Looking to build off their massive 1-0 victory over Swansea City last Saturday, West Ham United face bottom-side Sunderland Saturday afternoon in the Stadium of Light.
Slaven Bilic displayed a reaction of relief after Cheikhou Kouyate’s terrific strike before halftime secured all three points for the Hammers, ending a five game losing streak that placed unnecessary pressure on Bilic and his players’ shoulders. While the Croatian boss will certainly feel that West Ham aren’t completely out of the relegation picture yet, he isn’t nowhere near the dire situation that David Moyes is in at the moment.
The Black Cats are all but down, with a return to The Championship looming more inevitable now after another clear defeat last Sunday, a 3-0 pasting at home vs Manchester United. They need to win out realistically to avoid the drop, as they are ten large points behind 17th place Hull City for survival with just seven matches remaining for them.
With Michail Antonio now out for the season and Mark Noble suspended, Bilic goes into another match well short of his main team. But while Winston Reid wasn’t close to return for this one, Aaron Cresswell, Andy Carroll and Sam Byram are available.
Meanwhile, for Sunderland, influential midfielder Sebastian Larsson is suspended. He joins long-term absentees Jan Kirchhoff, Duncan Watmore and Paddy McNair. But centerback John O’shea is back for them.
Can the Hammers seal their stay into the Premier League and further put Sunderland into future second division living again? Find out next.
LINEUPS AND BENCH
Stay tune for a possible halftime update.
FIRST HALF RECAP
Well, despite an enjoyable first half to watch (Khaziri’s olimpico goal withstanding), it was summed up by this image: Another, ANOTHER injury for West Ham to deal with:
What in the hell is going on with this team and its luck this season??