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Maintaining impeccable away record essential for West Ham at Sunderland

02 Oct | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Maintaining impeccable away record essential for West Ham at Sunderland

The Hammers' fine victories against Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City will be undermined if they drop points at the Stadium of Light

It would be remiss of West Ham to defeat three of the Premier League’s best teams and then drop points against its worst.

The Hammers’ stellar start – coupled with the bipolar form of the division’s more established sides – has given them a genuine opportunity to enjoy their finest season in a long time.

Despite being third with 13 points from seven games, a Champions League place is, realistically, not attainable.

The top six, however – which would be their highest position since finishing fifth in 1998/99 – most certainly is.

That is why maintaining their impeccable away record at Sunderland on Saturday is so important.

Slaven Bilic’s side have won three from three on the road – beating Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City 2-0, 3-0 and 2-1 respectively – and are 11/8 to make it four.

Intelligent and incisive counter-attacking was crucial in those victories and they should be able to play similarly at the Stadium of Light.

And while Sunderland’s style is anything but expansive, their need to claim a first win of the campaign – and perform respectably for their deserving supporters – means they cannot be content to simply contain.

Diafra Sakho, Victor Moses and Dimitri Payet, therefore, will be thrilled.

Sakho, who notched the only goal of the game when these two sides met at Upton Park in February, has started his second season in English football impressively.

And having netted three in his last four outings, the 25-year-old Senegalese striker is 5/1 to open the scoring.

The summer signings of Moses and Payet, meanwhile, have transformed the Hammers from an efficient side to one that is slick and stylish in attack.

Moses scored his first goal for the club against City two weeks ago, while Payet – one of the top flight’s outstanding performers so far – has struck three times in six games.

The duo are 3/1 and 11/4 respectively to score at any point during the 90 minutes.

It is a reflection of just how poor Sunderland have been that their chances of avoiding relegation are readily being dismissed despite the season being less than a quarter of the way through.

Dick Advocaat’s side are 2/1 to claim all three points, but there is little reason to believe that they are capable of doing so.

The Black Cats have gone three games without a goal in the league – a dismal run which has hardly been helped by the Dutchman’s tendency to deploy Jermain Defoe as a winger.

It is a curious decision considering the former West Ham striker is clearly the club’s most clinical finisher.

Defoe has scored five times on Wearside this campaign – including a hat-trick against Exeter in the Capital One Cup – and is 14/5 to net at any time in a Sunderland win.

But the likelihood of the hosts achieving a positive result is remote should West Ham’s performance in their fourth away game resemble anything like their previous three.

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