With West Ham approaching this game sat in 17th position and Newcastle up in 8th, there’s no doubt that the home outfit are the one who require the points the most. With opponents Newcastle, coincidently the club that Sam Allardyce used to manage, in a bit of a rut of form one could argue that the Hammers have the perfect opportunity to climb away from the bottom three this weekend as well.
Losing 5-0 and 6-0 in the space of a few days was probably one of the lowest points of Sam Allardyce’s career last week, although you have to wonder if such results have kicked the Hammers into action. In their last match, they brushed past Cardiff in 2-0 fashion and that allowed them to leapfrog the Bluebirds and subsequently exit the bottom three. Admittedly, it’s only goal difference which keeps them out of there for the time being, but the result at least stopped the goals flooding in and happened to be their first clean sheet in eight outings. Having only won once in their last seven at Upton Park, it now remains to be seen if they can stop the downward spiral at home.
Newcastle meanwhile will be arriving in London on the back of a 2-0 defeat to Manchester City, although many are under the firm belief that Alan Pardew’s side were the victim of a huge miscarriage of justice. They had one of the most obvious goals you’ll ever see disallowed and that meant that they were to surrender to a loss for the fourth successive game. Still, the fact they sit in 8th place means that their season has nevertheless been a successful one, and having won two of their last three games away from home it would be fair to say that all has not been lost ahead of this tie.
It would be fair to say that Andy Carroll’s brief appearance made a massive difference to West Ham last weekend and Sam Allardyce must weigh up whether or not he is fit enough for a starting place. The Hammers’ injury problems are easing up in other areas as well and James Collins and Ricardo Vaz Te are both available, but there won’t be places for Kevin Nolan and James Tonkins who are both out through bans. Newcastle on the other hand will not be able to call upon Fabricio Coloccini as he struggles with a knee injury. Elsewhere in defence, there also won’t be a place for Mathieu Debuchy due to suspension.
As for a prediction, we have the feeling that this game is going to conclude as a draw. Both of these sides are in relatively poor form and while West Ham hold the home advantage, their opponents arguably have better quality on paper. Taking this into account, we’ll tip a 1-1 scoreline.