How Newcastle do tomorrow in London against West Ham depends largely on which side turns up.
If it’s the side that turned up in our last two home games we will probably have little chance of winning the game, but if it’s the feisty and gutsy team that played at Everton and Man City in the last two away games, we should have every chance of taking points from this important game.
Newcastle have put in some excellent performances at home to Aston Villa and away at Wolves, Everton and Man City, but the side is just too inconsistent with three sloppy performances in the last three home games against Blackpool, Stoke and Wigan and we got just a single point from those games.
The players just have to start to be more consistent, and get into that habit sooner rather than later, if we are to avoid another relegation scrap this season.
West Ham are bottom of the league but just 2 points behind Newcastle, so a home win tomorrow and the Hammers could go above Newcastle in the Premier League table.
Under new manager Avram Grant the Hammers have also been improving of late, following a poor start to their season, and now have a four game unbeaten streak going, although there was only the excellent 1-0 win at home to Spurs in that sequence.
But those 6 points are all the points West Ham have got so far this season, after losing their first 4 league games on the trot.
Newcastle will not be expecting an easy game at Upton Park tomorrow, and they won’t get one either, as the Hammers seem to be picking up steam under the guidance of Avram Grant, who has proved himself an excellent manager in the Premier League at both Portsmouth and Chelsea.
Newcastle still have Ben Arfa, Gosling, Steven Taylor, Harper and Sol Campbell unavailable for the game tomorrow because of injury, but we do think that Danny Simpson will recapture his place at right back for tomorrow’s game.
We expect Hughton to play his usual 4-5-1 formation with a single striker, and this is the side we expect to start tomorrow:
Simpson Coloccini Williamson Enrique
Guthrie Barton Tiote Nolan (c) Gutierrez
Subs: Soderberg Kadar Taylor (R) Carroll Smith Lovenkrands Perch Ranger
No place on the bench tomorrow for Wayne Routledge, as we think young Danny Guthrie will be given another start on the right wing, but Chris may prefer Routledge to 19 year-old London striker Nile Ranger on the bench tomorrow.
We prefer Shola up front only because of the goings on this last week with Andy Carroll, and of course Andy has his court case next Monday, and that’s expected to last a few days. That was for his assault and battery altercation at the Blu Bambu night-club in Newcastle, last December.
And we think it would be better to at least start him on the bench tomorrow, but it would not be too surprising if Chris decides to keep Andy in the starting line-up.
The next three games for Newcastle will be crucial in shaping the season Newcastle will have back in the Premier League. As we said earlier, we don’t know which team will turn up tomorrow afternoon, but if it’s the team that turned up for our last two league games away from home, we will have every chance of getting a result tomorrow at West Ham.