With games running out and the Black Cats having not won in the league since their victory in the Tyne-Wear derby over Newcastle United at the start of February, Gus Poyet will know that a victory over the Hammers would be the perfect platform to build on. They have to play Tottenham Hotspur, Everton, Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United in their last eight games, a run-in that will fill their relegation rivals with hope, making Monday evenings game against Sam Allardyce’s side hugely important as they look to avoid the drop.
After losing 2-1 away at Liverpool on Wednesday night, Poyet’s team are now three points from safety but do have a game in hand on 17 placed Crystal Palace. The bottom half of the Premier League is very tight, three points would go a long way for both clubs as they look to ensure that they will be Premier League teams next season. League survival doesn’t appear to be West Ham’s only worry at the moment though.
The Hammers were booed off the pitch at the Boleyn Ground on Wednesday, despite winning their match against Hull City 2-1, and you to feel that it is Allardyce’s side that will go into the match under more pressure. They are currently 11 in the league, nine points ahead of the side from the Stadium of Light and have won five of their last eight matches. But as they walked off the pitch on Wednesday evening boos could be heard, which is something Allardyce admitted he had never witnessed before and something that does affect the players. The former Bolton Wanderers, Toon and Blackburn Rovers boss will be hoping that the contingent of Hammers fans travelling up to the North East on Monday night will be in better voice and show a bit more support towards his improving team.
Sunderland have more or less a full strength squad to choose from, Steven Fletcher and Kieren Westwood are still long-term absentees, so expect Poyet to field a similar side to the one he played at Anfield in the week. West Ham on the other hand will be without Matt Jarvis who picked up a thigh strain in the victory over Hull and are still without Joey O’Brien and Marco Borriello.
A victory for Sunderland will fill them with confidence ahead of a tough run in against five teams in the top seven; whereas West Ham and Allardyce will be looking to build on their midweek result and help win-back the section of fans at the Boleyn Ground who voiced their displeasure after the match.
KICK-OFF: Monday, 8:00PM
PAST THREE MEETINGS
14/12/2013: West Ham United 0 – 0 Sunderland
12/1/2013: Sunderland 3 (Larsson, Johnson, McClean) – 0 West Ham United
22/9/2012: West Ham United 1 (Nolan) – Sunderland 1 (Fletcher)
West Ham United have not won at the Stadium of Light since November 2008, current Napoli midfielder Valon Behrami got the goal for the Hammers that day
Sunderland have not won a league match since their 3-0 win over Newcastle United on the 1/2/2014
West Ham United have only won twice away from home in all competitions in 2014
West Ham United have failed to score away from home in the league eight times this season
Sunderland have failed to score at home five times in the league this season
West Ham United: 3.5