Sunderland made an emphatic return to form with a 3-0 win over an out-of-sorts West Ham at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.
Sebastian Larsson, Adam Johnson and James McClean were all on target in a display which would have pleased the home fans.
Neither Sunderland new boy Alfred N’Diaye or West Ham loan signing Marouane Chamakh were handed full debuts, with both among the substitutes.
The lively Stephane Sessegnon crafted the first opening of the game, turning James Collins inside out before picking out Johnson in the box.
The ex-Manchester City man’s effort was blocked, but David Vaughan was on hand to pick up the rebound, his strike bouncing just wide of the post.
Sunderland’s early pressure continued, with Winston Reid twice forced into crucial blocks from Steven Fletcher and then McClean.
But Sunderland would get their deserved opener in spectacular fashion on 12 minutes.
The ball bobbled loose on the edge of the West Ham area, and Larsson powered an effort into the top corner.
A West Ham resurgence was not forthcoming as the hosts continued to surge forward, led by the ever-impressive Sessegnon.
In midfield, West Ham offered little to no resistance as Vaughan and Larsson dominated, while it was only the rallying display of Reid which kept the visitors in the game.
If Sunderland felt aggrieved to only be a goal ahead at the break, they soon made amends.
The hosts broke through Sessegnon following a West Ham free-kick, and he quickly found McClean in acres of space on the opposite flank.
The young winger may not have been able to beat Jussi Jaaskelainen, but Johnson made no mistake, capitalising on some shambolic defending to tap home and double the lead in the 48th minute.
McClean’s chance would come as Sessegnon broke through the West Ham defence, taking on Dan Potts and James Tomkins with a series of pull-backs.
But his final touch evaded him, allowing the Irishman to fire home from an acute angle to make it 3-0 in the 74th minute.
There was a debut for Chamakh, but he was unable to inspire West Ham with N’Diaye much more impressive after being introduced six minutes before full-time as Sunderland cruised to victory.
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!