Saturday 27 February 2016

Selection Headaches for Slav Key to Kickstarting Eurodrive

While much of the attention will focus on the return of Sam Allardyce, today's clash is vital for both West ham and Sunderland, albeit for very different reasons.

The Hammers are still well positioned to make a late season charge for a European place. These efforts will undoubtedly be buoyed by the host of key players returning from injury. Although Diafra Sakho is not yet ready to enter the fray, Winston Reid and Andy Carroll may well enter from the subs bench today, while Manny Lanzini will possibly start.

At right back, Sam Byram and Michail Antonio are both in the running for a starting berth. Sunderland are offensively strong on the left side with Van Aanholt being their best performer this season such that the Hammers will need to be well organised at right back.

Up front, Emmanuel Emenike found his form with a brace against Blackburn last weekend and should get the starting berth with Andy Carroll ready to shake it up from the bench if needed.

Mike Dean will preside over proceedings and Bilic will be expecting him to police Sunderland's efforts to contain the other-worldly talents of Mr Payet. No doubt the ever-vocal home fans will provide every assistance in his important efforts!

West ham look increasingly capable of scoring right now, with a variety of potential sources of supply for goals. As such, if they can dominate possession they should translate that into scores with Payet, Emenike, Antonio, Lanzini and Moses all more than capable. Cheikidh Kouyate's rescinded red card is thus a key midweek development as it will add muscle in the middle of the park.

Meanwhile, Hammers fans will enjoy ribbing both Allardyce and Defoe as the pantomime villains in what should be another passionate day at the Boleyn. Kick off is 12.45.

Sunderland will try to keep it tight but we expect our gamechangers to make the difference. Put your cash on 2-0.


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