But, in Yann M'Vila, Sunderland do have a big positive in midfield.
Indeed, the summer signing has added a rare energy and quality at the Stadium of Light and, compared to West Ham's Cheikhou Kouyate, actually comes off very well.
|Goals||Assists||Chances Created||Dribbles||Passing Accuracy||Final-Third Passes||Tackles||Interceptions||Minutes Played|
As Opta stats show, Kouyate has scored two more goals for West Ham in less minutes than M'Vila has for Sunderland this season, while also registering an assist.
But the Black Cats midfielder has created twice as many chances, completed far more of his passes, and made more passes in the final third. Defensively, he has also won as many interceptions and just one less tackle.
The Hammers man has won more dribbles, of course, but M'Vila is clearly equal to the West Ham midfielder - even if the respective league position of his Sunderland side doesn't show it.
It should be an intriguing midfield battle at the Stadium of Light on Saturday afternoon, although it may well be West Ham's pace on the break that once again wins the day.