WE keep saying that these are must-win games, but, with Sunderland now four points adrift from safety, with away games coming up against Spurs, Man City, Chelsea and Man United – it’s now or never!, writes Keith Appleton.
Certainly, the Black Cats could do with emulating the Hammers’ recent form, with the Londoners winning five of their last eight games, making them safe in mid-table.
Former Magpie tormentors Nolan and Carroll will relish winding up an anxious Wearside crowd as Sunderland look to improve on their pathetic return of one point from a possible 15.
As Poyet needs goals, the most realistic option seems to be a Borini/Wickham front two, with a midfield including Ki and Johnson offering offensive threat and either Cattermole or Bridcutt providing defensive midfield security.
I don’t expect to see last week’s Anfield five-man defence, as this is more appropriate for the above mentioned away games.
The key question isn’t should we play Altidore (we shouldn’t) but Giaccherini, who promises so much with his pedigree, but offers so little. He needs to deliver NOW to save our season and his World Cup.
Anything less than three points and West Ham will surely have hammered a nail into our relegation coffin.
Prediction: Sunderland 1 West Ham 0