Newcastle travel to West Ham on Saturday in the Premier League for a Premier League clash between two teams currently perched in mid-table.
The Magpies have moved six points clear of the bottom three after an impressive run of form and Rafa Benitez’s men will be desperate to avenge the 3-0 defeat they suffered in the reverse fixture at St James’ Park.
Check out 90min’s preview ahead of Saturday’s encounter.
Where to Watch
Pellegrini has a number of injury concerns ahead of the match. Marko Arnautovic wasn’t in the squad against Manchester City on Wednesday due to an apparent illness. Andy Carroll started after his return to fitness but may not be ready to play two games in three days. Robert Snodgrass is back following a suspension.
Pellegrini will still be without long-term absentees Winston Reid, Carlos Sanchez and Andriy Yarmolenko, while Manuel Lanzini will not be rushed back following his eight-month layoff with a serious knee injury.
Newcastle will likely continue with the same lineup they have used during their fine run of recent form, meaning Sean Longstaff and Isaac Hayden will keep their places in midfield ahead of Jonjo Shelvey, Ki Sung-yueng and Mohamed Diame. The Magpies will still be without Rob Elliot and Ciaran Clark through injury.
Head to Head Record
The two clubs have plenty of history against each other, with 132 clashes between the sides taking place. Newcastle lead the head to head clashes, having 54 victories compared to West Ham’s 41.
However, it was the Hammers who took the spoils in the reverse fixture earlier this season with a humbling 3-0 victory at St James’ Park in December. Javier Hernandez grabbed a brace before a late Felipe Anderson strike completed an excellent afternoon on Tyneside for the visitors.
Prior to that meeting, Newcastle had a good recent record against the men in claret and blue, winning four of the previous five clashes.
Both sides look clear of relegation worries this season, but the visitors come into this clash in much better form than their opponents despite being five points behind them.
West Ham are a frustrating side. Following a win against Arsenal, they now have just one victories in seven games, their latest defeat a spirited 1-0 loss at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday evening.
Newcastle, on the other hand, have found some consistency, with the mood of the club lifted dramatically since the club record signing of Miguel Almiron and the emergence of academy starlet Sean Longstaff.
A 2-0 home win against Burnley in midweek was their fourth win in six Premier League games. However, they haven’t won an away league match since a 1-0 triumph over Huddersfield in mid-December.
Here is how each team has performed in their last five matches.
It is really is impossible to predict which West Ham will turn up for each game.
The Hammers will want to use this game to cement their place in the top half, but a home defeat against a side who have been battling relegation most of the season will raise questions.
This will depend a lot on whether Arnautovic will be firing on all cylinders following not only his injury last weekend, but his very public desire to leave the club in January, despite signing a new deal that month.
While West Ham have been inconsistent at best recently, Rafa Benitez’s men should be full of confidence and a victory here will all but secure Premier League football for another season.