West Ham face northern one-time relegation rivals Newcastle this weekend, with the Hammers jostling for European seeding white the Magpies battle bravely against the drop to the Championship.
The Magpies are a handful of points clear of the current bottom three – Fulham, West Brom and Sheffield United – with Steve Bruce’s Magpies and co still holding out of survival.
Justin: Newcastle 0-2 West Ham
Both of these sides have something to play for, but if you thought both West Ham and Newcastle were playing for the same thing, you’d be badly fooled. While West Ham has had a wondrous season, battling for the Champions League places, Newcastle has remained rooted near the bottom of the table, just six points clear of the drop.
Newcastle, however, did beat West Ham handily in the reverse fixture, although that was the season opener. That seems like ages ago, a West Ham team from years ago. The Hammers have since been transformed and are the favorites heading into St. James Park.
Although Newcastle have had another forgettable season, they have been playing decent as of late. They have only lost one of their last six matches and got the three points against Burnley last weekend. Allan Saint-Maximin, Callum Wilson, and Miguel Almiron provide pace and attacking prowess for the Toon, scoring 17 goals between them.
Jonjo Shelvey has arguably been Newcastle’s best player, pulling the strings in midfield, helping to launch the counter attacking of the aforementioned trio above.
West Ham will have to play a different game than they have in the past few matches. Instead of soaking up pressure and playing on the counter, they will have to worry about the Newcastle counter and aim to break down the Magpies through tactical acumen. With Jesse Lingard in the no. 10 role, I see us doing that successfully, with Lingard and Bowen scoring yet again. 2-0 West Ham.
West Ham look to come back and beat Newcastle 2-0 at St James’ Park.
Jack: Newcastle 0-2 West Ham
West Ham have a golden opportunity to jump up to third place in the Premier League, should the Hammers beat Newcastle.
We had another superb win over Leicester City last weekend, but old cracks were still present and silly mistakes at the back cost us goals and drew late pressure. Moyes and co. need to be stamping those mistakes out in this game, as we certainly don’t want to be dropping points against a team who are in a relegation battle.
Newcastle got a vital win over Burnley on the weekend, and have only lost one of their last six games as they look to pull away from the drop zone.
Realistically, we have to be winning this game and we cannot afford to slip up to teams lower down the table. It’s all to play for, and I think we will continue our winning streak with a 2-0 win – Jarrod Bowen and Säid Benrahma scoring our goals.
Alex: Newcastle 1-2 West Ham
Our attacking play has been amazing over the last few weeks, but defensively we’ve been a little shaky. If Newcastle have Wilson and Saint-Maximin back starting then they could cause us problems, but with Lingard and Bowen we have goals in us. Hopefully we should out score them, let’s just not go 3-0 up!
Jonathan: Newcastle 1-3 West Ham
A win would see West Ham temporarily vault past Leicester into third in the Prem (THIRD! In April!) and while top four is the goal, third may be especially crucial this year considering the wonkish rules associated with automatic bids for the winners of this year’s UEFA Champions and Europa Leagues.
If Arsenal win Europa and Chelsea win Champions League, the fourth-placed team in the table would not qualify for Champions League next season. For West Ham to have their best Premier League season ever and still not qualify for (cue opera music) the Champions League, would be such a soul crushing and typical way to end a glorious campaign for the Hammers.
Such a stroke of bad luck would be reminiscent of the 2002/2003 season, which saw Jermain Defoe, Paolo Di Canio, Michael Carrick, and Joe Cole relegated after finishing with 42 points – the best team on points to go down since the turn of the millennium. This Saturday, West Ham can avoid the bad luck bug by taking destiny into our own hands, and smashing the Magpies.
Jeremiah: Newcastle 0-3 West Ham
The last time these two faced off was on matchday 1, and if your memory hasn’t forgotten, West Ham did not look the part. Since then however, the tides have turned and the Hammers have looked the way better side.
Newcastle got their first win since late February last week and are on the up, but before their 2-1 win against Burnley, they certainly looked like a relegation side. They have the Hammers-killer in Wilson, and West Ham looked susceptible in the past, but not on Saturday.
The Moyesiah offense will continue and this weekend, with the return of Oggy, look for the defense to tighten up. Fabianski gets a clean sheet, and West Ham gives me a Happy Birthday present! COYI!!!