Whilst Newcastle United are amidst their most successful Premier League stretch of the season, West Ham United look to build on perhaps their biggest triumph of this unique campaign.
Newcastle aim to extend their league unbeaten stretch to six games Sunday when they welcome the Hammers to St James’ Park.
Perhaps it’s not too far-fetched to think Newcastle (11-9-12) could finish in the top-half of the Premier League table. The Magpies, who enter the weekend 13th in the table, are amidst a 3-2-0 league stretch and coming off a decisive 4-1 win at lowly Bournemouth from Wednesday.
Dwight Gayle was one of four different Magpies to score, and midfielder Allan Saint-Maximin recorded three assists as the club won their second straight road contest. Over the last four league games, Maximin has two goals to go along with those three assists.
“I think people enjoy watching him,” manager Steve Bruce told Newcastle’s official website of the Frenchman Maximin. “I said from day one, that if you haven’t seen this kid play before, then you’re going to enjoy watching him.
“He’s certainly different – he’s blessed with a natural ability that most people haven’t got.”
Maximin did not make it on to the score sheet, but recorded three shots during Newcastle’s 3-2 win at West Ham on Nov. 2. Ciaran Clark, Federico Fernandez and Jonjo Shelvey each scored for Newcastle in that contest.
The Hammers (8-6-18) were mired in a seven-game Premier League winless stretch during that defeat. However, they should be brimming with confidence entering this match after snapping a three-game top-flight slide with Wednesday’s stunning 3-2 home win over Chelsea.
Jarrod Brown assisted on Tomas Soucek and Michail Antonio goals on either side of half-time, but it was Andriy Yarmolenko who snapped a 2-all stalemate with a goal in the 89th minute for the Hammers, who had failed to score in their previous three such games.
More importantly, West Ham have put some, but not a lot, of breathing room between them and the drop zone. For the Hammers, the goal moving forward is more of the same.
“We now need to get more points in our coming games,” Soucek told West Ham’s official website. “I’m excited for the next game. We need points and now we have (a little time to recover) and we will go to Newcastle. Which we look forward to. For us, it is a better situation now.”
Whilst that might be the case, West Ham also will focus on trying to snap a seven-game Premier League road losing streak. They did win their most recent league trip to St James, 3-0 on Dec. 1, 2018.