Maintain the momentum, please…

After the past 5 league outings during which we have claimed an unlikely 11 points, we could all be forgiven for being filled with false confidence and thinking that all we need to do is turn up for our final 15 games of the season to comfortably pick up the points required to maintain our place at the top table of English football.

As we all know however, that’s not how it works – there is still much work to be done, and that work starts at the taxpayer funded London Stadium (AKA The Theresa May Porn Baron Arena) on Saturday lunchtime…

Had you asked me for a prediction on this fixture mid-January (post Cambridge / pre Leeds), I’d literally have gone and cowered in a corner – but since then our form has picked up to levels we didn’t previously think we were capable of whilst West Ham’s has dipped in comparison, with David Moyes charges having picked up only 1 win (Watford) in their previous in 4 league games.

United can definitely get something tomorrow, but once again we will need our key players to be at it – nowhere more so than in midfield where we will come up against a player that I consider the best pound for pound midfielder in the Premier League, Declan Rice.

Rice is a player that can and does take games away from the opposition given the opportunity and whilst I can’t help but feel I may be sectioned for suggesting it, I firmly believe that Joelinton represents our best chance of nullifying the significant threat of the Irishman turned Englishman – Big Jow, IMO, is the only Midfielder currently on the Barrack Road books that possesses the engine and physicality required to disrupt Rice’s game.If we are to get anything from tomorrow’s game, the ‘Brazilian Viera’s’ renaissance needs to continue in Stratford.

In defence, the loss of Trippier is big, but I don’t think it is the end of our chances –I expect and improving Emil Krafth to deputise for the injured Manquillo and fortunately he is more likely to face up against the bang average Pablo Fornals, as opposed to the dangerous Jarrod Bowen. Matt Targett returning at Left Back is a huge positive though, and I have faith that he can keep a player who would have been playing in Black and White stripes were it not for Mike Ashley, quiet.

With every single team around us having extremely tricky fixtures this weekend, a defeat tomorrow would not be a disaster. A draw, were we to secure one, would keep the upward momentum going – a win however would not only mean we could start planning with increased confidence for next season, but may even us given the chance to enjoy the sight of the loathsome, sour faced Karen Brady looking like she has lost a tenner and found a quid as she vacates her padded seat on the full-time whistle.

Howay you beautiful black and white bassas!!!

Dangerman: Declan Rice. Nuff said…

Prediction: A heart ruling head 1-1 draw.

Lee Forster @LeeDForster

 All aboard Eddie’s Revival Train

Choo fucking choo, cockneys, Eddie Howe’s Revival Train comes to the East End for this weekend’s lunchtime kick-off. Best wishes to all the Toon fans travelling to London for the game as it’s going to be proper Buzzcocks weather out there – stay safe.

While Trippier’s injury is a blow, the rest of the squad should have enough about them to get something from a slightly stuttering Hammers who haven’t beaten anyone convincingly in weeks. The spunk bubble blowers did draw last weekend with Leicester in an entertaining game and showed their resilience as they nicked a point in injury time. They will also be fighting to get back into the top four after Man Utd nudged them out with a midweek win over a plucky Brighton side, so they certainly won’t be a pushover.

Step forward Eddie Howe’s Mags, unbeaten in five and with three wins on the bounce. Howe has instilled a great work ethic alongside his effective game plans, and he should be more than a match for albino frog David Moyes.

Games against Moyes teams are won and lost in midfield, and I fully expect this to be the key contest as Howe has to find a way to stop Declan Rice from pulling the strings. I’ve been raving about Joelinton since his conversion to CM and this weekend will show us just how good he is. I’m backing him to keep Rice quiet. Of course, Howe might have to shuffle his midfield pack to accommodate a start for Bruno, but surely Joelinton is currently un-droppable? If Bruno starts, I think Shelvey might be the one to make way.

Up top, if we’re going to threaten West Ham’s goal then the service to Wood will have to dramatically improve, or Willock will have to rediscover the form he found on loan last season. He’s been getting closer in the past few games, maybe this weekend will be Willock’s moment. Furthermore, this is a televised game against top six opponents, so I also expect ASM will put in one of his better performances.

Defence-wise, if Dan Burn plays anywhere near as well as he did on his debut then Antonio might as well rip his own shirt and climb intoBurn’s back pocket now. Targett will be a welcome return on the left but Krafth starting at RB does not fill me with confidence, especially as he will be up against Jared Bowen in a superb vein of form.

Prediction: 1-1

Danger Man: Jared Bowen with a “look what you could have won” performance

Dan Jenkins @PlumsGinger

 Connect four?..

After two wins at home which saw us looking up rather than down, its back to reality with a difficult trip to top four chasing West Ham.

I remember our first day meeting when we capitulated in the second half (how long ago does that feel now?) and apart from our desperate defending, there wasn’t much between the sides, and I stand by this. West Ham and Newcastle were perennial strugglers until a few seasons back when three canny signings (one of which our old manager mentored and used to manage but still didn’t sign) completely sent the clubs different ways.

That’s all it takes in this league as it’s NOT that good . Take the top two out and everyone can beat each other on a good day.

All this being said, a draw would be a great result for us. We are robbed of our talisman Trippier who has lifted the club and more importantly standards, while our defence could line up in about five different ways.

With Wilson already out , imagine how West Ham would fare without Rice and Bowen ..it can’t be understated.

Plus, we are still a poor side which has finally found some form, we mustn’t forget that in last week’s euphoria.

Going to West Ham will be tough, but defend properly and be deadly on the break like we have in our last visits here and you wouldn’t rule out us winning four in a row would you?

We couldn’t , could we?

Scott Robson

The Magpies travel to the capitol this weekend as they face West Ham United.

Eddie Howe’s side will be hoping to make it four consecutive league wins after they battled hard on Sunday to leave St James Park with the three points against a below par Villa side, where as the Hammerscome off the back of a hard fought 2-2 draw away to Leicester as they challenge for a top four spot.

The Magpies have won their last two Premier League matches at West Ham but have never won against the Hammers on three consecutive visits in their league history.

The last time West Ham done the Premier League double over Newcastle United was in 2018/19, you will have to go back to the 1998/99 season for the time before.

Moyes’s side have lost two of their last four top flight fixtures at home, those being Southampton and Leeds who both scored three times on each occasion.

Since December 2019 when the Magpies lost 4-0 at home to Manchester City, they have turned themselves around with an unbeaten run of 5 Premier League fixtures, draws coming against Manchester United and Watford then beating Leeds, Everton and Villa.

The recent run of form has steered Eddie Howe’s side out of the relegation zone and they sit in 17th place, four points clear of Norwich who occupy 18th and also a game in hand over The Canaries. However, the Magpies don’t travel well on the road and have the second worst away record in the leaguepicking up only six points from ten fixtures.

West Ham United Team News:The Hammers will be without the services of Angelo Ogbonna andArthur Masuaku who miss out through injury. David Moyes must decide if he will keep Issa Diop in the side or hand his place back to Kurt Zouma who should be available after illness. Pablo Fornals & Manuel Lanzini will be expecting to keep their place in the side and Jared Bowen should he available.

Newcastle United Team News:In-form right back Kieran Trippier will definitely miss out after it was revealed he fractured a bone in his foot during the 1-0 home win against Villa. Javier Manquillo also joins the injury list that already contains Matt Ritchie, Federico Fernandez and Callum Wilson. Matt Targett is available for selection;Jamaal Lascelles is expected to be fit after his illness spell. Bruno Guimarães is set to be named on the bench once more after the current trio of Joelinton, Joe Willock and Jonjo Shelvey all seem to be working well together.

Sutty’s Match Prediction:This will be a difficult test for the Magpies as West Ham look to fight on and secure a place in the top four. A few weeks ago, The Hammers would have fancied their chances against Eddie Howe’s side but after their turn of form, they will have to be alert in order to avoid becoming Newcastle’s next victim. Although I think it will probably end up in a draw, I’m being hopeful and my final score prediction being West Ham 1 Newcastle United 2

Jack Sutton – @jsuttonwrites