Name: John O’Shea
Fixtures: Chelsea (A), Man City (A), Liverpool (H)
Second from bottom and two points from safety, Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce would have been worried when he saw his side’s fixtures over the Christmas period.
The Black Cats start with a trip to the champions, Chelsea, which could actually be their best chance of picking up a result based on current form, before they travel to Man City and host Liverpool at the Stadium of Light.
As a result, their key man could be their captain, O’Shea, who will need to use all of his experience to ensure his defence remains solid.