West Ham United became the first English team to go 17 European games without losing on Thursday when they defeated Freiburg 2-1 in the UEFA Europa League to make it three wins in as many games in three separate tournaments. David Moyes, their manager, says of his team, “The boys are doing a brilliant job” as they advance to the fourth round of the Carabao Cup and the top half of the Premier League (PL).
Only Liverpool and Manchester City have defeated the Hammers at home in a league game since they were defeated 5-1 by Newcastle United here last season (W4, D1). Liverpool most recently defeated Sheffield United 2-0. However, the Londoners have struggled recently in this match, having only won one of their last six head-to-head matches (D1, L4).
The Magpies have won four consecutive competitive games, scoring 15 goals and giving up just one, but they still need to catch West Ham in the Premier League as they have already dropped three league games this season (W4).
That ought to keep Howe’s team grounded after their midweek high, especially given that they have only won one of their previous five PL away games (D2, L2). Newcastle will probably require more consistency away from St James’ Park if they hope to secure another top-four spot and return to the UCL next season, even though their most recent match against Sheffield United ended in an 8-0 hammering.
Observe these players:
Players to keep an eye on: Tomá Souek has scored in two of West Ham’s last three games, and five of his last seven goals have come after the 50-minute mark, just like both of his previous goals against Newcastle. As the game goes on, Alexander Isak also poses a threat because, like his goal in this match from last season, each of his previous four club goals have come beyond the 50-minute mark.
Hot fact: West Ham entered the round with the best first-half record in the Premier League (W4, D3).