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Newcastle United and West Ham United will lure again on the opening day of the Premier League season, this time in front of the believers in St. James’s Park on Sunday afternoon.
Steve Bruce‘s men will try to avoid hazards throughout the 2021-22 campaign as West Ham has to reconcile national and European commitments.
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Newcastle and relegation scraps are inevitable these days, but the arrival of a certain Arsenal loaner has ultimately catapulted the Magpies from the bottom three and into a fifth straight season of Premier League football.
Bruce’s men were in 17th place with only nine games left, but the exploits of Joe Willock against Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool, West Ham United and Sheffield United – to name a few – Newcastle have won three of their last four games and finished 12th.
With frustration over stalled takeover talks in the background, Newcastle’s preseason started with a 1-0 loss to York City, but the Magpies responded with successes over Doncaster Rovers, Burton Albion and Norwich City, beating the latter 3-0 the returning spectators in St James’ Park.
To say it was a disappointing summer for the transfer movement, however, would be an understatement, as three Academy prospects represent the club’s only additions to date, although a £ 25m deal for Willock is expected to materialize.
The absence of Bruce’s two first-choice goalkeepers, who have become synonymous with violent injury lists, certainly won’t help a team that only stayed at home twice in the Premier League last season while West Ham was on it off is to redress the injustice of the opening 11 months ago.
The irrepressible David Moyes Machine will now try to prove itself on the European stage, as the Hammers were able to move into the group stage of the Europa League for the first time ever with sixth place in the 2020/21 season.
For a short while, Champions League football seemed to be on the agenda for West Ham, but defeats to Newcastle United, Chelsea and Everton shattered those dreams for a team – like Newcastle – inspired by a six-month loan, the one Resurrection intended his career.
Jesse Lingard traveled to the capital after surviving a painfully difficult first half of the season at Old Trafford, where he had few chances Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, but with 14 goals in 16 games for the Hammers (nine hits, five assists), his role in their European comeback has been invaluable.
The club’s attempts to permanently bring Lingard back to the London stadium have so far failed to bear fruit, but they certainly didn’t need him to enjoy some flashy prep time – winning the last five exhibition games – including a 2-0 win over Atalanta and 6-2 against Celtic.
This time last season Callum Wilson and Jeff Hendrick scored a 2-0 win for Newcastle at West Ham on the opening weekend and the capital clubs must end a five-game losing streak on opening day before heading to the northeast.
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Newcastle are believed to be making great strides in their efforts to sign Willock but it remains to be seen if he will be registered in time for West Ham’s visit.
Freddie Woodman is set to occupy the gloves as Martin Dubravka (Foot) and Karl Darlow (Coronavirus) remain unavailable while Paul Dummett‘s calf problem will also force the defender to miss the opening day.
Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin seem willing to make Bruce’s first choice throughout the season if fitness issues don’t arise during Miguel Almiron has a fight on hand to force his way into the engine room.
West Ham has a few bumps and bruises to assess before opening day Angelo Ogbonna, Manuel Lanzini and Arthur Masuaku all uncertain, although the latter two would have difficulty applying for the starting roles anyway.
Issa Diop and Craig Dawson will likely make up the center-backs pairing with Ogbonna being dubious but who they’ll be protecting is more of an uncertainty there Lukasz Fabianski and Alphonse Areola will fight for first place in the coming months.
Mikhail Antonio still holds the position as the only recognized center-forward for West Ham, but he only needs one goal to play Paulo Di CanioPremier League record of 47 for the Hammers.
Newcastle United possible starting line-up:
Lumberjack; Fernandez, Lascelles, Schar; Murphy, Hayden, S. Longstaff, Almiron, Ritchie; Wilson, Saint-Maximin
West Ham United possible starting line-up:
Fabianski; Coufal, Dawson, Diop, Cresswell; Rice, soucek; Bowen, Fornals, Benrahma; Antonio
Probability: Newcastle United 0-2 West Ham United
It is simply vital for Newcastle to keep Wilson, Almiron and Saint-Maximin fit and firing on all cylinders lest they get drawn into yet another fight for survival, and the possible arrival of Willock should certainly lead to more optimism in the company St James’ Park lead.
West Ham was never known for its opening day supremacy, but Moyes’ men were just plain unplayable the preseason and should get on the right foot before their European efforts take precedence.
Best betting tip for this match
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