The former Scotland international came into the team against Sheffield United last week and got on the scoresheet in the Hammers’ 1-1 draw. However, Nicholas feels winger Andriy Yarmolenko wasn’t at his best. Even so, he reckons the home side will beat Newcastle 2-1 at the London Stadium this weekend.
“I watched the West Ham game last week,” he wrote on the Sky Sports website. “Robert Snodgrass was very good in particular, Andriy Yarmolenko was a bit off with his final ball, and Sebastien Haller didn’t get the service he should have got, although I do like him.
“There is always the tendency at home that West Ham become a bit tense, but they should be burying these teams. Newcastle’s away record is good – they will frustrate them but West Ham will just edge it.”
There’s no doubt that Snodgrass was excellent last time out. It was a bit controversial for manager Manuel Pellegrini to start him last week, but he rewarded the Chilean’s faith with a stunning performance against the Blades. The goal, which he took very well, was the highlight, but his overall display was tremendous. Haller didn’t get the right kind of service, as Nicholas says, but Nicholas is correct to regard him as a good player in this West Ham side, albeit one perhaps not being used to his optimum level. Yarmolenko didn’t have his best outing last time out, but he’s generally been excellent this season and so he should start once again on Saturday. As for the game against Newcastle itself, Pellegrini’s side will be the favourites for good reason. They have been in poor form of late, but the Magpies are the perfect team to right the ship against. Steve Bruce’s men are one of the worse teams in the top flight, and so this is a game the Hammers should definitely be winning.