West Ham in need of all three points against happy Hull
Neither West Ham nor Hull City are completely out of the relegation woods yet, but a victory for either on Wednesday night would certainly make for a more relaxed final run-in to what has been a fraught campaign for management and fans in both camps.
West Ham (10/1 with Coral to go down) are more in need of a victory, three successive defeats (following four wins out of four in February) leaving them three points behind the Tigers and just six points clear of the drop zone.
There’s just no respite for the Hammers after this game; their last seven fixtures are either against top six clubs with either the title or a Champions League place on their minds, or dog-eat-dog relegation scraps against Sunderland, Crystal Palace and West Brom.
Hull have a kinder run-in (as well as Wembley to look forward to) and will also be in better spirits after beating West Brom 2-0 at home last Saturday, while West Ham went down by the same scoreline at home to Manchester United.
And while Big Sam is delighted to have Andy Carroll back in action, Steve Bruce will be happier still with his new strike-force of Nikica Jelavic and Shane Long, who have done as much as anybody to steer Hull into calmer waters.
Coral make West Ham their 13/10 favourites with Hull 12/5 (11/5 the draw) and you would expect the home team to be more on the front foot than they were against Wayne Rooney and co. I fancy they might just nick it, either 1-0 (6/1) or 2-1 (9/1).
Liverpool need only another 18 goals in their last eight games to reach a century and they might just fancy making big inroads at home to struggling Sunderland.
Certainly, with Luis Suarez alone having score more goals this season (28) than the whole of the Sunderland side put together (26), this looks a pretty hopeless task for a team yet to win at Anfield in the Premier League, fairly reflected in Coral’s odds of 16/1.
The Black Cats looked as though they were on their way out of trouble not so long ago, but just one point from their last four games is real cause for concern and they are now 10/11 to go down with Cardiff and Fulham (both 2/7).
With Steven Fletcher injured and Fabio Borini ineligible, Sunderland have even less firepower at their disposal, but this will surely be all about what happens at the other end of the pitch as the rampant Reds go for another big kill to take them to within a point of Chelsea at the top of the table.
Liverpool have scored 24 goals while notching up six straight Premier League wins and we are probably in for a few more – 4-0 (9/1) would keep the average going nicely.