The beauty of two teams who are battling some footballing troubles playing each other is that, over the course of the 90 minutes, one side can use it as a counselling session that will break them free from those worries for good.
When Sunderland (winless away and the league’s worst defence) travel to Upton Park to face West Ham (joint-second worst home record and equal fourth least potent attack) it will be the hosts who exorcise their demons and look back at this clash as the point it all changed.
Not since the first two home games of last season have the Hammers strung together consecutive victories at their place and, having bested also-struggling Fulham 3-0 in their last trot out in east London, will rarely have a better opportunity to double up at the Boleyn.
Sunderland have simply been woeful on the road this season, under either of their two managers. They have played out five straight away days without scoring a goal and only have two to their name in total on the road this season.
With West Ham’s seven clean sheets, a number only bettered by Everton, suggesting another forlorn afternoon in front of goal is in store for the Black Cats, the 9/4 on a Hammers win to nil is the advised bet here.
Yes, goals have been a problem for Sam Allardyce’s charges but they have the benefit of playing a side who seem quite keen on helping the opposition find the net.
Sunderland have netted five times at the wrong end this season, three more than any other side in the division, so if West Ham can’t break the deadlock themselves there’s a distinct chance Sunderland will do it for them.
But with the north east club so prone to conceding on the road, they’ve shipped two or more in four of their last seven, even the goal-shy Irons should be capable of filling their boots.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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