West Ham United’s task of beating Newcastle United this Saturday may just have been made a touch easier.
The Hammers welcome Steve Bruce’s Magpies to the London Stadium and it is an important match for both sides, for different reasons.
West Ham have lost their way of late after a promising start. A win over Newcastle can propel Manuel Pellegrini’s side back into top six contention.
Newcastle meanwhile have only won once since August and sit one point above the bottom three on a minus nine goal difference at the quarter-way stage.
Reports claim Newcastle triple blow
Reports coming out of Newcastle this week may just make West Ham’s task easier, though.
According to Sky Sports News reporter Keith Downie the man hailed as Newcastle’s best player, Fabian Schar, is out of the West Ham clash with a knee injury.
Downie said: “Just interviewed Newcastle defender Fabian Schar. Seems upbeat about severity of his knee injury but seems very unlikely he’ll play against West Ham this weekend.”
It is worth noting Newcastle have not won a Premier League game for 18 months when Schar has not played.
Magpies lose three big players
As most Hammers fans will probably already know former striker Andy Carroll is also a major doubt.
Carroll missed the Wolves game last time out and is said to be a major doubt to face the club he left in the summer (The Times).
And influential midfielder Sean Longstaff misses the West Ham game through suspension after his red card last time out.
Boyhood Hammer and summer target Shelvey could come back to haunt Pellegrini?
While that may be seen as a positive, it could mean a recall for outcast and boyhood Hammer Jonjo Shelvey.
According to Chronicle Live, Bruce could bring Shelvey in from the cold against the club who tried to sign him over the summer.
And as a product of West Ham’s academy, from a family full of Hammers fans, Shelvey will not need any more motivation to shine at the London Stadium.
Probable Newcastle XI to face West Ham:
Dubravka, Yedlin, Fernandez, Lascelles, Clark, Willems, Almiron, M Longstaff, Shelvey, Saint-Maximin, Joelinton.