LINEUPS AND STANDINGS
It’s the first match of the annual festive period, where the road to either easy safety or second half season fight for survival will be determine for West Ham United over this period.
David Moyes has his new club at its highest point in an otherwise bitterly disappointing first half of the season, which concludes with this fixture against Newcastle United at the London Stadium.
The Scottish manager hopes that the upswing of the last fortnight is the early Christmas gift needed for the Hammers to close out the year on a high and continue ascending up the table to start 2018. To do that, Moyes will have to overcome the absences of Manuel Lanzini, who is serving the second of his two match suspension for his ruled dive last weekend in the 3-0 win at Stoke, and captain Mark Noble (hamstring injury). Jose Fonte remains a long term absence.
Moyes at least sees Michail Antonio pass a late fitness test and will start vs Newcastle, leaving Andy Carroll and Javier Hernandez again on the bench.
For Newcastle, Rafa Benitez’s side are reeling, mired in a four game losing streak that now sees them in the relegation zone in 18th place. He will be without Aleksandar Mitrovic (back) is out, as are Jesus Gamez (ankle) and Jonjo Shelvey (suspension).
Can the Hammers continue this quality run to start this always crucial festive period? We shall see.