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Premier League

  • 5 January 2011
  • • 19:45
  • • St. James' Park, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
  • Referee: M. Dean
  • • Attendance: 42387
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Newcastle United - West Ham Preview: Top scorer Andy Carroll remains sidelined for hosts as both sides may go unchanged

Newcastle United - West Ham Preview: Top scorer Andy Carroll remains sidelined for hosts as both sides may go unchanged

TEAM NEWS

Newcastle

Newcastle United have no new injury worries, but they will continue to be without their leading scorer Andy Carroll, whose thigh strain kept him out of the victory over Wigan. 

The Magpies will also still be long-term casualties Ryan Taylor and Hatem Ben Arfa. 

Having picked up a comfortable win away at Wigan on Sunday, Alan Pardew will be very tempted to pick the same starting line-up.

Possible starting XI: Harper; Simpson, S Taylor, Coloccini, Enrique; Barton, Nolan, Tiote, Gutierrez; Ameobi, Lovenkrands.

West Ham

West Ham are in a similar situation as they also have no new injury or suspension worries, but are still unlikely to welcome back Herita Ilunga for the trip to St James’ Park.

They also have Manuel da Costa and Tomas Hitzlsperger still in the treatment room as it won’t be until next month before either return.

The return to first team action for youngsters Freddie Sears and Junior Stanislas is likely to continue, as the Hammers have hit some form in recent weeks and Avram Grant will be unlikely to change the team that dispatched of Wolves on Saturday.

Possible starting XI: Green; Ben Haim, Tomkins, Upson, Gabbidon; Sears, Parker, Kovac, Stanislas; Cole, Piquionne.

Challenging for Europe

Newcastle will be looking to cement their place in the top half of the table with a home win, and three points could see them move up to eighth place in the table and pushing for a Europa League spot. However, results going against them could see them drop as low as 13th in the table.

West Ham have finally hit a good vein of form with two wins and two draws from their last four games which has seen Avram Grant save his job, at least for now, by steering the club away from the bottom of the table up to 16th. Another win for the Hammers could see them further improve their position to 13th in the table, however if teams below them manage to pick up points it could be a return to the foot of the table for the Irons.

Newcastle won the reverse fixture at Upton Park earlier in the season 2-1 with goals from Kevin Nolan and Carroll as West Ham scored with their only shot on target of the game through Carlton Cole.

Poor home form meets shocking away record

West Ham won their first away match for a huge 27 games in their last fixture on the road as they beat Fulham 3-1 at Craven Cottage. However, their defence will still be causing them concern as they have set a club record with 18 games without a clean sheet away from home.

It is Newcastle’s home form, in contrast, that is causing them concern with only two wins in their last nine games in front of their famously vocal support. The Magpies have also only managed one clean sheet in those nine fixtures.

If anyone is likely to be confident of scoring at St James’ Park it is Carlton Cole, who has bagged himself three goals in six games against Newcastle throughout his career.

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
22Stephen HarperGoalkeeper
25Danny SimpsonDefender
27Steven TaylorDefender
2Fabricio ColocciniDefender
3José EnriqueDefender
17Joey BartonMidfielder
4Kevin NolanMidfielder
24Cheikh TioteMidfielder
18Jonas GutierrezMidfielder
20Leon BestStriker
-Peter LovenkrandsStriker
1Tim KrulGoalkeeper
14James PerchMidfielder
15Wayne RoutledgeMidfielder
35Danny GuthrieMidfielder
6Mike WilliamsonDefender
30Nile RangerStriker
31Shane FergusonDefender
1Robert GreenGoalkeeper
26Tal Ben HaimDefender
5James TomkinsDefender
20Matthew UpsonDefender
19Danny GabbidonDefender
40Freddie SearsStriker
28Scott ParkerMidfielder
-Radoslav KovacDefender
16Mark NobleMidfielder
9Carlton ColeStriker
39Frédéric PiquionneStriker
-Ruud BoffinGoalkeeper
23Jonathan SpectorMidfielder
2Winston ReidDefender
33Victor Nsofor ObinnaStriker
11Valon BehramiMidfielder
41Zavon HinesStriker
17Pablo Edson BarreraStriker
Players to Watch
Cheikh Tiote
Cheikh Tiote
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 24
Games Goals YC RC
2 0 1 0

The Ivory Coast international has been a revelation since arriving in the north-east from Dutch champions FC Twente. His high energy levels, sound technical ability and tough tackling has made him an instant hit with the Geordie faithful and has played a major part in Newcastle’s successes so far this season.

With Scott Parker offering similar qualities in the middle of midfield for West Ham, there could be an excellent battle in the offing between the two. Don’t be surprised if one or both end up in the referee’s notebook.

Freddie Sears
Freddie Sears
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 40
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0

Since scoring on his debut for the Hammers way back in March 2008, it had seemed that the youngster had gone off the boil some what as loan spells at Coventry, Crystal Palace and Scunthorpe all failed to yield much by way of goals. However, Avram Grant recalled Sears to the club last month, put him straight into the first team and the 21-year-old has found his feet right away.

Playing on the wing rather than upfront, Sears has looked pacey, tricky and dangerous since his return to West Ham, and topped off his good displays with a goal against Wolves on New Year's Day. His youthful enthusiasm could cause the home side some problems.

Prediction
With both sides seemingly unable to keep clean sheets on a regular basis I’m going to have to predict goals in this encounter. A month ago it would have been Newcastle all the way, but with the Hammers playing well again and full of confidence I think the most likely result is a score draw.
Editor's Prediction

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