World Cup Qualifier Preview and Prediction: Slovakia vs England

Competition: 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier – Slovakia vs. England

Venue: Stadion Antona Malatinskeho – Sunday, September 4 – 17:00 BST (12:00 ET)

Match Odds: Slovakia 3/1 – Draw 12/5 – England 1/1

Match Preview

Slovakia host England on Sunday afternoon as the qualification cycle for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia begins this weekend.

England are entering another new era as Sam Allardyce will take charge of his first international match since replacing Roy Hodgson in the summer.

These two sides faced off in their final group stage game at Euro 2016 in June, playing out a dull 0-0 draw. Slovakia are still looking to beat the Three Lions for the first time, having lost three in a row before the draw in France two months ago.

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Slovakia picked up just one win at the Euro’s and were eliminated by Germany after being thumped 3-0 in the Round of 16. They begin their qualification campaign looking to qualify for just their second World Cup, after only previously taking part in South Africa in 2010.

Slovakia have won just two of their last eight competitive internationals, so it’s no surprise they enter Sunday’s games as underdogs, with England expected to start life under ‘Big Sam’ with a win. But that’s far from guaranteed, considering the shameful 2-1 defeat to Iceland the last time these English players were together.

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A calamitous Euro 2016 campaign saw Roy Hodgson lose his job, with the defeat to Iceland one of the lowest points in English football history. A much-improved performance is needed this weekend to get the nation back onside.

Allardyce hasn’t had much of a chance to work with his players and so it will be intriguing to see how they respond to the new manager this weekend. The only England manager to not win his first game was Sir Alf Ramsey in 1963, so Big Sam knows the pressure is on.

Team News

Slovakia’s main threat remains Marek Hamsik. He is one of the most creative players in European football and manager Jan Kozak will look to get the best out of him here if Slovakia are to stand a chance. Former Liverpool centre-back Martin Skrtel will be hoping to keep England out as he did successfully at the Euro’s.

Sam Allardyce has already announced his first England starting lineup, making just three changes to the team that lost to Iceland in the Round of 16 a couple of months ago. Chris Smalling, Dele Alli and Daniel Sturridge are all dropped, with John Stones, Jordan Henderson and Adam Lallana replacing that trio. Wayne Rooney will captain the side once more and will become England’s most-capped outfield player on Sunday. Joe Hart remains No.1 despite leaving Manchester City on Deadline Day.

England XI to face Slovakia: Hart, Walker, Cahill, Stones, Rose, Dier, Henderson, Lallana, Rooney, Sterling, Kane.

Key Points

Slovakia’s last five: D/L/W/D/L

England’s last five: W/D/W/D/L

Key Stat: England have not lost a World Cup Qualifier since October 2009. That is the Three Lions’ only defeat in their last 22 WC qualification outings.

Key Player: Wayne Rooney – There are many who feel the Manchester United man needs to now be taken out of the international picture, but Allardyce has kept him as captain and Rooney will become the outright leader for appearances made by an outfield player on Sunday. He is currently tied with David Beckham on 115 caps. A good start to life under the new manager is vital for Rooney if he is to remain a key player for England.

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Score Prediction

Slovakia 0-2 England – A horrendous end to Euro 2016 may still be in the minds of these players and fans alike, but the chance for a fresh start under Allardyce should see the England players lifted for the trip to Slovakia this weekend. The Slovakians haven’t been in great form in 2016 and will likely be penned in for the majority of the game. They defended valiantly against the Three Lions in the summer but are unlikely to be able to equal that. England to win, though it might not be a walk in the park.

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Premier League Preview and Prediction: Sunderland vs Chelsea

Competition: Premier League – Sunderland vs. Chelsea

Venue: Stadium of Light – Saturday, May 7 – 15:00 BST (10:00 ET) 

Match Odds: Sunderland 9/5 – Draw 5/2 – Chelsea 7/5

Match Preview

Sunderland welcome Chelsea to the Stadium of Light on Saturday afternoon in a game which could play a huge part in the battle to avoid relegation from the Premier League.

The Black Cats have put together a solid run of form which has seen them lose just once in their last eight in their efforts to avoid the drop. They sit one point outside the relegation zone with a far better goal difference and a game in hand on rivals Newcastle in 17th.

Sam Allardyce has steadied the club and given them a great chance of survival but there is still plenty of work to be done. His side come into this tie off the back of their 1-1 draw against Stoke.

Sunderland lost 3-1 in the earlier meeting between the sides this season but will be expected to be a tougher task for Chelsea this time around.

Last seasons meeting between at the Stadium of Light ended 0-0. A draw would be a solid result and give Sunderland confidence heading into their game in hand in midweek.

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Chelsea come into this tie battered and bruised from their 2-2 home draw against Spurs, which is being referred to as the ‘Battle of the Bridge’ after an intensely entertaining London Derby.

Guus Hiddink’s side came back from 2-0 down to earn a draw and showed grit and determination which has been missing on the whole from Chelsea for the majority of the season.

Chelsea players and fans alike will be happy to see the back of this season and their pitiful attempt to defend the title. They will be looking to finish the campaign in the strongest form possible.

The Blues will be looking ahead to next season and the pressure will be far less intense for them than Sunderland in this tie, which may just play into the home sides hands.

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Team News

Sunderland have just one injury concern heading into this tie as Billy Jones looks a doubt.

Chelsea look likely to without two players through injury as Kurt Zouma remains out and Loic Remy looks doubtful.

Key Points

Sunderland’s last five: D/L/W/D/D

Chelsea’s last five: W/L/L/W/D

Key Stat: Sunderland have failed to score in their last three home games in the Premier League.

Key Player: Jermain Defoe – Sunderland’s main goal threat has netted 14 goals in 31 games this season and is playing a key role in their efforts to remain in the Premier League.

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Score Prediction

Sunderland 2-1 Chelsea – Sunderland are desperately chasing three points here and their performances over the last eight games would warrant them getting a win. Chelsea’s performance is unlikely to be as intense as Monday’s and they may get caught out yet again this season if they are not fully focused.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Sunderland vs Leicester

Competition: Premier League – Sunderland vs. Leicester

Venue: Stadium of Light – Sunday, April 10 – 13:30 BST (08:30 ET) 

Match Odds: Sunderland 23/10 – Draw 12/5 – Leicester 23/20

Match Preview

Sunderland host Leicester in a crucial Premier League clash on Sunday afternoon with both sides fighting for their lives at opposite ends of the table.

Sunderland enter the weekend in the bottom three and are four points adrift of Norwich, although they do have a vital game in hand.

Sam Allardyce knows his side need to win at least three of their final seven games to stand a good chance of staying up and beating Leicester on Sunday would give them a huge boost.

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The problem is that Leicester are still top of the league and look unstoppable. Add in the fact that the Black Cats have only won one of their last ten Premier League games and it looks a tough task for them to take anything from Sunday’s game.

Leicester are flying at the top of the table and look to have the title wrapped up after winning their last four games. They have won all those games by a 1-0 scoreline and will become just the second team in Premier League history (Everton – November 2002) to win five in a row by that scoreline if they beat Sunderland 1-0 on Sunday.

The Foxes are the best away side in the league, having won ten of their 16 games on the road and will be fully expecting to keep their seven-point lead over Tottenham come Sunday night.

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The reverse fixture ended 4-2 to Leicester on the opening day of the season. Sunderland were unbeaten in seven league clashes against the Foxes before that defeat and will hope to avoid a second consecutive loss to Sunday’s opponents to prevent relegation fears from worsening.

Team News

Sunderland have just one injury concern heading into this huge clash as Duncan Watmore remains sidelined. DeAndre Yedlin will hope to retain his place at right-back, while Dame N’Doye will be pushing for a start in attack.

Leicester are expected to remain unchanged once again with no fresh concerns for Claudio Ranieri. Matthew James as returned to training but is a way off being match fit, while Jeffrey Schlupp is a doubt and might not make the squad.

Key Points

Sunderland’s last five: L/D/D/D/D

Leicester’s last five: D/W/W/W/W

Key Stat: Leicester have only scored one goal in five Premier League trips to Sunderland since 1996 (D3 L2).

Key Player: Kasper Schmeichel – The Leicester goalkeeper has kept four-straight clean sheets and will expect to stretch that run to five here. He has been an integral part of an excellent team this season and will hope to shutout a struggling Sunderland attack on Sunday.

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Score Prediction

Sunderland 0-0 Leicester – They may have shared six goals on the opening day of the season but this clash is expected to be a lot tighter. Sunderland will look to make things difficult for Leicester and Sam Allardyce is an expert and managing games in such a way. Both sides are desperate for the three points and that should lead to a nervey affair. Goals might be hard to come by so don’t be surprised if this ends 0-0.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Newcastle vs Sunderland

Competition: Premier League – Newcastle vs. Sunderland 

Venue: St James’ Park – Sunday, March 20 – 13:30 GMT (09:30 ET)

Match Odds: Newcastle 11/10 – Draw 23/10 – Sunderland 5/2

Match Preview

Newcastle host Sunderland in what is set to be one of the most important Tyne-Wear derbies in the Premier League era. Both sides are fighting relegation and this is as big a six-pointer as you could see.

Newcastle started life under new manager Rafa Benitez with a 1-0 loss to Leicester last Monday, but there were positives from their performance and the Spaniard will hope his side can now build on that display with a crucial win over their local rivals.

A win against any side would be huge for Newcastle – who sit 19th in the table – but a win against fellow relegation strugglers and fierce rivals means this is undoubtedly the biggest game of the Magpies season.

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They have lost their last six meeting with the Black Cats and must try and get the crowd behind them early. The Magpies have only lost one of their last four at home in the league and that’s a positive heading into this game.

Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce will face up against Rafa Benitez once again but with an enormous amount at stake, all attentions will be on what takes place on the field, rather than in the dugouts.

The Black Cats have been in relatively good form of late and enter the weekend outside the bottom three. They have only lost one of their last five and will be desperate to avoid defeat at St James’ Park on Sunday afternoon.

One major problem for Sunderland is their defence. They haven’t kept a clean sheet in 15 consecutive league outings and that will be a concern for Allardyce and his team.

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The reverse fixture ended 3-0 to Sunderland back in October in what was Allardyce’s first home game. But now Benitez will be hoping his first home game will reap similar rewards.

This is sure to be a fiery clash between two sides fighting for their lives. You don’t want to miss this.

Team News

Rafa Benitez might name an unchanged team to the side that lost at Leicester on Monday. The new manager has 12 injury concerns heading into his first home game, with Chancel Mbemba the only player on the injury list in contention to recover. He will face a late fitness test but Paul Dummett, Cheick Tiote, Fabricio Coloccini, Sylvain Marveaux, Curtis Good, Kevin Mbabu, Papiss Cisse, Massadio Haidara, Gabriel Obertan, Ivan Toney and Tim Krul are all still sidelined.

Sunderland have much less to worry about on the injury front, with Duncan Watmore the only player certain to miss the game. Emmanuel Eboue is unlikely to feature as he continues to build up fitness, while Wahbi Khazri, Jermain Defoe, Jeremain Lens and Lee Cattermole are also doubts but should recover in time to play.

Key Points

Newcastle’s last five: W/L/L/L/L

Sunderland’s last five: D/W/L/D/D

Key Stat: Sunderland have won each of the last six Tyne-Wear derbies in the Premier League – the best ever winning streak in this derby by either club.

Key Player: Jermain Defoe – The Sunderland striker has netted seven goals in his last eight league games away from home and will be tasked with firing the Black Cats to victory at St James’ Park on Sunday. He proved to be dangerous against Newcastle last season and will be out to hurt them once again here.

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Score Prediction

Newcastle 2-1 Sunderland – This is a colossal game for both sides, but you’d have to say Newcastle need the win more for two reasons: They are playing at home, and are 19th in the table, a point behind Sunderland who sit in 17th. A draw will likely keep Sunderland outside the bottom three, depending on the Norwich result, and they will set up to avoid defeat. But Newcastle looked much better against Leicester and need to show the fight and desire that Benitez will demand if they are to win this game and subsequently stay up. Narrow home win.

New Sunderland signing Emmanuel Eboue ‘ready to fight’ for survival

Sunderland have today completed the signing of former Arsenal defender Emmanuel Eboue on a short-term deal until the end of the season.

The 32-year-old full-back has impressed the Black Cats while on trial over the last month enough to earn himself a contract. He had been without a club since being released by Turkish side Galatasaray last summer but now returns to the Premier League, where he made 132 appearances for Arsenal between 2004 and 2011.

“I was dreaming about it [returning to the Premier League] and thinking about it when I was in Turkey because I played here before, so I thank god, my new team-mates and also the staff and everybody else who took me in like a son,” Eboue told Sunderland’s official website after completing the move.

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“It was very hard for me to find a club. I also thank the manager [Sam Allardyce] who has given me a second chance, so I hope I can give my best for the club and also for him.”

The former Ivory Coast defender, who made 79 international appearances between 2004 and 2013, will look to make the right-back spot his own but faces competition from current options DeAndre Yedlin, Billy Jones and Adam Matthews.

Eboue feels that the experience in the Sunderland squad will improve their chance of Premier League survival and is ready to fight to keep the club in the top flight.

“In this team we have some experienced players like Catts, Wes [Brown] and the captain John [O’Shea], so now, with me and others like Jermain [Defoe], we have a good team and a good squad but we have to play hard,” he told safc.com.

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“It is going to be difficult as we’re at the bottom so we will fight hard to move up the table. I don’t want to see the club get relegated so now I must try my best with my teammates to keep the club in the Premier League.”

Sunderland currently sit 17th in the table, one point above the relegation zone, with nine games to go. Eboue could make his Sunderland debut in the Black Cats’ next game against fierce rivals Newcastle at St James’ Park.

Is Emmanuel Eboue a good signing for Sunderland? Can he help keep them in the Premier League?

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Chelsea vs Sunderland

Competition: Premier League – Chelsea vs. Sunderland

Venue: Stamford Bridge – Saturday, December 19 – 15:00 GMT (10:00 ET)

Match Odds: Chelsea 30/100 – Draw 4/1 – Sunderland 10/1

Match Preview

Chelsea welcome Sunderland to Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon, just two days after manager Jose Mourinho was sacked following the Blues’ worst start to a season since 1978.

Speculation over how much longer Mourinho would retain his job was rapidly escalating after the 2-1 defeat away at Leicester on Monday night, and Roman Abramovich obviously believes something needed to change.

While Mourinho’s sacking will undoubtedly be the centre of attention on Saturday afternoon, it’s vital that Chelsea’s players remind themselves of just how important this game is.

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No one could’ve predicted that the Blues would be 16th, almost halfway through the season, nor would anyone expect they’d be coming into a fixture they must win in order to quickly abolish the almost unthinkable question marks over the possibility of relegation.

A tenth league defeat for the reigning champions could see them slip into the drop zone by the end of the weekend, depending on Norwich and Swansea’s results.

Sunderland are in their own scrap for survival and every point for them will be crucial – they’ll be hoping Chelsea are a wounded animal right now – although it’s tough to know whether this is the best or worst time to be visiting Stamford Bridge.

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A couple of wins at the end of November looked to have kick-started the Black Cats’ season, but that progress was halted by defeat to Arsenal, followed by a disappointing 1-0 loss at home to Watford last time out.

Sam Allardyce is the master of dealing with situations such as the one Sunderland find themselves in right now, but he will know their record of three wins from 16 games so far needs to improve immediately.

The last meeting between these two sides saw Chelsea come out on top in a 3-1 win on the final day of last season – a game that seems like a very distant memory now.

Team News

Chelsea’s Eden Hazard (hip) and Radamel Falcao (muscular) are both looking to recover from injuries in the hope of being fit to play.

Sunderland will be without Sebastian Larsson (knee), Lee Cattermole (back) and Sebastian Coates (illness).

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Key Points

Chelsea’s last five: L/W/D/L/L

Sunderland’s last five: L/W/W/L/L

Key Stat: Chelsea have only lost to Sunderland twice in the past 22 meetings between the sides in the Premier League (W18, D2), although both those defeats came at Stamford Bridge.

Key Player: Willian – The Brazilian has been one of the few highlights for Chelsea this season. He’s their top goalscorer with seven in all competitions and they’ll be hoping his form continues despite the upheaval.

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Score Prediction

Chelsea 1-1 Sunderland – This is so tough to call given the current events off the pitch at Chelsea. It’s impossible for it to not be playing on the minds of the players, whether they’re happy to see the back of Mourinho or not. Either way, it will have an influence, and with just one win in seven for the hosts, a tight draw could be on the cards.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Everton vs Sunderland

Competition: Premier League – Everton vs. Sunderland

Venue: Goodison Park – Sunday, November 1 – 13:30 GMT (08:30 ET)

Match Odds: Everton 4/9 – Draw 7/2 – Sunderland 6/1

Match Preview

Everton welcome Sunderland to Goodison Park on Sunday afternoon for an important Premier League clash.

The Toffees edged past Norwich on penalties in their midweek League Cup tie after a 1-1 draw, but they’re looking to rediscover some Premier League form having lost their previous two, albeit against Manchester United and Arsenal.

Roberto Martinez’s side are currently eleventh in the Premier League and need to improve on their poor home form so far this season, which has seen them win just one of their five games at Goodison (D2, L2).

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Six of Everton’s next nine Premier League fixtures, including this one, are against opposition in the bottom half of the table, so they’ll be looking to go on a run that can elevate them towards the top, starting with an important three points here.

Everton’s Premier League record: P10 – W3 – D4 – L3

Sunderland finally secured their first win of the Premier League season last weekend as they beat bitter rivals Newcastle 3-0 in the Wear-Tyne derby at the Stadium of Light.

New boss Sam Allardyce will be hoping that result will provide the boost of confidence that can turn their season around, but there is still a lot of work to be done, particularly addressing their dismal form on the road.

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The Black Cats are eighteenth in the table and have picked up just one point on their travels this season, giving them the joint worst record in the league away from home.

Sunderland’s Premier League record: P10 – W1 – D3 – L6

Sunderland’s recent experiences at Goodison Park are promising, having won on their last two visits without conceding a goal – a third consecutive win at Everton would be the first time they’ve done so in the top-flight since 1904.

The last meeting between these two sides was that 2-0 win for Sunderland at Goodison Park in May – a result which helped keep them in the division.

Team News

Everton will be without skipper Phil Jagielka who is out for as long as two months with a knee injury. Seamus Coleman is also a major doubt as he’s suffering with a stomach bug, which also kept him out of their midweek game. On a positive note, both Leighton Baines and Muhamed Besic returned to training this week after a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

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Sunderland have a number of doubts as John O’Shea, Younes Kaboul and Ola Toivonen all suffered injuries in the win over Newcastle last weekend. A late decision will be made on their fitness, while Fabio Borini is likely to miss out because of an ankle problem.

Key Points

Everton’s last five in the Premier League: D/W/D/L/L

Sunderland’s last five in the Premier League: L/L/D/L/W

Key Stat: Everton have only beaten Sunderland once in the last five meetings between the two sides (D1, L3).

Key Player: Ross Barkley – The young Englishman has contributed three goals and three assists from midfield already this season and the Toffees will be looking for him to really kick on and take the Premier League by storm in the next few months. He could be the game-changer on Sunday afternoon.

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Score Prediction

Everton 2-1 Sunderland  Everton showed signs of promise at Arsenal last weekend and it seems only a matter of time before consistent results start to come. Sunderland will be solid and compact under Sam Allardyce this season but they might not quite have enough to contain their hosts.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Sunderland vs Newcastle

Competition: Premier League – Sunderland vs. Newcastle

Venue: Stadium of Light – Sunday, October 25 – 12:00 GMT (08:00 ET) 

Match Odds: Sunderland 7/5 – Draw 23/10 – Newcastle 19/10

Match Preview

Sunderland face Newcastle in the first Tyne-Wear derby of the season on Sunday in what is an enormous Premier League game for both clubs.

Sunderland will hope that their managerial change continues to see the club beat their local rivals. Sam Allardyce will lead the his new side out in what will be his home debut, knowing the last three Sunderland managers have also faced Newcastle in their second game and all three have won.

This will not be Allardyce’s first Tyne-Wear derby experience though. He led Newcastle out at the Stadium of Light during his short tenure in charge back in November 2007 in a game that ended 1-1.

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The Black Cats sit bottom of the Premier League table after nine games and have yet to win a match. Last weekend’s 1-0 loss at West Brom added to their woes and they will hope a win against their fiercest rivals can turn their fortunes around.

Sunderland’s Premier League record: P9 – W0 – D3 – L6

Newcastle boss Steve McClaren will be experiencing his first Tyne-Wear derby here and will hope his side can build on last weekend’s 6-2 win against Norwich.

That was Newcastle’s first league win of the season but they still sit in the bottom three and so Sunday’s clash is a monumental one, even at this early stage.

Newcastle’s Premier League record: P9 – W – D3 – L5

Newcastle haven’t beaten Sunderland since 2011 – a run of seven without victory has followed, with the Black Cats winning each of the last five meetings.

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Team News

Sunderland will be without Adam Matthews and Jack Rodwell, who are both ruled out through injury, while Ola Toivonen and Duncan Watmore are unlikely to feature. Sam Allardyce could stick with the same team that lost at West Brom in his opener.

Newcastle boss Steve McLaren will also be likely to keep with the same side that beat Norwich last time out. Tim Krul, Karl Darlow, Rolando Aarons, Emmanuel Riviere, Steven Taylor, Curtis Good and Gabriel Obertan are all out. While Kevin Mbabu is a doubt.

Key Points

Sunderland’s last five: L/L/L/D/L

Newcastle’s last five: L/L/D/L/W

Key Stat: The last three Sunderland managers have faced Newcastle in their second games in charge, with all three winning those matches. Trend.

Key Player: Georginio Wijnaldum – The Dutch playmaker comes into this game of the back of a sublime display as he scored four goals in Newcastle’s 6-2 win against Norwich last weekend. If he produces anything like that performance, Sunderland are in trouble.

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Score Prediction

Sunderland 1-1 Newcastle – This is an almost impossible one to call. Newcastle may have got their first win last week in emphatic style, but they conceded six in their last away game and have only scored once on the road all year. Their terrible record against Sunderland in recent times makes it hard to see them winning, though the Black Cats don’t look strong enough to take three points either. Draw.

Premier League Prediction: Arsenal vs West Ham United

Competition: Premier League – Arsenal vs. West Ham United 

Venue: Emirates Stadium – Sunday, August 9 – 13:30 BST (08:30 ET)

Match Odds: Arsenal 2/7 – Draw 9/2 – West Ham United 9/1

Match Preview

Arsenal play host to West Ham United on Sunday as they kickstart their season at the Emirates Stadium after winning the Community Shield last Sunday.

The general consensus now suggests that the Gunners are genuine title contenders and with the addition of veteran ‘keeper Petr Cech, they now have arguably the best defensive unit in the league.

There is no doubt that Arsene Wenger has an incredibly talented group of attackers at his disposal and now he has arguably the strongest squad since the ‘invincibles’ side of 2004.

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They will expect to start the new year with three points in front of their own fans against their London rivals here.

West Ham come into the new season with new coach Slaven Bilic replacing Sam Allardyce at the helm in what will be the Hammers’ final season at the Boleyn Ground.

West Ham will be hoping to match the early season form of last term which saw them in the top four at Christmas, but a trip to the Emirates presents a very stiff test on the opening weekend, especially off the back of their Europa League game on Thursday night.

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Consistency is key for the Hammers this season as they lost pace in the latter half of the season and another collapse of that magnitude could see them lose their Premier League status if they are not careful.

The arrival of Dimitri Payet is an exciting one but he may not get the space he needs to create chances at Arsenal this weekend.

Team News

Arsenal will be without Danny Welbeck and Tomas Rosicky for the opening day. Jack Wilshere is out for around 6-8 weeks but could return sooner. Alexis Sanchez is unlikely to start as he is not yet fit enough. Hector Bellerin is set to get the nod at right-back.

West Ham United are without Andy Carroll and Enner Valencia, who are both out with knee injuries. Winston Reid, Joey O’Brien and Pedro Obiang are doubts but should be fit to start. Carl Jenkinson won’t feature against his parent club.

Key Points

Arsenal’s preseason form: W/W/W/W/W

West Ham United’s preseason form: W/W/D/W/W/L/D/W/D/L/L

Key Stat: Arsenal have only lost two of their last 37 home matches in the Premier League.

Key Player: Petr Cech – The big Czech stopper was sensational in the Community Shield and his experience will be key to their title challenge this term.

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Score Prediction

Arsenal 3-0 West Ham United – It’s easy to back Arsenal as they are in superb form and look very hard to beat. Expect them to be too strong for West Ham, who were knocked out of the Europa League on Thursday night.

2014/15 Premier League Season Review: West Ham

Premier League Final Position: 12th 

Review

West Ham endured a dismal second half of the season, which finished with a 2-0 loss away to Newcastle United, and following the release of Sam Allardyce, the club are now looking for a new manager in what was a season of two halves.

Interestingly if the season had started at Christmas then West Ham would have been relegated based on their form as they only managed 16 points from their last 21 matches.

It’s very much looking like a season for the Hammers to build on though as they played some very attractive football in places, especially early on. Whoever the new manager is, they have a decent platform in the current squad to build on.

And should they capture their early season form to start the coming season, there is no reason to rule out a European place come next May but finding consistency is crucial.

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Podcast Review

Best Moment

The 2-1 win over Manchester City was the highlight of a very good start to the season for the Hammers as they managed to place fourth at Christmas.

Worst Moment

The final day 2-0 loss to Newcastle was the icing on a very disappointing cake for ‘Big Sam’s’ men. It was Newcastle’s first win in 11 Premier League games and the Hammers’ late season capitulation was highlighted in that game.

Player of the Year

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Stewart Downing – The England International had an amazing season with the Hammers and arguably merited an England recall. With six goals and eight assists he has proved to be a valuable asset for the East London side and will look to improve again next term.

Biggest Win

West Ham 3-0 Hull City (January 18, 2015)

Biggest Defeat

Arsenal 3-0 West Ham (March 14, 2015)

What to improve for the 2015 season…

Consistency. There is a common theme that runs with West Ham and that is their inability to perform at their potential for a prolonged duration. An early season charge was outdone with their late season struggle and this will need addressing in the coming months. The upcoming season will be their last at Upton Park and they will want to leave on a positive note before the move to the Olympic Stadium.