West Ham vs Sunderland by Luke
After run of negative results, West Ham improved in previous weekend and managed to take a three pointer away from home against Crystal Palace with a 1:0 victory and a bit of luck. However, they entered the game more determined to attack and took the lead in 19th minute with a goal from Lanzini, while the hosts looked just slightly better from that moment on and missed a penalty towards the end of the first halftime in order to equalize. Visitors stood playing with a man less from 75th minute when Cresswell got his second yellow card, but the players of Palace weren't able to level up the result despite having numerical advantage.
After this victory, players of West Ham managed to escape from the relegation zone and are now fifteenth at the table with seven points earned, which is just four less than mid-table placed sides. They are on a run of three matches with no victory at home and surely looking to improve the record and get the consecutive victories finally on their bill. They should be playing in 3-4-2-1 formation with Zaza as number nine and Lanzini and Payet as offensive midfielders. Andre Ayew has returned to full training session, but the game comes too soon for him, since the player isn't ready enough, similar to Andy Carrol and Diafra Sakho, all three anyway being long term absentees. Left back Aaron Cresswell (1/0) is suspended now, while injured remain left back Arthur Masuaku (5/0), right midfielder Gokhan Tore (5/0) and right back Sam Byram (5/0).
Sunderland is obviously the biggest disappointment so far in the season, as the team managed to get only two points out of eight rounds played and are at the rock bottom position, already four points behind safely placed sides. More worrying than their results are the performances, since the team doesn't inspire much with confidence overall.
In the most recent game, the team lost 2:0 away from home against Stoke City, conceding both goals inside the first halftime and not being able to respond later on. Additionally, the team doesn't seem that effective, scoring only six goals so far, which is the lowest number in Premier League next to Burnley. Visitors should be playing in quite defensive oriented 4-5-1 formation with Defoe as their central striker. Central defender Lamine Kone and left back Patrick van Aanholt are doubtful in front of this match and their participation will be decided later on. Injured remain goalkeeper Vito Mannone (2/0), defensive Jason Denayer (3/0), defensive midfielder Jan Kirchhoff (4/0), central midfielder Lee Cattermole (2/0) and forwards Fabio Borini (2/0) and Adnan Januzaj (6/0).
- West Ham have kept a clean sheet in 5 of their last 7 home matches against Sunderland.
Will be trying once again with West Ham, since the team seems better in recent weeks and should come here with a boosted morale. On the other side, their opponents are far weaker and do stand out as one of the favorites to relegate this season. Hosts should be able to obtain a victory here, even easier than what the odds suggest.