West Ham (H) Pre-match thoughts, team news, possible line-ups & score prediction

Both David Moyes and Jonjo Shelvey have suggested in the build up to this match that there’s very little between the two squads – yet the two sides sit in complete opposite ends of the table coming into this one.

If West Ham win they’ll move up to 3rd and give their Champions League hopes another huge boost, while a defeat for us could see us pulled right back into the relegation fight.

On the plus side, we beat them on the opening days of the season, could welcome back Wilson and Saint-Maximin AND face a Hammers side set to be missing several key players, but there’s no doubting this will be a tough game against a West Ham side flying high.

In many respects, their season is reminiscent of our rise up to 5th under Alan Pardew in 2011/12. Everything has just clicked, they have a host of talented players in their prime and a January signing in Jesse Lingard who is having a Papiss Cisse style effect on their form, with the Man Utd loanee scoring EIGHT goals in nine Premier League appearances so far.

As for us, we arrive with real momentum after an impressive display and handy point against Spurs was followed by a huge win at Burnley.

In that time we’ve seen Fulham lose twice, meaning we could move NINE clear of our biggest relegation rivals with a win in Saturday’s early kick off at St James’ Park.

Team news

  • Wilson & Saint-Maximin – Both in contention to start after coming on at Burnley and training all week. Bruce admits he has a ‘decision to make’.
  • Ryan Fraser – Set to miss out again with a groin injury that’s yet to improve.
  • Jamaal Lascelles – Could miss the rest of the season after suffering a stress fracture in his foot.
  • Fabian Schar – Returned to light training this week and is doing ‘very, very well’ says Bruce, however this game will come too soon.
  • Isaac Hayden – Ruled out for the season with a knee injury.

For the visitors, Michail Antonio and Declan Rice have been ruled out, with defender Aaron Cresswell also a ‘doubt’ with a hamstring issue. Angelo Ogbonna has returned to training, but Moyes failed to state whether the centre-back would be fit enough to play his first game since February at St James’ Park.

Predicted lineup

(5-3-2): Dubravka – Murphy, Fernandez, Clark, Dummett, Ritchie – S Longstaff, Shelvey (c), Almiron – Saint-Maximin, Wilson.

Saint-Maximin IN, Gayle OUT? – This one feels like a no-brainer now ASM has had two late cameos and been a game changer in both. Gayle’s movement and energy was effective against Spurs, but he was on the fringe of the things at Turf Moor and missed a big chance.

Wilson IN, Joelinton OUT? – I wouldn’t be surprised if Bruce goes with the Brazilian (who was very good in our last home game) and plays it safe with Wilson, however this feels like a huge chance to move NINE points clear of Fulham – and our top scorer could be the difference. He’s trained for two weeks straight now and will only get match fit through starts, so I’m backing Bruce to start him against a side he LOVES to score against.

Joe Willock will be eyeing a recall, but with Shelvey a big favourite of Bruce’s – I still have no idea how he’s our vice captain – and Sean Longstaff coming in from the cold and playing well in our last two, I struggle to see how the Arsenal loanee starts unless Almiron is dropped.

Match prediction

One thing we mustn’t do here is play with our foot off the gas and rest on our laurels after last week’s big win at Burnley – especially when the opposition will be full of motivation in their push towards a surprise top four finish.

Antonio, Rice and Cresswell’s likely absence combined with the return of Wilson and ASM give me real hope, but their impressive win over Leicester last Sunday proved they’re no one-trick pony.

How we’ll play is anyone’s guess – we were brilliant against Spurs then awful at Burnley until changes were made – however I think we’ll have to replicate our most recent display at St James’ Park to get a result.

I fancy a high-scoring draw and point that could be precious if Fulham fail to beat Arsenal on Sunday.

Prediction: Newcastle 2-2 West Ham

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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.

96 thoughts on “West Ham (H) Pre-match thoughts, team news, possible line-ups & score prediction

  1. Piss off Bruce got it right!!. This game should have been wrapped up much earlier & no way we should have let them back in.

    Bruce is a coward. He tried to sit on a lead and nearly blew it. Can’t stand the bloke!!.

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  2. Willock has been our best/most dangerous midfielder since he came in – why is he on the bloody bench???.

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  3. 8 MINUTES ADDED TIME !
    can’t have the Hammer lose like, no way there is 8 mins worth, not having that

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  4. Massive massive 3 points that in the end.
    Should never of sat back second half like we did, Bruce is a massive coward.

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  5. Jesus f Christ we made hard work of that second half. Instead of going for a third and killing them off, we sit back and invite them on to us, which they duly did… even a cabbage has better tactical nous that Bruce. No issue with the pen, cannot argue with it, but should never have been in that position …

    Great win in the end but omg, we need rid of that cabbage heed

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  6. kimtoon:
    Sharpy, supposedly Willock has a muscle injury and that’s why he’s on the bench

    Kim – I keep saying we have a squad of below average players with a handful of good/very good ones – that lad is very good imo – and he looks like he’s enjoying playing for us. If there is any chance of signing him we HAVE to imo.
    He did more in the time he was on the pitch with a muscle injury than Longstaff has done in the last 2.5 games.

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  7. I wonder how many other fans feel angry & frustrated when their team wins???.

    I don’t see Fulham catching us now & I reckon that is us safe actually. Which should be happy times – but I am just ragging at how Bruce let the team switch off in that 2nd half.

    I was really happy & encouraged by that 1st half. But that 2nd half was just pathetic.

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  8. 1 negative, 1 positive:

    Even though Donkey got a goal he was still a waste of time.

    Shelvey seems permanently off set pieces. It was either Longstaff or Ritchie.

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  9. Bruce taking credit for the win!!. We got an own goal and the keeper dropped it. We got lucky in the first half and he still nearly c0cked it up!!.

    He said they spoke at half time about not sitting back too much and inviting pressure … what went wrong there then??? – that’s exactly ALL I saw us do in that second half.

    If that’s what they spoke about, why wasn’t he shouting and barking instructions from the side lines coz they were piling the pressure on long before they scored.

    He’s an absolute blagger.

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  10. “I feel like I’m making a difference but I want to start games, you know. I’m not doing enough to start at the moment, that’s what the manager is saying to me. Willock

    Unbelievable .

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  11. Thought Ritchie was brilliant today, especially in the last 15 mins. He should be captain not jon jo.

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