Saturday, December 15, 2018

Prediction: Newcastle vs West Ham

Verdict: Newcastle win

Best Odds: 6/4

Bookmaker: Bet365

Looking to carry on what has been a very bright run of form, Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle side will welcome West Ham to St. James’ Park on Saturday afternoon.

Newcastle

Starting with Rafa Benitez’s side, although it might have been a slow start to the season for Newcastle their 2-1 win away at Burnley on Monday night has summed up what has been a very impressive turnaround. Now unbeaten in their last four Premier League matches, winning their last three on the bounce, the mood around St. James’ is at a season high. Looking to secure another top half finish, Newcastle will also be boosted by their recent record against West Ham. Unbeaten at home since 2005, the Magpies have also now won four of their last five meetings against the Hammers, winning the last three meetings on the spin. If the hosts are to make it five games unbeaten, they could be looking for Matt Ritchie to carry on his bright start to the season. The Scottish international has registered 14 league assists since joining Newcastle in July 2016, more than any other Magpies player. Along with Newcastle famously holding a very eye-catching record against the Hammers, Benitez himself has won 11 Premier League games against West Ham, more than versus any other side, including six victories in seven home matches.

Team News

Newcastle will assess Paul Dummett, who missed Monday’s win at Burnley with a muscle problem.

If he is fit the Welshman may replace Ciaran Clark, who deputised for him as part of a back three against the Clarets.

West ham

As for the Hammers, while West Ham may have created a string of opportunities against Manchester City last weekend, Manuel Pellegrini’s side slumped to a 4-0 loss at the London Stadium. Despite spending over £100million during the summer, they have drastically struggled with their consistency and have now managed to record just one win in their last six Premier League outings, a run that stems back to their victory over Manchester United at the end of September. Much like last season, it will be their defensive issues causing Pellegrini the biggest headache. Holding the joint worst record along with relegated Swansea in the last campaign, the Hammers have kept one clean sheet this season. Looking to pick up just their second win on the road, Pellegrini and West Ham will be looking for Marko Arnautovic to kickstart his season. Struggling with his fitness, their leading marksman has scored just once in his last six appearances for the visitors.

Team News

Marko Arnautovic is set to start for West Ham despite limping off last weekend with a hip problem.

Fit-again Andy Carroll could make his 200th Premier League appearance, while Jack Wilshere is also in contention.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Newcastle have won four of their past five games against West Ham, including the last three.
  • The Hammers have won just one of their last 14 games at St James’ Park, a sequence spanning 20 years (D5, L8).
  • The Magpies have won three successive games – their best run since a four-match winning streak in March and April this year.
  • Six of Newcastle’s 11 league goals this season have been headers, equivalent to 54.5%.
  • West Ham have won just one of their last six top-flight games (D2, L3).

Conclusion

On paper, Rafa Benitez should see Saturday’s clash at the perfect opportunity to extend their winning run. Picking up maximum points in their last two matches at St. James’, coupled with their stellar record against the Hammers, we’re backing Newcastle to come away with yet another victory on the weekend.

Verdict: Newcastle win

Best Odds: 6/4

Bookmaker: Bet365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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