David Moyes makes one West Ham change for Newcastle after a big decision on Tomas Soucek and Said Benrahma, Hammers News predicts.
West Ham head to Newcastle United looking to build on back-to-back 2-0 wins in the league and FA Cup with a positive result as they battle for survival.
And Newcastle have their eyes on maintaining their push for a Champions League place.
Although West Ham will hope those eyes may be slightly taken off the ball after Newcastle made it to their first cup final since 1999 in midweek.
The game came at a cost for Newcastle and delivered a boost for West Ham with the sending off of star man Bruno Guimaraes meaning he will be banned for the visit of best friend Lucas Paqueta.
There was further good news for Moyes and the Hammers after Magpies boss Eddie Howe confirmed he will be without five players for the match including striker Aleksander Isak.
But how will West Ham line up for the important clash?
We predict Moyes makes one West Ham change for Newcastle after a big decision on Soucek and Benrahma.
There is a feeling West Ham may switch formation to a back four for this one following the injury to Kurt Zouma in the last league match against Everton.
Thilo Kehrer played in a back five against League One Derby on Monday night but was – as he so often has been since arriving in the summer – far from convincing.
Moyes said this week he sees star defender Nayef Aguerd being best in a two at the back.
And the Scot has also suggested he is keen to have an extra body in midfield for certain games, which playing a back five denies him.
While Moyes could well stick with a five at the back and play Kehrer, we think he goes to a four for Newcastle and makes one change from the team which started the last league match.
Many fans want to see Flynn Downes get more game time in the Premier League.
But Soucek, who – like Downes – was one of the standout players against Derby, will come back in alongside Declan Rice and Lucas Paqueta.
That means Benrahma keeps his place from the Everton game.
West Ham may need extra protection in front of the back four given Newcastle’s form. And without Guimaraes to play through, they will undoubtedly go longer and use set-pieces more with the likes of Joelinton and Dan Burn to aim for. So Soucek could be vital in there today.
Predicted West Ham starting XI to face Newcastle:
Fabianski, Coufal, Aguerd, Ogbonna, Emerson, Rice, Soucek, Paqueta, Benrahma, Bowen, Antonio.