Going into Saturday's match against West Ham, statistics from history and in the recent past all seem to point towards a Newcastle win.
We head into the game following a perfect November which will put Rafa Benitez in contention for the Manager of the Month award. It was really important to get those first wins on the board and clamber out of the relegation zone but the job is far from completed at the moment. Monday night's match against Burnley was a six-pointer and the same can be said for West Ham's visit to Tyneside as they are currently level on points with ourselves.
The form book shows in our favour as the Hammers are struggling. They made a poor start to the season but managed to recover after backing new manager, Manuel Pellegrini but they can only boast the one win in their last six matches in their current run of form. The same stat of one win in the past six matches also applies to their away record this season.
Some further stats on this fixture: This fixture last season, a 3-0 win thanks to goals from Joselu, Ciaran Clark and Aleksandar Mitrovic, gave us our 50th league win over the Hammers. On the subject of last season, West Ham were one of two teams that we successfully did the double over last season, the other being Stoke City. West Ham's win percentage from their 66 visits to St. James' Park currently stands at 14%. Out of those 66 matches, Newcastle have won 37. The Londoners have only won once in their past 14 visits to Newcastle, legend Kevin Nolan scored the only goal of the game in November 2012 and, credit to him, refused to celebrate.
Following Wednesday night's thrilling 5-5 draw between Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest earlier this week, it is worth mentioning that the highest scoring encounter that ever took place between the Magpies and the Hammers was when 10 goals were evenly shared in a 5-5 draw in December 1960.
Facts and Figures
Newcastle wins: 54
West Ham wins: 40
Newcastle wins: 19
West Ham wins: 11
Premier League at St. James' Park
Newcastle wins: 11
West Ham wins: 3
Previous ten (all competitions)
Newcastle wins: 5 (13 goals)
West Ham wins: 3 (8 goals)
Biggest win: Newcastle United 5 - 0 West Ham (05/01/2011)
Biggest defeat: Newcastle United 0 - 3 West Ham (31/10/1998)
Newcastle United 5 - 0 West Ham - 05/01/2011 (Premier League)
How times have changed over the past eight years! This match against West Ham was the 22nd game of the season and the table that night looked a whole lot different to how it is expected to look nowadays after 22 games. Half of the teams in the top half (Sunderland, Bolton, Newcastle, Blackburn and Stoke) have all experienced at least one relegation since that night. Liverpool were 12th and level on points with Blackpool who have since sunk through the Football League like quicksand. And finally, Manchester United were top of the table!
Steve Harper: Harper had a quiet night in between the sticks. The only save he had to make whilst the game was still in the balance was former Newcastle midfielder, Scott Parker's long range effort. After the game was put beyond doubt, he still made saves to deny Carlton Cole (so not that difficult then). This match was his fourth of his six clean sheets that season before Tim Krul became the regular choice goalkeeper from the start of the following season.
Joey Barton: Produced an excellent performance on the night by slicing the West Ham defence regularly to provide the team with chances. On paper, it will say that he only achieved one assist from the five goals but he nearly could have had plenty more as he asked very teasing questions of Danny Gabbidon and James Tomkins in the Hammers' defence.
Kevin Nolan: The skipper was in for something of a quiet game against his future club before he bagged Newcastle's third of the match with ease on the stroke of half time. The man from Toxteth was not finished there as he went on to provide the assist for Leon Best's hat-trick goal.
Peter Lovenkrands: The Danish international had a great game and completed the rout soon after Best's hat-trick goal by converting Joey Barton's cross from close range. In the first half, he managed to assist his strike partner, Best with the two goals he scored.
Leon Best: The unexpected star of the show was the man that the club signed in January 2010 from Coventry. It is the only time since Micky Quinn that a Newcastle player scored a hat-trick as their first goals for the club. This became the start of what was to be a really good 2011 for Best as he ended the calendar year with a far better minutes per goal average than Andy Carroll (he was the BEST out of the two players!!!) who departed the club to join Liverpool on deadline day in January that year.