Newcastle secured a great point against Manchester United last time out and now they welcome high-flying West Ham to St James's Park. Luke Moore takes a look...
"West Ham are available to back at 3.052/1, which does tempt given the Hammers' away record (19 of their 35 points have come on the road) and the fact that puppet-master Payet is back in the side and impressed so much at Bournemouth."
Newcastle v West Ham
With just three wins in their last ten league games and none in their last five, Newcastle find themselves above only Aston Villa in the Premier League table. However, that doesn't really tell the whole story - the Magpies have been very unlucky recently and have certainly deserved more than their two points from their five most recent outings.
As I mentioned upon previewing their game with Manchester United, they were the better side for large parts against Arsenal, lost to a last minute goal against Everton and only narrowly went down to West Brom. What's more, the entertaining draw they managed to grab from the clutches of defeat against United will be a boost to them, and although West Ham are a good side, Steve McClaren's men will know they should be able to find the back of the net against them.
Vernon Anita may be in line for a return after missing two league games through injury.
The Hammers are doing much better under Slaven Bilic than many would have expected, and they find themselves occupying fifth spot, sandwiched between Tottenham in fourth and Manchester United in sixth. A rip-roaring, Dimitri Payet-inspired win on the south coast against Bournemouth was a great example of what Bilic's side are capable of on the road, and they will be full of confidence going into this one.
This writer sees West Ham as a streaky team, however. They've now won three on the spin in the league, but previous to that they notched five draws in a row. It's hard to see them troubling the top five come May, but in Payet they have a genuine superstar and their best form has coincided with him being in the team and pulling the strings.
Manuel Lanzini, Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho all miss the game through injury.
Newcastle go into this game as favourites (they currently trade at 2.588/5), and despite previously mentioning that they're better than recent results suggest, that looks skinny on a team that haven't won in five games. Let's not forget they're playing the team in fifth, 13 places and 17 points ahead of them - it's hard to argue the value there.
West Ham are available to back at 3.052/1, which does tempt given the Hammers' away record (19 of their 35 points have come on the road) and the fact that puppet-master Payet is back in the side and impressed so much at Bournemouth.
The Draw is priced up at 3.412/5.
Over/Under 2.5 Goals
I like Overs here. As my colleague Joe Dyer has said, both of these teams served up the goals midweek, and I can see this being an open game in front of a packed crowd. 2.1211/10 seems hugely generous given that both of these sides can attack on their day.
One of the key points ahead of this game is that the attacking players who are relied upon for creating chances for both sides are in form - Dmitri Payet for the away team and Aleksandar Mitrovic, Georginio Wijnaldum and Ayoze Perez for Newcastle. They're full of confidence after getting a decent amount of joy in the 3-3 with Man United and that should make for a fairly positive encounter.
I honestly think both Payet and Wijnaldum are worth a poke in this market at around 3.814/5 each. Both are in good nick and looked really lively in their last outing, and I wonder if defensively they can be kept out for the full 90. Of course, we'll need a little luck on our side for both backs to come in, but I'll kick myself if I back one and the other one scores, so I'm going for both.
Back Over 2.5 Goals at 2.1211/10
Back Dmitri Payet to score at 3.814/5 or better
Back Georginio Wijnaldum to score at 3.814/5 or better
Luke Moore 2015-16 Premier League P/L
2014/15 P/L: +4.92pts