The Soccer Desk

Preview: Newcastle vs. West Ham (and Arsenal)


Newcastle opened their campaign with a 4-0 away defeat against Manchester City.  It was Arsenal, however, that caused the biggest setback for the Magpies when they placed a paltry £10M bid on midfield Yohan Cabaye the day prior to the City match.  Cabaye did not make the trip to Manchester.  The timing of the bid infuriated Toon boss Alan Pardew but if a deal for Cabaye goes through, Newcastle will be forced to make their own last minute bid to avoid being bid out of the Premier League.

The Hammers enjoyed their opening weekend with a 2-0 home victory over Premier League newbies Cardiff who last played in the top league in 1962.  Though they dominated the match, West Ham looks to Saturday’s game at Saint James’ Park to prove their merit to the league’s senior sides.

Unlike Newcastle, West Ham spent some money this summer to bring Andy Carroll (£15M) and Stewart Downing (£5M) from Liverpool.  Like the Magpies, whose sole signing Loic Remy is currently out with an injury, West Ham will be without Carroll who missed the opener as well.  Whether or not Cabaye will be in the lineup remains to be seen but is unlikely.

Despite the injuries of the teams’ major signings, the difference between the clubs is that West Ham, who finished tenth last season, has arguably improved while Newcastle minus Cabaye and they yet-to-be replaced Demba Ba who left in January for Chelsea, takes the pitch as a worse club than the one that finished the season sixteenth.

There is some hope for Newcastle.  Paris Saint-Germain’s interest in Cabaye may produce a bidding war with Arsenal, providing Newcastle with the £20M they’re demanding for their midfielder.  The bad news is that they already have cash in hand that they cannot exchange for talent on the field.  The transfer window closes on September second.  Newcastle needs to get some ink on some contracts and do it soon.  Unfortunately, most of the Toon faithful fear the brass’ pens are filled with molasses.

Magpie midfielder Jonas Guitierrez publically apologized to Newcastle fans for the shabby performance against Manchester City and promised better results against West Ham and Fulham at Saint James’ Park, even invoking the possibility of coming out of the two match home-stand with six points.  West Ham, on the other hand, looks to replicate their opening weekend performance.  Newcastle, then, looks to change direction while the Hammers look to keep things on track.  We’ll see if change is in the Tyneside air when the whistle blows Saturday.

(Photo courtesy of The Chronicle)