In the nineteenth round of matches of the 2017/2018 Premier League campaign, Rafa Benítez’s Newcastle United visit East London to face off with David Moyes’ West Ham United, in yet another pivotal Relegation six-pointer.
The hosts go into the clash fresh from a Carabao Cup defeat away at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday night, whereas, the Magpies were also on the losing side against the Gunners in their last outing, balancing the scales nicely for an intriguing affair.
The encounter is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon (Saturday 23 December 2017) with a kick-off time of 3 PM and no Live Television Coverage available for viewing in the UK.
Unfortunately, there are also no Radio outlets offering Live Radio Commentary of the clash, however, never fear, you can stay right where you are for a Live Blog, including live build-up, action and reaction from the Press Box of the former Olympic Stadium.
The visit of Benitez’s side will take place at the club’s London Stadium, with a capacity of 57,000 and the option to go high into the 70,000s it is one of the most spectacular arenas in English Football.
Originally opening in 2012 for the London Olympics, the Ground’s footballing existence has been somewhat marred by violence and crowd unrest, not to mention supporter’s attitudes towards it.
This was catalysed early in this season when the first-team stars, then under Slaven Bilic, were forced to play the first four games of the season away from home due to Stratford hosting The World Athletics Championships.
But, the Stadium is slowly starting to feel more like home for the Claret & Blue Army, and tomorrow afternoon will be the first time that the Toon have visited, tasting defeat in their last trip to East London by a 2-0 scoreline at Upton Park in September 2015.
Hammers Boss Moyes is expected to welcome the return of Skipper Mark Noble for the matchup, but we will know more after his Pre-Newcastle United Press Conference, which you can follow with a Live Blog right here this afternoon.
Argentine playmaker Manuel Lanzini is unavailable as he serves the second game of his suspension for deceiving a Match Official, whilst his fellow midfielders Cheikhou Kouyate and Edimilson Fernandes will remain out as well as the other long-term absentees.
Meanwhile, Toon Manager Benitez doesn’t have so much to worry about on the injury side of things, as he is believed to be looking at a fully fit Squad, but more will be revealed after his own Presser.
The only exception to that will be suspended East London native Jonjo Shelvey after his red card in the home defeat to Everton, ex-Hammer Mo Diame could be in line for a start against his former employers.
The teams of West Ham United and Newcastle United have met a staggering 130 times in Competitive Football, a fixture that has been being played since all the way back in 1892.
Overall, the record makes for concerning viewing for members of the Claret & Blue Army as tomorrow’s visitors have emerged triumphant on 63 occasions, 37 have been drawn and the Hammers have been victorious 40 of those clashes.
Notable past meetings between the two sides include the Magpies’ 2011 5-0 thrashing of Avram Grant’s West Ham, the entertaining 2-2 draw from 2008 and who could forget the club’s biggest win in history over the Toon in the ground-breaking 1985/1986 season.
The last time that this fixture was played out came in August of this year when Newcastle won convincingly thanks to goals from Joselu, Ciaran Clark and Aleksandar Mitrovic, their first win of the campaign.
Newcastle United Football Club was formed in 1892 and are currently celebrating the 125th anniversary of their existence, after a fruitful century and a quarter.
The club are known for their success on all levels, lifting four English Top-Flight Trophies and four Football League Championship Trophies, to go with as many as six FA Cups and a UEFA Intertoto Cup won in 2006.
Famous Managers such as Bobby Robson and Kevin Keegan are always synonymised with the identity of the Magpies, whose fans are aptly nicknamed the Toon Army, while controversial club Chairman Mike Ashley’s antics have somewhat cast a shadow over the North East in recent years.
Nowadays, under former Champions League winning Manager Rafa Benitez, Newcastle sit 18th in the Premier League, having lost eight of their last nine games and could well be heading for an instant return to the Second Tier Football in England.
Who Is Officiating?
Experienced Select Group Referee Lee Mason will be the man in the middle on Saturday, Assisting him will be the duo of Harry Lennard and Constantine Hatzidakis, with the not so familiar face of Select Group Two Referee Tim Robinson acting as the Fourth Official.
So, with the London Stadium scene well and truly set for a crucial afternoon for all parties involved, can Moyes’ boys get back to winning ways and stay unbeaten at home since early November.
Or, will the visitors bring an end to their torrid run of recent results with an impressive scalp on the road? Think you know? Make sure you head over to @MooreThanAClub on Twitter to cast your last-minute score predictions and join the pre-match discussion.