By Claire Bloomfield
LONDON (Reuters) – Newcastle United, with a potential takeover looming, travel to the London Stadium for a crucial Premier League tie against West Ham United on Saturday.
West Ham are undergoing a revival following the arrival of David Moyes and have moved up to 15th place in the table after taking points from Chelsea and Arsenal in recent weeks.
Here is what the fans have to say about their respective clubs:
Jim Grant, co-Host, Stop! Hammer Time: westhampodcast.com
“Obviously the game against Newcastle United this weekend is an important one for us, and not just to keep the recent run of form going. Three points would take a huge amount of pressure off us.
“With games against Bournemouth and West Brom to follow, there’s a real opportunity to head towards mid-table and get a bit of breathing space before the transfer window opens.
“We were truly dreadful up there at St James’ Park in August and made it easy for them, so a bit of revenge would go down well. Matt Ritchie was excellent for Newcastle, and his delivery and distribution can hurt teams.
“I think it will be a tight and scrappy game. Manuel Lanzini is a big loss for us, but I’m hoping we’ll edge it 2-1.
“It’s still early days for David Moyes, and he didn’t have a particularly tough act to follow, but he’s made an encouraging start. There’s definitely more energy and confidence on the pitch. His back room team know the league well.
“Moyes has also said all of the right things on joining the club to get fans onside – all the things Allardyce – a similarly unpopular appointment – failed to say.”
Jonathan Drape-Comyn, The Mag
“This is a game we cannot afford to lose… We simply have to start picking up points soon.
“The losing run must end. I think it will be a goalless draw on Saturday. Rafa Benitez will know the importance of not losing a game like this before Christmas, so I would expect him to field a side even more compact and defensive than usual.
“The fans are obviously worried about our form, and there is a bit of pressure on Benitez to start delivering, or at least being able to justify not including some players like Aleksandar Mitrovic and Chancel Mbemba at a time when the team is playing so badly.
“Manuel Lanzini is the main man, and when he is fit, he can make things happen so he will be a big loss for West Ham this weekend. The Hammers’ fans can get on the players’ backs really quickly when things aren’t going well. If you can stifle them going forward, keep the fans quiet, then that is the best way to beat them.
“I honestly do think that the takeover will go through. I don’t think our position in the table will affect whether a takeover happens or not – if anything, I think it would make Ashley more likely to sell. I think our Premier League survival rests on the takeover and the business that we do this January.”
(Editing by Toby Davis)