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

With safety secured, there’s now just two things left for us to focus on this season – a push towards the top 10 and an attempt to keep performing with the same level of quality and commitment as we did in that brilliant battering of Bournemouth on Wednesday.

The test here is to replicate that, especially when our last impressive Premier League win before that (the 3-0 win over Sheffield United) was followed by a sloppy and slow-paced performance in a 1-1 draw with Aston Villa a few days later.

The visitors are a West Ham side scrapping at the bottom who will be buoyed by a huge 3-2 win over Chelsea.

They SHOULD be bang up for this and keen to extend the breathing space they’ve created between themselves and the bottom three, however they’re down there for a reason, being a temperamental team who are often guilty of going missing and making errors at the back.

Let’s hope we get at them and continue from where we left off in midweek – not sit off and be happy we’ve now secured another season in the Premier League!

Predicted XI

(4-4-2): Dubravka – Krafth, Lascelles , Fernandez, Rose – Lazaro, Hayden, Shelvey, Saint-Maximin – Gayle, Carroll.

Dubravka will start in goal, but Bruce may have to make a late decision on one or two defenders ahead of him.

Lascelles was rated as an early doubt with an ankle injury, but training photos from Friday showed him taking part, making me hopeful he’ll be OK to start. Given Lejeune and Clark aren’t fit, Schar will be the only option should the skipper miss out, so we’ll have to hope he is MUCH better than he was against City last Sunday if Bruce is forced to start him. Based on how solid they’ve been since we switched to a four-man defence, I hope it’s Lascelles, no Schar, partnering Fernandez.

At right-back, Manquillo has started every game since football returned and has done well, however he limped off with a knock at Bournemouth so this could be a good time to rest him – especially when Krafth did such a good job on Wednesday.

Yedlin hasn’t been named in Bruce’s 11 since football returned and will want game time, so I wouldn’t be shocked if he came in, but I reckon Bruce will reward the Swede for his solid display in midweek and give him rare back to back starts.

On the other side, Rose was rested at the Vitality and will almost certainly return to the side, with him our only recognised left-back now Willems’ loan has ended and Dummett is ineligible.

In midfield, Shelvey seems to be one of Bruce’s main men and one of the first names on the teamsheet when fit, so he seems set to start again after a top draw display on Wednesday. It’s also worth noting he’s made a habit of performing well or scoring against the Hammers in recent seasons. The question is, who partners him? Bentaleb doesn’t deserve to be dropped, but it’s hard to see Hayden missing out again after he was benched at Bournemouth. I’d prefer to see the Schalke loanee start again and think he deserves another chance, but I can see Hayden returning.

In attack, Ritchie may well return IF he’s deemed fit enough, but it’s Lazaro who surely deserves a chance to impress from the off after he made a huge impact from the bench last time out. He looks a class act to me and a very lively player, but we aren’t going to pay £20m for him if he’s constantly used as nothing more than a impact sub!

On the other flank, it’ll surely be Saint-Maximin – providing Bruce reckons he’s OK to go again. There’s been some talk that hell be assessed before the game after he started his fourth game in 11 days in midweek, but we’re a totally different side when he starts and he didn’t exactly look like a player that needed a break at Bournemouth!

Almrion was meant to be rested in midweek, but he ended up playing over an hour after Longstaff was forced off early on. The Paraguayan played well when he came on and scored a great goal, but I see him being rested here and Bruce going with Carroll and Gayle up top as a result.

With Joelinton said to be nursing a slight calf problem, I can see him giving the pair who combined so well against Aston Villa a chance to play together – especially when Gayle scored his second in as many league games at Bournemouth and Carroll looked sharp off the bench.

North-East writer Ian Murtagh said Bruce was considering starting the two up top in our FA Cup clash with City last weekend along with Gayle saying after the Villa game that they’d been linking up really well in training, so I have a sneaky feeling they might play together here.

After all, Gayle will be keen to build on a confidence boosting goal at Bournemouth and Carroll eager to get one over the club that didn’t deem him fit enough for a new deal last year!

The Opposition

Here’s ‘ones to watch’ in David Moyes’ Hammers side:

Michail Antonio – The powerful wide man often plays in a more advanced central role these days and is a real handful. Powerful, quick, strong in the air and has a knack of arriving into the box at the right time. If Lascelles is out and Schar has to fill in, he’ll have to play much better than he did last Sunday to deal with him.

Jarrod Bowen – A player who was heavily linked in January and someone Steve Bruce was said to be keen to sign. Bagged two assists in their 3-2 win over Chelsea and may be keen to prove a point here given we didn’t seem to think he was worth the money both in January and last summer. Let’s hope he doesn’t come back to haunt us!

Issa Diop – The Frenchman can be brilliant on his day, possessing a impressive blend of pace and power for a 6ft 4′ centre-back, but he sometimes dives in and had a few moments of madness in our 2-3 win at the London Stadium last time we met!

Team news

Jamaal Lascelles (ankle) and Joelinton (calf) are both doubts, however it’s worth noting both appeared to take part in training over the weekend.

Sean Longstaff did not, however, after tweaking his hamstring in midweek, so he will definitely miss out here.

Florian Lejeune is sidelined out once again, and could be out for the season according to Bruce, while Ciaran Clark is still recovering from ankle surgery.

It remains to be seen if Matt Ritchie and Javier Manquillo are deemed fit enough to start after picking up recent knocks.

Felipe Anderson is doubtful with a muscle problem.

Mark Noble, Arthur Masuaku and Sebastien Haller will all be ‘assessed’ before the game after a spell on the sidelines.


The Hammers will arrive with more confidence following that 3-2 win over Chelsea in midweek, however they’ll be keen to build on that given they’re still only 3 points clear of drop zone.

With that in mind, we can’t afford to have another Aston Villa-esque display, with us appearing to switch off and take our foot off the gas in our last home game in the Premier League after a big win.

Do that here and I think a buoyant West Ham side might come away with the win, but play as we did at Bournemouth and show our hunger to finish the season strongly with a push towards the top 10 and we can easily beat this leaky Hammers side who can fall apart if you put enough pressure on them.

Tough one to call. Could go either way, depending on which Newcastle/West Ham turn up, so I’ll go with an end to end draw with a few goals.

That said, if this one’s anything like the reverse fixture – which saw ASM run riot and us cut them open like a knife through butter – we’ll win comfortably!

Prediction: Newcastle 2-2 West Ham


(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.

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

  1. Well, it has finally happened. I’m finally fed up of this! Fed of of this endless waiting for takeover news! Fed up of the Prem and their nitwits who must decide. Fed up of excuses for not deciding. Fed up with the foolish Saudi’s and their idiotic signal piracy. Now we’re hooped again. No plan, no news, no hope! Baahhh! I curse you PL fools and dolts! Give us a final answer!!!


  2. I am OK with that team and think it is hard to predict. Everybody seems to have found a bit of form including Krafth, who Bruce now says is a full-back and not a wing back. Who’d have thunk it – me.

    Also, the loan lads seem fitter now and will be hungry for games so I have no problem playing them either.


  3. Bit pIssed off that Man U seem to have found a budding superstar. They always had ultra-high hopes for Greenwood and he looks the real deal. Fernandez is now the leader of the team which is good for Pogba who might get his head on straight. I see him as being the 3rd best player on their team which is good for them.

    The reason I am Pissed off is a resurgent Man U is one more team we have to compete with if the takeover happens. Everybody knew they would eventually come back with their money but Fernandez has transformed them.

    Good for England though with Greenwood coming through and Foden set to replace David Silva.


  4. There seems to be a consensus in the West Ham loving media that they are “almost” safe after a late win against Chelsea. That they are too good to go down. That’s not true. Watford and Villa have teams that can match them and they have to play Villa on the last day. They are 3 points above Villa and 2 points above Watford with 5 games to play after tomorrow. If we beat them they will be in the sh!t again.


  5. I really enjoyed the Bournemouth game. It was open and flowing and we scored 4 great goals. But we didn’t blow them away as everybody is saying. They had their chances and didn’t take them or even hit the target most of the time. We had about the same number of chances and took 4 of them. I think we had about 12 chances and converted 4. That’s a conversion rate of 33%. Our season average is like 15%. That’s why it felt so good and because the goals were spectacular. It was a bit closer than the scoreline shows in my opinion and it also shows why we need a clinical finisher next year so more of our games will be like Bournemouth.

    It was the same with the City – Liverpool game. The 4 nil scoreline didnt totally reflect what happened. Liverpool missed a lot of chances and were unlucky.


  6. Olly: you didnt mention the reverse fixture. We blew them away in the first half scoring 3 and could easily have had 5. Then we relaxed a bit and somehow they got 2 back in the second half. But they werent on top in the second half, it was pretty even.

    We have shown we can handle this West Ham team and that was without the loan additions in January. I am going with 2-1 to NUFC.


  7. I think today will be a tough game. They’re better than where they are I think and they have something to play for. Maybe our shackles are off so I fancy a draw.

    Today’s offering of PC nonsense is that estate agents are being told to stop using the term “master” bedroom. Oh Lordy!


  8. Anyone know if this is a free To watch game, and if so, which channel it’s on?


  9. georgio:
    It’s on BT sport only. No freeview this time.

    It’s on Sky Sports mate, but that’s the only one. Thought it might be on Pick, but I’m afraid not, it’s the earlier game that’s on there 🙄


  10. That must be the fastest front 4 in the PL – Gayle, Almiron, St Max and Joelinton who is no slouch despite his size.


  11. Jack Rodwell comes on for Sheffield Utd. I wondered where he went. He sort of went on strike when in the 3rd division with the Mackems and they paid up his contract. I thought he would never play again after that and now he is in the PL and the Mackems are close to administration.


  12. West Ham were pretty expensively put together. I have no idea why they are where they are. Declan Rice is captain. Hope my criticism of him doesnt bite me in the ass. I dont think he is a bad player it is that the pundits have a w@nk about him and valued him at 70 mil before CV-19. If they valued him at 20 mil I would never have said a word about him.


  13. That was a penalty from the Jonjo shot. It doesnt matter it was accidental under the present rules. That’s why VAR is so crap because they apply the rules consistently.


  14. I guess 1-1 is fair so far, but expecting more in second half. Our defence went to sleep for the first goal.

    I got day pass on now tv so able to watch on my iPad
    Wish this site would get sorted.. doing my head in..


  15. Shelvey and Almiron played well. West Ham had been watching tape of St Max because they had 2 men on him every time he touched the ball.

    Joelinton had a bit of a mare and not sure why he stayed on for 80 minutes. Gayle was a bit anonymous.

    Rice and Soucek were their best players.

    Still say it was penalty for handball for Shelvey’s shot on about 9 mins. Accidental but VAR has given them many times this season. Moyes’ head would have exploded if it was awarded.


  16. Whatever you think of that performance it was still a massive improvement on most of the home games when we played the 5 at the back system. Think Norwich or Brighton. At least we showed some attacking intent.

    Dubravka had no chance with the goals and only made one decent save apart from that. What I am saying is that we didn’t have to rely on Dubs’ heroics to get a point.


  17. Ryder gave Joelinton a 7 in his player ratings.

    Will be interesting to see what Olly thinks.


  18. Had the girl and her chap for lunch, managed to get lunch on the table just before KO, so watched whilst eating.
    Thought the ref was letting a lot of their niggly fouls go which was doing my head in. We should of pushed on at 2.2 really, but i suspected a draw today so not too surprised.
    Joelinton offered nothing today sadly, Lazarro and Bentalab looked good when they came on though.
    Hope Hayden is ok.


  19. Monday the wheel fell off the lads indoor wheelchair, cost £180 for a new chair as unfixable.
    Thursday the double solid wood wall kitchen cupboard fell off the wall, which less than a second later would of hit me on the head as i was just about to stand in front of it !
    Saturday , the bolt snapped on the lads bedguard !

    That has to be it surely, it only comes in three’s doesn’t it ?


  20. Comments keep disappearing, and I keep having to put my details in again every time I post.. 🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬


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