Newcastle United head to The Olympic Stadium to face West Ham with a head of steam built up from three consecutive Premier League wins for the first time since November 2018 after an excellent 1-0 victory against Aston Villa at St James' Park last Sunday thanks to another free-kick by England international Kieran Tripper:
Another 52,000 capacity sell-out at St James' Park celebrated the win and haul of nine points from the last nine available to boost The Magpies to 17th place, four points above Norwich in 17th, 6 ahead of 18th-placed Watford & 7 above Burnley, bottom.
The mood on Tyneside was somewhat tempered by the news on Monday that Trippier, who has been a revelation on and off the pitch since he signed in January, will be out for a number of weeks with a metatarsal injury after a clash with Villa's Luca Digne:
and Eddie Howe gave an update on Trippier at Friday's press conference:
Trippier will miss the trip to West Ham, as will back-up right-back Javier Manquillo, who is ruled out with an injury of his own after going off injured on Sunday as well after starting at left-back, so will miss two weeks so the right-back slot is likely to be filled Emil Krafth or potentially Jacob Murphy with Matt Targett returning at left-back after the loanee couldn't play against his parent club Aston Villa.
Eddie Howe's other defensive selection dilemma is at centre back after debutant Dan Burn had a superb first game in the black and white stripes of his boyhood club winning the Man of the Match award as Newcastle kept a clean sheet alongside Fabian Schar in the middle of defence while club Captain Jamaal Lascelles has returned to training.
Howe is pleased to have a positive selection dilemma:
Newcastle's midfield trio Jonjo Shelvey, Joelinton and Joe Willock were all excellent again and Bruno Guimaraes was restricted to another late substitute performance after Howe was forced into using two defensive subs early on restricting his ability to make changes and give the Brazilian more Premier League minutes ahead of his first start.
Eddie Howe will be reluctant to change a winning team but the Brazilian international hasn't come to St James' Park to sit on the bench so its only a matter of time before he makes his first Premier League start and Newcastle fans will also be hoping its a matter of time until Chris Wood nets his first goal for Newcastle with the New Zealand international striker possessing an excellent goal record against West Ham:
Wood was ready to take the penalty that was awarded to Newcastle when Joe Willock was tripped on Sunday against Aston Villa but it was downgraded to a free-kick by VAR before Trippier smashed it in anyway but Newcastle benefited from a rare VAR intervention in their favour in the second half when Ollie Watkins' goal was disallowed for offside.
West Ham Loss Will Put The Cat Among The Pigeons
West Ham are enjoying another good Premier League season and are chasing a Champions League spot in fifth position just two points behind Man United in fourth yet despite 12 places separating The Hammers and Newcastle in the League table, The Magpies are actually higher in the current Premier League form table being unbeaten in 2022 with the Hammers having lose to Leeds United at home recently and showing signs of strain possible linked to their Europa League campaign and the extra games:
David Moyes' men were lucky to snatch a draw in their last game away to Leicester with a controversial late equalizer by Craig Dawson after the ball went in off the defender's arm leading to complaints by famous Foxes fan Gary Lineker and others on Twitter:
West Ham beat Newcastle 4-2 on the opening day of The Premier League season at St James' Park but that was largely down to an extremely controversial and blatantly wrong decision to award The Hammers a penalty at 2-2 which was the start of a terrible run of decisions from Premier League officials that really affected Newcastle's season.
So Newcastle will be looking to exact a measure of revenge against The Hammers, who are the fourth top scorers in The Premier League with 44, largely thanks to the inspirational form of Jarrod Bowen, a player former Newcastle Manager Steve Bruce was keen to bring to St James' Park, who has scored 12 goals and assisted a further nine in all competitions in 2021/2 and has been tipped for an England call-up:
Current England international Declan Rice has also been in superb form this season and rescued his team from the potential embarrassment of losing to Kidderminister Harriers with this excellent solo goal that dragged his side back into The Cup tie:
Yet nothing could stop everyone connected with West Ham from the embarrassment of Kurt Zouma's disgraceful cat-hitting actions that were filmed and shared on social media that have brought shame to The Olympic Stadium that was compounded by the club playing him anyway in The Hammers' 1-0 win against Watford shortly after which has permanently stained West Ham's reputation and has lost both the club and player sponsorship deals and the goodwill of many in the game.
Newcastle beat West Ham home and away last season and might have made it three wins in a row against The Hammers on the first day of the season before the dodgy penalty decision that swung the game artificially away from them but momentum and form are with The Magpies despite that injury to catalyst Kieran Trippier so a fourth Premier League win on the spin is on the cards for Eddie Howe's men although the United manager is under no illusions about the challenge ahead in London.
Prediction - Newcastle 2 West Ham 1