Moyes, Bruce cutting through noise ahead of new season

Sports

David Moyes and Steve Bruce are both taking an optimistic approach following tough off-seasons heading into West Ham versus Newcastle United.

The Hammers host Newcastle on Saturday after a tumultuous stretch for both clubs.

West Ham have struggled to complete incoming transfer business but lost academy graduate Grady Diangana to West Brom in a move that prompted anger from several first-team players.

Captain Mark Noble was among those to announce his displeasure, but Moyes took the positives from that response, saying it showed the spirit in his group.

“I didn’t have any conversation with [Noble],” Moyes said. “He showed a real togetherness with the players. He showed what Grady Diangana meant to the players and to the club, one of the boys through the academy. He was really important to us.

“Mark’s been in that situation as well. He’s been here 20 years. I think he just showed how he felt. I think we’re all entitled to our opinions.”

For Newcastle, recent weeks have been dominated by a takeover saga that rumbles on.

Even after the club signed Callum Wilson, Ryan Fraser and Jamal Lewis, Newcastle and the Premier League are at loggerheads over the failure to complete a reported £300million deal with a Saudi-backed consortium.

“I want what’s best for the club. It hasn’t happened, so let’s get on with it,” Bruce said.

“The one thing a takeover does is it puts everyone into uncertainty, which is never healthy. It would have been exciting for the club, but it looks as if it’s dead in the water, so it’s my job to get on with it. With our signings, I think we’re better now.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

West Ham – Michail Antonio

West Ham’s failure to make early moves in the transfer market means they will again look to the men who fired them to safety at the end of last season. Antonio, in a new striking role, was chief among them, scoring eight times in July – including one against Newcastle.

Newcastle United – Callum Wilson

Newcastle have brought in a new striker and, although he has not taken the number nine shirt, Wilson will be expected to be their main man. The England striker has seven Premier League goals against West Ham and has spoken of targeting Saturday’s game.

KEY OPTA FACTS

– Newcastle have won nine Premier League away games against West Ham. Only versus Tottenham (10) have they picked up more wins on the road in the competition.

– Only West Ham (13) have lost more Premier League games on matchday one than Newcastle (11).

– Between them, West Ham manager Moyes (8) and Newcastle coach Bruce (5) have lost more Premier League games on opening day (13) than the other 18 current top-flight bosses combined (11).

– Antonio’s tally of eight goals in July 2020 is bettered only by Luis Suarez in December 2013 (10) in a single calendar month in Premier League history.

– Newcastle’s Jonjo Shelvey has scored three Premier League goals against West Ham, netting home and away against boyhood club last season. Against no side has he scored more top-flight goals (also three v Fulham).

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