West Ham are hovering just above the drop, but a surprise win over Newcastle at Upton Park on Saturday could do a lot for the Irons’ confidence (watch live online via NBC Sports Live Extra).
Prior to last week’s win at Cardiff City, it had been a bad, bad few weeks for West Ham. In the six previous fixtures, they’d conceded 24 goals – highly unusual for a Sam Allardyce side. The Irons were kicked out of the FA Cup with a 5-0 loss to Championship side Nottingham Forest, only to see a second leg against Manchester City in the Capital One Cup rendered practically pointless, when City won the first 6-0. But the Irons got all three points against Cardiff, with Mark Noble even able to add to Carlton Cole’s opener despite the side being down a man. That could very well give the hosts a boost going into today’s match.
That, and the fact that Newcastle have lost their last four in a row across all competitions. The losses to Arsenal and Manchester City were likely expected. The loss to West Brom, and being kicked out of the FA Cup by Cardiff, aren’t so easily explained. And, after that impressive surge that saw Newcastle lose just once in eight matches, culminating in the 5-1 rout of Stoke, the Magpies have failed to score in their last three Premier League matches.
Despite finally marking his return from injury against Cardiff last weekend, Andy Carroll only makes the bench against former side Newcastle. A tactical move from Allardyce, or is it done out of concern for the striker’s health?
The visitors may be lacking in goals recently, but Alan Pardew is keeping the faith, naming a side unchanged from the won that fell to Manchester City. Perhaps the Newcastle manager is banking that this will be the week that Loïc Rémy returns to goalscoring form.
West Ham: Adrian, Jarvis, Rat, Collison, Taylor, Noble, Collins, Diame, Downing, C.Cole, Johnson
Subs: Jaaskelainen, Carroll, Maiga, Morrison, Diarra, J.Cole, Chambers
Newcastle: Krul; Santon, Williamson, S.Taylor, Yanga-Mbiwa; Tiote, Anita, Cabaye; Sissoko, Remy, Gouffran
Subs: Elliot, Haidara, Dummett, Obertan, Ben Arfa, Shola Ameobi, Cisse