On the surface it's an open and shut case. The team that can't win a premier league match, home or away, against the team that always wins on it's travels. West Ham have already emerged victorious this season from trips to Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City. The visit to Wearside will not have them quaking in their boots.
But is it that straightforward ? Slaven Bilic, the West Ham manager doesn't think so. In his press conference this week he said the trip to Sunderland was the Hammers toughest test of the season. "Increased expectations, no room for complacency etc. etc." Now that's all well and good, but you and I know fine well he was lying. He was being counter-intuitive and sending a badly disguised message to his players. He was really saying "As long as we turn up with our game head on, we will win this game."
But what if he's double, double bluffed himself ? If the Hammers begin to struggle on Saturday, it's a self-fulfilling prophecy. If Sunderland start well maybe the Black cats players and fans start to think "Bilic was right."
Or maybe not. For what it's worth, I DON'T think this is an open and shut case. True, Sunderland need to defend better, or at least not as badly. But I cling to the idea Sunderland aren't actually as bad and as hopeless a case as a lot of people seem to think. This is an opportunity for the Black Cats, no matter what the form book says.
- Sunderland Head Coach Dick Advocaat looks ahead to Saturday's home game against West Ham
Sunderland footballer Adam Johnson, 28, has appeared in court charged with allegations of sexual activity with a 15-year-old girl.
The footballer appeared at Bradford Crown Court on Friday morning, October 2.
The player, who has been capped 12 times by England, spoke only to confirm his name during the pre-trial review hearing.
Adam Johnson, from Castle Eden, County Durham, pleaded not guilty to three counts of sexual activity with a child and one count of child grooming at a previous hearing at Durham Crown Court.
Judge Jonathan Rose bailed the Sunderland winger Johnson until his trial, which is due to begin in February.
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Tributes have been paid to a football fan who died after being hit by a car on his way to Old Trafford for Sunderland's away match in Manchester.
Arthur Eade, 68, from Sunderland, was walking towards the football stadium with his son and grandson to attend the game later that day.
As Mr Eade crossed Europa Way, near to Wharfside Way, there was a collision with a Nissan Qashqai. He was taken to hospital suffering with serious head injuries and died overnight.
The driver of the car stopped at the scene and is helping police with their enquiries, Greater Manchester Police have said.
His family have said Mr Eade lived in Sunderland and was a passionate Manchester United fan.
Arthur was born and brought up in Sunderland where he had recently retired from his lifelong career as an HGV driver which took him all over the country.
Arthur had travelled down to Manchester with his son and grandson to watch the Manchester United versus Sunderland match as football was one of his passions and he was eagerly looking forward to the game.
Arthur was very much a family man and was a loving husband, father, grandfather, uncle, father in law, son in-law and brother-in-law.
His family also said that Mr Eade had a great sense of humour with a huge repertoire of jokes. They say he will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him.
Sunderland remain rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table after a 3-0 defeat which saw Manchester United climb to the top.Read the full story ›
Sunderland head coach Dick Advocaat said this afternoon that coming away from their encounter with Manchester United tomorrow with one point would be a 'great result'.
Whatever happens, he said he would be happy to chat to his opposite number Louis van Gaal after the match, and even share a glass of wine with him.
You can watch the whole press conference here.
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Yet another poor start to a season means that we’re already looking to play catch-up, and the relegation battle has already begun.Read the full story ›
Dick Advocaat once again lamented Sunderland's defensive short-comings in the wake of their League Cup thrashing at the hands of Manchester City - but the head coach said there was "no point in name calling."
Advocaat refused to point the finger at individuals, despite a dreadful opening that saw the Black Cats blasted out of the League Cup well before half time.
City led four-nil at the break and the Premier League leaders attacked wonderfully well at times. But the truth is Sunderland made life easy for City's rampant forwards.
Ola Toivanen's second half goal was barely even a consolation for the punch drunk home supporters.
"I was not happy again with the way we gave the goals away, but there's no sense to call some names because everybody could see the mistakes. Simple mistakes on this level is not possible, especially not against a team like that."
But he was determined to look on the bright side, as he addressed the task on lifting Sunderland off the bottom of the premier league table.
"No I'm not angry. I was pleased players like Johnson, Toivanen, Lens, Borini and M'Vila played for 90 minutes. That is important. So no I am not that negative as maybe everybody expected."
Sunderland manager Dick Advocaat has said in a press conference that he would leave the club if he didn't think he was up to the task of leading the team, but that he was "very far from that".
The Black Cats suffered a bruising 2-0 defeat to Bournemouth at the weekend leaving them bottom of the Premier League.
Advocaat admitted that he had been angry at the team for giving away two easy goals in the first 15 minutes, even if later passages of play showed promise.
When trying to explain the poor start to the season, he said some of the clubs new signings had not been fit enough to play when they arrived in Sunderland.
"If you'd seen our preseason, the last week three players came in who hadn't trained. no excuses, but they need time to get in the right shape."
He also said he was certain that better times lie ahead:
Sunderland face Manchester City at home in the third round of the Capital One Cup tomorrow, September 22nd.