Newcastle vs West Ham preview, betting tips and predictions: Odd goal to decide tight clash on TynesidePublished August 23, 2017
Newcastle to win and over 1.5 goals @ 9/5 with Paddy Power
Score draw @ 16/5 with Paddy Power
West Ham to win by exactly one goal @ 4/1 with Paddy Power
Both Newcastle and West Ham have been predicted to enjoy good seasons over the last few months, but they have each suffered terrible starts to the new campaign. The Hammers head to the North East bottom of the table after conceding seven goals in their first two games, while Rafa Benitez’s frustrations over transfers have provided a negative backdrop for Newcastle, who have lost to Tottenham and Huddersfield already this term.
The absence of fiery pair Marko Arnautovic and Jonjo Shelvey will reduce the creativity on show as both players are vital to their respective sides’ attacking approaches. Already at this stage of the season, nerves will play a huge part both in the performances and the atmosphere, but these two teams are struggling in different areas of the pitch. Newcastle have offered very little up front as of yet, with Dwight Gayle looking unfit and well off the pace, while West Ham have shipped goals as already mentioned. The question is, which side will break first?
Coming into the game, West Ham will know their best chance of victory is to play on the counter attack. Benitez has instilled a real organisation to the defence and that has been clear even thus far this season. Making Newcastle force the issue will open up spaces for the likes of Javier Hernandez to run in behind. Mikel Merino looked very tidy as Shelvey’s stand-in at Huddersfield, but without the Englishman, Newcastle don’t have their quarter-back. Shelvey is very capable of playing long and short key passes and the Magpies will be easier to contain because of his absence.
This game is unlikely to be a classic, and that is why we are backing such a low-scoring game. Even now, Dwight Gayle is Newcastle’s greatest threat in attack and everything will go through him. A fast start could see an early goal, especially with Christian Atsu looking okay out wide, and that would give a good base for the Magpies to go and win with over 1.5 goals at 9/5. West Ham will not go all out given their confidence issues, but judging on past Newcastle games, one goal is all it takes, meaning 4/1 is good value for that bet. A score draw at 16/5 seems fair, but this one is not going to be as open as perhaps it could be.
Key battle: Ciaran Clark vs Javier Hernandez
In terms of finishing, there are not many better strikers in Europe than Javier Hernandez, who netted in the 3-2 loss at Southampton last week. Chicharito is at his best when poaching from close range, but will spend most of the game on the shoulder of the defender. Given the pace and strength of Jamaal Lascelles, the Mexican will likely play up against Clark, who he is more likely to get the better of. If West Ham get in behind defensive midfielder Isaac Hayden at will, it could spell real danger for Newcastle, because given a chance, Hernandez invariably takes it.