Oct 3, 2015 at 3pm UK at ​Stadium of Light
West HamWest Ham United
Fletcher (10'), Lens (22')
Lens (32'), Cattermole (43'), Coates (74')
Lens (57')
FT(HT: 2-1)
Jenkinson (45'), Payet (60')
Noble (2'), Reid (24'), Cresswell (36'), Jenkinson (72')

Preview: Sunderland vs. West Ham United

Sports Mole previews this Saturday's Premier League match between Sunderland and West Ham United at the Stadium of Light.

Languishing at the bottom of the Premier League table, Sunderland are desperate for points in order to turn their season around following two draws and five defeats.

In contrast, West Ham United head to the Stadium of Light on Saturday third in the standings after picking up 13 points from a possible 21.


Dick Advocaat manager of Sunderland looks on prior to the Barclays Premier League match between A.F.C. Bournemouth and Sunderland at Vitality Stadium on September 19, 2015© Getty Images

When Dick Advocaat opted to sign a permanent deal at Sunderland following last season's interim spell, in which he guided the Black Cats to Premier League survival in dramatic fashion, it is unlikely that he expected the 2015-16 campaign to begin with such misery.

The North-East outfit, like their local rivals Newcastle United, are still searching for their first league win of the season having recorded four consecutive defeats in all competitions.

Sixteen goals have been shipped past Sunderland so far in the top flight this season, which is two a game on average, while at the other end, they are screaming for inspiration given that just six goals have been scored.

In the summer transfer window, the Black Cats recruited DeAndre Yedlin, Adam Matthews, Yann M'Vila, Jeremain Lens, Younes Kaboul, Ola Toivonen and Sebastian Coates, and while none can be regarded as complete flops, there has not been any real significant contribution from the recent arrivals.

The Black Cats have failed to strike in their last three league fixtures, suggesting that the formation is not getting the best out of attacking players, including Jermain Defoe and Fabio Borini.

Advocaat has played one up front on occasion, but with Borini yet to strike and Defoe not having scored in the league since Sunderland's 1-1 draw with Swansea City on August 22, it could be time to go back to the drawing board.

Recent form: LDDLLL
Recent form (all competitions): DDLLLL

West Ham United

Slaven Bilic manager of West Ham looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United and Bournemouth at the Boleyn Ground on August 22, 2015© Getty Images

West Ham are unlikely to still be third by the end of the season, but the Hammers can enjoy their run at the moment given that there was uncertainty surrounding the club when Slaven Bilic replaced Sam Allardyce as manager.

There was no better way to kick off the season than managing to cause an opening-day upset by snatching a 2-0 victory over Arsenal at the Emirates.

As the season has progressed, it has become clear that West Ham are a force to be reckoned with away from home as they have also managed to secure victories over Liverpool and Manchester City on the road, which indicates that the team will be in their comfort zone when they travel to the Stadium of Light on Saturday.

Goals have been coming thick and fast for West Ham as they have netted 15 in seven top-flight games, with eight different goalscorers, but they suffered a dent last weekend when a 2-2 draw against Norwich City ended their three-game winning streak.

The Hammers have conceded three goals in their last two league games, and despite Sunderland failing to score in their last three outings, Bilic urged his players not to underestimate this weekend's opponents.

Recent form: LLWWWD
Recent form (all competitions): LWWWLD

Team News

Sunderland's Jermain Defoe reacts to a missed chance during the game with Spurs on September 13, 2015© Getty Images

Defoe could be given the nod to start alongside Borini as the two attacking threats for Sunderland as they desperately need to find goals from somewhere.

Jack Rodwell is the only injury concern due to an ankle niggle, but Lee Cattermole and Yann M'Vila are expected to keep their places in the middle of the park.

For the visitors, Andy Carroll could be handed a spot on the bench as he continues to work his way towards full fitness, while last weekend's goalscorer Cheikhou Kouyate is likely to keep his spot in midfield.

Bilic has confirmed that Enner Valencia has returned to training, but is not expected to be ready for match action until two or three weeks' time.

Winston Reid is also a concern with a back problem, but the defender has not been completely ruled out of the match.

Sunderland possible starting lineup:
Pantilimon; Jones, Kaboul, Coates, van Aanholt; M'Vila, Gomez, Toivonen, Lens; Borini, Defoe

West Ham United possible starting lineup:
Adrian; Jenkinson, Tomkins, Reid, Cresswell; Kouyate, Noble; Lanzini, Payet, Moses; Sakho

Head To Head

The statistics are not good reading for Sunderland as they have only managed to claim just one victory in their last six Premier League games against West Ham, with the other results being three draws and two defeats.

In their last 16 league games at the Stadium of Light, the Hammers have not scored more than twice, and they last hit three goals past the Black Cats in 1990.

In this fixture last season, the two sides played out a 1-1 draw, with Jordi Gomez and Stewart Downing, who now plays for Middlesbrough, finding the back of the net.

Video Preview

Hit play below to see what the Sports Mole Sofa had to say about this encounter:

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We say: Sunderland 1-2 West Ham United

Sunderland's desperation to get a result on the board could be used to propel them in this game, and particularly in front of a home crowd as they will not want to disappoint again. It could be a tight fixture between the two, but considering the form of both sides, in particular West Ham's impressive showing on the road, Bilic's side are likely to end the game victorious.

Who will win Saturday's Premier League clash between Sunderland and West Ham United?

West Ham United
West Ham United
West Ham manager Slaven Bilic watches on during the game with Leicester on August 15, 2015
Read Next:
Bilic vows not to underestimate Sunderland
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