Newcastle United host West Ham United in game week 22 of the 2022/23 Premier League campaign, as we make our way past the halfway mark of the season.
Newcastle United have come a long way since their relegation battles last season, as a Saudi-funded takeover has injected the club with newfound financial strength and new ambition. The Magpies battle to stay afloat in the top flight under Steve Bruce seems a distant memory now, as we approach the first anniversary of the takeover, which has seen the club improve leaps and bounds. Newcastle are now permanent fixtures at the top of the table, going toe-to-toe with the big clubs, and look all but certain of competing in the Champions League the next season. Manager Eddie Howe, with a bit of help from the deep-pocketed owners,- has transformed the club in the blink of an eye. There are good vibes all around Tyneside now, as they look to cement their place in the top four with a win against Saturday’s opposition West Ham.
The Magpies were last in action against Southampton in the second leg of the Carabao Cup semifinal, as they battled past the Saints to win 2-1 on the night and 3-1 on aggregate. It was a hard-fought win for Newcastle as they made it through the semi-finals and into their first cup final since the 1999 FA Cup final, which was also coincidentally against Manchester United, their opponents in the Carabao Cup final. The Magpies lost in 1999 to the Red Devils and Eddie How and Co. will be hoping to change things 24 years after. For now, they turn their attention to Londoners West Ham United who are in a relegation battle, having had a very poor season so far.
West Ham United have had a mystifying 2022/23 season so far. The Hammers were Best of the Rest for two consecutive seasons prior to this one, finishing 7th in 2020/21 and 2021/22. However, David Moyes and his boys have had a massive fall from grace and now sit in 16th place, just one point clear of the relegation zone. A combination of injuries and poor form has thrown the Irons in the midst of a relegation battle and currently have just one win in their last nine league games. However, they are looking to go on a good run now, after their 2-0 win over Everton in the league two weeks ago was followed up by another win over Derby County in the FA Cup on Monday night. The Hammers now face some tough fixtures with Newcastle United, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United to come in the next five games. It will be interesting to see how West Ham copes with such difficult opposition, starting with a trip to St. James’ Park on Saturday.
WHEN & WHERE?
Date: Saturday, 4th February 2023.
Time: 5.30 pm BST
Venue: St. James’ Park, Newcastle upon Tyne.
Newcastle United will be without their Brazilian midfielder Bruno Guimaraes who received a straight red card in their midweek semifinal win over Southampton, after a reckless challenge on Edozie. He was originally awarded a yellow card, but after a VAR check the yellow card was rescinded and a red card was branded to the Brazilian. He will miss the next three games including West Ham’s trip on Saturday.
Striker Alexander Isak, who returned to action after a lengthy spell on the sidelines, is also a doubt for the upcoming game, having taken a hit to the head. Isak was hit on the head by a James Ward-Prowse freekick, with Eddie Howe saying the Swede felt a bit groggy and concussion protocols will have to be taken into account.
New signings Anthony Gordon from Everton and defender Harrison Ashby from West Ham United could both be in line to make their debuts on Saturday after being unveiled to the crowd on Tuesday night. Ashby could make his debut against his former club after Javie Manquillo picked up an injury in training meaning Kieran Trippier is the only fit right-back in the squad besides the new boy.
West Ham United also have a few injury concerns of their own. New £12 million signing Danny Ings is a doubt after picking up a knee injury on his debut for the club against Everton, and subsequently missing the win over Derby County. David Moyes did not specify how bad the injury might be, but there are concerns the Englishman will not be able to recover in time for the trip to Tyneside.
Summer signing Maxwel Cornet is also expected to be ruled out after suffering a fresh injury in training. He has been out of action for about four months and his time on the treatment table is set to extend after he suffered a setback in recovery.
Striker Scamacca is close to a return after suffering a knee injury, but it remains to see if he is fully fit to feature against Newcastle. Like Scamacca, defender Kurt Zouma is also expected to return soon, but there are doubts about his availability on Saturday.
The Paraguayan forward is enjoying his best season in the Premier League yet, scoring 9 goals and providing 1 assist so far. Heading into the World Cup break, Almiron was on a run of 4 goals and 1 assist in 5 league games, but could not keep up the same scoring streak after club football restarted. He has been influential in games however, creating plenty of chances, but has scored just 1 goal in his last 5 league games. The 28-year-old midfielder is still very much dangerous when afforded time and space as he continues his rejuvenation and transformation under manager Eddie Howe. He has started every league game this season, and will be expected to take up his spot on the right wing again on Saturday as he prepares to face a leaky West Ham defense.
Jarrod Bowen has always been a key player under Moyes, but with the strikers misfiring for the Hammers, Bowen has taken up the lead of the attack. He is the club’s leading goal-scorer this season, scoring 8 goals in all competitions. In a poor West Ham attack, Bowen has shown his class and talent to come up with a goal when needed. He was paired up alongside Said Benrahma, just behind the main striker in their last league win, and Bowen came away from the game scoring both goals in a 2-0 win over Everton. Moyes used the same formation against Derby County in the FA Cup and Bowen was on hand again to score the opener just 10 minutes into the game. He will be expected to lineup in the same role on Saturday, and Moyes will be hoping Bowen can inspire the Hammers to a positive result against a Newcastle United defense which is one of the best in the league currently.
Newcastle United XI vs West Ham: Nick Pope; Kieran Trippier, Fabian Schar, Sven Botman, Dan Burn; Sean Longstaff, Joe Willock, Joelinton; Miguel Almiron, Callum Wilson, Allan Saint-Maximin.
West Ham XI vs Newcastle United: Lukasz Fabianski; Tilo Kehrer, Angelo Ogbonna, Nayef Aguerd; Vladmir Coufal, Lucas Paqueta, Declan Rice, Emerson Palmieri; Jarrod Bowen, Said Benrahma; Michail Antonio.