BBC pundit Mark Lawrenson predicts West Ham v Newcastle

West Ham - Upton Park: Boleyn Ground

Mark Lawrenson believes West Ham and Newcastle will draw 1-1 this evening.

Pundit Mark Lawrenson has told BBC Sport that he believes West Ham United and Newcastle United will draw 1-1 at Upton Park this evening.

West Ham have been the Premier League's enigma so far this season, beating Arsenal and Liverpool away from home without even conceding a goal, but losing home games to Leicester City and Bournemouth.

Manager Slaven Bilic is searching for consistency, and a home game against winless Newcastle may be seen as the perfect chance to kickstart the Hammers' season.

Bilic goes up against Steve McClaren for the first time since his Croatia side broke England hearts at Wembley in 2007, and his Newcastle counterpart is searching for his first victory as Magpies boss.

Two draws and two defeats haven't set the pulses racing on Tyneside, whilst with just two goals in four games, Newcastle aren't causing many problems in the final third either.

Neither side have hit their stride yet, making this an intriguing clash - and pundit Lawrenson has told BBC Sport that he believes the game will end in a 1-1 draw, given that he thinks West Ham are 'difficult to predict' given their inconsistency early on this season.

"Newcastle are still waiting for their first win but I don't think there is any doubt about the character of their players - we saw that from how they played with 10 men against Arsenal," said Lawrenson. "Nobody is doubting the ability of Magpies boss Steve McClaren either - but now it is a case of him finding his best team and knitting it together."

"West Ham are proving very difficult to predict at the moment, winning away at Arsenal and Liverpool but losing both games at home, so I am probably best off going for a draw," he added.

With new signings Michail Antonio, Victor Moses and NIkica Jelavic available for selection, Bilic will be hoping that they can all make huge impacts should they feature - and given Newcastle's struggles, West Ham may in fact be slight favourites for this one, despite Lawrenson's prediction.

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