Mohammed Kudus at Newcastle

Team News: Ward-Prowse starts, Kudus and Paquetá fit to face Newcastle

James Ward-Prowse returns to West Ham United’s starting XI for Saturday’s lunchtime Premier League kick-off at Newcastle United.

The England midfielder’s inclusion is David Moyes’s only change from the 1-1 home draw with Aston Villa a fortnight ago, with Ward-Prowse replacing the suspended Edson Álvarez.

The Mexican serves the first game of a two-match ban for being booked ten times in the top-flight, so he will also miss Tuesday’s home game with Tottenham Hotspur.

Ward-Prowse returns to the team after starting the UEFA Europa League round of 16 second-leg win over SC Freiburg and the draw with Villa on the substitutes’ bench, and will hope to add to his joint-team leading seven assists at St James’ Park. Six of those assists have come from set pieces, which is more any other Premier League player in 2023/24.

The No7 was joined on seven assists by Vladimír Coufal in the Villa fixture, when his cross was headed home by Michail Antonio, and the Czech needs just one more to set his own single-season record.

One of Coufal’s seven assists came in the reverse fixture at London Stadium in October, when his pass was converted by Mohammed Kudus for West Ham’s late equaliser in a dramatic 2-2 draw.

Kudus himself missed Ghana’s two international matches during the recent window, but is fit to play at St James’ Park, as is Lucas Paquetá, who was being assessed for compartment syndrome in his calf muscles after excelling in Brazil’s internationals with England and Spain.

Newcastle team

Other than the enforced absence of Álvarez, Moyes has stuck with the players who helped the Hammers make it four Premier League games without defeat two weeks ago.

Antonio goes to 298 appearances for the Club with a start, and the Irons’ all-time leading Premier League marksman will be seeking his 65th goal in the top-flight and 79th in all competitions.

Behind him, Alphonse Areola starts in goal, with Coufal joined in defence by captain Kurt Zouma, Dinos Mavropanos and Emerson.

Ward-Prowse will play alongside Tomáš Souček in midfield, with the Czech now just three short of 200 appearances for the Club he joined in January 2020.

Paquetá and Kudus form part of an exciting attacking midfield three that is completed by Jarrod Bowen.

The England international has been in excellent form and has 14 Premier League goals to his name, and 18 in all competitions. Two more Premier League goals would make him the first West Ham player since John Hartson in 1997/98 to hit 20 in all competitions in a top-flight campaign, and match Paolo Di Canio’s Club record of 16 Premier League goals achieved in 1999/00.

The bench has a familiar look, with Łukasz Fabiański, Aaron Cresswell, Ben Johnson, Angelo Ogbonna, Kalvin Phillips and teenager George Earthy all retaining their places from the Villa game.

They are joined by Maxwel Cornet, who has recovered from injury, and young centre-forward Divin Mubama, but Nayef Aguerd is ruled out with a shoulder problem.


Newcastle United: Dúbravka, Livramento, Lascelles ©, Schär, Burn, Longstaff, Guimarães, Willock, Murphy, Gordon, Isak
Subs: Karius (GK), Dummett, Hall, Ritchie, Krafth, Anderson, Almirón, Barnes, White


West Ham United: Areola, Coufal, Mavropanos, Zouma ©, Emerson, Ward-Prowse, Souček, Paquetá, Kudus, Bowen, Antonio
Subs: Fabiański (GK), Johnson, Cresswell, Ogbonna, Phillips, Earthy, Cornet, Ings, Mubama


Referee: Rob Jones


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