Newcastle: Predicted XI to face West Ham
Newcastle United welcome West Ham United to St James’ Park in the Premier League this evening, with a victory strengthening the Magpies’ new-found standing within Champions League contention under Eddie Howe‘s management.
Currently third in the table with 39 points and just one solitary defeat across the first 20 matches of the top-flight campaign, Howe’s system could not be more fluid, and his well-oiled high-octane team have emerged as genuine contenders for Champions League qualification.
Victory over West Ham – who in contrast have plummeted from prominence under David Moyes this seasonm winning just five league matches and only one point above the relegation zone – would be another step towards a top-four finish, potentially stretching six points above Tottenham Hotspur in fifth, who face Manchester City on Sunday.
However, Newcastle have been beset with several injuries of late, with Bruno Guimaraes’ suspension after his red card against Southampton in midweek hardly helping matters. Nonetheless, Howe will maintain his belief that this high-flying outfit can overcome adversity and continue to ride towards a monumental finish this season.
Here’s the starting line-up that we expect from the Magpies, with two changes from Tuesday night’s Carabao Cup win over the Saints.
Predicted Newcastle starting XI – Pope; Trippier, Schar, Botman, Burn; Willock, Longstaff, Joelinton; Gordon, Wilson, Saint-Maximin
Nick Pope will hold his untouchable place in goal, having kept clean sheets across his past six Premier League matches in succession.
The established back-four will likely also remain unchanged, with Howe seeking to maintain the cohesive resilience which has formed the bedrock of his team’s endeavours. Newcastle have the best defensive record in the top flight, shipping only 11 goals up to this point.
Guimaraes picked up a late red card in the midweek Carabao Cup win and will consequently miss the next three matches; in his stead, Joelinton could move into midfield alongside Sean Longstaff and Joe Willock.
Having signed from Everton for £45m earlier this week, the “frightening” Anthony Gordon – as dubbed by Paddy Kenny – might be in line to make his Newcastle debut, with Allan Saint-Maximin returning on the other flank.
Will Anthony Gordon score on his debut?
That means the impressive Miguel Almiron could be relegated to the bench after failing to score across his past seven appearances, having netted seven goals in as many league matches during the autumn.
Up front, Alexander Isak was forced off against the Saints after experiencing dizziness, with the 23-year-old having been struck on the head by a fierce James Ward-Prowse free-kick. As such, Callum Wilson could look to add to his six goals this season in the centre-forward role.