Newcastle play West Ham United tonight in a crucial Premier League game, and although West Ham have had a revival over the holidays with 7 points from their three games, this is an excellent chance for Newcastle to put 3 more points up on the board.
And this could be Newcastle’s first double of the season, after the Magpies beat West Ham at Upton Park 2-1 on 23rd October.
With both Fulham and Birmingham winning this week, West Ham are back down to 3rd bottom place on 20 points from their 21 games played, with Newcastle currently in 10th place with 25 points from just 20 games.
So a win tonight at St. James’ Park would put Newcastle a full 8 points clear of the Hammers with a game in hand.
Newcastle will again be without Andy Carroll, but that didn’t stop Newcatsle getting a good win at Wigan on Sunday, and putting in a solid performance.
That was especially true in defense, where Newcastle were hardly troubled by an ineffective Wigan attack.
West Ham are unbeaten in their last 4 games, after drawing at Blackburn and at home to Everton, and winning at Fulham and at home to Wolves.
So both West Ham wins have been against relegation sides, but it would seem that the Hammers are finally starting to pick up some form at last this season, after a terrible start under new manager Avram grant.
But Newcastle have also been in decent form lately, and with the advantage of home soil, the Magpies have to be fancied for all 3 points tonight.
Newcastle will go on the attack against the Hammers tonight, and we have to think that both Ameobi and Lovenkrands will get another chance up front, with Nile Ranger and Leon Best likely to get their chance sometime in the second half.
One key to the game for Newcatsle is for the strikers to take their chances, and of quite a few chances at the DW Stadium they took only one, through Shola Ameobi on 19 minutes, and also hit the cross-bar twice, with headers from Coloccini and Steven Taylor.
But one of the pleasing things with the game on Sunday is that Newcastle continually carved out the chances, and we hope the strikers, who have a chance to show what they can do with Andy Carroll missing, will be more ruthless with their chances tonight.
The West Ham rearguard is not the strongest part of their side, and we expect Newcastle to again carve out the chances, throughout the game – as they will play with two up front, in an attacking 4-4-2 formation.
One area of the Newcastle team that has hardly been good or consistent so far this season is the defense.
But with Steven Taylor and Steve Harper now back in the side, the experience level has increased significantly, and we just have to hope that the stupid mistakes that have been made this season, are a thing of the past.
So we’d like to see another strong and solid Newcastle performance tonight, and if we can do that Newcastle will have every chance of taking all 3 points.
We expect the side to be unchanged from that which started the game against Wigan on Sunday:
Simpson Coloccini Taylor (S) Enrique
Barton Tiote Nolan (c) Gutierrez
Subs: Krul Perch Williamson Smith Best Ranger Routledge
West Ham at home is a game Newcastle should be winning, and it’s these games we have to play well in and win, and then we could soon be safe in the Premier League for another year.
But as Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said earlier this week, it seems that any side can beat any other side in the Premier League this season, and it’s hard to predict any game in this rather strange season.
Lets hope there are no surprises tonight, and Newcastle put in a solid display and pick up all 3 points.
Howay The Lads!!