The FourFourTwo Preview: Newcastle vs West Ham

Premier League | St James’ Park | Sat 24 Aug | 3pm

Billed as…

A genuine test of who’s gone backwards and who’s gone forwards over the summer.

The lowdown

As starts to the season go, these two clubs enjoyed and endured very different experiences. That has as much to do with activity over the summer months as their opening fixtures.
 
While West Ham enjoyed a summer of solid transfer window action (including the capture of Geordie darling, Andy Carroll) followed by a professional 2-0 win over newly promoted Cardiff, Newcastle found themselves on the wrong end of a 4-0 humping at the Etihad Stadium after a summer that had most neutrals believing that the barcodes didn’t know if they were coming or going. Two words: Joe Kinnear. Unreal… makes you want to punch a horse, doesn’t it?
 
In many ways, this fixture will be a much better barometer of where these two sides are in the grand scheme of the Premier League. An amped-up Newcastle side playing their first home league game will provide a sterner test than Cardiff, and the Irons will definitely not have the power and pace of Pellegrini’s Monday night steamroller.
 
Last season the Hammers won when Carroll’s surrogate big brother, Kevin Nolan, nicked a 38th-minute winner which gave the east London side their first win at St James’ since 1998. Needless to say, it’s not the happiest of hunting grounds for cockneys.
 
Also we shouldn’t forget the added spice of both gaffers’ 'previous' with the opposition fans. All in all, this is a rather intriguing match-up.

Team news

Sadly, it looks like the St James’ faithful won’t get a glimpse of their yet-to-be prodigal son. Carroll is still recovering from a heel injury, so his lustrous locks will be parked in the stands while Modibo Maiga fills in up front.
 
For the home team, the Yohan Cabaye saga (we're not sure when it changed from a rumor to a saga, but there you go) could once again overshadow their start to the season. Cabaye looks unlikely to play, which significantly dulls the Magpies’ attacking edge. Steve Taylor’s red at the Etihad means Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa should start.

Key battle: Tiote vs Cole

A lot of what was good about West Ham’s play on the opening day went through Joe Cole. Cut him off and pretty much everything else will come down the wings via Matt Jarvis and (if he gets his first start) Stewart Downing. Cheick Tiote looks the man most likely to have a watching eye on the former England man. 
 

Cole was busy against Cardiff, particularly in the final third as shown by the Stats Zone graphic above. Tiote’s job will be to turn a few more blue arrows (successful passes) red (unsuccessful passes) through his usual brand of physical hustle. The Ivorian’s biggest challenge is to avoid getting pulled out of position as Cole is given a certain amount of license to roam. That said, Allardyce prefers to play it safer away from home and may give Cole a more rigid brief for this match, particularly for the first hour or so.

The managers

Newcastle fans don’t really like Allardyce and West Ham fans have grown a grudging respect for him. West Ham fans don’t really like Alan Pardew… and neither do Newcastle fans, at the moment. Those technical areas are going to be lonely, windswept places come 3pm on Saturday. It's also worth remembering that Pardew was fired by West Ham after a 4-0 beating at Allardyce's Bolton.
 
What Pards and Big Sam have in common is their attention to detail in preparation. They also share a common desire to dump on their previous employers from a great height. Should be fun.

LAST FIVE MEETINGS

  • West Ham 0-0 Newcastle (PL, May 13)
  • Newcastle 0-1 West Ham (PL, Nov 12)
  • Newcastle 5-0 West Ham (PL, Jan 11)
  • West Ham 1-2 Newcastle (PL, Oct 10)
  • Newcastle 2-2 West Ham (PL, Jan 09)

Facts and figures

  • Newcastle have lost three Premier League games in a row. They've never lost four in a row in the competition.
  • West Ham have won just one of their last 14 away games in the Premier League (W1 D3 L10).
  • The Hammers were the only side that managed to keep a clean sheet both home and away against Newcastle United in the Premier League last season.
  • Newcastle have suffered just one defeat in their last 10 Premier League home games against West Ham (W5 D4), but this defeat came last season; 0-1 at St James Park.
  • Kevin Nolan has scored in three of the last four Premier League encounters between these two sides, although two of those goals came for Newcastle United.
  • West Ham were the only team not to win consecutive Premier League games last season. They have a chance to do this at the first opportunity in 2013/14.
  • After creating the most chances without an assist in the Premier League last term (46), Matt Jarvis assisted Joe Cole's goal with his first chance created in 2013/14.
  • Newcastle have been given five Premier League red cards since the start of last season, only Arsenal (6) have more in this period.
  • The Magpies have been given three red cards in their last five Premier League matches.
  • Since the start of 2012, Newcastle have won five of their seven Premier League home games against sides from London (L2).
  • Newcastle have lost three Premier League games in a row. They've never lost four in a row in the competition.
  • West Ham have won just one of their last 14 away games in the Premier League (W1 D3 L10).
  • The Hammers were the only side that managed to keep a clean sheet both home and away against Newcastle United in the Premier League last season.
  • Newcastle have suffered just one defeat in their last 10 Premier League home games against West Ham (W5 D4), but this defeat came last season; 0-1 at St James Park.
  • Kevin Nolan has scored in three of the last four Premier League encounters between these two sides, although two of those goals came for Newcastle United.
  • West Ham were the only team not to win consecutive Premier League games last season. They have a chance to do this at the first opportunity in 2013/14.
  • After creating the most chances without an assist in the Premier League last term (46), Matt Jarvis assisted Joe Cole's goal with his first chance created in 2013/14.
  • Newcastle have been given five Premier League red cards since the start of last season, only Arsenal (6) have more in this period.
  • The Magpies have been given three red cards in their last five Premier League matches.
  • Since the start of 2012, Newcastle have won five of their seven Premier League home games against sides from London (L2).

FourFourTwo prediction

Allardyce will know that keeping the home team quiet will make the home fans loudly discontent. A dogged away performance to steal a 1-0 win. 
 
Newcastle vs West Ham LIVE ANALYSIS using online Stats Zone


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