Michael Owen says he can see ‘definite signs of improvement’ at Newcastle United, despite four straight defeats and two draws in their last six matches.
The former Newcastle striker thinks that coming back to draw against Manchester United will have also boosted confidence levels at St James Park.
The signing of Jonjo Shelvey will also be a plus according to Michael Owen, with fans waiting to see whether both the former Swansea man and Henri Saivet will be thrown straight in on Saturday.
The pundit though sees West Ham as a dangerous team in great form, despite the loss yet again of Andy Carroll to injury this week.
As many others have mentioned, it is a massive boost for the Hammers to have playmaker Dimitri Payet back playing, a summer signing who arguably lifts them from being a decent team to a very decent one.
West Ham did Newcastle a favour in midweek with their second half comeback defeating Bournemouth but there are unlikely to be any favours handed out to NUFC tomorrow, with the Hammers having the chance of potentially gatecrashing the top four by 5pm on Saturday.
A game that could be very good entertainment with Payet inspiring the visitors and Newcastle hopefully carrying on from that second half against Manchester United, with the added potential bonus of both Shelvey and Saivet.
However, it is points that matter and Michael Owen has predicted 1-1 and a point apiece.
Personally, I can’t see there being so few goals in this game and so I just hope that the players can build on Tuesday’s improved attacking threat.
Michael Owen writing for Colossus bet:
“Four straight, recent 1-0 losses, albeit one of those in the FA Cup, mean that Newcastle are still firmly in the relegation mire, but there are definite signs of improvement from earlier in the season, and their late equaliser against Man Utd on Tuesday night must have been a confidence booster.
“And transfer window signings like Jonjo Shelvey should add much-needed depth to the squad.
“But in West Ham they are meeting a side back in form with a vengeance. They are unbeaten in their last nine matches, have Payet back from injury and did tremendously well to come from a goal down to win 3-1 at Bournemouth on Tuesday night.
“I can see the argument for West Ham here, particularly as they are fifth in the table (compared to Newcastle’s 18th) and have a good away record – they also beat Newcastle 2-0 earlier in the season, too – but I’ll go 1-1.”