It’s not often we travel to St. James’ Park optimistic of a positive result, is it? We managed to come away from there with all three points last year, courtesy of an inevitable Kevin Nolan goal, and there’s no reason why we can’t do it again on Saturday.
Last weekend’s victory against Cardiff City was encouraging. Our midfield is arguably the strongest and most dangerous it’s been for many years, while the likes of Winston Reid and James Collins in defence look as solid as ever.
Stewart Downing‘s cameo appearance off the bench was impressive and proved that Sam Allardyce may have done another bit of shrewd business in the transfer window. If we can get the best out of Downing and Matt Jarvis on the wings, we should be celebrating a bag-full of goals this season.
Obviously the only worry is our options in attack. Allardyce told us yesterday that Andy Carroll is edging closer to a return from his heel injury, but there remains doubt over whether Modibo Maiga can hold the fort until the Geordie’s return. Those of you who went to the game last weekend will have seen the contribution Maiga made up top on his own. He held the ball up, won every header and worked tirelessly for the side. On that evidence I think that with regular service from the wingmen, Maiga will score goals this season.
Newcastle were on the wrong end of a pasting against Manchester City on the opening weekend, which didn’t come to a surprise to many football fans across the country. They’ve failed to bring in reinforcements during the summer, apart from the loan signing of the injured Loic Remy, which ultimately means that their squad is no stronger than the one that flirted dangerously with relegation last season.
It’s arguably the best time to play Newcastle at the moment, too. They’ll be licking their wounds following their loss to City, while Alan Pardew will no doubt be planning for life without midfielder Yohan Cabaye. They’ll want to bounce back and give their fans something to cheer about but, following a summer of unrest and no transfer activity, there’s not much there that may catch the Hammers by surprise.
Verdict: West Ham have enough to take all three points but a draw wouldn’t be a bad result.
Newcastle United (20th, 0 points)
Yohan Cabaye may be left out again as his proposed move away from Newcastle intensifies.
New loan-signing Loic Remy is still reported to be sidelined, while Steven Taylor’s red against City earlier this week means he’ll miss out through suspension.
West Ham United (3rd, 3 points)
Andy Carroll will miss out on a return to St. James’ Park as he continues his battle against a heel injury.
George McCartney is the only other injury concern for the Hammers, although Allardyce confirmed yesterday that he was close to a first-team return.
Last five meetings:
Possible starting XI:
Match in Numbers
4 – If they lose, Newcastle will have lost four consecutive Premier League games for the first ever time.
1 – The Hammers have won just one of their last fourteen Premier League away games.
3 – Kevin Nolan has scored in three of the last four games between these sides, two of those came as a Newcastle player.
0 – West Ham were the only side in the Premier League not to concede a goal against Newcastle.
3 – Alan Pardew’s side have been given three red cards in their five top-flight matches.
5 – Newcastle have won five of their seven Premier League games with London opposition since the beginning of 2012, losing the other two.
Head-to-Head (all competitions)
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