Both Newcastle United and West Ham United will be looking for their first win of the season when they face each other on Saturday. Both Rafael Benitez and Slaven Bilic have spent a significant amount of money in the transfer market with hardly any positive results from them.
Though patchy, both sides have some real talents and fans could expect a high tempo game when West Ham visit St. James’ Park on Saturday. Here are the 3 battles upon which the outcome of the game could hinge upon.
Javier Hernandez vs Jamaal Lascelles
The Mexican forward has got back his touch in front of the goal as was evident from his brace against Southampton last week. Although West Ham United lost three points in the game owing to the late penalty that was converted by Charlie Austin, Bilic will have little concern with his attack after that performance. And with Marko Arnautovic out of the game owing to a red card, the responsibility doubles up on the former Bundesliga forward.
He will be up against young centre half Jamaal Lascelles as Benitez is missing Florian Lejeune with an injury. Lascelles wasn’t the first choice for the manager as the Mags kicked-off their Premier League campaign with a defeat against Tottenham Hotspur. But, the 22-year-old has captained the side last season in the Championship and is considered a future prospect by many.
Joselu vs Jose Fonte
The centre forward has got little chance in the Premier League over the past few years as he was loaned off to La Liga side Deportivo La Coruna last season. After the loan arrival of Jese Rodriguez from Paris Saint-Germain, Stoke City decided to part ways with the Spanish striker. At 192cm, the forward would be a threat from aerial duels, with players like Christian Atsu and Matt Ritchie looking to put in a cross at every opportunity.
He will be up against the veteran Jose Fonte of West Ham. The Portuguese international has held the mast well for the Hammers at the back and facing an inexperienced forward like Joselu could be an easy duel for him.
Michail Antonio vs Chancel Mbemba
West Ham’s hero last season has come back from injury and will look to open his account against a struggling side like Newcastle United. The winger excels in outmuscling his opponents from the flanks owing to his strong figure and phenomenal pace and someone like Chancel Mbemba would find it difficult to cope with.
The French defender started at the back for Newcastle against Nottingham Forest in the Carabao Cup and the side conceded three goals. Not the dose of confidence he would want to have ahead of the big game.