Home form the anchor that will drag sorry Sunderland down

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Certain squads in the Premier League are meant to be too good to go down. At some point, the heralded players at the club are meant to let their qualities shine through and drag the team out of trouble. That’s the thinking anyway.

Sunderland are this year’s version but, ahead of their Monday night clash with West Ham, are yet to see that theory bear fruit, with time running out.

The Black Cats will have games in hand on all of their relegation rivals after the Hammers clash, but should they lose to Sam Allardyce’s men will have that as little comfort for their survival chances.

Five of the nine remaining games that Sunderland have to play in the Premier League are at the Stadium of Light, a fact that will be giving manager Gus Poyet’s sleepless nights.

His side are the worst outfit in the division when playing at home, having collected just 12 points in front of their own fans all season long.

With West Brom and Cardiff, the two sides immediately above them in the relegation scrap, still to visit, a triumph over West Ham is of vital importance to get the winning wheels sufficiently lubricated ahead of those two crunch games.

Ladbrokes make Sunderland favourites to do that, at an industry-best price of 13/10, while West Ham are 11/5 to head back to London victorious and 23/10 available on a draw.

Sadly, it’s the Hammers’ price that should be taken though, having won five of their last eight games home or away.

With Sunderland still also needing to play five of the top seven in the final stretch of the season, their form – which stands at six games without a win in any competition – needs to be reversed in the Irons battle to stand any chance of beating the drop.

Unfortunately the venue of the match means they stand next to no chance of achieving it.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.