Sunderland match preview

Barclays Premier League
Boleyn Ground
Saturday 4 April
Referee: Mike Jones


• West Ham United welcome Ricky Sbragia's Sunderland for the club's 16th home match of the 2008/09 Barclays Premier League season.

• West Ham have won seven home league matches (Wigan Athletic, Blackburn Rovers, Newcastle United, Stoke City, Fulham, Hull City and Manchester City), drawn two (Portsmouth and West Bromwich Albion) and lost six (Bolton Wanderers, Arsenal, Everton, Tottenham Hotspur, Aston Villa and Manchester United).

• The Hammers go into Saturday's match unbeaten in their last four Premier League matches. A Jack Collison volley saw Manchester City beaten 1-0 at the Boleyn Ground on 1 March before Carlton Cole's fine finish earned victory by the same scoreline at Wigan Athletic on 4 March. A goalless stalemate at home to West Brom on 16 March was followed by a 1-1 draw at Blackburn on 21 March.

• West Ham are looking to complete their third Premier League double of the season on Saturday, having previously tasted victory at home and away against Fulham and Wigan.

• Zola's side go into the match in eighth place in the Premier League table. West Ham are level on 41 points with seventh-placed Wigan but below the Latics on goal difference. The Hammers are seven points behind sixth-placed Everton and a point ahead of ninth-placed Fulham. A seventh-place finish will be good enough to qualify for next season's UEFA Europa League.

• Sunderland go into the contest14th in the table with 32 points from 30 matches, a point behind 13th-placed Hull City but only three points ahead of 18th-placed Newcastle United and the relegation zone.

• This is the 68th league meeting between the two sides. West Ham have won 24, Sunderland have won 26 and there have been 17 draws.


• Saturday's referee is Mike Jones.

• Jones is in his first season as a Premier League referee.

• Jones, who turned 39 on New Year's Day, has refereed in all four divisions of the Football League this season, taking charge of matches involving clubs as far apart as Aston Villa and Accrington Stanley.

• This will be the second time Jones has taken charge of a West Ham United fixture this season, having been the man in the middle during the Hammers' 2-1 Premier League win over Stoke City on 28 December.

• Jones has officiated in 31 matches this season in all competitions. He has issued 87 yellow cards and sent-off four players.

Last time out

Saturday 21 March 2009
Barclays Premier League
Blackburn Rovers 1-1 West Ham United
West Ham United
: Green, Neill, Tomkins, Spector, Ilunga, Noble, Parker, Kovac, Boa Morte (Lopez 79), Tristan (Payne 90), Di Michele (Dyer 82)
Subs not used: Lastuvka, Sears, 'Gala, Stanislas
Booked: Parker
Goal: Noble 35

Sunday 22 March 2009
Barclays Premier League
Manchester City 1-0 Sunderland
Fulop, Bardsley, Collins, Ferdinand, McCartney, Edwards, Whitehead, Leadbitter, Murphy (Davenport 16), Malbranque (Reid 72), Jones (Cisse 72)
Subs not used Gordon, Yorke, Healy, McShane,
Booked: Bardsley, Davenport, Ferdinand, Leadbitter, Reid
Sent-off: McCartney

West Ham United

• West Ham go into Saturday's match seeking to extend their unbeaten home run in all competitions to four matches. Since losing 1-0 to Manchester United on 8 February, the Hammers have drawn 1-1 with Middlesbrough in the FA Cup fifth round and beaten Manchester City 1-0 and drawn 0-0 with West Brom in the Premier League.

• West Ham's biggest ever home win over Sunderland came in the shape of an 8-0 success at the Boleyn Ground on 19 October 1968. England striker Geoff Hurst scored six goals - including a hat-trick in each half - while Bobby Moore and a young Trevor Brooking added one apiece.

• West Ham's most recent home win over Sunderland came last season, on 21 October 2007, when goals from Craig Bellamy, Carlton Cole and an own-goal by Black Cats goalkeeper Craig Gordon earned the Hammers a 3-1 victory. Kenwyne Jones netted Sunderland's consolation.

• Carlton Cole is West Ham's top scorer in the Premier League this season with nine goals. He has eleven in all competitions.

• Goalkeeper Robert Green is the only West Ham player to have played every minute of the club's 30 Premier League matches so far this season. Matthew Upson has started 28 games.

• Carlton Cole has unleashed more shots on target (45), off target (29) and in total (74) and made more assists (5) than any other West Ham player. Cole has also been caught offside (28) and committed more fouls (62) than any of his team-mates.

• Defender Matthew Upson has made more defensive clearances (45) and blocks (25) than any other West Ham player.


• Sunderland go into Saturday's match without a win in their last five Premier League matches. Since tasting success in the shape of a 2-0 win over Stoke City on 7 February, the Black Cats have drawn at Arsenal (0-0) and at home with Tottenham (1-1) and lost at Liverpool (2-0), Manchester City (1-0) and at home to Wigan (2-1).

• The Black Cats have failed to win any of their last six Premier League away fixtures.

• Sunderland's biggest ever win at the Boleyn Ground came on 25 August 1931, when the Black Cats secured a 3-0 victory in east London.

• Sunderland's most recent win at West Ham came in Division One on 29 April 2005. Marlon Harewood gave the Hammers a first-half lead before second half goals from Julio Arca and Stephen Elliott, with three minutes remaining, won the game for the visitors.

• France striker Djibril Cisse is Sunderland's top scorer with ten goals in all competitions. The on-loan Marseille man has netted nine times in the Premier League. Trinidad and Tobago hitman Kenwyne Jones has seven league goals to his name and nine in all competitions. Former Hammer Kieran Richardson has three Premier League goals to his name.

• No Sunderland player has started all 30 of the club's Premier League games this season. Steed Malbranque has started 29, while Danny Collins has started 27 and Dean Whitehead and Kieran Richardson 25 each.

• Steed Malbranque is joint first in the Premier League assists table with nine. Only Manchester United's Dimitar Berbatov and Arsenal's Robin Van Persie can match that tally.

• Djibril Cisse has unleashed more shots on target (46), off target (42) and in total (88) than any other Sunderland player.

• Steed Malbranque has committed more fouls (33) and won more free-kicks (41) than any other Black Cats player.

• Defender Danny Collins has made more defensive clearances (47) than any other Sunderland player, while Anton Ferdinand (21) has made more defensive blocks.

Team news

• West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola will have central defenders Matthew Upson and James Collins fit for selection after both missed the club's two previous Premier League matches against West Brom and Blackburn. Upson got 90 minutes for England in the 4-0 win against Slovakia last Saturday while Collins played two full games for Wales as they lost 2-0 to Finland and Germany on Saturday and Wednesday respectively.

• The pair's return means Zola is spoilt for choice at the centre-back position, with James Tomkins performing superbly in the pair's absence alongside Lucas Neill, who helped Australia move to the brink of the World Cup finals with a 2-0 defeat of Uzbekistan in Sydney on Wednesday.

• England Under-20 defender Tomkins, who celebrated his 20th birthday last Sunday, has been part of a defence that has conceded just one goal in their last four Premier League matches. He played 45 minutes for the Young Lions in their 2-0 midweek win against Italy, when Freddie Sears played the whole game and Junior Stanislas had a late run-out off the bench.

• England forward Kieron Dyer is expected to feature on Saturday after successfully coming through his first team comeback at Blackburn and an hour of the 4-2 friendly victory over Chelsea on 27 March. The 30-year-old has been in full training at Chadwell Heath this week and is eager to make his mark between now and the end of the season.

• Zola has also been boosted by the return from injury of forward Savio, who completed 87 minutes for Germany Under-20s last weekend after recovering from a minor knee injury.

• Carlton Cole will be out for around six weeks with a groin injury suffered on international duty with England in the 4-0 win against Slovakia last Saturday. The striker will not require surgery.

• Zola will be without midfielders Valon Behrami and Jack Collison. Both are making good progress after suffering knee injuries. Switzerland international Behrami is undergoing rehabilitation work at Chadwell Heath as he begins the road back from an anterior cruciate ligament injury. Wales international Collison is closer to recovery after suffering a dislocated kneecap in the 1-0 victory at Wigan.

• Radoslav Kovac is a slight injury doubt after picking up a knock to his thigh while on international duty with the Czech Republic in their 2-1 midweek defeat by Slovakia. His midfield partner Scott Parker has been troubled by a groin problem in recent weeks.

• Wales defender Danny Gabbidon is continuing his recovery from back and stomach injuries by working with the club's medical staff at Chadwell Heath.

• Sunderland could be without striker Kenwyne Jones, who has had his training time limited in recent weeks due to tiredness. The forward was used as a second-half substitute by Trinidad and Tobago during their 3-0 CONCACAF 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying defeat by the United States in Nashville on Wednesday.

• Defender Nyron Nosworthy could be back in Sunderland's first-team squad for the first time since tearing his hamstring against Aston Villa on 17 January. The former Gillingham player made his comeback in Thursday evening's reserve team match at Liverpool.

• Finland midfielder Teemu Tainio is a doubt as he continues to battle a persistent knee injury. The problem kept the 29-year-old out of his country's squad for this week's internationals against Wales and Norway. Tainio has not featured since 21 February.

• Former West Ham forward David Connolly is sidelined with a groin injury. The Irishman has not played for Sunderland this season.

• Former Hammers left-back George McCartney is available for the game after the red card he received in the 1-0 defeat at Manchester City was rescinded, and played in his country's 1-0 win against Slovenia on Wednesday.

• On-loan West Ham defender Calum Davenport is not eligible to feature under Premier League rules.

Last meeting

• The teams met at the Stadium of Light on Sunday 23 November 2008. West Ham left Wearside with a 1-0 victory thanks to Valon Behrami's first goal for the club.

• The lineups were:

Sunderland: Fulop, Bardsley, Nosworthy, Ferdinand, Collins, Malbranque (Edwards 66), Whitehead, Reid (Murphy 66), Richardson, Jones (Diouf 81), Cisse
Subs not used: Colgan, Tainio, Colback, Henderson

West Ham United: Green, Neill, Collins, Upson, Ilunga, Faubert (Boa Morte 76), Parker, Bowyer (Mullins 61), Behrami, Bellamy (Di Michele 87), Cole
Subs not used Lastuvka, Davenport, Collison, Sears
Goal: Behrami 20

Attendance: 35,222

Old boys

• Anton Ferdinand began his career at West Ham's famed Academy, making 163 appearances and scoring five goals for the Hammers before joining Sunderland last August. The 24-year-old defender has made 28 league and cup appearances for the Black Cats this term.

• Left-back George McCartney spent two seasons at the Boleyn Ground, making 71 appearances and scoring one goal for West Ham. The Northern Ireland defender made 157 appearances during his first spell with Sunderland before joining the Hammers in August 2006. After two years in east London, McCartney headed back to Wearside and has made 18 appearances this season.

• England midfielder Kieran Richardson began his career at West Ham, but failed to make a first team appearance before joining Manchester United in 2002. The 24-year-old joined Sunderland in July 2007 and has since made 46 appearances, scoring six goals.

• Among the other players who have represented both clubs are Dick Bell, Gary Breen, Clive Clarke, Keith Coleman, Ernest England, John Foreman, Harry Forster, Jack Foster, Harry Hooper, Don Hutchison, Mick McGiven, Andy Melville, Billy Moore, Bryan 'Pop' Robson and Dave Swindlehurst.

Head to head

Last six meetings (Premier League unless stated)

23 November 2008 - Sunderland 0-1 West Ham United
29 March 2008 - Sunderland 2-1 West Ham United
21 October 2007 - West Ham United 3-1 Sunderland
4 February 2006 - West Ham United 2-0 Sunderland
1 October 2005 - Sunderland 1-1 West Ham United
29 April 2005 - (Championship) West Ham United 1-2 Sunderland

Overall record v Sunderland (all competitions) W 29 D 19 L 28

Next up

• West Ham will travel to Tottenham Hotspur for a Barclays Premier League fixture on Saturday 11 April, with kick-off at 3pm

• Sunderland will play host to Manchester United in the Barclays Premier League on Saturday 11 April, with kick-off at 3pm

General information

• For ticket information, click here

• Engineering works will take place on the c2c line this Saturday. A full service will operate with some minor retimings to services between Barking and Upminster. Only services from London are affected by these retimings. Services via Ockendon will depart three minutes earlier from Fenchurch Street, Limehouse, West Ham and Barking.

• The District line will be suspended between Embankment and Upminster on Saturday. Two rail replacement bus services operate. Service A will operate between Barking and Dagenham East, Upney, Becontree and Dagenham Heathway. Service B will operate between Barking and Upminster, calling at Dagenham East, Elm Park, Hornchurch and Upminster Bridge. The Circle line will also be completely suspended on Saturday.

• Saturday's weather forecast is for light rain, with a maximum daytime temperature of 12C.