Only in seven games' time will supporters know whether Di Canio's training ground regime already leaving Sunderland's players short of breath can be adequately transferred to the Premier League.
may prove to be an inspired choice by Ellis Short though.
But how priceless a single point or, in a dreamworld, three would be for Sunderland's survival bid.
Benitez will rotate his side, Omega Seamaster Nzl-32 Chronograph
The appointment of the former West Ham frontman will certainly have proved a shock to the system at the Academy of Light.
The hosts won't know what to expect from Di Canio's side and will certainly harbour more reservations than if O'Neill was bringing his faltering team to town.
Chris Young's Sunderland Verdict
With Steven Fletcher, Lee Cattermole and Carlos Cuellar ruled out, and David Vaughan still a Omega Watch Men major doubt, Di Canio's options are limited.
Paolo Di Canio won't contain himself if there is a sniff of glory for Sunderland this weekend.
Wigan's clash at QPR an hour later on Sunday at least ensures Sunderland will still be outside the bottom three by the time they kick off against Chelsea.
Di Canio Omega Watches Images
But what chance of Di Canio marking his bow in the Premier League dug out with an addition to Sunderland's precarious points tally?
But fatigue will inevitably be a factor on Sunday as they face their fourth game in nine days.
If Sunderland claim anything, or even score, in West London on Sunday, he will have a successor.
Despite his feats at Swindon though, Di Canio is an unknown quantity.
But the opportunities for Di Canio to rip up O'Neill's blueprint and start again are minimal with the paltry numbers available to him.
Sunderland's players have been sleepwalking towards the relegation zone for weeks, rather than gritting their teeth and scrambling towards the 40 point mark.
For a character who wears his heart so emphatically on his sleeve, the Italian will inevitably race away to the Black Cats contingent housed in the Shed End to celebrate with his arms aloft.
with ex Newcastle United frontman Demba Ba almost certain to be included after being cup tied for last night's Europa League tie against Rubin Kazan.
As Southampton highlighted last weekend too, Chelsea can be vulnerable when their opponents go for the jugular.
goals three of which have been penalties from the last eight games continues.
They needed someone to "kick some bottom" as Di Canio put it this week.
Connor Wickham in the starting XI? Danny Rose on the left wing? A first sight of Kader Mangane?
He is about as polar opposite to Martin O'Neill as they come.
The only certain aspect is that Di Canio won't put 11 men behind the ball. He has instantly grasped the obvious that Sunderland won't survive if their meagre return of six Omega Speedmaster Co-axial Chronograph Price
Rafa Benitez's Champions League chasing side are a different prospect at Stamford Bridge, where they have won their last four league outings and secured a confidence boosting victory over Manchester United in Monday's FA Cup quarter final replay.
Di Canio's talk of playing a 4 2 4 may seem kamikaze, but there is an element of Sunderland needing to go for broke in the final third.
Given the roller coaster of the last week though, it would almost be a surprise if Di Canio didn't spring a surprise in his starting XI.
Sunderland are entering uncertain waters, where the 44 year old's stewardship could be an unqualified success or an unmitigated disaster.
Yet if there is such a thing, this is an auspicious time to visit Chelsea.
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