Saturday 14th December
West Ham United vs Sunderland
What an important game this is. Two teams in real need of a victory will meet tomorrow afternoon, and let's hope it's West Ham who can claim all three points.
I'll jump straight into it, shall I?
What can we expect from Sunderland? Well, that's a tricky one. Gus Poyet had been lining up his side in a 4-1-4-1 formation this season, but made a bold switch to 4-4-2 in last weekends unfortunate defeat to Spurs.
I'd imagine he's likely to return to one up top tomorrow, as Sunderland's away record has been pretty poor this season. Played 7, won 0, drawn 2, lost 5.
If we take a look at Sunderland's last away game, a 0-0 draw at Villa Park a fortnight ago, you can see that they aren't the most positive team on their travels.
During that game, they managed just the one shot on target and spent most of the game defending. In fact, they attempted 15 tackles during that game (winning 11 of them), though just one came in the opposition half, and the majority coming in and around their penalty area.
The image below shows their team heat map from that game. You can clearly see that their busiest areas of the field by far are in their penalty area and into defence. You can also see that there was a huge void in the Villa penalty area, where Sunderland struggled to get their forwards into the game.
When the Black Cat's do manage to get their forwards involved, they have some real quality up top.
Steven Fletcher is (surprisingly) Sunderland's worst performer this season (according to the Squawka performance rating system), but he possesses a very good record in the Premier League for struggling sides.
Since moving down from Scotland in 2009, Fletcher has managed 43 goals in 135 appearances, scoring at a rate of one goal every 3.1 games, with a conversion rate of 16%.
Whilst that may not be the most prolific record in comparison with the likes of last weekends nemesis Luis Suarez, Fletcher's record is astonishing when you look at the sides he has played in. The Scot has only ever played in relegation battles, with his highest place finish to date 17th position (2010/11 with Wolves, and 2012/13 with Sunderland).
The image below shows Fletcher's conversion record in the Premier League (colour coded by club he was playing for). As you can see, his record this season has been far below the standards he has set over the past three years, when his average conversion rate was up at 19%. Despite the fact that the Scottish international is going through a bit of a lean period, he remains a very potent attacking force, and a player that West Ham's defence will need to keep out of the game.
One area where Sunderland have struggled this season is defensively. The Mackems have conceded 30 goals this season, 16 in their first 7 matches under Paolo Di Canio, and 14 in their next 8 under current manager Gus Poyet.
However, they have appeared a slightly more cohesive defensive unit in recent weeks. This has been largely down to the central defensive partnership of Wes Brown and John O'Shea.
The former Manchester United pair have been reunited at the heart of the Sunderland back four for the past six matches, and it has seen a marked improvement on their rate of conceding. In the first 9 games of the season, Sunderland conceded at a rate of 2.3 goals per game. Since Brown and O'Shea have been back in the side together, this has dropped to 1.5 per game (and this was largely impacted by the four conceded against Chelsea).
They are a formidable pair, and compliment each other well.
The image below shows Wes Brown's defensive actions this season. He has made 6 interceptions, 9 blocks and 37 clearances in his 6 appearances so far, but has only had to make 7 tackles (winning the ball on 6 occasions), displaying his ability to read the game, and be in the right place at the right time.
O'Shea, on the other hand, is more of a blood and thunder type of defender.
In the past six games, the Irishman has attempted twice as many tackles as his English colleague, winning 71% of them. He has also won 73% of his 26 headed duels - showing that he is a match for any of the big strikers the Premier League has to offer.
We all know that West Ham need a win tomorrow. Sunderland are the sort of team we should be beating at home. However, the Black Cats aren't going to roll over and have their tummies tickled. They have some very good players, and West Ham will be in for a game.
Let's hope we can pick up where we left off in our last home game.
Head to Head
38% Head to Head Win % 37%
32 Won 31
21 Drawn 21
31 Lost 32
131 Goals Scored 123
123 Goals Conceded 131
D L L W L L Last 6 W W L D L L
5 Goals Scored 7
11 Goals Conceded 9
L W L D L W Home/Away Form L L L L L D
9 Goals Scored 1
11 Goals Conceded 13
Form Player (Last 6 League)
Mark Noble - John O'Shea
6 Appearances 6
537 Minutes Played 540
139 Sum Squawka Performance Score 177
23 Average Squawka Performance Rating 30
424 Passes Attempted 243
367 Completed 193
87% Success Rate 79%
7 Chances Created 2
0 Assists 0
1 Attempts on Goal 1
0 On Target 1
0 Goals 1
15 Take Ons Attempted 0
12 Successful Take Ons 0
80% Success Rate 0%
26 Tackles Made 14
9 Successful Tackles 10
35% Success Rate 71%
11 Interceptions 14
3 Clearances 38
4 Blocks 8
3 Defensive Actions Per Game 10
4 Aerial Duels 26
3 Won 19
75% Success Rate 73%
1 Defensive Errors 0
0 Leading to a Goal 0
12 January 2013
1-0 Sebastien Larsson 12'
2-0 Adam Johnson 47'
3-0 James McClean 74'
4-2-3-1 Starting Formation 4-2-3-1
Jussi Jääskeläinen - Simon Mignolet
Guy Demel - Craig Gardner
James Collins (34') - John O'Shea
Winston Reid - Titus Bramble
Daniel Potts - Jack Colback
Jack Collison (46') - Sebastien Larsson
Alou Diarra - David Vaughan
Joe Cole - (84') Adam Johnson
Kevin Nolan - (88') Stephane Sessegnon
Matt Jarvis - James McClean
Carlton Cole (56') - (78') Steven Fletcher
Raphael Spiegel - Kieran Westwood
James Tomkins (34') - Phil Bardsley
Matthew Taylor - Matthew Kilgallon
Mohamed Diamé - (84') Alfred N'Diaye
Gary O'Neil - (88') James McFadden
Ricardo Vâz Te (46') - Fraizer Campbell
Marouane Chamakh (56') - (78') Connor Wickham
West Ham United: Winston Reid, James Tomkins, Rǎzvan Raţ, Stewart Downing, Ricardo Vâz Te, Mladen Petrić, Andy Carroll
Sunderland: Kieran Westwood, Carlos Cuellar
West Ham United: Kevin Nolan
Opposition Last Time Out
vs Tottenham Hotspur
Goals Scored: 1
Goals Conceded: 2
Starting Formation: 4-4-2
Ondrej Celustka (77') John O'Shea Wes Brown Phil Bardsley
Sebastien Larsson Ki Sung-Yueng Jack Colback (67') Adam Johnson (67')
Jozy Altidore Steven Fletcher
Lee Cattermore (67')
Emanuele Giaccherini (77')
Fabio Borini (67')
Best Player: Adam Johnson
Squawka Rating: 37
Worst Player: Ondrej Celustka
Squawka Rating: -17
Top 5's (Min 5 Apps)
Ravel Morrison 3 - 2 Emanuele Giaccherini
Ricardo Vâz Te 2 - 2 Phil Bardsley
Joe Cole 2 - 2 Steven Fletcher
Carlton Cole 1 - 2 Craig Gardner
Winston Reid 1 - 1 Jozy Altidore
Matt Jarvis 2 - 2 Jack Colback
Ravel Morrison 2 - 1 Jozy Altidore
Kevin Nolan 2 - 1 Adam Johnson
Stewart Downing 1 - 1 Sebastien Larsson
Mohamed Diamé 1 - 1 Wes Brown
Ravel Morrison 87% - 89% Ki Sung-Yueng
Mark Noble 84% - 87% Jack Colback
Stewart Downing 82% - 84% Valentin Roberge
Joe Cole 82% - 82% John O'Shea
Kevin Nolan 80% - 82% Sebastien Larsson
Chances Created per game
Stewart Downing 2.1 - 1.4 Adam Johnson
Mark Noble 1.8 - 1.2 Sebastien Larsson
Matt Jarvis 1.2 - 0.7 Jozy Altidore
Kevin Nolan 1 - 0.7 Emanuele Giaccherini
Guy Demel 0.9 - 0.6 Ki Sung-Yueng
Successful Dribbles per game
Mohamed Diamé 2.2 - 1.3 Emanuele Giaccherini
Ravel Morrison 1.9 - 1 Adam Johnson
Mark Noble 1.8 - 0.9 Phil Bardsley
Stewart Downing 0.9 - 0.6 Ki Sung-Yueng
Guy Demel 0.9 - 0.4 Jack Colback
Tackles per game
James Collins 2.8 - 3.3 Phil Bardsley
Mohamed Diamé 2.7 - 2.8 Valentin Roberge
Kevin Nolan 2.6 - 2.4 Lee Cattermore
Mark Noble 2 - 2.4 Sebastien Larsson
Winston Reid 2 - 2.1 Ki Sung-Yueng
Aerial Duels Won per game
Modibo Maïga 6.5 - 3.3 Steven Gletcher
James Tomkins 4.7 - 2.8 John O'Shea
James Collins 3.8 - 2.2 Jozy Altidore
Winston Reid 3.2 - 1.6 Phil Bardsley
Carlton Cole 2 - 1.2 Wes Brown
Sam Allardyce - Gus Poyet
41.2% Current Club Win % 33.3%
45 Won 3
29 Drawn 1
36 Lost 5
39.9% Managerial Career Win % 44.3%
339 Won 86
228 Drawn 59
283 Lost 49
2 League Titles 1
0 Cup Wins 0