After Tuesdays night’s disappointing defeat to an under-strength Arsenal, it’s back to league business for the Hammers this Saturday and Newcastle are our visitors. Not many staked a claim to a starting berth on Tuesday but Lanzini’s suspension will necessitate a change in midfield. Masuaku was very good against Arsenal and Declan Rice was the only player to shine in an insipid performance against the Gunners. I really feel that Tuesday is an oppourtunity missed and I for one would love to see West Ham win a trophy rather than prioritising league positions, but it is the way of football now that finishing 17th in the Premier League is viewed as a greater achievement than winning a trophy.
Newcastle are in turmoil off the pitch and have been for some time, the owner Mike Ashley is almost universally unpopular and the club’s fans want him out as soon as possible. In Rafa Benitez, the Geordies have one of the league’s best managers and he will need to wring every ounce out of each player to avoid a relegation fight this season. Player for player West Ham are superior but they have to earn the right to play by working hard and being defensively tight.
Adrian will return for Hart who looked bereft on Tuesday and Kouyate will replace Lanzini assuming he is fit. The outstanding Arnautovic will hope to continue his good form and his movement and pace along with Antonio could prove crucial.
This game starts a run of 3 games against teams around us, if we win all 3 it would be great to put some daylight between us and the bottom 3. West Ham are in good form and look like they are building momentum, let’s hope the team delivers an early Christmas present this Saturday