There are a lot of interesting sub plots involved in this match, which will make it one of the most intriguing fixtures this weekend. The two managers Sam Allardyce and Alan Pardew are coming up against their former clubs, while Kevin Nolan and Andy Carroll are set to face the club they linked up so well for over a two year period. Both clubs have started the season so well, mixing it in the upper echelons of the league in recent weeks, and they will be keen to carry on their good starts this weekend. Neither of these sides have the money to compete with the big clubs, but their scouting systems have proven to be up there with the best in the country. The scouting systems of both are a big reason why they are both up in the top six.
West Ham are currently in sixth position and a victory over an in form Newcastle team could see them climb as high as fourth. They have dropped off lately, going without a win for three matches, but their great start means that they remain in a good position. Many had doubts over West Ham considering that Allardyce only just managed to keep his job at the end of last season, but he has formed a West Ham side that plays decent football, showing that there is a lot more to his managerial ability than just the long ball game. The return of Andy Carroll has complicated things, so it will be interesting to see how he is going to fit into the side.
Their opponents Newcastle have been on a sublime run of five straight victories in the league to lift them from the relegation zone to fifth, which is incredible given just a month ago, their manager Alan Pardew was under intense pressure. It is a remarkable turnaround in form, but they need to become more consistent and maintain their top ten position.There is an opportunity to push on and challenge for the European places given the inconsistency of the rest of the league. With key players coming back over the next couple of months, Newcastle will be in a great position to have a good season.
In this fixture last season, Newcastle ran out 3-1 winners, with Yohan Cabaye scoring twice on his last appearance for the club. Loic Remy got the other goal, Carlton Cole scored for the home side. In the corresponding fixture at St James Park, the match ended goalless. Newcastle will be hoping for a similar result at Upton Park to last season, although they will have to do it with a very different looking side.
Andy Carroll has never scored against his former club and you would have to expect that he will at some point. Newcastle will be hoping that isn’t this weekend.
Newcastle have won five matches in a row in the league, a feat not reached by any other side this season, not even Chelsea, who have been incredible to date.
Andy Carroll will be keen to play well this weekend against his former club. Although West Ham have been good when it comes to attacking, Carroll will be starting games due to the money the striker cost and he needs to repay the faith showed in him. It hasn’t really worked out for him since making the move permanent, mainly down to his injuries, but he still has the talent to make a real impact. His career has stalled ever since his exceptional start to the 2010/11 season with Newcastle. His move to Liverpool heaped unrealistic expectations on him and he has never bounced back from that. He is getting to the stage in his career that he needs to be playing regular football and he needs to start scoring goals again, maybe a move would be beneficial to that, but not many clubs would take the risk of bringing Carroll in given his injury record. The England international has only scored twice since making the move permanently to West Ham and he will want to improve that record against the club he started his career at.
Newcastle’s upturn in form has been built on the performances of Moussa Sissoko, who is finally fulfilling his potential on a consistent basis. He seems to be thriving in a team built around him and he is the man the team looks to for inspiration. After bursting onto the scene, he became very inconsistent, however he has always had the physical attributes that made people believe he would be a quality player. He is only 25 and as a French international, he has the opportunity to become a great player in years to come. If he manages to keep performing at such a high level on a consistent basis as he is at the moment, clubs in European competition may start to look at the midfielder as a potential signing. His main strength is running with the ball as he can drive through the middle of the park, pushing past challenges using his immense strength. Sissoko has spoken about adding goals to his game and the winner against QPR was a great goal as he started the move and finished it with a sublime finish.
Mark Noble and Cheikhou Kouyate are both expected to be fit to play. Stewart Downing is back in training after injury, but is touch and go for this weekend. Enner Valencia, Alex Song and Diafra Sakho are major doubts. Winston Reid is suspended this weekend as well, adding to the Hammers’ problems. Andy Carroll and Kevin Nolan are expected to play against their former club.
Emmanuel Riviere, Mehdi Abeid and Cheick Tiote are expected to be available this weekend after a number of weeks out with injury. Fabricio Coloccini and Steven Taylor are back in training and could feature this weekend. Rolando Aarons remains a week away from a return, while Ryan Taylor is expected to miss the next few weeks. Siem de Jong has returned to training, but is still a number of weeks away from first team football. Davide Santon remains out.
Moussa Sissoko will be one of the players that could lead Newcastle to their 6th successive league win this weekend. Last season he created 77 chances in the league, showing his ability to create goalscoring opportunities. If you think he could get an assist this weekend, Tailorbet are offering odds of 6.88.
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West Ham’s great start has slowed recently, while Newcastle only seem to be getting better. Given the number of players who will be missing this weekend for the Hammers, it’s going to be difficult for them against a Newcastle side full of confidence. If Coloccini and Tiote return this weekend for the away side, it will be a huge boost. Newcastle will look to play on the counter as they have been in recent weeks. It will be interesting to see how West Ham play given the players they have out. They may opt for a more direct approach trying to get the best out of Carroll and Nolan. I think it will end in a draw this weekend.