, Rose (Bardsley 88), Colback, Cuellar, Kilgallon, Johnson, Larsson (Campbell 78), Fletcher, Sessegnon, McClean, Subs not used: Westwood, Bramble, Vaughan, McFadden, Wickham.
The following season brought another win against the reigning champions, winning 1-0 at Manchester United, with Seb Larsson sweeping home the winning goal against a side managed by Ryan Giggs after the sacking of David Moyes.
The win was part of Gus Poyet’s Great Escape.
Sunderland: Mannone, Vergini, Alonso, Cattermole, O’Shea, Brown, Johnson (Giaccherini 58), Larsson (Bridcutt 74), Wickham (Altidore 65), Colback, Borini. Subs not used: Ustari, Bardsley, Scocco, Ba.
Sunderland’s good recent record against the reigning champions continued last season when Sam Allardyce’s team won a cracker 3-2 against Chelsea at the Stadium of Light as part of his Great Escape.
Diego Costa gave the Blues the lead before Wahbi Khazri rifled home a wonderful volley to level.
Matic had Guus Hiddink’s Chelsea ahead again but goals from Fabio Borini and Jermain Defoe completed one of the Stadium of Light’s greatest days.