Newcastle travel to Upton Park tomorrow afternoon where they will be looking to answer a whole host of questions against West Ham.
The 6-0 capitulation against Liverpool has caused a storm on Tyneside as rumours of rifts and cliques have been made public resulting in United falling out with members of the press and even going as far as banning one publication and it’s reporters whilst embarking on a PR offensive to deny any of the aforementioned rumours. I was half expecting to see images of Cabaye and Pardew picking flowers together but alas they never materialised!
The commitment that was lacking against Liverpool and in recent weeks will be under the microscope once more as both manager and players look to bounce back from such a humiliation. It’s crisis time at United and we need points desperately if we are to make sure we don’t end up relegated for a second time within the space of four years.
No doubt looking to get one over us, West Ham have an array of former United players and staff who all have their own reasons for wanting to pile the misery on us. Andy Carroll and Kevin Nolan are of course former players of Newcastle United and both played a huge part in ensuring we returned to the Premier League. Then there is Sam Allardyce who, not content with getting a huge payout for being sacked, also likes to get one over on us each time we play. The Hammer will not lack motivation, that is for sure.
Allardyce has no fresh injury concerns ahead of the visit of Newcastle. James Tomkins (calf) and George McCartney (knee) are again likely to miss out but apart from that Allardyce has a full squad to choose from.
Mathieu Debuchy will miss the game due to suspension following his sending off against Liverpool last weekend. Massadio Haidara and Sylvain Marveaux are doubtful as they nurse respective hamstring and groin injuries whilst Tim Krul, Davide Santon, Ryan Taylor and Haris Vuckic all remain out.
There is better news regarding Fabricio Coloccini though who is likely to return to the side after missing the last 12 games with a back injury.
West Ham are looking to do the double over us this season after Kevin Nolan ensured his current club took all three points away from his former home earlier on in the season.
Prior to West Ham’s relegation, we managed to do the double over them with a 5-0 win at St James’ Park following a 2-1 victory at Upton Park. The goalscorers for us that day – Kevin Nolan and Andy Carroll!
Upton Park has been a happy hunting ground for us in recent years. We’ve won three of our last five trips to West Ham and drawn another one of those five with our only loss in the last ten years coming courtesy of a 3-1 defeat back in 2008.
The Hammers have had the upper hand over us at their ground over the years however. There have been 58 meeting between the sides with West Ham winning 29, United winning 15 and the other 14 ending in a draw.
Overall, home and away and in all competitions, United to hold a slight advantage having won 49 meetings between the two sides compared to West Ham’s 38 victories with 35 draws having been contested between the two sides in their 122 clashes to date.
Match stats and facts:
West Ham have only lost once at home in 2013 (Tottenham) and have only lost four home league games (Arsenal, Liverpool and Everton) all season.
Newcastle have the second-worst away record in the Premier League having won just one league game on the road all season.
West Ham goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen has made a league-high 155 saves this season.
Newcastle have the worst defence in the league having conceded 66 goals this term, one goal more than relegated Reading, two more than relegation rivals Aston Villa, and four more than 18th placed Wigan.
Once again I find myself dreading the weekend and wondering just how bad it will be rather than how good we can make it. I honestly would love to see a reaction after last weekend but I just can’t see it. I’ve almost resigned to the fact that we’ll get relegated and will only get saved if Wigan fail to bridge that five point gap and I honestly can’t see us picking up another point this season given how we’ve been “performing” for quite some time now.
Suffice to say, I’d be delighted with a point!
Howay the lads!
Date: Saturday, 4th May, 2013
Venue: Upton Park