Newcastle United will host a high-flying West Ham side at St James’ Park on Saturday afternoon’s Premier League encounter knowing that a win would be enough to take them 9 points clear of the relegation zone at 15th in the table and 2 points clear of relegation rivals Burnley and Brighton.
Newcastle are coming on the back of a superb 2-1 comeback victory over Burnley, Allan Saint-Maximin again turned a savior for the Magpies with his Ben Arfa Esque goal proved to be the difference between both sides. Coming as a sub along with Wilson he turned the whole complexion of the game and earned Magpies their season-defining three-points.
West Ham has developed a nasty habit of plundering 3-0 leads, almost caught in the last game against Leicester. A win could take them as high as third in the table which is an immense achievement considering they were considered to be a shambles of a club at the start of the season.
The Magpies need to be on their toes for this one as Jesse Lingard is in hot form and Bowen and Benrahma add that injection of pace and trickery. Lingard’s form has been scintillating since arriving at the Hammers scoring 8 goals and laid 3 assists in 11 appearances.
Newcastle will surely miss their destroyer in Issac Hayden because West Ham in particular Lingard is a very potent threat on Fast-breaks and counters. Aaron Cresswell has transformed at his new position and his crossing is to be taken care of by our defenders.
As we know Jamaal Lascelles and Issac Hayden are out with long-term injuries and both have been ruled out for the current season.
Steve Bruce has confirmed In the pre-match presser that Ryan Fraser won’t be involved, the winger still carrying a groin injury.
Fabian Schar was in training photos taken on Thursday sessions, Steve Bruce also mentioned he’s making “very, very good progress” in his recovery.
Allan Saint-Maximin and Wilson have trained the whole week and will be available but Bruce suggested they need to be cautious over their approach because the pair had muscle injuries which can be tricky to recover from as they both are pace and power players.
For West Ham Manuel Lanzini and Angelo Ogbonna could return and Mark Noble is expected to play despite reports of a sore elbow.
The Hammers will be without key pair Michail Antonio and Declan Rice. David Moyes also suggested that Cresswell is a doubt too.
Formations and Predicted Lineup:
Going by Bruce’s interview, Newcastle will continue with their 5-3-2/3-5-2 formation used over the past couple of weeks to take caution over Saint-Maximin and Wilson.
Martin Dubravka will be in goal and the Slovakian pulled off some excellent saves against Burnley to keep his side in the game.
In defense, we have the resilient trio of Paul Dummett, Fernandez, and Ciaran Clark. Fernandez showed he’s a wall in defense and a leader. Dummett really complements Ritchie very well and both are very solid on the left side. It’s hard to remember and a decent Burnley opportunity from that side.
We will have Ritchie and rejuvenated Jacob Murphy as our wing-backs, one of them is a bit orthodox and the other is a bit dynamic so a good combination.
Coming to the Midfield (You have to have Shelvey for this one even though he’s been poor the whole campaign cause this is the only game in which he turns into prime Xabi Alonso) Longstaff will pair Shelvey and Almiron will play as the third midfielder, which is quite awkward and unpleasant cause he seems lost at this position.
The front duo of Dwight Gayle and Joelinton will start the game, Although we fans want Brucey to start Wilson and Saint-Maximin, I think Brucey will play safe and will only introduce them as impact subs.
Predictions: Newcastle United 2-0 West Ham
I may seem a bit biased here but West Ham are without their key midfielder Declan Rice and add it to the fact we will have Iniesta (Shelvey) turned up for this, I predict a solid 2-0 win with Joelinton on the scoresheet and Shelvey with at least one goal or one assist in this game.
Newcastle needs to win this one, it would seem to many that the Magpies are safe with 6 point cushion but that can all change if a motivated Fulham pulls off an amazing win against Arsenal, and with a torrid run in front of us, there’s no room for complacency.