West Ham v Sunderland: It’s a grudge match for Big Sam Allardyce, but he can land the crushing blow with this 13/2 shot

He loves playing against his former sides

Sam Allardyce is set for a grudge match with former club West Ham

Back Sunderland to upset the odds in this heavyweight bout

Big Sam Allardyce looks like a man who would probably hold a grudge. His grumpy expressions, snarling top lip, and sheer delight when ‘sticking one to the big guy’, gives us the impression that he doesn’t let go lightly. Allardyce strikes us as a man that would hold on to a Christmas Day Trivial Pursuit family controversy for as long as it takes for him to exert his revenge five years later.

And the statistics are almost threatening to back up this wild assumption…

Since leaving Bolton, Sam has managed four more sides – Newcastle, Blackburn, West Ham, and now Sunderland. And since April 2007 Allardyce has played against one of his former sides 16 times – losing just four. He’s not a man who will go down easily against a former employer, and he can prove a point again against West Ham at Upton Park on Saturday.

David Gold and co. parted ways with Sam in ‘mutual circumstances’ at the end of the 2014/15 season, but with two wins in his last 17 games we’re presuming it wasn’t all handshakes and smiles when Allardyce shot out of the door…

Sam Allardyce's win rate against his former clubs

Sam Allardyce’s overall win rate against his former sides is 50 per cent – winning eight of his 16 matches. Only one of those was with Sunderland, however it was a very notable win if you’re living in the North East, and that was the 3-0 win against fierce rivals Newcastle in the Tyne-Wear derby. In fact, Allardyce has now gone five games unbeaten against his former sides in all competitions, winning two and drawing three.

And before Big Sam gets tarred with a ‘long ball, boring football’ brush, some of these results have been very entertaining. There’s been an average of 2.38 goals a game in those 16 matches, in 56 per cent of them there have been over 2.5 goals, and in 50 per cent of them, Sam Allardyce’s side have kept a clean sheet. There’s more than one reason why the high-flying Hammers should be concerned.

Unsurprisingly given their league position and recent form, West Ham are the red-hot favourites at , with Sunderland a punt and the draw is . But these odds may not take into account Big Sam’s passion to get one over his former side.

In 2016 Sunderland have lost just two of their seven Premier League games, so punters may get tempted by the  on Sunderland to win or draw. But there’s a slightly more ambitious shot that has caught our eye. There have been more than 2.5 goals in 77 per cent of the Black Cats’ league matches this year, and there have been more than 2.5 goals in four of Sunderland’s six top flight wins this term.

West Ham have conceded in 69 per cent of their league games this year, and we fancy Big Sam Allardyce to put it up to his former employer again. The Hammers are seven points off the top four and, while they’re clear of relegation, they don’t have a whole lot to play for in the league. A win for Sunderland can lift them outside of the drop zone, and we fancy them to pick up three points with over 2.5 goals in the game at . Big Sam isn’t going to go down without a fight…

What do you think?