By Frankie Levin
Rafa Benitez’s side will look to make it four wins on the bounce as they play host to West Ham this Saturday.
West Ham travel to Tyneside in search of victory as they look to rectify last week’s 4-0 defeat to Manchester City, while Newcastle seek to extend their unbeaten run to four games.
Only goal difference separates the two sides in the league table – Newcastle sit 13th on 12 points, while the Hammers are one place below in 12th.
The Magpies have won the last three meetings between these two sides, and Manuel Pellegrini is not surprised by their recent form. He said: “Newcastle have won three matches in a row, but I haven’t been surprised by them.
“They are defending well and getting good results, but every game is different, so we will have to see on Saturday both teams defending and attacking.”
This will be the first meeting between Benitez and Pellegrini in their managerial careers, and the former spoke of the qualities West Ham possess. He said: “They have very good players, they spent £100m and have players who can make the difference.
“We must show the same intensity we showed recently, plus add some good attacking play too.”
Newcastle’s Paul Dummett will be absent from Saturday’s clash, while Jamaal Lascelles, Jonjo Shelvey and Karl Darlow are all in contention to feature.
Jack Wilshere and Andy Carroll are both back in the squad for the visitors, but Manuel Lanzini, Andriy Yarmolenko, Ryan Fredericks, Carlos Sanchez and Winston Reid all remain long-term absentees.
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