West Ham (A): Pre-match thoughts, team news & predicted line ups

It’s easy to focus on the opposition ahead of each game, but it’s time we had a good look at ourselves here.

With us mustering just 4 shots on target in our last 4 games, our lack of goal threat in the attacking third has been worryingly poor of late – and that has to change if we want to stay up.

Yes we’re solid at the back, but our front three – who’ve all got something about them when used right – have just one goal/assist between them in a combined 24 starts this season.

For me, the personnel isn’t the big issue, it’s the system and tactics Bruce is dishing out. It’s not working, and we must see signs of change this weekend against a talented West Ham side who’ll be looking to bounce back after no wins in their last four league games.

Predicted XI

Whoever starts up top needs MUCH more support than Joelinton has been receiving, but when we’re away from home against a side with plenty of quality in attack, I fear we’ll be relying on something from nothing from Saint-Maximin or Almiron on the counter.

Bruce said that the ‘two solutions’ facing him are either a change of formation or change in personnel. I don’t see him trialing the former just yet, so think we may see Gayle come in for an under-fire Joelinton. Dropping the Brazilian isn’t the answer for me, it’s changing our approach to play to his strengths and get support up to him, but if we’re to continue with the same system it may be time to take him out of the firing line.

In midfield, it wouldn’t surprise me if Hayden AND Shelvey came in. Sean Longstaff is suspended and Matty struggled against Wolves, so a refreshed Hayden – who’s back from suspension – and a potentially dangerous Shelvey – who may be able to set away our front three on the counter – could be what Bruce opts for.

At the back, I expect Willems and Yedlin to continue in wide areas, with Ritchie likely to miss out once again. Clark, Lascelles and Fernandez also look set to keep their places with Schar a big doubt, however Dummett and Lejeune will be knocking on Bruce’s door, highlighting just how many capable options we have at centre-back.

If tonight’s football scores this time last week were anything to go by, we don’t look in bad fettle compared to Southampton (who were stuffed 9-0), but it’s time we started creating chances and winning games now we’re finally faced with a generous run of fixtures.

Preferred NUFC XI – (4-2-3-1) – Dubravka – Yedlin, Fernandez, Lascelles, Willems – M.Longstaff, Hayden – Atsu, Almiron, Saint-Maximin – Joelinton.

The Opposition

Here’s a few ‘ones to watch’ in Manuel Pellegrini’s West Ham side:

Sebastien Haller – The former Frankfurt star had been regularly linked with a move to Tyneside over the past few seasons, but ended up making a £40m move to East London instead after a few prolific seasons in Germany. He’s surprisingly agile for his height, links the play very intelligently and has a real eye for goal, with Lascelles and co. likely to have their hands full when any balls are hoisted up to the Frenchman.

Andriy Yarmolenko – The 6ft 3′ winger has 3 goals and a couple of assists already this season and could Jetro Willems a tough old afternoon. He won’t beat him for pace, but he’s powerful, good in front of goal and often drifts in into good areas in and around the box.

Felipe Anderson – The Brazilian, who’s likely to start down their left, tore DeAndre Yedlin apart when they beat us 3-0 at St James’ Park last season. He’s been out of sorts so far this year according to a few Hammers fans I’ve spoken to, but he has genuine pace and a brilliant right foot, so the American can ill afford any lapses in concentration against a player who’ll be desperate to get back amongst the goals.

Roberto – The Spaniard wasn’t expected to play much this season, being brought in as a back-up option to Lukasz Fabianski, however a long-term injury to West Ham’s no.1 has seen him come in. Given Fabianski is without doubt one of the best goalkeepers outside of the top 6 and argably the Hammers’ most consistent performer, Roberto could be one of the weak links in this West Ham side.

Predicted West Ham XI (4-2-3-1): Roberto – Fredericks, Balbuena, Diop, Cresswell – Rice, Noble – Yarmolenko, Lanzini, Anderson – Haller.

Team news

Andy Carroll looks set to return to the squad, but Sean Longstaff (suspended), Fabian Schar (knee), Matt Ritchie (ankle) and Florian Lejeune (still stepping up ACL recovery) have all been ruled out.

For the hosts, first-choice goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski is still out, while Michail Antonio, Winston Reid and Jack Wilshere are also expected to miss out.


History tells us that we’ve been incapable of scoring more than one goal so far this season, and I don’t see us keeping West Ham out.

As a result, my hopes of taking all three points are slim at best, however we are more than capable of coming away with a result should we get the balance right at both ends.

West Ham slipped to a defeat to Palace and drew at home to Sheffield United in their last two games at the London Stadium, having a stinker at Everton in between, so they are beatable – no matter how good areas of their team can look on paper.

hope I’m wrong and things finally click in attack, but fear they’ll outscore us and be more clinical in the final third.

Prediction: West Ham 2-1 Newcastle

Howay the lads!

(Fancy writing for us? Send any articles/ideas over to us at NUFCblogsubmissions@gmail.com & we’ll get back to you!)

About Olly Hawkins

Olly has been a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.

64 thoughts on “West Ham (A): Pre-match thoughts, team news & predicted line ups

  1. I am going to say it again like a broken record. Rice is the most overrated player in the Premier League and Noble is crap. We have a chance here.


  2. I am going with 4-1 to us.

    A hattrick for Gayle and 1 for Almiron or Joe (whoever doesn’t get dropped).


  3. Eric Sykes:

    Would you have predicted Leicester 9 nil away to Southampton?

    4-1 could happen.

    shock shock Wilshire out injured,wish he was playing hes crap


  4. WHU are an enigma. On paper they have some real quality – and I rate Yarmolenko highly. But they are so inconsistent.

    Eric – you joke with Oli we could win, lose or draw – but I think this fixture is as difficult as that to call – it depends on what WHU or NUFC side turns up.

    They are essentially the reverse of us – take our defence and their attack and you’ve got a bloody good team.

    God knows how this one goes 🤷🏼‍♂️


  5. Icedog: was Wilshere ever any good? I think he was a southern press fiction where they wanted him to be England’s savior. Whenever I saw him play he looked slow and his only real skill seemed to be in pointing to where other players should go.

    And if Declan Rice is the new Michael Carrick then West Ham can keep him. Carrick is another press fiction. Now he is retired they talk about him like he was Bobby Moore of or Franz Beckenbauer. He was only ever slightly better than average, which is what Rice is. Not bad players, but not what the press and pundits are saying.

    And Butch Wilkins. They act like he was a God. He never hit a forward pass after he turned 25.


  6. Now Rooney was a very good player. I only ranted about him because his pundit pals were saying he was also England and Man U’s savior after his legs had gone.

    I have seen Wayne interviewed quite a few times and he is not the thick Scouser the press make him out to be. It’s funny that, the press build him up when he is past his best as a player and wont leave alone the fact that he is from a council estate in Toxteth and make him out like he is thick.


  7. If I was Bruce I would put pressure on Rice and Noble because they are not that good. But he probably won’t. And if I was Steve Bruce I would have a head like a cabbage, write crappy crime pulp fiction and say I am “delighted” all of the time.


  8. Who are the Brexiters trying to keep out?

    I would be 1,000 % (one thousand percent) for it if it was Aussies. Worst travellers in the world.


  9. Apart from Shane Warne and Brett Lee. And Ritchie Benaud of course. And Barry Humphries.

    Or Ricky Ponting who I think is a great commentator.

    Maybe I am not 1000 % against Aussies?


  10. I think I have said this before but I think it is the best answer I have ever heard to a stupid question – my stupid question!

    I lived in Munich and there were all of these Aussies touring around. They had Aussie tours on buses and I would see them from time to time. I asked one of them, Bruce was his name I think – what do you expect to take back from your European odyssey, your adventure of a lifetime? Your one time away from Wogga Wogga Goolagong bong?

    A BEER BELLY MATE. was his reply.


  11. Eric, you’ve been drinking the heavy stuff again, mate! We won’t score four goals in the next four matches, let some one.

    It will be either 0-1, 0-0 or 2-0. Might scrape a 1-1.

    On your immigration questions. Brexiteers aren’t trying to keep anyone out. I personally just want everyone in the world to have the same opportunity to work here if they meet the criteria. Currently if you’re from Italy or Romania you’re free to move here with or without a job. Why should a Romanian nurse have a better chance to get a job here than a Indian nurse?


  12. I couldn’t give a sh!t about rugby but aren’t you supposed to pass it in straight at a line-out and scrums and not be able to pass it forwards?


  13. This weather in Bournemouth looks pretty rainy. You better buck your ideas up weather wise if you expect me to come back next week. Do they sell rain ponchos in Newcastle?

    I am off to Scotland as well. Do I need a personal igloo or something for that?

    Get your weather sorted out please. And then fix Brexit and Trump.


  14. Good goal by King. They were trying to say over here that Man U had rediscovered their mojo. For 10 mins maybe. De Gea is even more overrated than Declan Rice, Michael Carrick and Jack Wilshere put together.


  15. It is almost amazing to say that Bournemouth who play in a shed with a capacity of 10,342 look as good as Man U and are 1 nil up.


  16. Well Bruce sticks with the same front 3 that have not done it all season.
    I’ve defended him a bit through the injuries, but he has Atsu, Carroll and Gayle all available to him and is not changing things.

    If we have any sense at all today we will get the ball to ASM as often as possible so he can run at Zabaletta.

    Shelvey has to put the graft in today for me as well. We all know he can pass a ball, but he has to show why he should be in ahead of Matty Longstaff.


  17. I have to confess I have no idea about today. That’s why I said 4-1 to us.

    Wishful thinking?

    I know Noble is shyte and Rice is overrated.

    But we have 1 goal from the front 3 in 10 games.


  18. Eric Sykes:
    I have to confess I have no idea about today. That’s why I said 4-1 to us.

    Wishful thinking?

    I know Noble is shyte and Rice is overrated.

    But we have 1 goal from the front 3 in 10 games.

    Eric – Noble or Shelvey?


  19. Right we are 2 up no pressure on Almiron, Joe or the Saint, one of them need to score today and the saint really should of just now.


  20. So 0.2 at half time, West Ham will be better second half, i just hope we do not get punished for missing those chances/sitters in truth.


  21. Kimtoon mate, West Ham have been pretty sh!t though. Where is this 80 million pound midfielder to Man U they have?


  22. Well that’s a good win – but it should have been sooooo much better.

    Another week where I’m saying Almiron is just not good enough – and if it were Jacob Murphy, everyone would be agreeing with me!!.

    ASM played well but also missed some very good chances.

    A very good win but our forwards nearly cost us the game again today.


  23. For all his good defensive work and speed getting forward Almiron’s decision making in the box is dreadful at the moment.


  24. I thought we played well.

    They got skillful/lucky with the second goal.

    Where was Declan Rice?

    Was he even on the field?


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