Paolo di Canio
Di Canio inspired Sunderland to survival last season but more will be expected this term.

Last season

Premier League: 17th

FA Cup: Third Round

League Cup: Fourth Round

Top scorer: Steven Fletcher (11)

Summer work

After recruiting former Inter Milan scout Valentino Angeloni, it has come as no surprise that Sunderland's most significant additions this summer have come from Italy. Modibo Diakite and Emanuele Giaccherini will likely prove useful while Jozy Altidore, albeit overpriced at £8.8m, will lend muscle to the attack. The loss of Simon Mignolet, who kept 11 clean sheets last season, could however prove vital to a Black Cats side who, for all their problems, were reliable at the back last time out.

Manager - Paolo di Canio

If the headlines upon his appointment in March regarded his political persuasion, by the end of the season the destruction of Newcastle United at St James' Park and Di Canio's uncompromising management style were undeniably the talking points. Over 20 players have come and gone at the Stadium of Light this summer as the Italian attempts to put his spin on operations in the north east. His reputation for flamboyance as a player is accompanying his managerial career.

Key Player - Stephane Sessegnon

There's a reason why rumours regarding a move to Arsenal have drifted into the distance. After the Benin international enjoyed a decent first full season in the Premier League, the 2012/13 campaign saw him plateau. Seven goals in 34 appearances was below the standard expected despite Sessegnon being handed a free role behind Steven Fletcher. A dramatic improvement will be expected this term or he could join the Di Canio scrapheap.


After having free reign in the transfer window, Di Canio is under pressure to convert such influence into an improvement on the pitch. Despite the impressive additions, those supporters expecting a rapid overhaul in results might be disappointed, with the integration of new faces a substantial task for Di Canio in the early weeks of the season.


After a flirtation with relegation the top half is too ambitious. 14th