Newcastle will miss the services of their new boy, Joe Willock, in the Premier League opener against West Ham at Goodison Park.
The 21-year-old midfielder, who enjoyed a fine loan spell with the Magpies last season, completed his move from Arsenal on Friday, but was not registered before the 12 noon deadline and will have to wait until next
weekend’s trip to Aston Villa for his first appearance as a permanent signing.
Willock discusses his move from ‘boyhood club’ Arsenal to Newcastle and how it materialised following his successful loan spell last season West Ham have a couple of doubts ahead of their trip to the northeast.
Angelo Ogbonna picked up a hamstring injury in the pre-season friendly win over Celtic, while Manuel Lanzini (groin) is also a fitness concern.
Goalkeeper Alphonse Areola could make his competitive debut having joined on loan from Paris Saint-Germain.
The return of home fans inside stadiums will be billed for the majority as a huge positive. Maybe not so for these two teams though.
St James’ Park is one of the great amphitheatres but while Mike Ashley remains in charge, it also has the potential and threat to become a hindrance for the team if things aren’t going swimmingly on the pitch. And for a club that have not taken 45 points over a course of the season for seven years, chances of unrest look high especially if Steve Bruce slips back to his negative ways.
That may take a few months to kick in, though, and with Allan Saint-Maximin in their side, they can threaten any team in the Premier League, especially one like West Ham who are a tad short of pace through the middle of their defence.
The flying Frenchman caused havoc as the Toon did the double over the Hammers last season and similar is expected on Super Sunday. Playing through the middle alongside Callum Wilson should see his goalscoring and shot stats improve this campaign and my thinking is prices like 9/1 for him to score first won’t be around in a few weeks if he keeps getting into those dangerous central areas.
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