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Sunderland: At a glance

Manager: Paolo Di Canio

Stadium: Stadium of Light

Home & Away*: (A) Sat 5 Oct; (H) Sat 3 May

Last year: 17th

Last time we met: Sunderland 0-1 United, 30 Mar 2013

*Dates/KO times subject to change

13/08/2013 10:57,

Preview 13/14: Sunderland

Will the Italian revolution end in tears or cheers for the Black Cats?

So it’s been a summer of change at the Stadium of Light...

And then some. Nine new signings have been made so far and more look certain to follow as the Black Cats embark on an ambitious recruitment policy spearheaded by the club’s director of football Roberto De Fanti.

Have there been any significant outgoings? Simon Mignolet and loanee Danny Rose were probably the two best performers last season and both have now departed. There has also been talk that established stars like Phil Bardsley, Lee Cattermole and Stephane Sessegnon could also be squeezed out under the new regime.

So, can we expect plenty of fireworks from Paolo Di Canio? Judging by his history and wild celebrations at St James’ Park last term, without doubt. The big fear must be that he still needs to prove himself as a manager at this level and would any exit lead to a return to the drawing board?

There has to be some improvement, surely, on last year? Well, United completed the double over them thanks to Titus Bramble’s own goal on Wearside and they finished just a point above the relegation zone. It’s all a question of how the flood of arrivals gel – hopefully not before the 5 October visit of United, with Sunderland also the Reds' final home opponents in May.

Who's their main man? The jury may be out over a number of new arrivals, but not Emanuele Giaccherini who looks a stellar signing. The Italy international cost around £8.5m from Juventus and should be a key figure.

Any interesting facts or figures? United’s top scorer against the Black Cats in the Premier League era is ‘own goals’ on six, with the lead extended by Bramble’s deflection of Robin van Persie’s shot in March.

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