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Preview: Newcastle United vs. West Ham United - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Premier League clash between Newcastle United and West Ham United, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

West Ham United will be attempting to build on their much-needed victory over Chelsea when they visit Newcastle United at St James' Park on Sunday afternoon.

The Hammers eased their relegation fears with the surprise derby triumph, but they remain in the mix at the bottom of the table whereas Newcastle have now surpassed the 40-point mark.

Match preview

Andriy Yarmolenko celebrates scoring for West Ham United against Chelsea on July 1, 2020© Reuters

Certain matches and results can often prove to be turning points in a club's season, and West Ham will certainly be hoping that Sunday's action-packed 3-2 win against an in-form Chelsea side is one of those.

The Hammers went into the game on the back of three successive defeats without even scoring, yet they overcame a widely-criticised VAR decision to come from behind and pick up what could be a priceless three points at an empty London Stadium.

Quite how important they are remains to be seen, but at the very least it gives them some breathing space with those three points now separating them from the relegation zone.

Aston Villa, Bournemouth and Watford are all in poor form too, whereas David Moyes's side are entering a run of fixtures that they will consider winnable - Newcastle, Burnley, Norwich City and Watford in succession.

West Ham United manager David Moyes pictured on July 1, 2020© Reuters

That said, they have not won back-to-back league games since August, have not kept a clean sheet in 12 outings since New Year's Day and their away form is truly abysmal - seven successive away defeats in what is their worst run since 2006.

The Hammers have also thrown away a league-high 22 points from winning positions this season, and if you were to add those to their tally then they would be in Champions League contention, level on points with Manchester United and Wolverhampton Wanderers, rather than battling against relegation.

Many parallels can be drawn between West Ham and Newcastle in terms of the demands from passionate fan bases, often of underperforming teams, but this season Newcastle have been better than most fans expected under Steve Bruce.

Even so, the Magpies now seem to be playing with a freedom which was lacking when fans were in the stadium; before lockdown they had averaged just 0.9 goals per game in the Premier League, whereas since the return they have netted eight league goals at an average of 2.7 per match.

Newcastle United players celebrate scoring their third goal against Bournemouth on July 1, 2020© Reuters

Half of those goals came in Wednesday's 4-1 win at relegation-threatened Bournemouth - a result which lifted Newcastle past the 40-point mark with six games to spare this season.

Bruce's side now need only one more win to equal their points tally from last season under Rafael Benitez, and with matches against three of the bottom six to come they will be confident of surpassing that.

Newcastle head into Sunday's match unbeaten in their last five Premier League games - their best run since 2015-16 - while they have not been beaten at home in the top flight since New Year's Day.

Indeed, they have only conceded once in their last five home league outings, and only Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United have conceded fewer on their own patch throughout the entire season.

Newcastle Premier League form: LDWWDW
Newcastle form (all competitions): WWWDLW

West Ham Premier League form: LWLLLW

Team News

Joelinton scores for Newcastle United on June 21, 2020© Reuters

Newcastle have fitness doubts hanging over a number of key players for this match, including record signing Joelinton, who is struggling with a calf injury he picked up against Bournemouth.

Sean Longstaff lasted only 33 minutes of that match - but still scored - before limping off with a thigh injury, and he is almost certain to miss this game due to the nature of the problem and the quick turnaround in fixtures.

Javi Manquillo was another who was forced off at Bournemouth and he will be assessed ahead of this match, although his is also a muscle injury and Bruce is therefore unlikely to take any risks.

Jamaal Lascelles was the fourth member of the walking wounded that played at Dean Court, but he was able to see out the 90 minutes despite taking a knock to his ankle and is therefore more likely to feature on Sunday than his fellow injury doubts.

Florian Lejeune and Ciaran Clark remain longer-term absentees, while Bruce has hinted at a number of changes anyway to keep his squad fresh.

The hectic fixture schedule is also affecting West Ham, with captain Mark Noble missing the win over Chelsea due to a hamstring injury he picked up in training.

Noble will again be assessed ahead of this match, as will Sebastien Haller, Felipe Anderson and Arthur Masuaku, but Robert Snodgrass is definitely sidelined.

Michail Antonio will hope to lead the line again, having had a hand in four of West Ham's last five Premier League goals, scoring two and setting up two more.

Newcastle possible starting lineup:
Dubravka; Yedlin, Schar, Fernandez, Rose; Shelvey, Hayden; Saint-Maximin, Almiron, Ritchie; Gayle

West Ham possible starting lineup:
Fabianski; Fredericks, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Rice, Soucek; Bowen, Lanzini, Yarmolenko; Antonio

Sports Mole Logo

We say: Newcastle 2-0 West Ham

West Ham's win over Chelsea makes this a much more difficult match to call - the visitors will be flying after that result, whereas Newcastle may subconsciously take their foot off the pedal having now reached the 40-point mark.

The Magpies have been in good form since lockdown, though, while their impressive home form stretches back much further than that. Couple that with West Ham's woeful form on the road and we have to back a Newcastle win.

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West Ham United manager David Moyes pictured on July 1, 2020
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