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Premier League

  • 22 May 2011
  • • 16:00
  • • Boleyn Ground, London
  • Referee: A. Taylor
  • • Attendance: 32792
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West Ham - Sunderland Preview: Black Cats look for first win at Upton Park in over a decade

West Ham - Sunderland Preview: Black Cats look for first win at Upton Park in over a decade

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Visitors haven't won in the top flight on the final day of the season since May 1984, whilst Hammers caretaker boss Kevin Keen looks to field youthful starting XI


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PROBABLE LINE-UPS

West Ham (4-3-3): Green; Bridge, Da Costa, Gabbidon, Jacobsen; Collison, Parker, Hitzlsperger; Sears, Ba, Hines.

Kevin Keen assumes a caretaker manager role that the 44-year-old has already hinted he would like to make permanent, with the West Ham first team coach also pledging to field a young side featuring the club's up and coming prospects.

There will also however be signs of the transition the Hammers will have to make as they adapt to the Championship, with Scott Parker and Demba Ba likely to say their farewells at Upton Park on Sunday, a reminder of the pedigree of player that is set to leave the Boleyn Ground in the summer.

Sunderland (4-5-1): Mignolet; Mensah, Ferdinand, Onuoha, Bardsley; Malbranque, Henderson, Colback, Zenden, Elmohamady; Sessegnon.

The full-time whistle on Sunday will provide welcome relief from a mounting injury list for the Wearside club. Titus Bramble, Lee Cattermole, Frazier Campbell and Danny Welbeck all remain sidelined ahead of the visit to east London.

Steve Bruce could give Anton Ferdinand an earlier than preferred return to the starting XI due to his current defensive injury woes, but may choose not to start striker Asamoah Gyan despite the Ghanaian international returning to training this week following a hamstring strain.

DID YOU KNOW?
  • West Ham have taken all the spoils in their past six encounters with Sunday’s visitors at Upton Park, an effort from Brazilian forward Ilan providing a vital 1-0 victory last season as the Hammer’s successfully fought to beat the drop.
  • Sunderland have failed to win at Upton Park for over a decade, with their last triumph in this fixture coming in a 2-0 victory on January 13 2001.
  • Despite remaining undefeated in the capital this season, the stats continue not to bode well for Steve Bruce’s men, with the Black Cats having failed to win on the final day of a top-flight season since a 2-0 defeat of Leicester in May 1984.
  • A 3-2 defeat at Wigan last Sunday condemned West Ham to Championship football next term; however, if only the first half of games had counted this season, the Hammers would be sitting safely in 15th place with 42 points.
  • Sunderland have dropped 23 points from winning positions this campaign, but only need one more to record their best Premier League points total for 10 years.

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
1Robert GreenGoalkeeper
42Jordan SpenceDefender
19Danny GabbidonDefender
5James TomkinsDefender
3Wayne BridgeDefender
34Boa MorteMidfielder
10Thomas HitzlspergerMidfielder
-Jack CollisonMidfielder
40Freddie SearsStriker
41Zavon HinesStriker
39Frédéric PiquionneStriker
-Ruud BoffinGoalkeeper
15Radoslav KovacDefender
2Lars JacobsenDefender
28Scott ParkerMidfielder
46Junior StanislasStriker
-Dylan TombidesStriker
33Victor Nsofor ObinnaStriker
22Simon MignoletGoalkeeper
-Anton FerdinandDefender
15Nedum OnuohaDefender
2Phil BardsleyDefender
27Ahmed El MohamadyMidfielder
17Steed MalbranqueMidfielder
14Jack ColbackMidfielder
14Jordan HendersonMidfielder
7Boudewijn ZendenMidfielder
28Stéphane SessegnonMidfielder
3Asamoah GyanStriker
24Trevor CarsonGoalkeeper
34Blair Adams Defender
16C. RiverosMidfielder
-Jordan CookMidfielder
30Billy Knott Midfielder
31Ryan NobleStriker
38Craig LynchStriker
Players to Watch
Jack Collison
Jack Collison
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 0
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
The Welsh midfielder could well be the driving force behind any West Ham resurgence in the Championship next season, and the 22-year-old will no doubt be keen to prove his worth following an injury-plagued campaign.

Collison returned to action in the 1-1 draw with Blackburn and made the starting XI in the 3-2 away defeat at Wigan, and has since been recalled by Wales boss Gary Speed to the international squad.
Stéphane Sessegnon
Stéphane Sessegnon
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 28
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
After a disappointing start to his Sunderland career following a £6 million January move from Paris Saint-German, Sessegnon has gradually begun to show signs he may settle at the Stadium of Light in recent weeks.

The Benin international bagged his second goal of the season in last Saturday’s 3-1 defeat to Wolves, after assuming an unfamiliar lone striker role in the absence of a number of key forwards.
Prediction
This may well be West Ham’s final game in the Premier League at Upton Park - if the Hammers are unable to haul themselves out of the Championship and back into the top flight before their mooted move to the Olympic Stadium.

Both sides will no doubt be relieved to call it a day on what has been an unrewarding season, and with neither the home team nor the visitors Sunderland entering the game with momentum or something to truly play for, I’m going for, or possibly hoping for, a relatively entertaining 2-2 draw.
Editor's Prediction

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