Fortunately, the Magpies still control their own fate. Newcastle would automatically secure safety if they beat West Ham by any score. If Newcastle lose or draw, they would need to hope that Hull City loses at home to Manchester United.
They will face a West Ham side that has been sliding down the table in recent weeks. They lost 2-1 to Everton last week and currently sit 11th in the table. Former Newcastle manager Sam Allardyce left the club in January 2008 on poor terms and may relish an opportunity to sink his former employers.
Newcastle will need all the support they could get on Sunday. It has been a brutal second half for the club but avoiding relegation would salvage something from this season.
Injuries and Suspensions
Newcastle continue to lack healthy bodies. Siem de Jong (thigh) remains a doubt for the match. Cheick Tioté (knee), Massadio Haidara (knee), Adam Armstrong (calf), Rob Elliot (thigh) and Steven Taylor (ruptured Achilles tendon) are all unavailable.
Although, there is some good news. Mike Williamson will be back after serving a two-match suspension. And Rolando Aarons made his return from injury last week against QPR as a second-half substitute.
James Tomkins (dislocated shoulder), Andy Carroll (knee) and Guy Demel (calf) are unavailable for West Ham. Striker Diafra Sakho has been out for a month with a thigh injury but could return in time for Sunday.
Tactics and Possible Starting Line-Ups
John Carver went back to the 4-2-3-1 formation last week in Newcastle’s 2-1 defeat to QPR. It is unlikely that the Newcastle manager will make major changes at this point. Although, the return of Williamson should mean that Paul Dummett could return to his regular position at left-back. Papiss Cissé has come on as a substitute since returning from a long suspension two weeks ago and could start on Sunday.
West Ham do not have much to play for but that does not mean that Allardyce is likely to rest any regular players. Allardyce has rotated between 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1 for much of this season. Carlton Cole has been West Ham’s striker in the absence of Sakho and Carroll. Sakho leads the club in goals with 10. English winger Stewart Downing is second with six goals.
Newcastle and West Ham almost always have close matches. The Hammers beat Newcastle 1-0 in London in late November. Over the last ten matches, each club has won three each, to go along with four draws. West Ham has been terrible on the road recently. They have not won away from Boleyn Ground in eleven league matches.
Newcastle’s problems are well-known. The Magpies have only one win in the last nine league matches at home. And they have only two wins in 19 matches in 2015. The club has put itself in this position. The players have been their own worst enemies. Regardless of the result on Sunday, big changes are likely coming to Tyneside.
Sunday will be a final. The players have to put the past behind them and avoid relegation. It is unlikely to be a high-scoring affair. Newcastle have scored more than one goal in a match only three times in their last 19 matches. The Magpies could expect a difficult match against West Ham but they will find a way. Newcastle will earn a victory and secure a place in the Premiership for next season.
Newcastle United 1 – 0 West Ham United