It’s funny what a win and a few returning players can do for your confidence, isn’t it?
The 2-0 victory at Cardiff City last weekend was our first in eight and one that appears to have boosted the mood of everyone associated with the club, from the players right down to the fans.
The biggest highlight, obviously, was the return of Andy Carroll. Seeing come on and set up Mark Noble for the second goal on Saturday was a relief in more ways than one. It secured victory on the day and it gave us hope that we are finally going to stick picking up the results needed to pull away from the bottom three.
There’s a long way to, of course, but with James Collins, Winston Reid and Ricardo Vaz Te also edging ever closer to their returns, we can finally see what we’re all about with a full strength side.
This weekend’s game against Newcastle United is just as big as last week’s. We haven’t won back-to-back Premier League games since we returned to the Premier League but, if we can finally get that monkey of our backs, the confidence in the side will only improve further and there’ll be less poor records hanging over our heads every week.
We’re unbeaten against Newcastle since we returned last season and have kept three straight clean sheets, which is unusual stat for us to be associated with these days.
And it’s perhaps the best time to play the Magpies at the moment, with them losing their last four games in all competitions. As we’re beginning to regain some confidence and have a number of key players returning from injury, there’s no reason why we can’t secure another crucial victory at the Boleyn Ground.
After weeks of anger, confusion and hurt, we suddenly feel like we’re in a better place. The faith is slowly returning and, if we can stay relatively injury free for the remainder of the season, as well as bringing in few reinforcements as promised, all those fears of relegation might be described as ‘just a blip’ come the end of the season. Let’s hope so, anyway.
Verdict: Back-to-back Premier League victories? Yes please!
West Ham United (17th, 18 points)
James Tomkins serves a one-match ban after his red card against Cardiff last weekend, while Kevin Nolan serves the final game of a four-match suspension.
Ravel Morrison (groin) and James Collins (calf) are both expected to return to the squad following their respective injuries, but Winston Reid is still a couple of weeks from returning from his ankle problem.
Newcastle United (8th, 33 points)
Alan Pardew is still without captain Fabricio Coloccini due to a knee injury.
Mathieu Debuchy sits out through suspension for the final time following a three-match ban.
Words from the Managers:
Neil McDonald, West Ham United assistant manager…
“They [Newcastle] have had a couple of bad results, but having said all of that they’re still in the top half of the league.
“They’re still a very, very good team who’ve got some exciting, dangerous players. We’ve done our homework on them, we’ve got a game plan for them, we know their strengths and weaknesses and we have to exploit those weaknesses.
“[A win] means we have won back-to-back games for the first time since we’ve been back in the Premier League so that would be a big bonus for us.”
Alan Pardew, Newcastle United manager…
“We are playing well. We need to take that to West Ham. They are off the back of a win and they have Big Andy probably coming back into the side.
“It’s now time to turn the corner for West Ham. So we are coming up against a wall of new positivity and we will have to try and get a victory.
“We’ve lost the last four. In three of them we have been very, very good. You need the breaks to go your way sometimes.”
Last 10 Meetings:
Match in Numbers:
1 – The Hammers have won just one of their last eight Premier League matches.
3 – Newcastle have failed to score in their last three meetings with West Ham.
0 – Newcastle have not drawn an away game in the Premier League since their 0-0 stalemate with the Hammers at Upton Park last season.
280 – Newcastle have gone 280 minutes without a Premier League goal.
14 – West Ham have thrown away 14 points from winning positions so far this season, more than any other team.
9 – The Hammers have kept nine clean sheets in the Premier League so far this season, no other top-flight team has more.
1 – Newcastle have lost just one of their last seven visits to Upton Park.
150 – If he plays, Joe Cole will make his 150th Premier League appearance for the Hammers.
@WestHamWorld 3-2, Cole, Noble & Carroll
— John Tatman (@jbmtat66) January 17, 2014
@WestHamWorld 1-0 to us coyi
— Alex Jessep (@AJess) January 17, 2014
@WestHamWorld 2 – 1. C Cole to add another to his tally.
— ⚒ Kevin O’Neill ⚒ (@oneill_mr) January 17, 2014
Head-to-Head (all competitions):
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