West Ham United v Newcastle United - All you need to know
West Ham United begin their 2020/21 Premier League season with the visit of Newcastle United to London Stadium on Saturday evening.
The fixture will be shown live in the UK by Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Premier League, with coverage starting 15 minutes before kick-off at 7.45pm, and across the world by the Premier League’s international broadcast partners.
Both teams will sport the No Room For Racism message on their shirts, and West Ham manager David Moyes has confirmed his players will kneel in support of the Black Lives Matter social justice campaign.
Before kick-off, fans will also hear the new Premier League anthem for the first time. VAR will also be changing, with on-field referees expected to use their pitchside screens far more often, while there are also some alterations to laws around encroachment at penalty kicks.
The Hammers will be seeking to pick up where they left off at the end of last season, when they closed on a run of just one defeat in seven matches. Among those was a 2-2 draw at Newcastle, where the Irons twice led through goals from Michail Antonio and Tomáš Souček, before being pegged back and settling for a point.
You can order a copy of Saturday's 116-page Official Programme for your collection here, while a digital edition will be available to read online from 10am on matchday on whufc.com.
David Moyes confirmed in his pre-match press conference that Tomáš Souček will be available after his period of self-isolation while away with the Czech Republic national team came to an end. The midfielder came into contact with a member of backroom staff who tested positive, but has now been cleared.
Other than that, Moyes has a fully-fit squad at his disposal, meaning reigning Premier League Player of the Month Antonio will be available to add to the eight goals he scored in seven appearances in July, while Declan Rice, Łukasz Fabiański, Andriy Yarmolenko and Darren Randolph have all returned fit and well from international duty.
Newcastle manager Steve Bruce could hand as many as five players debuts on Saturday, with goalkeeper Mark Gillespie (Motherwell), defender Jamal Lewis (Norwich City), midfielder Jeff Hendrick (Burnley), winger Ryan Fraser and striker Callum Wilson (both AFC Bournemouth) all joining the Magpies over the summer.
French defender Florian Lejeune has departed the club this week, while goalkeeper Martin Dúbravka, defenders Ciaran Clark, Paul Dummett and Fabian Schär, midfielder Matty Longstaff and striker Dwight Gayle are all definitely ruled out through injury. The versatile Matt Ritchie is ‘touch and go’, according to Bruce, but captain Jamaal Lascelles and midfielder Jonjo Shelvey are ‘all right’.
The opposition – Newcastle United
Newcastle are seeking to build on a solid first season under Steve Bruce, in which they finished 13th in the Premier League, were never in danger of being relegated, and reached the FA Cup quarter-finals.
That said, it has been yet another incident-packed year at Newcastle United – COVID-19 or otherwise.
The Magpies’ passionate fanbase have long dreamt of a return to the thrilling days of Kevin Keegan and Sir Bobby Robson, who led teams inspired by the prolific Andrew Cole, Les Ferdinand and Alan Shearer to the Premier League’s top four and the UEFA Champions League either side of the Millennium.
Since then, an unlikely fifth-place finish in 2011/12 aside, Newcastle have been more concerned about safety than glory. Twice, in 2009 and 2016, Newcastle suffered relegation. While the Magpies bounced back by winning immediate promotion on both occasions, the Toon Army want to see their heroes challenging at the top of the Premier League, not the top of the Championship.
In October 2017, owner Mike Ashley put the club up for sale but, three years on, the businessman is still seeking a buyer. A Saudi Arabian-led consortium reportedly agreed a takeover in April this year, but delays saw the ‘commercial agreement between the Investment Group and the club's owners expire’ and the deal was called-off.
And so, as the new season dawns, there is a feeling of uncertainty about what this proud club’s future holds, but recent moves in the transfer market have raised optimism that Newcastle’s future on the pitch looks brighter, at least.
West Ham United and Newcastle United have 135 times since February 1908, with the Magpies holding the all-time advantage with 55 wins to the Hammers’ 42, with 38 draws.
Newcastle are also edging things when it comes to the Premier League head-to-head, with 20 wins to West Ham’s 13, with eleven draws from 44 matches.
Last season, Newcastle won 3-2 at London Stadium in November 2019, before the return fixture ended in a 2-2 draw at St James’ Park in July.
In 2018/19, West Ham did the double over Newcastle without conceding a goal, winning 3-0 on Tyneside and 2-0 in east London, but Newcastle did the double themselves in 2017/18, while the points were split with a win apiece in both 2015/16 and 2014/15.
David Moyes and Steve Bruce have met 19 times during their managerial careers, with the West Ham boss leading by ten wins to two, with seven draws.
By the numbers…
4 The number of seasons future West Ham United striker Pop Robson finished as Newcastle United’s leading scorer in the space of five years between 1966-71.
5 Five different West Ham United players have scored hat-tricks against Newcastle United – Vivian Gibbins was the first on Christmas Eve 1927, followed by Tudor Martin September 1936, Geoff Hurst in December 1965, Trevor Brooking in April 1968 and Alvin Martin in April 1986. Tudor Martin’s treble came on his debut, Brooking’s was his only in Claret and Blue, while Alvin Martin’s was scored against three different goalkeepers!
186 West Ham United have scored 186 goals in their 135 competitive matches with Newcastle United. Geoff Hurst (pictured) leads the way individually with eight, followed by Jimmy Ruffell with seven and Vivian Gibbins and Vic Watson, with six each. The first of the 186 was scored by Danny Shea in an FA Cup third-round replay at St James’ Park in February 1909.
1923 Billy Brown was West Ham United’s first match-winner against Newcastle United, netting the only goal of the game as the newly-promoted Hammers defeated the Magpies 1-0 in the First Division at the Boleyn Ground on 6 October 1923.
1908 The first meeting between the two clubs was an FA Cup second-round tie played at St James’ Park on 1 February 1908. Then a Southern League club, West Ham United gave a good account of themselves in front of 47,000 fans, but the First Division side ran out 2-0 winners. The two clubs were drawn together again the following season, this time in the third round, and Newcastle United again ran out winners, 2-1 in a replay following a goalless draw at the Boleyn Ground.
4,168,278 The total number of supporters who have attended the 135 competitive matches between the two clubs – an average attendance of 30,876. The largest crowd to watch a West Ham United versus Newcastle United fixture was the 59,910 who were present to see the Irons score a 2-0 Premier League at London Stadium on 2 March 2019.
17 Mark Noble has made more Premier League appearances for West Ham United against Newcastle United than any other player. The captain’s first meeting with the Magpies was on 23 September 2007, but ended in a 3-1 defeat at St James’ Park.
Referee: Stuart Attwell
Assistant Referees: Constantine Hatzidakis & Neil Davies
Fourth Official: Darren England
VAR: Peter Bankes
Assistant VAR: Simon Long
Stuart Attwell began refereeing seriously following his graduation from Stafford University and worked his way up through the West Midlands League and National League before joining the Football League list of referees in 2007.
Attwell was fast-tracked, becoming the youngest-ever referee to control a Premier League fixture when he officiated Blackburn Rovers’ 1-1 draw with Hull City on 23 August 2008, and being added to the FIFA List later the same year at the age of just 26.
In 2010, Attwell officiated in the Japanese J. League as part of a referee exchange programme, and he has since refereed matches in the UEFA Europa League, Premier League, EFL and UEFA age-group tournaments.
Overall, the 37-year-old has refereed West Ham United eleven times in total since April 2008, including this fixture last season, which Newcastle United won 3-2 in November 2019.