Newcastle United have set the table for West Ham in more ways than one ahead of the clash with Watford at Vicarage Road.
West Ham are desperately searching for something to cling onto amid a dismal run of results, a path well trodden by Newcastle this season.
The Hammers have fallen off a cliff since the momentum killing November international break with just one win in seven Premier League games.
Newcastle and Watford know all about that kind of form.
For West Ham it has meant falling out of the top four and being written off as contenders for a Champions League spot. It has not been a pleasant few weeks for Hammers fans with rivals taking great pleasure in West Ham “coming down with the Christmas lights”.
West Ham are set to face a Watford side who have played just once in nearly three weeks. The Hammers meanwhile will be playing their seventh game in that time and second in 48 hours. And they must make do without talisman Declan Rice too.
David Moyes will be scratching around for any positives and incentives ahead of the Hornets clash.
And the Magpies have just set the table for West Ham in more ways than one with a 1-1 draw against Manchester United on Monday night.
With Arsenal’s game against Wolves postponed, West Ham will effectively play their game in hand on the Gunners against Watford – bringing up the halfway stage of the season in the process.
Newcastle’s draw drags them a point closer to Watford and piles the pressure on Claudio Ranieri’s side.
And it also kept Man United below West Ham in the table – by virtue of goal difference.
West Ham know a win could lift them back above Tottenham into fifth and just four points behind Arsenal – who face some tough fixtures on the horizon.
If Moyes’s boys can get to 31 points at the halfway stage then they will be on course for another top six finish.
And things will start to suddenly look up again after the doom and gloom of the last six weeks.
If West Ham are struggling for incentives ahead of the Watford game then Newcastle have just put one on a plate.