SAFC V Swansea

Preview: West Ham v Sunderland

by Kate Smith

Preview ahead of Boleyn Ground trip (Saturday, 3pm).

Sunderland face their third away test in four league games when they face newly-promoted West Ham at the Boleyn Ground.

The Black Cats have drawn all three of their Barclays Premier League fixtures so far, including last week’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool.

Steven Fletcher’s goal helped Sunderland secure a point, taking his tally to three goals in two league games.

Martin O’Neill’s men have also secured points in both their away games so far this season, earning draws at Arsenal and Swansea.

The Hammers, meanwhile, have enjoyed a promising start to life back in the top flight after winning promotion via the play-offs last season.

A campaign-opening 1-0 home win over Aston Villa was followed by a 3-0 reverse at Swansea.

However, the Hammers bounced back immediately by beating Crewe in the Capital One Cup and then put Fulham to the sword at the Boleyn Ground, netting three times without reply.

A 0-0 away draw at Norwich last time out was a useful result for a Hammers side which was reshaped over the summer.

In came the likes of Matt Jarvis, Jussi Jaaskelainen and Andy Carroll, although the latter has been ruled out with an injury picked up on his debut against Fulham.

Sunderland’s last visit to the Boleyn Ground came on the final day of the 2010-11 season, with the Hammers’ relegation to the Championship already confirmed.

The visitors ran out 3-0 winners with goals from Bolo Zenden, Stephane Sessegnon and Cristian Riveros to secure their first victory at the Boleyn Ground in five attempts.

That win completed a Barclays Premier League double for the Black Cats, who also ran out 1-0 winners in the reverse fixture on Wearside thanks to Jordan Henderson’s goal.

The two sides have faced each other 82 times in all competitions, with West Ham’s 32 wins narrowly beating Sunderland’s 30, with a further 20 games ending all square.

Opta Facts
A win for Sunderland at Upton Park in May 2011 ended a run of six wins in a row for the Hammers against the Black Cats on home soil in the top flight.

If the Hammers keep a clean sheet they will equal their best run of three home shut-outs from the start of a Barclays Premier League season.

Steven Fletcher has scored three goals from three shots on target for the Black Cats.

All seven of the goals netted by Sunderland and West Ham in the Barclays Premier League this season have been scored in the first half of games.

West Ham have conceded more fouls than any other team in the top flight this season (62).

Sam Allardyce has a record of three wins and just one defeat in five Barclays Premier League matches as a coach against Martin O’Neill.

Martin O’Neill has seen his teams enjoy one win at Upton Park in the Barclays Premier League (Aston Villa, December 2008) (W1 D2 L5).