Not forced into a proper stop in the opening half as the visitors failed to mount any real threat on the Sunderland goal. Still had to be alert to collect a string of crosses but nothing too strenuous.
The captain put in a sturdy display at the back and never looked in trouble as he and his centre-back partner dealt with everything that was thrown into the area.
Calm and composed on a nervy day at the Stadium of Light, the former Manchester United man showed his experience in dealing with the threat of former colleague Campbell.
Poyet will be desperate to get the Fiorentina man on a permanent deal if the Black Cats avoid the drop. Again one of the top performers on the pitch in red and white.
Continued in a full-back role despite Bardsley's return to contention and did himself no disservice with his performance. Often ridiculed for some of his recent performances but never looked out of place this afternoon.
Looked sharp on the ball and there was always an air of expectation whenever he pocked up the ball in the opposition half. Struggled to find his way through though as he failed to produce an end product.
Robust in the tackle and leading by example in the middle of the park as always, chasing everything and refusing the Cardiff players a moments piece. Involved in a couple of altercations but that ultimately aided the Sunderland cause.
Effective at both ends of the park, willing to get involved in working space on the edge of the Cardiff box and tracking back at pace when needed. Will be a huge loss for Poyet's side if he does leave in the summer.
His series of set pieces in the opening half caused Marshall and the Cardiff defence plenty of concern and it was his wicked delivery that was knocked home by Wickham.
Billed as Sunderland's saviour in the last few weeks with three goals in two games, the striker cemented that role by bagging his fourth goal in three when he nodded home Larsson's corner. Tormented Cala and won the penalty that ultimately sealed the win for the Black Cats. His stellar performance was rounded off by a second well-taken goal.
Enjoyed picking up the ball just inside the Cardiff area but some tight marking often prevented him form getting his shot away. Made no mistake though when presented with the chance from the spot.
Tested right from the off, the Scot had to be on his toes to deal with a string of testing deliveries. Was given no chance with Wickham's close range header or the penalty and was left badly exposed by his defence in the second period.
Started well and was up for getting forward on the flank. Quickly lost his head though as thing deteriorated for the Welsh side and was taken off by Solskjaer when a sending off seemed a matter of not if but when.
K. Théophile Catherine
Targeted early on as Sunderland floated a few cross-field balls his way. Survived a penalty shout for handball. Was at fault for the opening goal Wickham shrugged off his attentions all too easily.
The defensive displays of his team-mates detracted from his otherwise solid display. Strong whenever he came against Sunderland's attack and was their to ensure that others in blue kept their heads as things went south.
Gave his side a heart-in-mouth moment when he conceded possession on the edge of his own area inside the opening ten minutes. Rounded off an appalling display by giving the ball away once more and receiving a red card for a foul in the area.
Powerless to prevent Wickham's header looping into the top corner despite taking up his position on the post. Went close himself with a deflected set piece but was denied by a fine stop by Mannone.
Replaced Kim Bo-Kyung in midfield and had an early opportunity which he skewed wide on the half-volley. Wasn't overly disappointing but was sacrificed at the break after the sending off.
Involved in a constant struggle with Cattermole for midfield supremacy and ultimately lost out. Showed a lack of self-control in picking up a needless booking and missed a glaring chance from a corner on a day to forget.
The Chilean looked to assert himself in midfield but only succeeded in picking up a yellow for a foul on Colback as the visitors struggled in the centre of the park. Moved to centre-back as part of the reshuffle but fared little better.
Always careful in possession, the Norwegian rarely wasted the ball in the Sunderland half. That did see him fail to take many risks though, something his team probably needed him to do on a day like today.
Up against one of his former clubs but rarely got the chance to torment the Sunderland defence. Had a claim for a penalty waved away but given very little to work with, especially after his side went down to 10 men.