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Sunderland simply need points more than West Ham in survival scrap

Sunderland, odds-on at 4/5 to be relegated, are the lowest home scorers in the Premier League with 13. They host a West Ham side under Sam Allardyce that has kept that number of clean sheets – only Chelsea have shut the opposition out more often.

Punters’ eyes are thus automatically drawn to backing both to take a share of the spoils at 9/4. The reverse fixture was 0-0, and that scoreline repeating itself here is a tempting 10/1.

Only Cardiff and Norwich have netted less often on the road than the Hammers, so couple that with similar struggles for the Sunderland strikeforce at the Stadium of Light, and there is extra weight to that argument.

It was hard to see where goals would come from in another battle at the bottom, between West Brom and the Bluebirds, however, and six (three apiece) subsequently flew in. You can afford to be more decisive about the outcome between the Black Cats and Big Sam’s boys.

Wearside outfit Sunderland may have picked up just one Premier League point, and had one win in all competitions, since they beat Northeast rivals Newcastle, but they have lost just once to West Ham in six top-flight meetings at home. Back Gus Poyet to mastermind victory over Allardyce at 23/20.

Sunderland’s wide wonder Adam Johnson and Sweden international Sebastian Larsson were on target in this fixture – one of two 3-0 wins for the Black Cats (a 20/1 chance here) in the last four – in the previous campaign. Take odds of 4/1 and 6/1 respectively if you fancy either of them to score anytime again.

Ignore the fact that Sunderland and the Hammers have both failed to net on a dozen occasions this season. Pundits believe Big Sam needs one more win to be sure of safety, so he may as well go for it. You can enjoy odds of 11/4 if the visitors scoop three points.

The boo boys will be watching, though Allardyce would be well-advised not to criticise the travelling support after the lengthy round trip West Ham fans face here. Target men Andy Carroll and Carlton Cole cannot be relied upon for score for the Hammers against this opposition, however.

It is to West Ham club captain Kevin Nolan and fellow midfielder Mohamed Diame that punters must look for goals in this encounter. The former has five in his last four outings when paired with Sunderland. Back Nolan at 7/1 to score first.

Senegal’s Diame, meanwhile, has netted twice during his last three visits to the Stadium of Light. Allardyce may continue to deploy him in a nominal wide right berth, but odds of 5/1 on him getting a goal anytime are attractive.