Sunderland will provide tough test for West Ham

The Hammers will look to cmake it three wins in a row when they travel to Sunderland on Sunday.

WEST HAM may have had their only away win in 16 months at the Stadium of Light, but that does not mean that Sunday’s televised game is going to be a walk in the park.

Far from it. Steve Bruce has turned his team into a class act and they currently sit in seventh place in the Premier League with 20 points.

In fact, their only home loss this term came against the Hammers in the Carling Cup when goals from Freddie Piquionne and Victor Obinna, sandwiched between a strike from Asamoah Gyan was enough for West Ham to progress.

The signing of Ghana international Gyan in a �13million deal from French club Rennes, signalled the intentions of the ambitious Sunderland board.


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Selling Kenwyne Jones was seen by many as a disaster, but with Darren Bent firing once again with nine goals this season, and Gyan adding six of his own, then most Black Cats fans have already forgotten the efforts of Jones.

Aside from that magnificent victory against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge last month, at home Sunderland have won three and drawn four of their league games so far, beating Manchester City 1-0, Aston Villa 1-0 and Stoke City 2-0.

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They have also grabbed a point against Birmingham, Manchester United, Arsenal and Everton – an impressive record.

Danny Wellbeck has arrived from Manchester United on loan and looked impressive with four goals to his name, while Nedum Onuoha has strengthened the defence after his temporary move from Manchester City.

Last season’s game at the Stadium of Light was another case of the Hammers throwing it away.

First-half goals from Guillermo Franco and Carlton Cole gave West Ham a healthy lead and when Kenwyne Jones was then sent off, it looked plain sailing for the Hammers.

It was not to be though.

Andy Reid pulled one back before half time and when Kieran Richardson levelled it was another two points dropped by Gianfranco Zola’s team.

Even scoring two goals in Sunday’s game may be too much to ask for with West Ham struggling for fit players.

Bruce will not wish to lose to the Hammers twice at home in one season and it is likely to be a much stronger and a much more pumped up Sunderland that comes out on Sunday.

That should be enough to win.

Possible team: Gordon, Ferdinand, Mensah, Bardsley, Onuoha, Richar-dson, Cattermole, Zenden, Henderson, Bent, Gyan.

Prediction

Sunderland 2 West Ham 1

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