When it comes to Premier League fixtures with newly-promoted teams, there always seems to be a certain confidence boost from the fans as well as the team on the pitch as well. Let’s be honest though... This is football. It’s as unpredictable as you can get. But if the opposition has been a mainstay of the Premier League (since their last Championship run), how concerned do West Ham United need to be?
As the club look set to travel up to the North-East for a League tie against Newcastle United, the confidence is definitely there, but both sides are yet to register a single point in the Premier League campaign.
Just how ready is Newcastle United, though? After suffering a 2-0 loss to Tottenham Hotspur at home in the Premier League opening weekend as well as a 1-0 loss to Huddersfield Town at the John Smith Stadium, Newcastle United will be biting for some points this weekend as the Hammers prepare. But then again, how ready are West Ham United for this weekend’s clash?
The team saw Manchester United put four past the keeper as well as Southampton putting another three past the keeper which has the fans all questioning Joe Hart’s reliability in goal. In saying that, we did see Chicharito pick up two goals for us against Southampton, so we do have that working in our favour.
Newcastle’s Biggest Threat: Dwight Gayle
The Newcastle United number 9 has a proven track record with scoring against Premier League opposition. In terms of last season’s Championship run, Gayle has the honour of being Newcastle’s top goalscorer as well as the Championship’s top scorer with 23 goals. His lethal technique could be a devastating issue for West Ham’s defence and goalkeeper, should manager Rafa Benitez select him up top.
West Ham United’s Biggest Threat: Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez
There isn’t much to say about this one, really. Chicharito will cause issues for the Geordies’ defence as he’s already found good form in the Premier League so far. With decent service from the midfield, West Ham United could look forward to seeing another one or two goals scored from the Little Pea.
Newcastle’s Liability Player: Jonjo Shelvey
Should he be available for selection, Jonjo Shelvey may be Newcastle’s liability player for this fixture. The Center Midfielder was unceremoniously sent off in Newcastle’s opener against Tottenham after treading on Dele Alli’s foot which saw the ref flash Shelvey the red card.
If selected, Shelvey will be made aware he’s walking on eggshells as Benitez will not be impressed, should his team drop to 10 men again.
West Ham United’s Liability Player: Jose Fonte
Following Fonte’s Southampton performance, it’s no wonder why he cracks this position. The defender looked rather lack-luster and very underwhelming during West Ham’s clash against the Saints. He looked to be playing for Southampton rather than his actual club which did rub us fans up the wrong way.
Should Bilic start the Defender? Definitely not. It wouldn’t be worth having him play against Newcastle United, especially as it seems he doesn’t want to be with the Hammers anymore.
Newcastle’s Toughest Defender: DeAndre Yedlin
The American international has been one of Newcastle’s strongest players throughout last season and managed to make some pretty impressive plays. He’s young, he’s quick and he’s very skillful on the ball.
Will Benitez start the American defender? It seems more than likely he’ll feature in someway against West Ham United this weekend. He’ll definitely have a go at dispossessing Chicharito on an attack, but it depends on the team Benitez selects.
West Ham United’s Best Defender: Pablo Zabaleta
The Argentinian Defender has proven himself to be a very good defender for West Ham United so far. He’s very reliable and has managed to fit in with the squad as a commanding presence in the defensive line-up for the Hammers which helps big time. Combined with whoever is in goal come match day, we can be assured he’ll do everything he can to make sure our defence is as secure as it can be on match day.
He is another player who needs to be careful on the pitch as he does already have one yellow card with us and could quickly find himself in the stands if he isn’t careful with his timings and interceptions though.
So, overall, the match against Newcastle should be a good game nonetheless. It’s more than likely that Newcastle United will be wanting to get on the scoreboard at some point, but should West Ham United concede, there are more than a few players who’ll nick a goal or two for us should the opportunity arise.
Score prediction for this match: It’s often a difficult one to guess as Newcastle are very good at home, however West Ham United have the potential to break their defence and score. I’m thinking it’ll be a close game with a 2-1 win for West Ham United.
Click here to watch the Match Preview from The Kiwi Hammer YouTube Channel
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