Where Newcastle United are concerned, I am usually one of the most sceptical when it comes to anybody predicting anything positive at the club.
Experience has taught me, especially under Mike Ashley, that looking on the bright side is almost sure to only end with yet another kick where it really hurts.
Your hopes crushed yet again after allowing yourself to think something good was in the process of happening.
Today sees Newcastle visit the London Stadium for the first time.
Everybody is saying Newcastle are going to lose, all the ‘experts’ such as Merson, Lawrenson and Owen, right through to seemingly most of our fans.
Newcastle one point from 27 and dropped into the relegation zone, West Ham on a new manager bounce and catapulted out of the drop zone thanks to seven points from the last nine. You can understand where people are coming from, unless you bother to scratch below the surface that is…
Newcastle are going to win today, there I have said it. I also have reasons/arguments as to why this will happen.
Interestingly, the only people I have seen who don’t think the Hammers will win, are the West Ham fans themselves! The comments The Mag published the other day (read them HERE), helping me to be bothered to write this article.
The reasons why Newcastle are going to win…:
West Ham are still not playing that well. Even the 3-0 win last weekend at Stoke was a game where the first goal was always going to be crucial, Lanzini diving to win a penalty and a fragile Stoke getting the unhappy fans straight on the team’s backs. Despite that, Stoke still had more shots and more possession, West Ham only adding to that goal earned by the cheating Lanzini with two in the final 15 minutes.
The win against Chelsea was just one of those, all out defending by West Ham and a story of many missed chances for the visitors and the Hammers scoring with one of their two shots on target.
West Ham are missing their captain Mark Noble today through injury.
They are missing their most creative player, as Lanzini is suspended after retrospective punishment for that cheating.
Both of those players started in all three of these matches where they got the seven points from nine and a third member of the front six that played in that trio of games is also all but certain to miss through injury today, with right sided attacker Michail Antonio having picked up an injury in that Stoke match.
Obviously you have to give David Moyes some credit for these recent results but with the exception of the Stoke game, he hasn’t suddenly found an answer to their creative/scoring problems. These are their last 12 PL matches…
Stoke 0 West Ham 3
West Ham 0 Arsenal 0
West Ham 1 Chelsea 0
Man City 2 West Ham 1
Everton 4 West Ham 0
West Ham 1 Leicester 1
Watford 2 West Ham 0
West Ham 1 Liverpool 4
Crystal Palace 2 West Ham 2
West Ham 0 Brighton 3
Burnley 1 West Ham 1
West Ham 1 Swansea 1
As you can see, before last Saturday they had only managed to score more than one goal on one occasion in 11 matches, and that was against Palace who were bottom at the time.
You might think I have convinced you about West Ham’s shortcomings but are Newcastle good enough to take advantage?
Well, seven of the last nine fixtures have been against clubs in the top half. The two from the bottom half saw them waste opportunities to beat Bournemouth and concede in injury time, then at West Brom we gifted them a two goal lead and then came back to level and should have won in the final stages.
Dwight Gayle has scored in three of his last five starts.
Plus, before the last two matches, Newcastle scored five goals in three games, suggesting further that this team has got goals in it.
The last two matches saw Jamaal Lascelles back in the team and the defence instantly looked so much better. Everton would never have scored without that Karl Darlow gift to Rooney, whilst against Arsenal they had very few clear chances.
In the 12 games Jamaal Lascelles has started, Newcastle have only conceded 10 goals and only once have they leaked more than one goal in a match. That was against Southampton when Lejeune gave away a needless penalty late on.
If as Rafa says, Newcastle can cut out the daft mistakes, keep it tight in defence, I can see them going to a weakened not very good West Ham and keeping a clean sheet, plus scoring a goal or maybe even two of their own, with Dwight Gayle very probably on the scoresheet.
With odds of almost 3/1 I think that is a cracking bet.
I await you all calling me clueless at 5pm if it all goes pear-shaped but I have a feeling we will be a lot happier on Christmas Day, out of the bottom three and above West Ham once again.
West Ham v Newcastle Match Betting:
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