Newcastle United vs West Ham Preview 15/08/2021
For the second straight season, Newcastle United and West Ham will kick off the Premier League campaign against each other. In 2020-21, the Magpies went to east London and claimed a 2-0 win with both goals coming in the second half.
David Moyes is aiming to get off to a better start after the Hammers started slowly in 2020-21. The Hammers improved as the season went on and flirted with the top four until the final quarter of the season to finish sixth.
— Watford Football Club (@WatfordFC) August 11, 2021
West Ham qualified for the Europa League and must manage playing on high-level football on multiple fronts. Recruitment has been minimal and it will be difficult for West Ham to replicate last season’s finish.
Newcastle United finished 12th under Steve Bruce last term. The 12th-place finish makes it look like the Magpies were more consistent than they actually were. Newcastle United finished the season strongly to move away from the bottom three as they finished 16 points ahead of 18th-place Fulham.
Bruce’s team conceded the fifth-most goals a season ago with 62. They scored 46 times which was the eighth-fewest in the division. Bruce needs star forwards Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin to be fit for the full season, something that is unlikely to occur.
The manager was able to bring in Joe Willock on a permanent transfer. The news broke on Thursday of terms being agreed which could allow Willock to play on Sunday. Willock was key to Newcastle United’s offence after arriving on loan from Arsenal last January. He scored eight goals in 14 league games.
Bruce wants to play a 3-5-2 formation with Willock as the creator. However, the manager has previously shown he will abandon those plans if things don’t work well from the off.
West Ham’s big transfer in the offseason was defender Craig Dawson. He arrived from Watford for £2 million after playing on loan at West Ham last season. Other than Dawson, West Ham have not done much in the transfer market.
As is the trend at Newcastle United under Bruce, there are injuries ahead of matchday 1. Goalkeeper Martin Dubravka is ruled out with an ankle injury.
Goalkeeper Karl Darlow is a doubt following a bout of COVID-19. Third-choice goalkeeper Freddie Woodman may start for Newcastle United. Meanwhile, Paul Dummett and Elliott Anderson are both ruled out.
Moyes could be without the trio of Angelo Ogbonna, Manuel Lanzini, and Arthur Masuaku. All three are at various stages of recovery from injuries.
Newcastle United finished last season with two wins on the bounce. This is a team with potential, but fitness is always the question mark around Bruce’s team. The Magpies did the double over West Ham last season and should start the Premier League season with a big win.
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