This weekend’s meeting between Newcastle and the Hammers is important for both sides, but for very different reasons. Magpies fans are hoping to pick up points and avoid a relegation scrap, whilst West Ham fans want to keep up with the Top 4.
Ahead of the fixture, we caught up with Newcastle fan ‘The Fish’.
Who do you consider to be the best player at West Ham?
The Fish: I like the look of Antonio and Soucek. However, I think Lingard has been a revelation for you.
What do you think West Ham’s strengths and weaknesses are?
TF: A strength would be how strong you look going towards goal and the confidence this season is incredible to watch. However, you don’t press well when the other team has the ball but overall, I don’t see huge weaknesses.
How do you think your boys will get on for the rest of this season?
TF: We will either go down or survive by the skin of our teeth. Not much enjoyment either way.
What player should opposing teams watch out for?
TF: Normally I’d say Wilson, Almiron or Allan Saint-Maximin but they’re all out injured. Willock might be a dangerous player, but Bruce doesn’t know how to set up a team, so I’m not sure. Carroll if he comes off the bench for more than 30 seconds might injure one of your players.
Are you happy with the return of Andy Carroll?
TF: Not really. Either he’s not up to it, or Bruce doesn’t trust him. Either way it’s a waste of money and a squad place.
Also how gutted were you when the recent takeover fell through?
TF: I was gutted that Ashley retained ownership. I’d prefer to be owned by people that haven’t got a controversial history.
What has been Newcastle’s biggest struggle this season?
TF: Bruce. He was behind the times a decade ago and hasn’t changed much since then. We can’t defend, we don’t control the ball, and we can’t create chances as a team. Wholly reliant on our ‘keeper having a good day’ and maybe, maybe one of our talented attackers to pull something out of thin air.
So do you think that Steve Bruce deserves the criticism he receives from fans?
TF: Yes. Ask if any other Premier League club would want him and you would get 19 nos. His incompetence with his petulance, his arrogance, his knack for blaming anybody and everybody else for the issues at the club, and you’ll see he deserves all the criticism and more. He would get the same from the media as well if he wasn’t their mate.
Do you think Newcastle will stay up this season?
TF: Maybe. Brighton are below us but are playing some nice stuff, Fulham are below us but are playing some good stuff. If the three amigos come back and stay fit for the final eight or nine games, we might have enough.
What are your score predictions for your game against West Ham?