Despite the lack of goals, this started out exciting and went from there. Both teams set out to move the ball wide quickly early on, and as the wide players found space, the space of time between crosses at either end was short. We got frantic football, from two teams who needed the points.
Pretty quickly, crosses became chances. On six minutes, Jozy Altidore was slipped in by a clever reverse pass from Italian international, Emanuele Giaccherini. With a lot of time inside the area, Altidore waited and waited, but when he finally released his low shot Jussi Jaaskelainen guessed the right way and got a hand to it, pushing the ball wide.
West Ham replied with a Joe Cole dropped shoulder and shot, just wide, and a disallowed goal, but it was Sunderland who created chances in larger numbers. Phil Bardsley hit the bar from 25 yards, Giaccherini’s shot from the edge of the area looped up after a deflection before bouncing wide, and Ki fired two shots at goal after corners were floated out to him.
The second half had fewer goal-related incidents. Both teams appeared to run out of ideas, or get scared of losing an important game, and the ball spent more time out of the control of both sides, or lingering in midfield.
A draw was a fair result, and the game drifted that way for entire second 45 minutes. As such, neither team really got what they needed from this game.
6’ - ALTIDORE MISSED CHANCED - Altidore is played in! He's one on one with the keeper, with a lot of time, but his shot is too predictable: the keeper stands up, then throws himself at the ball as it heads towards his bottom right.
21’ - WEST HAM PRESSURE RESULTS IN DISALLOWED GOAL - And then the ball is suddenly in the Sunderland net, but there's been a whistle, maybe for a handball! There aren't too many complaints....Good pressure from West Ham though. That came from another ball floated in from out wide.
50’ - ALTIDORE GOES CLOSE AGAIN - Big chance for Altidore! The ball's knocked into Ki inside the West Ham penalty area, he flicks it backwards, where Altidore's waiting. He hits the ball first time, skewing it slightly, but with a lot of power. It's deflected just over!
90’ - CARLTON COLE ALMOST WINS IT RIGHT AT THE END - Carlton Cole so close! He's come on for Joe Cole and as Maiga's ball into the area is swung in, his head connects with it, but not quite enough! It drifts just wide. Oof.
TALKING POINT: Neither will be happy with this result. A point is sometimes a great result for a team fighting around the bottom of the table, but it’s all about context. Had either team been able to muster one substantial enough piece of quality today, they’d have walked away with all three points. Instead, both drifted towards a point in the second half, and both remain in trouble - albeit Sunderland a little more than West Ham.
West Ham are only one point clear of the relegation zone.
West Ham now have eight clean sheets this season, joint most in the division, with Everton. The problem is that they can’t score.
Sunderland are now unbeaten in their last five matches against West Ham (W3, D2)
The 31 previous top-flight games between the sides at Upton Park have not produced a single goalless draw. Today, then, represents a momentous occasion.
Sunderland have now failed to win their last ten away league matches (D3, L7).
MAN OF THE MATCH
JOZY ALTIDORE: He missed two chances to score, but if you’re a striker for a team in the relegation places and your movement and power are good enough to make any chances for yourself, you’re doing alright.
WEST HAM: Jaaskelainen 6, McCartney 6, Tomkins 6, Jarvis 6, Maiga 6, Morrison 7, Noble 6, Collins 7, Demel 6, Diame 7, J.Cole 6. Subs: Collison 6, O'Brien 5, C.Cole 6.
SUNDERLAND: Mannone 7, Bardsley 7, Ki 6, Brown 6, Larsson 6, Celustka 6, O'Shea 6, Altidore 7, Giaccherini 7, Borini 6, Cattermole 6. Subs: Dossena 5, Fletcher 6, Johnson 5
MATCH IN A TWEET