Photo by Arfa Griffiths West Ham United via Getty Images

West Ham United travel to Newcastle United on Saturday looking to get back to winning ways.

Traditionally St James’ Park is not a happy hunting ground for West Ham.

But the match against Newcastle signals the start of a run of fixtures against teams in and around West Ham in the Premier League table.

In fact West Ham and Newcastle go into the game dead level on 12 points after 13 games.

Given West Ham’s festive fixture list the pressure is on Pellegrini to start finding form and consistency from his side.

And after a 4-0 thumping at home to Manchester City last time out the Chilean looks set to make some important changes to his side.

Photo by Arfa Griffiths West Ham United via Getty Images

Aaron Cresswell in for Arthur Masuaku

Pellegrini must be tearing his hair out at his left-back options. Neither Arthur Masuaku or Aaron Cresswell have made the position their own. Cresswell’s form has been alarming over the last year.


He has gone from the England squad to looking slow and out of sorts. In fact Cresswell has been so poor that Masuaku has been getting in the side ahead of him. Given how terrible Masuaku is as a left-back that is a damning indictment.

The DR Congo international was up to his usual tricks against Man City, costing West Ham at least two goals by failing to do the basics. Cresswell is more reliable as a defender and will come back into the team away from home.

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Mark Noble in for Grady Diangana

Grady Diangana has been a revelation this season. But he has been poor in the last two games. He was substituted at half-time away at Huddersfield and lasted only 55 minutes of the defeat to City.

The youngster looks as though he may have been found out a little bit. So Pellegrini will take the heat off by bringing him out of the side and reinstating captain Mark Noble.

Noble will sit in midfield and Michail Antonio will move out to the right hand side.

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Lucas Perez in for Marko Arnautovic

The third change hinges on the fitness of Marko Arnautovic. The striker limped off during the City defeat and will be assessed before the trip to Newcastle. If fit he keeps his place.

If not Andy Carroll is unlikely to be risked from the start against his old club and it just has not happened for Javier Hernandez at West Ham.

So Pellegrini could turn to the little-used Lucas Perez who can link the play better than any of the club’s back-up forwards.