Former Ipswich Town and Bournemouth midfielder Matt Holland has told Marathon Bet that Aston Villa and Norwich City are looking certain to go down while also placing doubts over Sunderland’s chances of survival.
Villa, Sunderland and Newcastle United currently make up the bottom three, but there is a growing feeling that the latter two are improving while Norwich in contrast are on the slide.
With Newcastle not playing this weekend and Norwich travelling to Leicester City, Sunderland have a decent shot of starting next week sitting out of the relegation zone for the first time in months.
“One thing I will look for in this game is Dimitri Payet," Holland told Marathon Bet. "He’s a great player. If Sunderland and Sam are to get anything out of this match, he’s the man they need to stop. I think a West Ham win, but only just.
“With Villa looking unlikely to pull off a Leicester of last season, and probably Norwich joining them, I think Allardyce might have one of his toughest tasks as a manager yet to not join them both in relegation this season.”
Despite the numerous doubts over Sunderland’s chances of survival, their recent form is extremely encouraging and their improvements at the back has made a telling difference.
Allardyce’s side still have to play both Norwich and Newcastle, and they will know that results against their direct rivals could prove the difference between staying up and relegation to the Championship.