Sat 14 Dec 2013 15:00 – West Ham v Sunderland (Boleyn Ground)

Referee: Andre Marriner

This game could have great significance for both teams as we approach the half way point in the season. West Ham are just outside the relegation zone – thanks to goal difference – and only Sunderland have fewer points on the board than them. A defeat for the Hammers would put even more pressure on under-fire boss Sam Allardyce and could also see them slip into the relegation positions. A win for Sunderland would not change their position at the foot of the table but it could bring them to within two points of their relegation rivals, and prevent them from being cut adrift from the rest of the league.

With the poor form of both teams, the match betting options do not look obvious, but the home side will be slight favourites to win this fixture. However, there are some corner betting options worth taking a look at for this game. The statistics show that 85.7% of West Ham’s home games and 57.1% of Sunderland’s away games have less than 10.5 corners per game. West Ham’s home matches have a total average of 8.7 per game and Sunderland’s away games have an average of 9.7 corners per game. Therefore the corner betting market offers the most predictable trend for this game and produces a very good probability of under 10.5 corners. West Ham can also be expected to win the most corners but with a narrow margin.

West Ham will add Stewart Downing to the long list of injured players that already includes Winston Reid, Andy Carroll, Ricardo Vaz Te and Mladen Petric, while Kevin Nolan will be missing through suspension after receiving a red card in the 4-1 loss to Liverpool. Ravel Morrison is expected to step in for the absent Nolan after his recent good form. Meanwhile, Sunderland are hoping that Spanish defender Carlos Cuellar will be back from injury for this game, but they will be without injured keeper Kieren Westwood meaning that Vito Mannone will continue in goal for the Black Cats.

Sunderland have only scored two goals away from home this season and their last away goal was scored back in August. Gus Poyet faces a difficult task of reversing that poor record against a West Ham team that did manage a win in their last home fixture against Fulham. Sunderland have failed to win 17 of their last 19 matches in the Premier League, so backing them to draw or lose could be a good match betting option. Both teams have poor form but West Ham have a recent home win under their belt and will enjoy home advantage against the worst away team in the league. A home win looks like the sensible choice with under 10.5 corners as the best corner betting option.

Match prediction: West Ham 1-0 Sunderland 

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