West Ham Aims to Extend Winning Streak as They Welcome Newcastle to the London Stadium. West Ham United has kicked off the Premier League season in superb form, securing four victories in their first seven matches and currently holding seventh place in the league standings. Manager David Moyes has implemented a tactical strategy that appears to be working well for the Hammers, but their encounters with the league’s top-tier teams have posed challenges.
On the other hand, Newcastle is riding a wave of success, having triumphed in their last three matches with an impressive cumulative score of 14-1. While they faced a daunting schedule at the outset of the Premier League season, they are now encountering teams that aren’t considered elite, which presents an opportunity for them to showcase their strengths.
A significant aspect of West Ham’s performance revolves around the effectiveness of their defensive low block. Moyes encourages his team to adopt a passive stance, permitting opponents to make numerous entries into the final third. The objective is to clog the middle of the field, forcing opponents to play wide and rely on crosses to break through.
However, after seven matches, West Ham ranks last in several key defensive categories, including box entries allowed, final third entries allowed, crosses completed into their penalty area, and progressive passes plus dribbles allowed. Surprisingly, their defense has exceeded expectations, conceding only ten goals from an expected 14.6, largely due to the exceptional shot-stopping skills of goalkeeper Alphonse Areola.
West Ham’s offensive strategy mainly revolves around transitional opportunities, with a talented attack featuring players like Lucas Paqueta, Mohammed Kudus, and Jarrod Bowen. The Hammers have shown improvement in their attacking capabilities, averaging 1.58 expected goals (xG) per 90 minutes, a significant upgrade from the previous season.
Additionally, they have become one of the Premier League’s top teams in set-piece effectiveness, ranking second in xG per set-piece—an aspect favored by Moyes. However, they will be up against one of the league’s best defensive teams, making it unlikely that they will create numerous high-quality scoring chances or capitalize efficiently on set pieces.
Newcastle enters the matchup following a dominant 4-1 victory in the Champions League, where they dismantled PSG by pressuring them during build-up play. While West Ham presents a different challenge, their style aligns well with Newcastle’s strengths. Ideally, West Ham’s passive possession strategy and low-block approach would be conducive to Newcastle’s offensive tactics. However, West Ham’s reliance on long goal kicks often triggers a back-and-forth transitional contest that aligns with the pace at which Newcastle thrives.
Newcastle excels offensively when playing in transition and allowing their attackers to exploit the opposition’s defense. While West Ham may seek to deny these opportunities, Newcastle’s ability to score first could significantly impact the outcome. This season, Newcastle boasts a remarkable 2.55 expected goal difference (xGD) per 90 minutes when playing with a lead. Moreover, they have a strong track record against non-elite Premier League teams, accumulating a cumulative xGD of +1.24 per 90 minutes against lower-ranking opponents since last season, including substantial expected goals against Burnley and Sheffield United.
Although this match might have been an easy pass, with Newcastle favored at -120 or -130, the market has shifted the money line to +110 due to the circumstances. It’s important to note that both teams had midweek European duties; West Ham traveled to Germany to face Freiburg in the Europa League. Consequently, despite having a home-field advantage, West Ham has endured more travel and less rest compared to Newcastle. With my projection favoring Newcastle at -160, the value on them at +110 is quite appealing.