West Ham vs Sunderland preview: Sam Allardyce returns to Upton Park

A look ahead to the Premier League fixture at Upton Park

It’s a big game for…

Jermain Defoe: In most other seasons Sunderland would stand a realistic chance of gaining three points against West Ham, but with the visitors flying high in the league and Sunderland seriously threatened by relegation, the Black Cats need their top scorer to be on his best form. The former West Ham striker has scored 13 goals this season – 10 more than any other Sunderland player – and comes up against a side that has only conceded more than two goals in a game twice this season. And the pressure is on Defoe, having scored once in his last five league matches.

Best stat…

3: Sunderland have failed to win on their last three visits to West Ham, with their most recent win at Upton Park coming in May 2011, when goals from Boudewijn Zenden, Stephane Sessegnon and Cristian Riveros secured Steve Bruce’s side three points.

Remember when…

The Hammers needed a late strike from Diafra Sakho, in the 88th minute, to secure three points at Upton Park when the two teams met last season.

Player to watch…

Emmanuel Emenike: The Nigeria international only joined West Ham at the beginning of the month, on loan from Fenebahce, in order to fill the void left by the injured Diafra Sakho. However, the 28-year-old striker has been impressing boss Slaven Bilic, with two goals in four games – both coming away to Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup. The Nigerian will look to better that tally this weekend, in a bid to tempt the club’s owners to take up the option to sign the striker permanently at the end of the season.

Past three meetings…

Sunderland 2 (Fletcher, Lens) West Ham 2 (Jenkinson, Payet), Premier League, October 2015.

West Ham 1 (Sakho) Sunderland 0, Premier League, March 2015.

Sunderland 1 (Gomez) West Ham 1 (Downing), Premier League, December 2014.

Form guide… 

West Ham: DWLWDW

Sunderland: WLDLDW

Vital information…

KICK-OFF TIME: 12.45pm

TV: Live on BT Sport 1, Saturday 12pm

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