Two late goals have cost Sunderland points in their last two games and Steve Bruce held little back in his assessment of the defensive performance against Wolves. Their defence has been much improved this season and the manager is sure to have been working on shoring things up again ahead of the visit of West Ham.
Although the Hammers are without an away win in the league this season they are coming off the back of a morale boosting win over Wigan and that surprise thumping of United. Avram Grant will also be reminding them of how they notched their only away win in all competitions in over a year at the Stadium of Light back in September. Steve Bruce may counter by telling his players that that was just the Carling Cup. That game also came right after a hard fought win over Arsenal which took a noticeable toll on his players.
This time West Ham have had midweek exertions, albeit very successful, whilst Sunderland have the luxury of over a week off between games. Despite that Carling Cup win, the Londoners have picked up just three points on the road this season and their last away trip to Anfield was an especially poor performance. Sunderland are still unbeaten at home with creditable draws against United and Arsenal, as well as that win over Man City and though Everton snatch a draw in their last home game.
One big plus coming from the last few games has been the emergence of Danny Welbeck. Having bemoaned the over reliance on Darren Bent earlier in the season, with Gyan’s expected return from injury, the manager now has the much preferred headache of having to choose between three in-form strikers.
Having been out injured the Ghanaian may be the one to lose out, making Bent at 4/1 and Welbeck at 9/2 the obvious choices to score first. With Wellbeck having scored in Sunderland’s last three games, the 13/10 on him to score anytime could be worth a decent bet.
West Ham have conceded fourteen goals, scoring just four on their travels and with Sunderland’s in-form strike force, which has seen them score seven in their last three, the fans could see their first big home win of the season. The 5/6 on Sunderland to win the match is a very solid bet but taking on Sunderland -1 goal at 5/2 could really pay-off. A scoreline of 3-0 at 14/1 isn’t being overly optimistic either, despite West Ham’s midweek exploit, as long as they can avoid conceding another one late on. Even if they do, few fans will complain with a 3-1 win at the same price of 14/1.