- West Ham one point outside the top-five
- Sunderland one point below safety
- Payet: 3 goals, 3 assists in his last 3 games
Dimitri Payet looks to lead West Ham into the top-five on Saturday, but must get through a Sunderland side battling for Premier League survival (Watch live, 7:45 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra).
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West Ham are unbeaten at Upton Park in their last 12 matches in all competitions, and that strong home form has led the Hammers up to seventh on the table. Just one point outside the top-five, Slaven Bilic has his side primed for a spot in Europe next season and will look at this match against a struggling Sunderland as a great opportunity for another win.
Dimitri Payet continues to lead the way for West Ham, as the French playmaker has three goals and three assists in his last three matches. With Andy Carroll returning to the squad from injury, Payet will have one more option on the attack.
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Sunderland’s last match was a surprise win over Manchester United, but that result came two weeks ago as the Black Cats have been training in Dubai during their time off. Now back in England, Big Sam heads to Upton Park for the first time since leaving West Ham last May. Allardyce helped lead the Hammers back to the Premier League, and would like nothing more than to get a shock result against his former club.
What they’re saying
West Ham boss Slaven Bilic on Allardyce’s return: “They [Hammers fans] should respect him, he did great for West Ham. He is one of the most famous and long-serving English managers, 20 years or so, very successful and charismatic. He got us back from the Championship and then stabilised the club in the Premier League so he has done amazing job and he should be praised big time.”
Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce: “It will be a difficult task for us but I sense the players have got a lot more belief in themselves with recent results. I sense they feel more comfortable with the situation to try and strive to get away from the bottom three. We have three big games – two away and one at home – and we have to try and maximise our points total as much as we possibly can to try and alleviate our position.”
West Ham are keen to crack the top-five, and with the recent form of Dimitri Payet, it will be tough for Sunderland to handle things defensively. Hammers win as Big Sam falls on his return. West Ham United 2-1 Sunderland.