Saturday's big match preview

Sunderland v West Ham United Saturday, October 31, 3pm The Stadium of Light SUNDERLAND have found the secret of Premier League success – spend big and score goals! You can t knock it. While West Ham were scratching around for a cut-price striker, the Blac

Sunderland v West Ham United

Saturday, October 31, 3pm

The Stadium of Light

SUNDERLAND have found the secret of Premier League success - spend big and score goals!


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You can't knock it. While West Ham were scratching around for a cut-price striker, the Black Cats were throwing �10m at Spurs for former Hammers target Darren Bent.

And paired with the giant Kenwyne Jones as well as a run of games in a starting line-up, he has proved a great success and propelled Sunderland to a marvellous eighth place in the table, with 10 points more than West Ham!

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Bent has grabbed eight goals already this term and with Jones weighing in with five of his own, it has proved the secret of their success.

West Ham should take heed that Sunderland's best results have come at the Stadium of Light where they have won four out of their five Premier League games.

Only Chelsea (3-1) have come away with all three points, while Blackburn (2-1), Hull City (4-1), Wolves (5-2) and Liverpool (1-0) have all been sent home with their tails between their legs.

As well as Bent, Steve 'The Excuse' Bruce brought in plenty of other big-money signings during the summer.

Lorik Cana arrived from Marseille and has been an important part of the side so far, while Michael Turner signed from Hull, Frazier Campbell from Manchester United, Lee Cattermole from Wigan and John Mensah on loan from Lyon.

The last two are likely to miss out on Saturday through injury, but with the likes of Steed Malbranque and Andy Reid running the midfield, this will be a tricky match for the Hammers.

West Ham will look to emulate the result they managed in the north east last season.

Then Valon Behrami's first-half strike was enough to give them all three points in a dull game at the Stadium of Light, leading to a double for the Hammers after goals from Junior Stanislas and James Tomkins gave them a 2-0 home victory back in April.

Anton Ferdinand will be hungry for a big game against his old club and will get a good reception from his former fans, while George McCartney is injured once again and likely to be replaced at left back by Kieron Richardson.

West Ham will be looking for lift-off after their fine comeback against the Gunners on Sunday, but a trip to in-form Sunderland is perhaps not the match they would have hand-picked to carry on that revival.

The Mackems are not a soft touch anymore. They have the firepower, if Bent is fit for Saturday, to hurt any team which they proved by beachballing Liverpool to defeat a couple of weeks ago.

Scott Parker is harshly suspended and that could be the decisive factor as we predict the home side to nick it.

POSSIBLE TEAM: Gordon, Bardsley, Turner, Ferdinand, Richardson, Cana, Henderson, Malbranque, Reid, Bent, Jones.

Prediction:

Sunderland 2 West Ham 1

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