Week 32 of the Premier League has already been one that will live long in the memory with 52 goals rattling in over the week.
But good news—it’s not finished yet. Wednesday night sees a pair of fixtures with massive implications at the top and bottom of the division.
Liverpool are looking for yet another Luis Suarez- and Daniel Sturridge-inspired victory over lowly Sunderland to keep their Premier League title ambitions alive, while West Ham United and Hull City clash at Upton Park with vital points on the line at the bottom.
The Reds’ strike partnership, dubbed "the SAS," are just eight goals away from breaking the goalscoring record for a partnership set by Newcastle United’s Andy Cole and Peter Beardsley back in the 1993/94 season (55), per Lee Ryder of Chronicle Live, and they’ll see the Black Cats as the perfect opposition to get the ball rolling on their march toward history.
Meanwhile, West Ham will also turn to their season’s most effective frontman to fire them to victory against Hull. According to OptaJoe on Twitter, Carlton Cole, who has scored five Premier League goals this season, is prolific against the Tigers:
4 - Carlton Cole has scored in each of his 3 league appearances for West Ham at home against Hull City, netting a total of 4 goals. Fired.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 26, 2014
A full Premier League table following Tuesday night’s drama is below along with more in-depth predictions for Wednesday’s ties.
|14||West Ham United||30||8||7||15||-8||31|
|16||West Bromwich Albion||30||5||13||12||-12||28|
|West Ham United||Hull City||2-0|
Liverpool vs. Sunderland
If you’d told me at the start of the season that Liverpool would be right up there chasing the title in the dying embers of the campaign, I would have thrown insanity accusations your way.
But here we are in Week 32, and Brendan Rogers’ side are looking title-worthy for the first time since the 1989/90 season. Their sensational form looks set to continue at Anfield with the visit of Sunderland.
You have to go all the way back to October 1983 for the last time that the Black Cats took all three points at Anfield, one of just 18 victories that the Wearsiders have recorded since their first-ever meeting all of 78 matches ago, according to Sunderland-Mad.
If Sunderland are to take something from Wednesday’s game, then they’ll need to keep Premier League top scorer Luis Suarez quiet—a feat that they haven’t managed to accomplish in their last six meetings with the Reds, according to commentator John Bradley on Twitter:
Luis Suarez has scored 7 goals in 6 games against Sunderland, including a double in each of the last 2 meetings. All the best— John Bradley (@JBcommentator) March 26, 2014
It’s all shaping up to be another fabulous day at the office for the goal-hungry Reds, and having scored 24 goals in their last six Premier League matches, I’d be quaking in my Mackem boots if I were a Sunderland fan.
The Blacks Cats have scored once in their last four matches in all competitions and face a Liverpool side that have conceded just 12 at Anfield all season, so I expect a similar shutout on Wednesday.
I’m not saying that Sunderland have no chance. Gus Poyet is doing a great job up at the Stadium of Light, but the statistics don’t lie. However, if you believe in jinxes, go and put a bet on 1-0 Sunderland.
Prediction: Liverpool 4-0 Sunderland
West Ham United vs. Hull City
West Ham’s fruitful February saw them claim four Premier League wins out of four to ease their relegation worries, but a miserable March of three losses on the spin has put them right back in the mix.
It's just about the right time for Hull City to visit Upton Park then as the Hammers have a strong record against the Tigers.
According to BBC Sport, Hull’s last victory at West Ham came 24 years ago in the old Division Two—and the promising signs for the East Londoners don’t stop there.
The Hammers have won all of their last four league matches against Hull at Upton Park with consummate ease, notching up 14 goals and conceding just two.
Though, according to Hull City’s official Twitter account, the Tigers do have some cause for optimism heading into Wednesday’s tie based on West Ham’s recent form:
West Ham are currently on a run of three successive top-flight defeats - the first time this has happened under Sam Allardyce #UTT— Hull City Official (@hullcityteam) March 26, 2014
However, the Tigers’ away form in the Premier League hasn’t done them many favours over the season. Steve Bruce’s side have recorded just three victories on the road in the current campaign, two of which came against sides currently in the bottom three.
West Ham have recorded 2-0 wins in three of their five home wins this season, and I expect more of the same during the visit of Hull. With one of the meanest defences in the league—having kept a joint-best clean sheets total of 13 so far this season—it’s hard to see the Hammers’ back line being breached by the Tigers.
The simple task remains for Sam Allardyce’s men of making sure they put the ball in the back of the net at the other end.
Prediction: West Ham United 2-0 Hull City