Mark Lawrenson admits surprise over West Ham's form, predicts result against Newcastle

Mark Lawrenson believes West Ham will draw 1-1 with Newcastle today.

Pundit Mark Lawrenson has told BBC Sport that he has been surprised by West Ham's recent form - but thinks they will draw 1-1 with Newcastle today.

The Hammers have now won their last three Premier League games in a row, beating Southampton 2-1, Liverpool 2-0 and Bournemouth 3-1 in a fine run of form.

The upturn in results came at a great time for manager Slaven Bilic, who had previously gone eight games without a win, though the last five games of that winless run were all draws, meaning West Ham are now actually eight games without defeat.

Today, West Ham travel to take on Newcastle United, who are struggling at the wrong end of the Premier League table, but played out a rousing 3-3 draw with Manchester United on Tuesday night.

Steve McClaren's men still sit one point adrift of safety, but their performance against United has given Magpies fans hope of survival once again this season.

With new signings Henri Saivet and Jonjo Shelvey available, Newcastle will be hopeful of another positive result - and pundit Mark Lawrenson has told BBC Sport that he thinks the game will end in a 1-1 draw.

Lawrenson has recently received criticism from West Ham fans for regularly tipping them to lose, but says he has nothing against Bilic's men, and enjoys the joking with supporters - and thought the Hammers would slip off after their winless run, admitting his surprise at their recent winning run

"After the stick I've been getting from West Ham fans over my predictions, I should probably go for them to win 8-0," said Lawrenson. "In the past few seasons I have annoyed Southampton and Swansea fans by tipping them to lose, but I have never had supporters chanting my name over a prediction before, like the Hammers fans were doing at the end of their win at Bournemouth on Tuesday."

"It is all good fun, and I am really pleased they have continued to prove me wrong. I thought their results would fall away after their good start, much like they did under Sam Allardyce last season, but they have picked up after a wobble where they did not win for eight games from the end of October. I thought they would slip down the table but instead they have won their past four games in the league and FA Cup, and I have to take my hat off to them."

"Newcastle were a bit unlucky not to get a draw at Watford in the FA Cup and stuck at it to pick up a point against Manchester United on Tuesday, so it seems Magpies boss Steve McClaren has found a way to get a response from his players after their poor form over Christmas. Taking all of that into consideration, probably the only way I can upset anybody this time is by saying it is going to be a draw, so that is what I'm going for," said Lawrenson.

What's your prediction for Newcastle v West Ham?

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