West Ham have the chance to finally notch up a convincing win at the London Stadium when they face rock bottom Sunderland at the London Stadium. Last week’s win at Selhurst Park was a step in the right direction for the Hammers, who made a wretched start to the campaign. However, it is their home form that still needs to be addressed. There were always going to be a few teething problems, but it has been a painful transition thus far both on the pitch and in the stands. West Ham need a landmark result and some good memories in the new stadium to start feeling more at home, and this is a very winnable fixture.
David Moyes walked into Sunderland saying they were in for a relegation battle, and on current evidence he was true to his word. The Black Cats have made another dismal start the season, picking up just two points from eight games. There have been signs of slight improvement in performances in their last few games, but their squad lacks quality and depth. It looks like being a long hard season for Sunderland, and they’ll need another great escape in the spring to survive.
Manuel Lanzini’s goal gave the Hammers a crucial 1-0 win at Crystal Palace last time out, as Christian Benteke let them off the hook with a missed penalty. Dimitri Payet’s magical solo goal rescued a point against Middlesbrough in their last league game at the London Stadium. Sunderland held their own for long periods at Stoke last week, but were comfortably beaten in the end 2-0 at the Britannia. Prior to that, Moyes’ side took one point from a possible six in home fixtures against Palace and West Brom.
Predicted Line Ups
West Ham starting XI Sunderland starting XI
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Injuries and Suspensions
Gokhan Tore, Diafra Sakho and Andy Carroll are long-term absentees for West Ham, while left back Aaron Cresswell is suspended after his sending off at Palace. Andre Ayew returned to training this week but is unlikely to be risked so soon. Full backs Arthur Masuaku and Sam Byram are also ruled out. For Sunderland, Seb Larsson, Fabio Borini and key man Jan Kirchhoff are out with medium to long term injuries. Adnan Januzaj was ruled out until November, but could be back sooner while Lee Cattermole and Patrick van Aanholt are other notable players on the treatment table.
Opposing West Ham at home has been a fruitful policy so far this term, but Sunderland have so hapless that it is hard to see past Slaven Bilic’s men coming away with three points. The former Croatia manager has switched to a back three in recent weeks, perhaps in a response to their injuries at full back. It certainly reaped dividends at Palace last work as they kept an all too rare clean sheet. Like many teams who struggle at the foot of the table, Sunderland struggle to find a balance between defence and attack. When they open up, they look vulnerable defensively, but when they are bit more solid they don’t look like scoring. The quality of Payet and Lanzini should give the hosts an important win.
Verdict: Home Win
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