West Ham - Sunderland Preview: Maiga in line for first start as Hammers face striker crisis
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
By Joe Krishnan
WEST HAM UNITED
Demel, Reid, Collins, McCartney
Noble, Nolan, Diame
Vaz Te, Maiga, Jarvis
Bardsley, Bramble, Brown, O'Shea
Larsson, Sessegnon, McClean
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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Top 3 Predictions
West Ham United 2-1 Sunderland
- 14.63 %
West Ham United 2-0 Sunderland
- 13.17 %
West Ham United 1-2 Sunderland
- 12.2 %
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Jan 12, 2013||Sunderland 3 - West Ham United 0|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Sep 22, 2012||West Ham United 1 - Sunderland 1|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||May 22, 2011||West Ham United 0 - Sunderland 3|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Dec 6, 2010||Sunderland 1 - West Ham United 0|
|England - Capital One Cup (League Cup) (CCUP)||Sep 22, 2010||Sunderland 1 - West Ham United 2|
|West Ham United|
|Dec 4, 2013||Crystal Palace 1 - West Ham United 0||EPL|
|Nov 30, 2013||West Ham United 3 - Fulham 0||EPL|
|Nov 24, 2013||West Ham United 0 - Chelsea FC 3||EPL|
|Nov 10, 2013||Norwich City 3 - West Ham United 1||EPL|
|Nov 2, 2013||West Ham United 0 - Aston Villa 0||EPL|
|12||Ricardo Vaz Te||Striker|
Times In MYT
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed