West Ham United - Sunderland Preview: Can Allardyce have a happy return?

The Black Cats travel to the Boleyn Ground for the early kick off of the weekend.

West Ham United - Sunderland Preview: Can Allardyce have a happy return?
Photo: 90min.com

Sam Allardyce will be hoping for a victory on his first return to West Ham United since leaving the club last year. That will be easier said than done however, as West Ham are on a fantastic run of form at the moment.

The facts and figures

The statistics don't make pretty reading for Sunderland fans going into this tie. West Ham are currently on a 10 game unbeaten run at the Boleyn Ground, whereas Sunderland have only won two of their last 15 games away from home.

Sunderland have allowed 158 shots on their goal so far this season, which is more than any other side in the league. They have also conceded the joint-most amount of penalties this season, sharing the title with Norwich City.

The Black Cats may want to try and snatch an early lead, as West Ham have conceded more goals in the first half than any other side in England's top flight this term.

The Hammers have some extra incentive going into this weekend's game though, as a win would see them beat their best ever 27 game Premier League points total.

Jeremain Lens saw red in the reverse of this fixture earlier in the season. | Photo: Getty
Jeremain Lens saw red in the reverse of this fixture earlier in the season. | Photo: Getty

Who will feature?

Last time out, Sunderland snatched a fantastic 2-1 win against Manchester United and that may make Allardyce want to keep the same starting XI. If no changes are made to the Sunderland side, then it will be the first unchanged line up for the Wearsiders since May 2014.

Jan Kirchhoff has recovered from a hamstring injury in time for the clash, which means he is likely to start in the defensive midfield role. Wahbi Khazri and Dame N'Doye are likely to start down the wings again too after impressing recently.

Fans want answers

Whilst Allardyce's selection headache continues down the right wing, Sunderland fans appear to be unhappy after allegations made this week by former player Adam Johnson, that club officials knew he had kissed and groomed an underage girl. 

Fans want to know why Johnson was allowed to play in the first team and collect his £60,000 weekly wages if the club knew he was guilty. 

The club have promised to make a full statement once the trial has finished.