Premier League Preview and Prediction: West Ham vs Sunderland

Competition: Premier League – West Ham United vs. Sunderland

Venue: Upton Park – Saturday, February 27 – 12:45 GMT (07:45 ET)

Match Odds: West Ham 5/6 – Draw 13/5 – Sunderland 16/5

Match Preview

West Ham welcome Sunderland to Upton Park on Saturday lunchtime for a clash between two teams with very different aspirations as we enter the final third of the Premier League season.

The Hammers are currently in seventh, hunting down a European spot and have a chance to heap the pressure on Manchester United and Southampton who sit above them.

With the advantage of playing before their rivals, Slaven Bilic’s side can lift themselves to fifth with victory and they’ll come into this game with confidence after a resounding 5-1 win away at Blackburn in the FA Cup last weekend.

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Judging by the high standards West Ham have set themselves this season, it’s fair to say they’ve stuttered slightly in the Premier League recently – since a run of three consecutive victories, they’ve managed just one win in their last five (D2, L2).

Sunderland, by contrast, are scrapping for every point in a relegation dogfight at the bottom of the table as they sit in nineteenth, although they’re only one point off safety.

Sam Allardyce has had the luxury of two weeks to prepare his players for yet another vital fixture and they’ve been on a warm weather training trip to Dubai, following an excellent 2-1 win at home to Manchester United last time out.

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The Black Cats have lost just two of their last seven games (W3, D2) and will be hoping that they are just starting to find some form at a crucial time in the season.

The reverse fixture provided entertainment and eventually ended in a 2-2 draw at the Stadium of Light back in October.

Team News

Winston Reid (hamstring), Enner Valencia (ankle) and Andy Carroll (hip) could all return to the squad for West Ham this weekend following injuries, while Diafra Sakho (thigh) who has been out since November is back in full training but may not be risked. Joey O’Brien (hamstring) and James Tomkins (calf) remain out.

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Sunderland have a number of injury doubts heading into this one. Billy Jones (hip), Younes Kaboul (ankle), Jan Kirchhoff (hamstring), Seb Larsson (knee), Jeremain Lens (hernia) and Duncan Watmore (ankle) are all likely to miss the game with injury.

Key Points

West Ham’s last five: L/D/W/L/D

Sunderland’s last five: L/D/L/D/W

Key Stat: Sunderland have failed to win away from home against a Premier League side in the top 12 this season (P8, W0, D1, L7).

Key Player: Dimitri Payet – It’s impossible to look past the Frenchman as the key player in any West Ham game at the moment. He’s in the form of his life and is a frightening prospect for any defence. With seven goals and five assists in 19 Premier League appearances this season, he’s bound to be the difference once again this weekend.

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Score Prediction

West Ham 2-1 Sunderland – West Ham will fancy their chances against a Sunderland side that don’t travel particularly well. Sam Allardyce returns to another of his former clubs and will make life difficult for the Hammers, but the home side should have enough to edge it.

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MLSGB Premier League Predictions: Gameweek 30 – Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea to win

The Premier League is heading towards its finale with each game becoming more important by the day. The weekend’s action gets underway on Saturday lunchtime when Manchester City welcome West Brom to the Etihad Stadium. The game of the weekend sees Liverpool take on Manchester United at Anfield on Sunday afternoon before Chelsea travel to Hull, while QPR host Everton to conclude a crucial round of fixtures.

It’s down to a member of the MLSGB team to try and correctly call the results of all ten games. Last time out Jamie Ives predicted five correct results, with no perfect scores. Zack Walford puts his neck on the line this week in an attempt to try and predict the outcome of every match. Here are this week’s predictions:

Saturday, March 21 (All kickoffs are 15:00 unless stated otherwise)

Manchester City vs. West Brom (12:45)

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West Brom have been defensively sound since Tony Pulis has taken the reigns at The Hawthorns but I expect a backlash from Manchester City after going out to Barcelona in the Champions League on Wednesday. But not too many goals will be the difference.

Prediction: Manchester City 2-1 West Brom


Tottenham Hotspur vs. Leicester City

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Leicester have had a lot of lows this season, but one of the few highs for the Foxes was a win at White Hart Lane in the FA Cup earlier in the year. But I expect Tottenham to beat Leicester this time round after their embarrassing display at Old Trafford last time out.

Prediction: Tottenham 2-0 Leicester City


Aston Villa vs. Swansea City

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If Paul Lambert was still in charge, I would say Swansea would grab an easy win, but now Tim Sherwood is at the helm, the Villains have been playing with some confidence. Sherwood has got Christian Benteke scoring as he showed with his double away at Sunderland last weekend. A pacey attack could be too much for the Swans, but I expect a fight from Garry Monk’s men. I am going for a draw.

Prediction: Aston Villa 1-1 Swansea City


West Ham vs. Sunderland (17:30)

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Sunderland have a new head coach in charge with Dutchman Dick Advocaat coming in after Gus Poyet’s dismissal on Monday. West Ham haven’t quite hit the ground running since the turn of the year, after an excellent start to the season. I think Sunderland will get the charm a new man in charge quite often has and they will earn a vital away win to ease their relegation worries.

Prediction: West Ham 1-2 Sunderland


Stoke City vs. Crystal Palace

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Two teams that have looked great since the beginning of January. Stoke have a terrific home record against tough opposition having beaten Arsenal and drawing against Manchester United this year, but have slipped up against teams who are lower than them, including defeats to Leicester and Aston Villa. Crystal Palace have been good away from home in all competitions under Alan Pardew claiming a memorable win against Southampton in the FA Cup and beating West Ham at Upton Park. It’s too hard to call but I reckon Palace will just sneak it.

Prediction: Stoke City 0-1 Crystal Palace


Southampton vs. Burnley

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Just when you write Burnley off and say they are definitely relegated, they go and grab a draw at Manchester City then draw away at Chelsea. How many teams in the bottom half of the table can say they have done that? Southampton may not be a bridge too far. But a creditable draw last time out for the Saints at Stamford Bridge slowly puts them back in the top four mix. I think Southampton will just knick it.

Prediction: Southampton 1-0 Burnley


Newcastle vs. Arsenal

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Newcastle haven’t managed to string themselves together since John Carver took over as interim head coach. Arsene Wenger has an impressive record against Newcastle to keep up. Also, Olivier Giroud likes scoring against the Magpies.

Prediction: Newcastle 0-3 Arsenal


Sunday, March 21

Liverpool vs. Manchester United (13:30)

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One of the biggest fixtures in English football takes place on Sunday afternoon with both teams fighting for top four supremacy. Liverpool are the form team of 2015 and haven’t lost in the Premier League since the defeat at Old Trafford in the reverse fixture back in mid-December. Manchester United are confident after disposing of Tottenham at the weekend and have only picked up four wins away from home this season, which is a relatively poor return for the Champions of two years ago. I think Liverpool will get the better of the Red Devils.

Prediction: Liverpool 2-0 Manchester United


Hull City vs. Chelsea (16:00)

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Both teams are coming off a draw last weekend. For Hull City it’s all about survival and being able to play Premier League football next season, Chelsea have title ambitions. With Hull losing Nikica Jelevic out through injury it’s hard to see where the goals are going to come from. I can’t see anything but an away win.

Prediction: Hull City 0-2 Chelsea


QPR vs. Everton (16:00)

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Queens Park Rangers are in a poor position in the league and Chris Ramsey hasn’t quite steered them to safety as he would have liked. This a fixture he will be hoping to hurt a vulnerable Everton who are coming off a defeat in Ukraine on Thursday night that saw their Europa League dreams dashed and will be looking to bounce back and try and charge up the table after quite frankly an underachieving season for the Toffees. I think QPR will do well to get a draw, but I have to back Everton.

Prediction: QPR 1-3 Everton


What do you think will happen in the Premier League this weekend?

 

Premier League Preview and Prediction: West Ham vs Sunderland

Competition: Premier League – West Ham United vs Sunderland 

Venue: Upton Park – Saturday, March 21 – 17:30 GMT (13:30 ET)

Match Odds: West Ham 4/5 – Draw 5/2 – Sunderland 7/2

Match Preview

West Ham play host to relegation strugglers Sunderland in the Saturday night Premier League clash in what is a huge game for both managers.

Hammers boss Sam Allardyce is feeling the heat from the board and needs a result to stop a dire run of form, which sees West Ham without a win in eight in all competitions.

Newly appointed Sunderland boss Dick Advocaat takes the reigns for the first time after replacing Gus Poyet earlier this week and it’s important that Advocaat makes a good start to his tenure as Sunderland look to avoid the drop.

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West Ham haven’t won a home game in the Premier League since January 18th in a 3-0 win against Hull. A home win is much needed and there is potentially no better time to play Sunderland after they dramatically lost 4-0 to Aston Villa last weekend.

However, it could also be the worst time to play them, as anything but a win on Saturday will leave people once again asking questions of ‘Big Sam’, and a great start to the season has seemingly been undone by recent results.

West Ham’s home record in the Premier League: P15, W7, D3, L5

Gus Poyet’s departure on Monday sees Dick Advocaat come into the save the Black Cats from relegation despite the fact that Sunderland aren’t in the relegation places at the moment, although they sit just one point above the drop zone.

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The sacking of Poyet looked inevitable, even during the 4-0 loss last weekend to Aston Villa. But can Advocaat produce the results?

The main task Advocaat has is trying to motivate his squad to perform on Saturday, and the fact the game is live on Sky Sports will mean there is no room for embarrassment again.

Sunderland’s away record in the Premier League: P14, W2, D7, L5

The reverse fixture ended in 1-1 draw at the Stadium of Light back in December, with goals coming from Jordi Gomez and Stewart Downing.

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Team News

West Ham’s Enner Valencia will be hoping to recover from a foot injury that forced him to miss the Arsenal game. James Tomkins, Carlton Cole and Andy Carroll are all unavailable, while Winston Reid faces a late fitness test. Carl Jenkinson is expected to come back into the side after being ineligible for the Arsenal game.

Sunderland’s Steven Fletcher isn’t expected to start after being forced off against Aston Villa but could feature. Adam Johnson has had his club suspension rescinded so is now available. Will Buckley is doubtful and Lee Cattermole will serve the last game of his suspension so he’s unavailable. Emanuele Giaccherini remains out with an ankle injury.

Key Points

West Ham’s last five in the Premier League: D/D/L/L/L

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

Key Stat: West Ham haven’t won at home to Sunderland in the Premier League since April 2010.

Key Player: Diafra Sakho – The Senegalese striker is due a goal after going three games without one. Expect him to end that on Saturday.

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Score Prediction

West Ham 2-0 Sunderland – Although the new Sunderland manager comes in fresh with ideas, success will take time and the Black Cats won’t end their run of seven games without a win in all competitions.