James Collins

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Premier League Preview: West Ham vs. Everton

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  • Toffees won 2-0 on Oct. 23
  • Irons took 4 points last season
  • Everton leads all-time 68W-30D-37L

Everton aims to keep its slim Top Five hopes alive when it attempts to sweep West Ham United for the fourth time in five seasons (Watch live at 10 a.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Romelu Lukaku should be a big part of that as he looks to build his 4-goal lead in the race for the Premier League’s Golden Boot. The soon-to-be 24-year-old has 24 goals on the season.

It hasn’t been a great couple months for West Ham, which the club is looking to turn around having picked up four points in the last two weeks (albeit against relegation candidates).

What they’re saying

West Ham’s James Collins on stopping Lukaku“Of course, Lukaku has got a good record against us, and we probably haven’t defended as well against him as we could have done in games gone by. Physically, he has got everything, he is big, strong and he can finish so it’s going to be a tough game. He’s obviously on top of his game, but I’m happy with the way I’m playing at the minute, so I’m looking forward to pitting my wits against one of the best strikers in the Premier League.”

Everton boss Ronald Koeman on away form: “It’s all about the attitude and having that in the same way when we play at home and away. Of course, it’s going to be slightly different because at Goodison we have the backing of 39,000 home fans. When those fans are against you [in an away game], that makes a difference. But we need to start well, start aggressive and try to score. We need a little bit more of that mentality away from home.”

Prediction

Something has to give between Everton’s road form (three matches in 13) and the Hammers being better away from the London Stadium than inside its walls. We expect that to sway toward the better quality on Everton, which wins 2-0.

West Brom 4-2 West Ham: Chadli, Baggies punish leaky, leaky Hammers

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  • Chadli converts early PK
  • Rondon, McClean make it 3-0 by half
  • Chadli strikes again in second half
  • Antonio, Lanzini strike back

Nacer Chadli‘s brace headline an offensive onslaught for West Bromwich Albion, which heaped questions on Slaven Bilic and West Ham United after a 4-2 loss at the Hawthorns on Saturday.

Salomon Rondon and James McClaren scored as the Baggies built a 3-0 halftime lead, and the Irons allowed four goals for a second-straight Premier League outing.

Michail Antonio ended the clean sheet with a 61st minute goal, and Manuel Lanzini converted a PK to make the final 20 minutes more promising than a four-goal deficit.

It’s West Ham’s third-straight loss, keeping them in danger of finishing the weekend in the Bottom Three. The Baggies are up to eighth with 7 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

West Ham gifted the hosts a penalty in the 7th minute, when Arthur Masuaku inexplicably arm-trapped Matty Phillips’ too-long free kick and Chadli buried the PK to make it 1-0.

Aside from a dead ball here or a missed clearance there  — Masuaku had a howler of a first half — West Ham was always searching for an equalizer with little worry going the other way.

Ben Foster stopped red-hot Antonio at the doorstep in the 35th minute, and Rondon supplied an answer at the other end when he belted a shot between James Collins‘ legs and past Adrian. 2-0.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

The hits kept coming, with James McClean redirected a goal home before halftime, and Chadli adding his second goal after the break.

But Antonio scored off a Dimitri Payet assist, imagine that, and the Irons soon drew a penalty that Lanzini converted to make it 4-2. Surely a Tony Pulis side wouldn’t allow two more goals, right?

The Hammers kept pushing, and Foster needed to make a terrific reaction save on James Collins to keep it 4-2 with under 10 to go at the Hawthorns.

Premier League Preview: Newcastle United vs. West Ham United

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  • Newcastle have taken 1 point from a possible 30
  • West Ham have won once in their last seven
  • Newcastle has won once in nine home games under Carver

Newcastle United are on the brink of the abyss. After an incredible slide down the standings since Alan Pardew left as manager in January the Magpies have been on an awful run and have lost nine of their last 10 and have a solitary point from the last 30 available.

[ RELATED: Hull vs. Man United preview ]

On Sunday they host West Ham (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET on USA and online via Live Extra), a side coached by one of their former managers Sam Allardyce. For “Big Sam”, this may well be his final match in charge of the Hammers as his contract runs out at the end of the season. After getting a rough deal up at Newcastle, Allardyce would be quite happy to send them down.

[ Championship Sunday: 10 matches, 10 channels–find yours here ]

As long as Hull City lose to Manchester United on Sunday then Newcastle will be safe, but if Hull win then a Newcastle draw may not be enough as they currently sit two-points above the Tigers as they do battle to stay out of the final relegation place. Tension will be in the air at St James’ Park on Sunday and if the Magpies go down, expect it to be replaced with venomous chants against the despised owner Mike Ashley.

In team news Newcastle will welcome back defender Mike Williamson from suspension, while Siem de Jong could return but Papiss Cisse is not fit enough to make the bench. West Ham will be without James Collins but James Tomkins returns to the squad, as does captain and former Newcastle skipper Kevin Nolan.

What they’re saying

John Carver on the finale: “There are no second chances now. This is the last game, it’s the cup final we’ve been talking about. We all know what we have to do and we all take responsibility. It’s not about me taking the blame or [owner] Mike [Ashley] and [managing director] Lee [Charnley], we all take responsibility.”

Sam Allardyce on his future: “One way or another, my future will be sorted out on Monday. We’ll all know more then. I’m not personally having a meeting but my agent will be available to speak to the owners.”

Prediction

Newcastle need a win big time but Big Sam would love to play the role of spoiler on Sunday to send his old club down. The Magpies will be short on confidence and if news filters through of an early goal for Hull against Manchester United then the nerves will be jangling at St James’ Park. West Ham don’t have much to play for but I think they will sneak a draw and make things very uncomfortable for Newcastle. 2-2.

Aston Villa 1-0 West Ham United: Cleverley’s strike seals huge win for Villans

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Aston Villa beat West Ham United 1-0 at Villa Park on Saturday as Tim Sherwood’s side grabbed another huge three points as their battle against relegation continues.

[ RELATED: Watch full match replays ]

The only goal of the game came in the first half as Tom Cleverley grabbed his third goal in three matches to seperate the sides in a nerve-wrangling match in the Midlands.

Villa won consecutive home win for first time this season as they sit in 14th place on 38 points, three points above the relegation zone. As for West Ham, their slide continues as Sam Allardyce’s men slip down to 10th place on 47 points.

[ RELATED: Latest Premier League standings ]

Villa started brightly as Leandro Bacuna whipped a free kick just wide in the 5th minute, then Charles N’Zgobia had an effort bravely blocked by Kevin Nolan moments later.

The hosts continued to pour forward and Cleverley’s well-struck volley forced Adrian into a save down low, with Carl Jenkinson cleaning up the loose ball for the Hammers. Spurred on by their recent good form, it was all Villa as Christian Benteke got free at the near post but fired wide.

In the 30th minute the opening goal arrived and it was no surprise that Villa grabbed it. A jinxing run into the left-hand side of the box from Jack Grealish put him clear of West Ham’s defense and he drilled the ball across goal which Cleverley slotted home for his third goal in as many games. 1-0 to Villa.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Villa’s goalkeeper Shay Given and Nolan were involved in a grappling match in the other box but Nolan was penalized for appearing to foul Given when it looked like Enner Valencia was hauled to the ground by Bacuna. Regardless, it was a first half to forget for West Ham as Villa went in ahead at the break. At half time Alex Song and Nene came on as the Hammers tried to shake things up.

After the break Villa continued to pour forward but West Ham went close twice in quick succession as James Collins saw his header saved by Shay Given and then Valencia scored but his effort was ruled out for offside. Benteke had a chance to double Villa’s lead but squandered it, however Sherwood’s side held on for their third win in four.

LINEUPS

Aston Villa: Given, Bacuna (Hutton, 77′), Okore, Vlaar, Richardson, Westwood, Cleverley, Delph, N’Zogbia (Agbonlahor, 71′), Grealish (Sanchez, 90+2′), Benteke

Goal: Cleverley (31′)

West Ham: Adrian; Jenkinson, Collins, Burke, Cresswell; Noble (Cole, 78′), Kouyate; Downing, Nolan (Song, 45′), Amalfitano (Nene, 45′); Valencia

VIDEO: Premier League Team of the Week — Stars of Matchweek 35

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This week’s Premier League Team of the Week (above video) is, once again, heavy on players from relegation-threatened sides, as up to eight teams find themselves still a relegation battle with three weeks still to play in the 2014-15 season.

[ MORE: JPW’s Premier League Playback: Can Chelsea now create a dynasty? ]

Leicester City’s continued resurgence sees the Foxes land a pair of players in the Team of the Week for Matchweek 35, while Sunderland West Bromwich Albion can make the same claim. These relegation battlers make up much of the defensive and midfield units of the team.

As for the attacking third, well, it’s a lot of the usual suspects — Eden Hazard, Sergio Aguero and Alexis Sanchez, to name a few — who have been given TOTW needs all season long.

Thoughts? Questions? Agreements? Disagreements? (Of course not.) Leave them in the comments section, as always.

Matchweek 35

Goalkeeper: Boaz Myhill (West Bromwich Albion)

Defenders: Patrick van Aanholt (Sunderland), Wes Morgan (Leicester City), James Collins (West Ham United)

Midfielders: Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal), Jordi Gomez (Sunderland), Darren Fletcher (West Bromwich Albion), Eden Hazard (Chelsea)

Forwards: Christian Benteke (Aston Villa), Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Leonardo Ulloa (Leicester City)