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  • 22 September 2012
  • • 15:00
  • • Boleyn Ground, London
  • Referee: L. Mason
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West Ham - Sunderland Preview: Maiga in line for first start as Hammers face striker crisis

West Ham - Sunderland Preview: Maiga in line for first start as Hammers face striker crisis

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A shortage of options up front means that Sam Allardyce could hand the new signing his first start since joining from Sochaux as the hosts look to maintain their decent run of form

  PROBABLE LINEUPS

WEST HAM UNITED

Jaaskelainen
Demel, Reid, Collins, McCartney
Noble, Nolan, Diame
Vaz Te, Maiga, Jarvis


SUNDERLAND

Mignolet
Bardsley, Bramble, Brown, O'Shea
Cattermole, Gardner,
Larsson, Sessegnon, McClean

Fletcher


With Carlton Cole doubtful after limping off during West Ham's 0-0 draw with Norwich and on-loan striker Andy Carroll already sidelined with a hamstring injury, manager Sam Allardyce could give a full Premier League debut to Malian striker Modibo Maiga, who signed from Ligue 1 outfit Sochaux this summer.

Fellow summer signing Matt Jarvis, who started on the bench against Norwich, could replace Matthew Taylor on the left flank in the starting line up as Allardyce looks to use their home advantage to field an attacking formation, with Ricardo Vaz Te starting on the right-hand side.

Welsh central midfielder Jack Collison is still missing as he continues to recover from a knee injury, so the West Ham midfield is likely to be unchanged with Mark Noble, Kevin Nolan and Mohamed Diame all set to start. Former Black Cat George McCartney is likely to start at left-back ahead of Joey O'Brien, as the rest of the back four remains unchanged.

It is a case of two in two out in defence for Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill ahead of their tricky trip to Upton Park. Carlos Cuellar and Danny Rose both suffered injuries in the 1-1 draw with Liverpool, but O'Neill will be boosted by the return of Phil Bardsley (ankle) and Wes Brown (knee ligament) to deputise.

As a result of Rose's absence, versatile defender John O'Shea is poised switch to left-back, with Titus Bramble likely to be the preferred option ahead of Matthew Kilgallon to fill the void left by O'Shea and partner Brown at centre-back.

O'Neill is set to keep the attacking trio of James McClean, Stephane Sessegnon and Sebastian Larsson in the starting XI with a view of supporting the club's top scorer Steven Fletcher, who has notched three goals in as many games for his new club.


  DID YOU KNOW?
  • West Ham are yet to concede a goal at home this season, beating Fulham 3-0 and Aston Villa 1-0 in their opening two games at Upton Park.
  • Former Northern Ireland international George McCartney enjoyed two successful spells at Sunderland between 1998-2006 and 2008-2012 before joining West Ham this summer.
  • Modibo Maiga, who is set to make his first Premier League start for the Hammers, contracted malaria while playing for Mali in the Africa Cup of Nations earlier this year, and missed their 1-0 semi-final defeat to the Ivory Coast as a result.
  • Sunderland's record transfer signing Steven Fletcher (pictured right), who cost a reported £14 million from Wolves, has scored all three of their goals this season in the Premier League.
  • In the clubs' last meeting back in May 2011, Sunderland came away from Upton Park with a convincing 3-0 victory, with goals from Boudewijn Zenden, Stephane Sessegnon and Cristian Riveros condemning West Ham to relegation.
  • Sunderland have drawn all three of their opening games in the 2012/13 campaign. The only team to beat that is Stoke City, who have drawn their first four games this season.
  • The Black Cats could have no fewer than three defenders in their starting line-up who have played for Manchester United: Wes Brown (1996-2011), John O'Shea (1999-2011) and Phil Bardsley (2003-2008).


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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
22Jussi JaaskelainenGoalkeeper
2Winston ReidDefender
17Joey O'BrienDefender
19James CollinsDefender
20Guy DemelDefender
4Kevin NolanMidfielder
7Matthew TaylorMidfielder
16Mark NobleMidfielder
21Mohamed DiameMidfielder
9Carlton ColeStriker
12Ricardo Vaz TeStriker
13Stephen HendersonGoalkeeper
3George McCartneyDefender
5James TomkinsDefender
7Matthew JarvisMidfielder
30Yossi BenayounMidfielder
26Gary O'NeilMidfielder
10Modibo MaigaStriker
22Simon MignoletGoalkeeper
3Danny RoseMidfielder
16John O'SheaDefender
19Titus BrambleDefender
33Lee CattermoleMidfielder
7Sebastian LarssonMidfielder
8Craig GardnerMidfielder
14Jack ColbackMidfielder
-James McCleanMidfielder
28Stéphane SessegnonMidfielder
9Steven FletcherStriker
20Keiren WestwoodGoalkeeper
27Matthew Kilgallon Defender
-David VaughanMidfielder
7David MeylerMidfielder
10Fraizer CampbellStriker
10Connor WickhamStriker
8Louis SahaStriker
Players to Watch
Modibo Maiga
Modibo Maiga
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 10
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
It will be interesting to see how the Mali international deals with the pressure of picking up West Ham's goals in the absence of Carroll and Cole. The 24-year-old scored 24 goals in 59 games for Sochaux before moving to Upton Park, and with his strength, pace and eye for goal, he could well be a handful for the Sunderland defence.
Sebastian Larsson
Sebastian Larsson
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 7
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
With James McClean impressing on the left-hand side and new signing Adam Johnson coming back from injury, the Swede knows that he must keep his performances to a high standard if he wants to play regularly on the right. It has been suggested that Larsson could move into the centre of midfield, but with Cattermole and Gardner striking a decent parternship, the pressure is on Larsson to produce a performance.
Prediction

The Hammers have had a decent start to the season with them lying in eighth position in the Premier League and have been particularly impressive in front of their home fans. However, Sunderland have shown their strength this season and the combination of Sessegnon and Fletcher could be too much for West Ham with Sunderland taking their first win of the season back to the north-east.

Editor's Prediction

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