Mark Lawrenson predicts Newcastle United v West Ham United, comments on Mike Ashley

Football pundit Mark Lawrenson looks on before the npower Championship game between Cardiff City and Queens Park Rangers at Cardiff City Stadium on April 23, 2011 in Cardiff, Wales.

Newcastle United take on West Ham United in the Premier League this afternoon.

St James' Park stadium, home ground of Newcastle United, is pictured in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, north east England on August 13, 2017, ahead of the English Premier League football match...

Pundit Mark Lawrenson has told BBC Sport that he thinks Newcastle United and West Ham United will draw 1-1 in the Premier League this afternoon after poor starts to their respective seasons.

Newcastle head into the game in dismal form, as having lost their first two Premier League games against Tottenham Hotspur and Huddersfield Town without even scoring a goal, they then lost to Nottingham Forest in the Carabao Cup in midweek.

Rafael Benitez's men look devoid of confidence and even energy so early into the season, with some believing that Benitez's frustration over transfers is emanating onto the pitch.

Benitez has brought in Javier Manquillo, Florian Lejeune, Mikel Merino, Jacob Murphy and Joselu to boost his squad, but having missed out on some targets and been found financially unable to challenge for other players, the Newcastle boss has appeared frustrated with Magpies owner Mike Ashley.

Slaven Bilic, Manager of West Ham United looks on prior to the Premier League match between Southampton and West Ham United at St Mary's Stadium on August 19, 2017 in Southampton, England.

Today, Newcastle take on another struggling side, as West Ham make the trip to St. James' Park; their third away game in a row, having had their planned home game against Southampton switched away from the London Stadium.

The Hammers lost 4-0 away at Manchester United on the opening weekend of the season, before coming from 2-0 down to be drawing 2-2 with ten men, only to give away an injury-time penalty and lose 3-2.

Manager Slaven Bilic already appears to be under a little pressure to get results after two very different, yet painful defeats - and pundit Mark Lawrenson has told BBC Sport that he thinks the two sides will draw 1-1 this afternoon.

Football pundit Mark Lawrenson looks on before the npower Championship game between Cardiff City and Queens Park Rangers at Cardiff City Stadium on April 23, 2011 in Cardiff, Wales.

Lawrenson believes that Newcastle owner Ashley needs to back Benitez by competing with the likes of Watford and West Brom rather than the top seven clubs in the Premier League, and whilst West Ham are struggling, he can't see them being in relegation danger this season.

"Newcastle are winless so far in the league and got beaten 3-2 at home in the EFL Cup by Championship side Nottingham Forest - but I think they will get a draw here," said Lawrenson. "Owner Mike Ashley talks about the lack of money there and how they are unable to compete but I think that is a bit of a red herring. They might not be able to compete with the top seven but they can surely compete with the rest in terms of finances. They get 50,000 through the door at home. Manager Rafa Benitez's way of dealing with all this is to have a shot across the bows. The point he has made is that they should be competing with the likes of Watford and West Brom in terms of spending. It is what he does."

"This is West Ham's third away game in a row. They have lost the previous two and they really slipped up at Southampton last weekend. Getting back to 2-2 after being 2-0 down, they should have closed the game off. But they are better than the results they have got so far suggest. Javier Hernandez does not need many chances to score and they have other good players such as Michail Antonio and Manuel Lanzini. Andy Carroll will be good when he is fit. You just know they will be fine," he added.

Register for NEWCASTLE UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch