West Ham United v Newcastle United
Two clubs seemingly travelling in completely different directions will meet at Upton Park this weekend. West Ham are having a terrible time of things this season, having so far failed to register a single win and as a result propping up the Premiership table. On the other hand Newcastle are buoyant, keen to continue their good start to the campaign by breaking their London jinx.
Aside from losing all of their games it seems impossible to imagine how the Hammers could have had a more depressing opening to the new campaign. Not content with having lost two of their league games and bored their fans silly with two further goalless draws, they have even had to suffer the embarrassment of bowing out of the Worthington Cup at the first stage to Second Division Reading.
Quite plainly, a lack of goals has undone the Hammers. Their only league strike to date came in the opening match, with Paolo di Canio netting from the penalty spot. While their shooting accuracy of 38% is pretty poor in itself, the trouble lies more in their unwillingness, or perhaps inability to have a go - with just 32 shots attempted so far, no other side has been as reluctant to try their luck as West Ham.
By contrast, Newcastle have found goals relatively easy to come by. The Magpies have not yet played a match in which they have failed to score this season, and in each of their last three outings they have scored four times. Their goals-to-shots ratio of 19% shows that they have clearly learned to use their efforts as wisely as possible, as Manchester United found to their cost last weekend.
The Tynesiders have been just as careful to use their passes well, with 78% of their attempts finding a black-and-white shirt. The chief in the middle for the Magpies so far has been veteran Rob Lee, whose 63 successful passes for his side in their excellent 4-1 away win at Middlesbrough shows just how vital he has been to the cause so far.
Another problem for the Hammers has been the ineffectiveness of their tackling. Just 68% of their attempted challenges have robbed their opponents of possession, and no other Premiership side can lay claim to a more disappointing ratio.
On paper this would seem a nigh-on impossible job for West Ham, with the club facing so many apparent difficulties and their ever-lengthening injury list making matters worse. Newcastle's current form also points to an away win, and www.WHUFCBet.co.uk are offering 10/1 on just that, with the Magpies running out 2-0 victors.
Match referee: M Riley
Mike Riley showed just one red card and awarded only one penalty in 19 matches last season - but he has already dismissed two players and blown up for a penalty kick in just three ties this term. And unfortunately for Newcastle fans it was against them that Riley awarded his one and only penalty last term - they will be hoping there isn't a repeat of this on Sunday.
Referee's Name FoulsPenaltiesYellow CardsRed CardsAve Disc pointsM Riley13613264.33
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Match Result West Ham13/8Draw11/5Newcastle11/8Correct Score West Ham 1-013/2West Ham 2-011/1West Ham 2-19/1West Ham 3-025/1West Ham 3-120/1West Ham 3-228/1West Ham 4-080/1West Ham 4-166/1West Ham 4-266/1West Ham 5-0100/1West Ham 5-1100/1Draw 0-08/1Draw 1-111/2Draw 2-214/1Draw 3-350/1Newcastle 1-06/1Newcastle 2-010/1Newcastle 2-117/2Newcastle 3-022/1Newcastle 3-118/1Newcastle 3-225/1Newcastle 4-066/1Newcastle 4-150/1Newcastle 4-266/1Newcastle 5-0100/1Newcastle 5-1100/1Double Result West Ham/West Ham7/2West Ham/Draw15/1West Ham/Newcastle28/1Draw/West Ham5/1Draw/Draw7/2Draw/Newcastle4/1Newcastle/West Ham28/1Newcastle/Draw15/1Newcastle/Newcastle10/3First Goalscorer F Kanoute11/2Kitson6/1S Todorov6/1 J Defoe13/2P Di Canio7/1D Hutchison10/1T Sinclair12/1J Cole14/1Carrick16/1Courtois25/1Mccann25/1S Moncur33/1N Winterburn40/1Byrne50/1R Song50/1T Repka50/1R Soma50/1C Dailly50/1S Schmemel50/1S Potts80/1No Goalscorer8/1Shearer11/2C Bellamy13/2L Robert7/1L Lua Lua8/1S Ameobi8/1N Solano12/1D Cordone12/1C Acuna16/1C Bassedas20/1D Gavilan20/1R Lee25/1 R Elliott25/1 W Quinn33/1Dabizas40/1S Distin40/1A Hughes50/1A O'brien66/1A Griffin66/1W Barton80/1
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