The Barclays Premier League has returned, with West Ham set to kick off their season away to Newcastle this Sunday. David Moyes’ men will be hoping to avoid a repeat of last year’s dismal opening weekend defeat.
Venue: St. James’ Park
Where to watch: Sky Sports
Hammers fans have every right to be nervous, considering the disastrous showings against Newcastle last season. During the summer transfer window, little transfer activity at both clubs is casting grey clouds over the upcoming season for their respective supporters. However, a strong pre-season campaign for West Ham, including a 6-2 victory over Celtic and a hard-fought 2-0 win over Atalanta, suggest the players are in form and up for the challenge.
Both teams will be hoping for a win to secure the best possible start for the new season – though as West Ham proved last year, the opening game doesn’t necessarily forecast the season to come. Moyes will hope that West Ham’s attackers, particularly Said Benrahma, can continue their electric form and produce for him in the league.
West Ham Visit Newcastle for Season Opener | Match Preview
One matter of intrigue is whether new signing Alphonse Areola will make his competitive debut for the Hammers. However, it is looking likely that Lukasz Fabianksi will retain his starting spot between the sticks – for now.
There are some injury doubts ahead of the match, with several players missing games in preseason through injury. The most important of these is Angelo Ogbonna, who was forced off after a hamstring injury during the Celtic game. Whilst he may be recovered in time for the game, he will likely be short of match fitness and, therefore, may not be risked.
Arthur Masuaku is also recovering from his knee problems, though he did feature for the under 23’s against Millwall and looks set to return to first-team action soon. Jarrod Bowen and Manuel Lanzini did sit out some games in preseason through injury, though these were only precautionary, meaning the pair will likely be available for selection.