Betway Insider's View of the Opposition: Newcastle
In their final match before Christmas, West Ham have the perfect opportunity to deliver their supporters with the best possible Christmas present: three points.
Today’s visitors to the London Stadium, Newcastle United, are without a win in their last nine matches in the Premier League.
Indeed, the only time the Magpies have avoided defeat during that period was last month’s trip to West Bromwich Albion, who are winless since August themselves.
David Moyes’ side, then, should be confident of not just extending their unbeaten run in the top flight to four matches, but achieving back-to-back league victories for the first time this season.
The Irons, of course, beat Stoke 3-0 last weekend, keeping their third successive clean sheet in the process.
A similarly steadfast performance in defence today would almost guarantee a positive result, as Newcastle have failed to score in both of their last two outings.
The chances of the visitors getting anything whatsoever from the match appear slim, given that they haven’t kept a clean sheet since these two sides met in August.
West Ham are much-improved since then, however, especially going forward.
Marko Arnautovic was tipped in this column to net against his former club, and he duly delivered.
Arnautovic demonstrated all of the characteristics that could make him a Hammers hero in that match, and he is their likeliest scorer today.
Moyes’ men could well make an early breakthrough, too.
Newcastle have trailed at half time in six of their previous seven matches, while West Ham were in front at the interval in their previous two wins.