Newcastle United v West Ham – Match Preview
Obviously when I say ‘welcome back’, I mean a likely decent round of applause for Nolan, pantomime booing for Carroll and heartfelt abuse of Allardyce.
As to the actual game of football, we have the chance to see Newcastle gain a bit of momentum and possibly make a quantum leap up the table.
A win today on top of the fortunate three points against West Brom and creditable point at Anfield, would see NUFC possibly move level on points with Spurs who have a difficult trip to Manchester City today. A win would definitely see us go above Arsenal, Fulham and today’s visitors, plus we’d then be within striking distance (three points behind) of Everton and West Brom who sit in fourth and fifth on twenty points.
The stats suggest a match of few goals as Newcastle have scored only 6 at home and conceded the same, while West Ham have only scored 3 on their travel while letting in 6. On the road the Hammers have won at QPR, got a point at Norwich and lost at Swansea and Wigan.
While Newcastle have only scored the 6 at home, they have converted them into 3 wins and a draw, with only the one defeat by Manchester United. Common sense tells you that unless we start hitting the back of the net a bit more, the points will be drying up as well as the goals.
The good news is that Alan Pardew has stated that Demba Ba is fine, so he will have whatever combination of Cisse, Shola and Ba he prefers. With Shola playing the full 90 on Thursday night you’d think it is unlikely he’ll start, so the only probable question is whether the manager starts with one or two strikers. Predicting today’s team is more difficult than usual as the suspensions to Coloccini and Tiote plus injuries to Perch and possibly Simpson leave a lot of room for different combinations.
A massive plus was Yohan Cabaye unexpectedly getting twenty minutes against Brugge to seemingly guarantee his starting availability. Jonas will play alongside him but then will Anita be moved up into midfield after picking up your man of the match award at right-back on Thursday?
Defensively I have a sneaking feeling that the manager could play the excellent, just recalled to the Italy squad, Davide Santon at right-back, with a rare Premier League start for Shane Ferguson at left-back. Nothing has been said about Williamson coming off after an hour against Brugge so let’s hope it was just a case of Alan Pardew taking care of both Taylor and Williamson with today in mind. If ever there was a match suited to Williamson it would probably be when Carroll comes to town.
Another player to look out for is Maiga with 3 goals, he of course was the player seemingly on his way to St.James’ Park when the move mysteriously collapsed and we instead saw Papiss Cisse arrive.
The visitors have selection problems of their own as Vaz Te, Collison and Taylor are missing, while defenders Collins and on time Newcastle target Tomkins have late fitness checks.
Newcastle built last season on winning matches like this week in week out, three points today and we can start looking up the table.
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