Saturday’s game at the London Stadium is a huge match between two teams, fighting for survival. The visitors have just dropped into the relegation zone, after a poor run of form leaving them in 18th place, a point from safety. In contrast, under David Moyes results have picked up for West Ham and as a reward they have finally moved out the drop zone to 15th place, but still just two points above the relegation places. This game is the definition of a ‘six pointer’, a must win for both.
Main talking points for West Ham:
The main question looming over new manager Moyes, is whether he can keep their impressive form up or is it just another of those ‘honeymoon’ periods that new managers seem to endure in the modern era. Nonetheless, Moyes has created a spark of optimism amongst supporters, by putting across impressive performances in the last three weeks. Narrowly defeated at high flying Manchester City 2-1, to beating rivals Chelsea 1-0 and drawing at home to Arsenal 0-0, then recently winning 3-0 away at Stoke. However, can the Hammers defence stay as robust and organised as shown in their three consecutive clean sheets or will there be a repeat of their defensive issues, like the beginning of the season when Newcastle smashed three past West Ham with no reply at St James Park.
The only real concern is the absence of the talisman Manuel Lanzini, who has to serve the second half of his suspension. When watching West Ham, critics have argued he is their only spark of creativity through the middle and his absence will likely cause the Irons to go out wide and rely on crosses into the middle towards the likes of Carroll and co, which may leave them incredibly one dimensional. Moyes will likely look to youngster Edmilson Fernandes to fill the void.
Main talking points for Newcastle:
Rafa Benitez will be desperate for his team, to stop the horrific rot his side are currently suffering. A inconceivable nine games without a win; losing eight out of nine and scoring just six goals. Not many would have imagined the Magpies going on a run like this especially after they looked dead certs for a mid table finish, earlier in the season. Goals from attackers Dwight Gayle and Joselu have dried up and Newcastle look a side crying out for Premier League quality players, if they’re going to stay in the division.
However, if they frustrate West Ham by putting two banks of four in front of Rob Elliot’s goal, the home crowd will soon be on the players backs if the Hammers fail to find an opening. The more West Ham push forward, the more they are open to the counter attack which the West Ham defenders have struggled all season to defend against. Newcastle must use the pace and trickery of wide men Christian Atsu and Matt Ritchie, just like they did back in August.
West Ham 2-0 Newcastle
I believe West Ham’s fortunes will continue against a very poor Newcastle side, not helped by the injury to striker Aleksander Mitrovic and their star man captain Jonjo Shelvey, who misses the game through suspension. Newcastle’s full backs aren’t the best, especially the out of form Javier Manquillo and they will struggle to contain the deliveries into the box and cutting inside of West Ham’s tricky wingers. If the deliveries are good from wide areas, then the Hammers should win because of their obvious aerial, physical advantage in the box and if taken advantage of the Hammers should cruise to an easy win.
What are your predictions for this game? Let us know in the comments below!
featured image credit David Holt