What a difference two months makes. At the end of September, Alan Pardew was facing the sack, with Newcastle languishing in the relegation zone, their boss a 1/6 favourite be the next manager to pick up his P45.
But with the Toon now seven games unbeaten, the pressure has been lifted as Pardew prepares to face his former side, now enjoying a top five berth in the Premier League.
It won’t be easy, but the side from the north east will fancy their chances to leave the capital with some points in the bag, with a win priced up at 12/5, and the the draw at odds, with a victory for West Ham available at 23/20.
Here are our three best bets for the game at the Boleyn.
In the aforementioned unbeaten run Newcastle have won three of their quartet of trips away from St James’, scoring twice in all four matches.
The form of Ayoze Perez has been a real boost, and with three goals in his last five games could be the man to lead the line for the visitors.
Conversely, the Hammers are not the solid defensive unit of last season, keeping just two clean sheets all season, one of those against a toothless Aston Villa attack.
With key personnel in the centre of the park missing, the host’s goal could come under intense scrutiny.
While the Magpies haven’t been shy in front of goal this season, they have liked to leave it late.
Of the 14 strikes converted this season, nine have come in the final 30 minutes of their matches.
Coupled with the fact that West Ham have conceded half of their goals at Upton Park in the last 15 minutes of their games, and we fancy the home fans to be cursing a late Newcastle resurgence.
For all of Newcastle’s climb up the table, West Ham will provide a stern test. Sam Allardyce’s men may have failed to win in three, but with some of their injury issues likely to be eased, a better showing than that against Everton wouldn’t be a surprise.
They are still unbeaten in four games at home, and will be determined to keep tabs on their opponents in the table.
Having found the net in 10 of their 12 Premier League matches this season, the Irons should get on the scoresheet, but whether they will out-score the visitors looks doubtful.
All odds and markets correct as of the date of publishing
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