Saturday, April 15

Daily WHUFC News - 15th April 2017

Preview – Sunderland


When and where?

Sunderland v West Ham United
Premier League
Saturday 15 April 2017, 3pm BST
Stadium of Light

What's the story?

The Hammers make the long trip to Sunderland on Saturday looking to take
another step towards mid-table.

Last weekend's 1-0 victory against Swansea City was West Ham's first for
seven matches and lifted them eight points clear of their visitors.

Now, with just a point separating Slaven Bilic's side from tenth place, they
know a victory against the division's bottom side would virtually secure
their Premier League position with five games to go.

Sunderland are in desperate trouble at the foot of the table and haven't
scored for seven games.

Their 3-0 defeat to Manchester United last Sunday means they are stuck on 20
points from their 31 matches this season, ten points behind fourth-bottom
Hull City.

Sunderland were unfortunate not to pick something up from their trip to
London Stadium earlier this season, falling to a 1-0 loss with Winston Reid
smashing in the winner in stoppage time.

Last season the points were shared at the Stadium of Light, Carl Jenkinson
and Dimitri Payet netting for the Hammers as they struck back from 2-0 down
to secure a 2-2 draw.

Team news

West Ham United face a number of injury concerns ahead of Saturday's game.
Michail Antonio (hamstring) is definitely out after suffering an injury in
the victory over Swansea City, while Winston Reid (thigh), Pedro Obiang
(ankle) and Angelo Ogbonna (knee) are all on the sidelines.

Mark Noble serves a two-game ban after picking up his tenth booking of the
season, but Andy Carroll, Diafra Sakho and Aaron Cresswell will be hoping to
be involved following their injuries.

Sam Byram is available, despite rolling his ankle against Swansea.

For Sunderland, Sebastian Larsson is suspended after being sent off in the
defeat to Manchester United, while Brian Oviedo is a doubt with a hamstring

John O'Shea could feature for the first time since the death of his father.

Any links between the two?

Sunderland frontman Jermain Defoe started off at the Academy of Football,
scoring 29 league goals in 93 games before moving on in 2004.

He has scored goals throughout his career and is still knocking them in at
the age of 34, with 15 – including one for England – to his name this term.

How do I get to the game?

The Hammers have sold their allocation of 3,000 tickets for Saturday's game.

Click here for details of how to get to the Stadium of Light.

The latest travel news on the trains can be found here. If you're travelling
by road, up-to-the-minute news can be found here.

How can I watch the game?

This match is not being broadcast live in the UK, but if you're watching
from overseas the match may be televised in your territory. Check our
widget below for details.

You can follow all the action as it happens on, with live audio
commentary, social media updates, in-running stats, photos and more. Get
involved in the conversation on social using #SUNWHU.

Sunderland betting preview with Betway

Sunderland betting preview

'Sheer relief' were the words used by James Collins to describe last
weekend's hard-fought 1-0 victory over Swansea City, but this weekend West
Ham United have an excellent chance to make it back-to-back wins as they
take on bottom-placed Sunderland.

The Hammers travel to the north-east knowing that three points is a
necessity as they look to put further daylight between themselves and the
teams below.

With six matches remaining in the campaign, a top 10 finish is still very
much achievable, but first they'll have to get past a Sunderland team
fighting for their own survival.

Nevertheless, West Ham are strong favourites coming into this one at 5/4,
with Sunderland 11/5 to win and the draw at 12/5.

Recent history favours the Hammers, with West Ham unbeaten in their last
seven matches against the Mackems, both home and away, four of which have
been won by a single goal.

There's some value in a winning margin of one goal at 11/8, while those
expecting the Irons to find the net more than once can back them with a -1
handicap at 16/5.

West Ham already boast a victory over this weekend's opponents, with a 1-0
win at the London Stadium back in October.

That scoreline is 15/2, while a repeat of last season's 2-2 draw at the
Stadium of Light is currently priced at 11/1 on Betway's 'Correct Score'

In his pre-match press conference, boss Slaven Bilic warned of Sunderland's
desperation for a win, describing Saturday as a 'big game' for both teams.

But he'll have to manage it without this season's star man, Michail Antonio.
The attacker has been ruled out for the rest of the season through injury,
meaning the goalscoring onus will be placed elsewhere.

Andy Carroll is certainly capable of taking it on, with the Hammers striker
expected to play a more prominent role this weekend. He's 9/2 to open the
scoring on Saturday and 6/5 to find the net at anytime. You can also get him
at 9/2 to score the last goal of the game.

Three of West Ham's last six goals have come from midfield, so expect those
in the middle of the park to play a telling role in the trip to the Stadium
of Light.

Fancy Manuel Lanzini to find the net in a West Ham win? Then back him to
score in an Anytime Wincast at 4/1.

Sunderland's barren run in front of goal extended to over eleven hours
following their latest defeat, and those expecting that to continue can back
a West Ham clean sheet at 21/10. The Hammers to win to nil is currently
priced at 3/1.

With so much on the line for both teams, don't be surprised if this one is a
tight affair. You can get the Irons to win with under 2.5 goals score at
17/4, with West Ham also priced at 5/6 to score the first goal of the game.

There are more than 100 markets on Sunderland vs. West Ham available at
Betway. And if you're an existing customer, why not join our Free Bet Club?

You can guarantee yourself £10 in Free Bets every week. Just opt in at
Betway and place at least £25 on football multiples (trebles or higher)
before midnight every Friday*.

Visit or download our app from the App Store or Google Play for

Edi tipped for 'huge' future

Slaven Bilic praises the impact made by Swiss youngster Edimilson Fernandes
Midfielder has made 22 Premier League appearances, but has started just
three times
Manager suggests former FC Sion star could replace suspended Mark Noble

Slaven Bilic may put his 'huge plans' for Edimilson Fernandes into action at
Sunderland on Saturday.

The West Ham United manager played a big part in signing the Switzerland
midfielder last summer and believes the man who turns 21 on Saturday has a
bright future ahead of him.

With extensive domestic and European experience already under his belt from
his time with FC Sion, Fernandes has already been given a succession of
opportunities in a Claret and Blue shirt – although 19 of his 22 Premier
League appearances have come from the substitutes' bench.

However, with captain Mark Noble suspended for the trip to the Stadium of
Light and the home game with Everton, Bilic hinted that the youngster will
be given a chance to impress from the kick-off.

"When we signed Edi most of the people, including him, were a little
surprised," Bilic began, when asked about the possibility of Fernandes
starting at Sunderland. "There were talks about him going out on loan, but

"He is playing a lot for us. He is not starting a lot but he is playing. The
impact he has made is quite significant. He is always on the verge. Every
week we are talking about him starting. Sometimes he has started, but on the
other hand he came into a good team and he is an option in a few positions
where we have Mark Noble and Cheikhou Kouyate and Pedro Obiang, who has
played really good this season.

"Edi is doing very well in training and every time he has come on he has
made a good impact, whether we have to keep the result or in midfield when
we need someone to distribute the ball with his quick feet."

Quick over the ground, a fine athlete and accurate passer, Fernandes has
many of the attributes required to become a top-level Premier League player,
while his EFL Cup match-winner against Chelsea suggests he also has an eye
for goal.

As he continues to accrue experience and hone his skills, Bilic believes he
will make an even bigger impact in 2017/18 – providing he improves his
command of the English language!

"Our plans for him in the next season are huge," the manager confirmed. "I
am expecting him to be a top player. He has asked me about playing, but not
in a negative way. He knows he is the player who is being used almost every

"I spoke to him a few times and he has to learn his English much better and
he has already made a big step considering he came at the age of 20. But he
has adjusted well and he has a good chance to start next game against
Sunderland and we are planning to use him a lot next season.

"I spoke to him about the language and we are helping him. I remember when I
came to a new country like Germany I was struggling, not necessarily on the
pitch but to integrate off it. It is key. He has improved a lot, but he has
to do better.

"I spoke to his cousin who is playing in France, [the former Manchester City
midfielder] Gelson Fernandes who speaks five languages, perhaps he can loan
Edi one!"

Five Talking Points - Sunderland

The big topics for discussion ahead of West Ham United's Premier League
fixture at Sunderland...

1. Forward thinking

Despite the absence of the injured Michail Antonio, who has been ruled out
for the season with a hamstring injury, Slaven Bilic says he has 'options'
up front.
After recovering from their own injuries, Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho were
only fit enough for cameo roles against Swansea City last weekend, meaning
Jonathan Calleri was called upon when Antonio pulled up in the first half.
Calleri put in a superb shift for his team in the lone striker's role,
harassing the Swans' centre-backs, creating space for his teammates with his
intelligent running and finding himself in the right place to score his
first London Stadium goal – only for his shot to hit the side-netting. Bilic
hinted that Carroll and Sakho could both feature at Sunderland, with the
suggestion that Calleri or Carroll could start, with one replacing the other
at some stage.

2. Left-back conundrum

Arthur Masuaku started and played well in keeping a clean sheet against
Swansea City last weekend in the absence of the injured Aaron Cresswell.
However, the England international is fit again and will be part of the
squad which travels to the North East. The likelihood is that Slaven Bilic
will stick with the athletic Frenchman at left-back, but Cresswell has been
the de-facto starter since his arrival nearly three years ago, and his
Premier League pedigree is not in doubt, despite his injury-affected season.

4. Beware the wounded Black Cat

It has been a very difficult season for Sunderland, who go into the weekend
ten points from safety with just six games remaining. If a game was ever
'must-win' then this is it for David Moyes' team, who have amassed just 20
points from their 31 Premier League matches played so far. The Black Cats
have not scored in their last SEVEN top-flight games and more than eleven
hours of football, a run dating back to a 4-0 win at Crystal Palace on 4
February, but that unwanted record must end sometime. With the games running
out and away matches at Arsenal and Chelsea to round out the season,
Sunderland will be targeting a home game against West Ham as a chance to
score a much-needed victory.
While their form has been indifferent, the Hammers must beware the wounded
Black Cats.

4. Jermain's Defoe-nitely going to score…

Jermain Defoe is definitely going to score against West Ham, isn't he...
Or is he?
While the common perception among West Ham United supporters is that Jermain
Defoe ALWAYS scores against his old club, it is not strictly true.
In 16 appearances against the Hammers since departing in 2003, the striker
has netted six times, but has not scored against West Ham in his last six
games against them. Also, Defoe has not exactly enjoyed the greatest success
against his former employers, ending up on the winning side in just five of
those 16 matches, drawing four and losing seven. Just for the record, he has
also chalked up two assists and been booked five times in games against West

5. Seven and counting…

West Ham United have not lost any of their last seven Premier League matches
against Sunderland dating back to a 3-0 defeat at the Stadium of Light in
January 2013. Since then, the Hammers have scored four wins and three draws
against the Black Cats, including 1-0 victories in their two most-recent
meetings and a come-from-behind 2-2 draw on Wearside last season. One player
who certainly enjoys playing against Sunderland is Andy Carroll who, despite
scoring just once in nine appearances against the team many of his family
support, has won five and lost just one of those nine games. Could it be
time to unleash the Big Man again on Saturday?

Snoddy seeks back-to-back wins

Robert Snodgrass says West Ham United want to record back-to-back wins at
Hammers scored vital 1-0 Premier League victory over Swansea City last time
Scotland winger says another three points keep West Ham in hunt for top-ten

Robert Snodgrass says West Ham United are determined to build on their vital
1-0 win over Swansea City and set the foundations for a top-ten finish.

The Scotland midfielder was an important part of the Hammers' hard-fought
victory over the Swans a week ago, when his industry and calmness in tight
situations helped keep Iceland star Gylfi Sigurdsson quiet.

If West Ham can score consecutive victories for the first time since January
by beating Sunderland, they could rise into the top ten and all but secure
their Premier League status in the process. Whatever happens at the Stadium
of Light, the No11 insists Slaven Bilic's side will keep working until the
final whistle blows at Burnley on 21 May.

"We take each game as it comes, and I certainly don't think we can say 'if
we beat Sunderland we can take our foot off the gas'," Snodgrass began.
"That's not what it's all about.

"It's about trying to build on each performance and the level of performance
against Swansea was very good, so why not keep going and try and better that
at Sunderland? First and foremost, we want to try and get the three points
and then keep building from that.

"We've got to go and do it by winning the games we've got left, trying to
get some good results for the fans, for the staff and for your teammates, to
have the good feeling by being able to say 'We did finish in the top ten'
and we'll try to build on that next season."

Snodgrass said the squad took great pride in the way they played through the
pressure against Swansea to keep their first clean sheet in 12 matches and
score their first win in eight.

Indeed, the 29-year-old said the Hammers were rewarded for their positive
approach to a match that they simply had to win.

"It was tense before the Swansea game because we'd lost five games in the
Premier League and we were in a fight against relegation and we didn't want
that," he recalled.

"The manager said it would be a lot easier for us if we won that game
because we'd be able to look up towards the top ten, where this club should
be, rather than towards the bottom. It was a good win for us, and the way we
won it as well was good."

"There are certain games where you feel the tension and that was certainly
one of them because, if we'd lost, we'd have gone to Sunderland worrying
about losing again.

"There are loads of things behind it, but I think the way we approached the
game and the way we were in the game, there was only one team who was going
to go on and win it.

"As football players, you're paid to play under that pressure and a lot of
players like it and are fine with it, while some don't like it, but when you
saw that game you could see there was one team enjoying playing in the game
and trying to win it, and that was us."

Having experienced the elation of victory for just the second time since
joining from Hull City in January, the left-sided player is hoping to make
it three this weekend.

"It doesn't matter if it was that game or any game, you've always got a buzz
around the place and it's a better place to be around when you've won," he

"The manager and his staff are happy because of the win, and we work hard
throughout the week to get that buzz and that winning feeling, because
nobody likes losing."

Sunderland v West Ham United
Venue: Stadium of Light


Sebastian Larsson begins a three-match ban for Sunderland after an appeal
against his red card in Sunday's defeat by Manchester United was rejected.
Adnan Januzaj returns after being ineligible for that game and John O'Shea
is available for the first time since the death of his father, but Bryan
Oviedo (hamstring) is sidelined.
West Ham's Michail Antonio is out for the season with a hamstring injury.
Mark Noble is banned but Andy Carroll, Aaron Creswell and Sam Byram are fit.


Alistair Mann: "It's now only the most optimistic Sunderland supporters who
still believe their side will emerge successful from the latest of their
annual battles to beat the drop. "Realistically, they will need to win at
least five of their remaining seven games, having so far won only five of
their first 31. "Offering those optimists a glimmer of hope is the fact that
their run-in intriguingly includes games against five of the bottom seven,
with West Ham the first. "The Hammers certainly relieved some of their own
anxiety with their first win in eight against Swansea last weekend but will
still feel that a top-10 finish, not simply safety, should be their target
in the remaining weeks."

Twitter: @alistairmann01


Sunderland manager David Moyes: "I think we have a good chance of winning
the game. "We have to try and cause them problems but they had a big result
last week - and we need one this week."

West Ham manager Slaven Bilic: "It's a big game for us. Sunderland are
desperate for a win and we are looking to win to secure or get closer to
securing safety.
"Every win gives you a boost, especially after five defeats in a row. The
confidence is back but the belief was permanent and we never lost it."


I actually think Sunderland will win this game, because they are at home and
it is basically the last throw of the dice.

Prediction: 2-1



Sunderland are winless against West Ham in seven Premier League meetings,
losing the last two 1-0.
However, they are undefeated in seven of the last nine home fixtures (W3,
The Hammers are looking for a first league double over Sunderland since

Sunderland have lost 10 of their last 14 matches - winning just one - and
they could suffer a fourth straight defeat for the first time this season.
They have gone seven matches without scoring, the worst Premier League run
since Derby in 2007. Crystal Palace are the only club with a longer barren
streak in the Premier League, going nine matches in a row without a goal in
The Black Cats have not won at the Stadium of Light in seven league games
since beating Watford 1-0 on 17 December.
Jermain Defoe has scored six goals in 15 Premier League games against his
former club West Ham, but is yet to score against them in three appearances
for Sunderland.
West Ham United

West Ham's victory over Swansea last time out ended a run of five straight
It was also their first clean sheet in 11 top-flight games.
The Hammers have lost 16 Premier League matches this season - twice as many
as last season.
Dimitri Payet has still created 33 more goalscoring chances than any other
West Ham player this season, despite playing his last game for the club on 2
SAM's verdict
Most probable score: 1-1 Probability of draw: 27%
Probability of home win: 33% Probability of away win: 40%
SAM (Sports Analytics Machine) is a super-computer created by @ProfIanMcHale
at the University of Salford that is used to predict the outcome of football

Sakho to miss Sunderland test
Filed: Friday, 14th April 2017
By: Staff Writer

Diafra Sakho is out of this weekend's trip to Sunderland, KUMB can confirm.
The Senegal international, who has barely featured for the club this season
made his return to the first team squad last week in the 3-0 defeat at
Arsenal but was an unused substitute at the weekend as West Ham beat Swansea
1-0 at the Olympic Stadium. And following rumours that Slaven Bilic was less
than happy with the striker's condition since returning to full training,
Sakho has been left out of the party that flew to the North East this
lunchtime (Friday). However there was slightly better news for Slaven Bilic
after Andy Carroll was passed fit to play - as is the case with Sam Byram,
who was a doubt earlier this week, and Aaron Cresswell. The trio are joined
in the squad by 18-year-old defender Declan Rice, who is yet to feature for
the first team. Meanwhile club captain Mark Noble, who is ineligible to play
this weekend after picking up his tenth booking of the campaign has
travelled with the first team party and is expected to sit with the away
fans at The Stadium of Light.

Sunderland v West Ham preview: Black Cats search for second league win of
Last Updated: 14/04/17 3:00pm

Bottom-club Sunderland's hopes of avoiding the drop are hanging by a thread
as they prepare to host West Ham in the Premier League. The Black Cats have
won just once in 2017 and are 10 points from safety, though they do have a
game in hand over 17th-placed Hull City. Meanwhile, West Ham were slipping
precariously close to the drop zone after a run of five defeats, but victory
over Swansea moved them up to 36 points alongside Leicester, Burnley and
Stoke. Captain Mark Noble believes the Hammers need just one more win to
confirm safety, while Sunderland are unable to hit the 40-point mark even if
they win their remaining seven games.

Team news

Bryan Oviedo has a hamstring injury and could be out for up to four weeks,
while John O'Shea could feature after returning to Sunderland training.
Sebastian Larsson is suspended for the clash after he was sent off against
Manchester United last weekend.
West Ham winger Michail Antonio has been ruled out for the rest of the
season after manager Slaven Bilic confirmed the 26-year-old suffered a
"significant" hamstring injury against Swansea last weekend. Noble begins a
two-match ban but Bilic is confident Andy Carroll, Sam Byram and Aaron
Cresswell will be fit to face.

Opta stats

Sunderland are winless in their last seven league games against West Ham (D3
L4), with the last two finishing 1-0 to the Hammers. However, West Ham
haven't done the league double against Sunderland since the 2008/09 campaign
(under Gianfranco Zola). Jermain Defoe has scored six goals in 15 Premier
League games against his former club, but he's yet to score against them in
three appearances for Sunderland. Sunderland have now gone seven successive
Premier League games and 675 minutes without scoring. The Premier League
record is currently held by Crystal Palace in 1994/95, who went nine
consecutive games and 838 minutes without a goal. On Saturday, it'll be over
three months since Sunderland scored a goal at home in the Premier League
(January 14) and they've now attempted 51 successiveshots without scoring at
the Stadium of Light.

West Ham have lost 16 Premier League matches this season, already twice the
number they lost in the whole of last season (8).

Merson's prediction

Sunderland, welcome to the last-chance saloon. I think they are down
regardless but they have to win this match to stand any chance.
There are ways of going down and they need to get three points for the fans,
to give them something ahead of next season.
You might as well turn the floodlights off if they lose.

PAUL PREDICTS: 1-0 (Sky Bet odds 10/1)


West Ham are Sky Bet's 6/5 favourites for the victory with Sunderland 21/10
while the draw is a 5/2 chance. Carroll and Defoe share favouritism in the
first goalscorer betting and are 4/1 to both find the net.

Bilic jokingly suggests West Ham player needs to borrow something from his
Antony Martin

The West Ham United midfielder has struggled to settle in his debut season
with the club. Hammers boss Slaven Bilic spoke to reporters ahead of his
side's clash against Sunderland tomorrow, and highlighted the qualities of
Edimilson Fernandes, sharing his 'huge' plans for the Swiss star next
season, as quoted by the club's official website. West Ham signed the
20-year-old from FC Sion in the summer of 2016, for a fee believed to be in
the region of £5.5 million, but he has taken his time to settle in East
London, making just three Premier League starts for Bilic's side this
season. The Croatian is adamant that Fernandes will come good, however,
sharing his belief that he will become a top player, as quoted by
"When we signed Edi most of the people, were a little surprised. He is not
starting a lot but he is playing. The impact he has made is quite
significant. Our plans for him in the next season are huge. I am expecting
him to be a top player. I spoke to him a few times and he has to learn his
English much better and he has already made a big step considering he came
at the age of 20. I spoke to him about the language and we are helping him,
it is key. He has improved a lot, but he has to do better. I spoke to his
cousin who is playing in France, Gelson Fernandes who speaks five languages,
perhaps he can loan Edi one!"

The Hammers squad has certainly been exposed as well below par this season,
with a lack of both quality and strength in depth leading to an
underwhelming campaign as a whole. And many of their poor performances this
season could be attributed to their weakness in the middle of the park, what
with Mark Noble regressing from last term, Havard Nordtveit failing to
settle and persistent injury problems for the likes of Pedro Obiang and
Cheikhou Kouyate. So maybe now is the time for the Switzerland international
to come to the fore, and show his manager and the West Ham fans what he is
truly capable of.

No comments: