Scout report: What Newcastle United can expect from West Ham as the Magpies look to get their season off to a perfect start

Newcastle United welcome West Ham to St James’s Park on Sunday for their opening game of the new season and hopes are high that they can get off to the best possible start.

Newcastle completed an impressive double over West Ham last season and will be aiming to capitalise on the momentum that brought them nine points from a possible 12 at the end of last campaign.

Here, we take a closer look at Newcastle’s opening day opponents:

What system will West Ham play?

Newcastle United face West Ham United in their first game of the new Premier League season (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

West Ham finished last season in scintillating form and qualified for the Europa League after finishing in 5th place in the Premier League.

David Moyes favoured a 4-2-3-1 formation at the end of last season with Jesse Lingard playing in the number 10 role behind Michail Antonio.

Lingard’s loan was not made permanent at the London Stadium, however, so a change of shape may be required to cover for Lingard’s absence.

It’s likely therefore that West Ham will revert to a 4-4-2 formation with Antonio being partnered by Jarrod Bowen up-front.

The Hammers have been relatively quiet in the summer window so far, only adding goalkeeper Alphonse Areola to the squad and making Craig Dawson’s loan from Watford permanent.

Who are West Ham’s key players?

Goalscoring-wise, Antonio will be a real danger to Newcastle having scored 20 goals in 50 Premier League appearances over the last two seasons.

The Czech Republic duo of Tomáš Souček and Vladimír Coufal will also be ones-to-watch for Newcastle.

Souček has impressed greatly as a box-to-box midfielder since joining The Hammers in January 2020.

Newcastle’s midfielders, most likely Isaac Hayden, will have to cope with his physicality and ensure they do not allow Souček a chance in-front of goal, especially from set-pieces where the Czech has proven himself to be a real danger.

Coufal on the other hand, has proven himself as being an assist-machine as teams often struggle to contain the right-back.

Most of West Ham’s attacking play will go through Coufal and Souček so if Steve Bruce’s men are to stand a chance of victory on Sunday, they must shut down the two Czech Republic internationals.

Do West Ham have any injury concerns?

Angelo Ogbonna and Arthur Masuaku are doubts for Sunday’s game but the Hammers have no long-term injury concerns.

It is unknown if Declan Rice will feature on Sunday as the midfielder has been absent during most of pre-season, returning later following England duty at Euro 2020.

Rice managed 45 minutes against Atalanta last week and has an outside chance of starting on Sunday.

How have West Ham fared in pre-season?

West Ham’s pre-season started slowly with a draw away at Dundee. However, The Hammers soon found their gear and completed impressive victories against Reading, Celtic and Brentford.

They also impressed in their last game of pre-season where strikes from Antonio and Pablo Fornals secured them a 2-0 victory against one of Serie A’s most impressive outfits, Atalanta.

Atalanta have routinely been Serie A’s highest scoring team and so a clean-sheet against the side from Bergamo is a great accomplishment.

West Ham Pre-Season Form: DWDWWWW

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