West Ham United host Newcastle United this weekend, in what is building up to be a significant tie for both sides as they look to fulfil their ambitions spanning both extremes of the league table over the coming weeks. With both clubs in need of finding a consistent run of positive results to achieve their goal for the season, Saturday’s fixture is likely to provide a mouth-watering match-up for the neutral.
Currently enduring a slump in form following their impressive start to the campaign, West Ham will be hoping to bounce back in contention for top-four after failing to secure three points at Leicester last weekend. With the team in need of gaining consistent results to stay alive in the race for a Champions League spot, manager David Moyes will be keen on avoiding an upset and securing a comfortable three points on Saturday.
Meanwhile, having registered three consecutive victories, Newcastle United will be eyeing a significant three points as they look to pull out of a relegation battle heading into the remainder of the campaign. With the team growing increasingly confident in securing vital results following a busy winter transfer window, manager Eddie Howe will be keen on, at least, securing a point heading to a palpable London Stadium this weekend.
WHEN & WHERE?
Venue: London Stadium.
Date: Saturday, 19th of February 2022.
Time: Kick-off at 12:30 BST.
Referee: Chris Kavanagh.
Assistants: Constantine Hatzidakis, James Mainwaring.
Fourth official: Graham Scott.
VAR: Jarred Gillett.
Assistant VAR: Harry Lennard.
WEST HAM UNITED
West Ham are without the services of Angelo Ogbonna and Arthur Masuaku, although Kurt Zouma is likely to return to the match-day squad after recovering from illness for Saturday’s fixture.
Moyes is likely to field the same starting line-up that drew against Leicester, with Zouma and Said Benrahma emerging as the only players likely to push for a starting spot against Newcastle this weekend.
Numerous injuries could impede Newcastle’s hopes of avoiding relegation, with Kieran Tripper emerging as the latest addition to a scroll of key players out of contention for the weekend. Callum Wilson, Matt Ritchie, Javier Manquillo, Federico Fernandez, and Issac Hayden remain sidelined with injuries, although club captain Jamaal Lascelles is likely to return to the match-day squad for the clash against West Ham.
Matt Targett, too, is expected to return to the starting line-up, while new signing Bruno Guimaraes is set to remain on the bench following an impressive performance by the team’s midfield trio comprising Jonjo Shelvey, Joelinton, and Joe Willock last weekend. A change in formation could likely see Chris Wood and Allan Saint-Maximin lead the line on Saturday.
With both teams needing a victory, Saturday’s encounter is likely to provide a refreshing match-up for the neutral. Having witnessed a string of inconsistent results, the hosts will be hoping to secure three points this weekend while the visitors will be looking to increase the point gap at the bottom of the table; looking to avoid relegation at the end of the campaign.
Given West Ham’s creative prowess across the attacking third, Newcastle will be wary of losing possession in key areas on Saturday. The Irons are likely to exploit the space on the flanks whilst also focusing on keeping the shape compact in a bid to dominate the midfield battle against a comparatively weaker Newcastle midfield this weekend. Moreover, with the possibility of Zouma returning to the line-up, West Ham will be looking to keep a clean sheet and seek advantage on set pieces throughout the game on Saturday.
Meanwhile, having shown their dynamism in their last three league outings, Newcastle will be keen on frustrating the opposition on Saturday. Expected to play to their strengths despite the threat of conceding first, the Magpies will be looking to physically impose themselves on the opposition whilst negating their impact through the flanks for most of the ninety minutes. Additionally, with Howe likely to employ a 3-5-2 formation, Newcastle will be looking to maintain pressure on the opposition’s full-backs and win turnovers in possession in a bid to unsettle the hosts on Saturday.
JARROD BOWEN – WEST HAM UNITED
West Ham’s most impressive performer in recent weeks, Bowen is likely to play a vital role in deciding the result on Saturday. Having already registered 21 goal contributions in the ongoing campaign, a favourable tie against Newcastle offers the winger a significant opportunity to deliver, yet another, impressive performance at the London Stadium.
Bowen’s threatening pace combined with sublime technical ability is likely to unsettle Newcastle’s backline on Saturday. Given his good form in front of goal, the winger will be looking forward to delivering an impressive display against the Magpies.
ALLAN SAINT-MAXIMIN – NEWCASTLE UNITED
Newcastle’s most lively threat across the attacking third, Saint-Maximin will be keen on contributing to a favourable result on Saturday. Having registered two goals and an assist in his last five outings, the Frenchman emerges as a player capable of unsettling the home side this weekend.
Having kept only two clean sheets in their last five outings, West Ham will be wary of Saint-Maximin’s attributes in possession. Given the host side’s vulnerabilities in the backline, the Frenchman will look to provide adequate support to Chris Wood whilst attracting defenders in a bid to create space within the box on Saturday.
West Ham United (4-2-3-1) – Lukasz Fabianski; Vladimir Coufal, Craig Dawson, Kurt Zouma, Aaron Creswell; Declan Rice, Tomas Soucek; Jarrod Bowen, Pablo Fornals, Manuel Lanzini; Michail Antonio.
Newcastle United (3-5-2) – Martin Dubravka; Fabian Schar, Jamaal Lascelles, Dan Burn; Emil Krafth, Joe Willock, Jonjo Shelvey, Joelinton, Matt Targett; Chris Wood, Allan Saint-Maximin.