There will be no great escape at season's end this time by Sunderland. That's because they're already safe.
Instead, today's season finale against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge will be the formal coronation of the champion Blues, with Jose Mourinho lifting the Premier League trophy for the third time with the London club, Score Mobile FC reports.
The Black Cats fittingly secured their top-flight status for next season with a draw, as Monday's scoreless deadlock at The Emirates versus Arsenal put them on 38 points – four clear of 18th-place Hull City. The result moved Dutch coaching vagabond Dick Advocaat, whose previous club stops included titles with PSV Eindhoven, Zenit St. Petersburg and Rangers, to tears on the touchline.
''Nobody was expecting we would do it and the team did it together,'' said Advocaat, who guided Sunderland to three wins and three draws in eight matches since taking over. ''It is an unbelievable moment staying up. The most important thing is the players started believing they could do something.''
While it is unknown if the 67-year-old Advocaat will stay on beyond Sunday's final whistle – he promised an answer next week – the Black Cats will be a loose, care-free group as they try to deal Mourinho only his second home loss in 95 league matches while in charge of Chelsea.
"It's a happy day because we needed a good result which we got tonight and we are very happy," goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon told Sunderland's official website. "It has been a tough few weeks but we are happy now and we can enjoy it together."
Sunderland, of course, is the only team to beat Mourinho in league play in London – a 2-1 victory April 19, 2014, on a penalty kick by Fabio Borini in the 82nd minute as part of their late-season charge to avoid the drop. The Blues have gone 14-5-0 at Stamford Bridge since that defeat, and claiming 46 of a possible 54 home points this season went a long way towards their first Premier League title since 2010.
Accordingly, Chelsea may have finally exhaled playing a non-elite opponent Monday and were overrun 3-0 at The Hawthorns by West Bromwich Albion – yielding two goals after being reduced to 10 men following a red card to Cesc Fabregas. The defeat snapped a 16-match unbeaten streak (11-5-0) in league play and their first since a 5-3 loss at Spurs on New Year's Day.
Mourinho seemed non-plussed by the result, noting: "When you play since August in the top of your motivation, concentration, commitment, feeling every three days the pressure to win and get the result, and then you are champions, you breathe and everything changes. It's difficult to play at that level."
Fabregas will miss this match due to his sending off, but it will be the only match he misses after the club successfully appealed the original three-match ban as excessive.
Chelsea have not gone winless in three straight matches versus Sunderland since a four-game spell (0-1-3) from 1999-2001. The Black Cats ground out a scoreless draw in the reverse fixture at the Stadium of Light in November, getting outshot 24-12 as Pantilimon made six saves.
The Blues have not dropped consecutive home league matches since defeats to Arsenal and Liverpool in the 2011-12 season and have not lost home games to the same opponent in two straight seasons since Liverpool turned the trick in the 2010-11 and 2011-12 campaigns.Watch The Premier League Live!! with EXPRESSVPN the #1 Trusted Name in VPN