Premier League
Newcastle United 0 West Ham United 0

Saturday, 4th July 2020
by Chris Wilkerson

An unchanged West Ham United took a valuable point back home from their trip to St. James’ Park, but will feel it could well have been three.

Drawing 2-2, Moyes?EUR(TM) side took the lead on both occasions, but conceded two sloppy goals to move to 24 points lost from winning positions this season.

The draw fairly reflected the game, one that was competed by two clearly very well-matched sides and saw both sides have spells controlling the game.

With that said, the game started as ideally as it could for the away side as Michail Antonio fired into the roof of the net inside the first five minutes.

There were similarities to his goal in the week, West Ham combining with Lanzini, Antonio and Fornals, before the Spaniard fed in Bowen down the right side of the area. He drove to the line and rolled it across the face of goal. It looked to have missed its mark, but Lascelles?EUR(TM) clearance was a mere poke to Antonio, who hit it high into the roof of the net from only a few yards out.

It gave the side something to hold onto early on, letting them sit a little deeper with memories of the chastening defeat at home earlier in the season, one built almost entirely on the counter attacking threat of Newcastle.

Whilst this kept them safe from that threat, it also gave Newcastle a chance to take control of the game.

The in-form Allan Saint-Maximin took charge, his movement, pace and dribbling becoming a real problem as he drifted right and drove central.

With the home side on top, it was his threat that played a huge part in Newcastle?EUR(TM)s equaliser.

Gaining space inside on the right, Cresswell was caught two-on-one as the right back Krafth flew forward on the overlap. Lanzini came over, shouting for his left back to go wide, but as Cresswell stayed inside on Saint-Maximin, his lay off to Krafth gave the wider man acres of space and time to drive a cross into the area.

Low and in the channel between defence and goal, Almiron stepped to the ball and prodded it beyond Fabianski to level, the Paraguayan completely unmarked and ghosting through the unaware Diop and Ogbonna.

Newcastle had deserved their equaliser and will have rued the drinks break, which seemed to interrupt their grip on the game and give West Ham a chance to regather and recompose themselves.

For the rest of the half, West Ham looked to carry threat once more, and came closing to scoring as Bowen nearly poked in a drilled cross-cum-shot toward goal, Dubravka reacting well in the Newcastle goal to prevent it rifling in.

At the other end, West Ham had Soucek to thank for a vital interception in the box as Almiron looked placed to fire in an effort.

The break came with the sides level, a fair reflection of play and one that continued to the exact narrative in the second half.

The Hammers came out slow; Newcastle?EUR(TM)s confidence clear in their play. With the team off the pace, it may have been a surprise to some to see Mark Noble dragged off the bench and into play, taking Lanzini?EUR(TM)s place.

The change didn?EUR(TM)t really make much difference to the play, but West Ham won?EUR(TM)t have cared as their set-piece prominence again delivered them a vital goal through Tomas Soucek.

This time it was Declan Rice winning a big header at the back post, hammering it against the bar from close range. The ball fell back slightly behind Soucek, but the Czech midfielder adjusted quickly to catch it beautifully on the volley with his left foot from close range and smash the ball into the back of the net.

The joy and excitement lasted less than 90 seconds. In what was a wild two minutes punctuating a rather drab second half, Jonjo Shelvey equalised in an attack that came directly from the restart.

A cross from the right was headed out weakly. Shelvey received centrally and passed into the box for Gayle, running forward and taking it back off him in the area and guiding it beyond Fabianski as the defence stood static.

They stood expecting an offside, but Fornals had failed to get back in line when defending the first cross, keeping Gayle onside in the middle and watching on as Newcastle equalised once again.

It seemed only to remind both sides how easily the game could be lost, the intensity dropping sharply in the game as both sides looked to contain their opponent and play safe football.

Yarmolenko was introduced and provided the most notable moments of the closing period. One bending cross from his left foot was guided towards goal well by Soucek, before the two combined again as Yarmolenko hammered a decent effort too close to the goalkeeper.

The game drifted to an end, only on edge for paranoid West Ham fans watching Andy Carroll come on and assuming fate would declare him the scorer of a late winner.

He didn?EUR(TM)t, the score staying at 2-2 and both teams seeming reasonably content to leave without losing.

It could be a valuable point for Moyes?EUR(TM) men, and certainly a return of four points from the last two games can be deemed a success. It left them four points ahead of the relegation places, three ahead of Watford and with a nice goal difference cushion too.

With Newcastle?EUR(TM)s form since the restart, especially the dismantling of Bournemouth, this game was one that will have had many worried. Combine this with Bournemouth and Watford both losing and a draw is another point away from their rivals.

But the way the goals were conceded should lead to frustration, both very preventable and another game where the struggles of holding a lead were on show again.

A win would have been huge, and as such, the fight is still very much in full swing. Onto Burnley.

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Player Ratings

Roberto Jimenez Gago
Not the greatest way to start his West Ham spell. Conceded four, probably could've done a little better with the last.


Ryan Fredericks
Enjoyed a productive opening 45 minutes, making several forays down the wing. A little less efective once City brought their big players on at the break.


Ben Johnson
No notable error. Good to see Pellegrini taking a closer look at his in pre-season.


Issa Diop
One vital error that led to City's third goal, as he conceded possession cheaply and unnecessary. As you might expect from a youngster.


Angelo Ogbonna
Still looking a little clumsy and conceded the penalty that put Manchester City ahead.


Declan Rice
Not involved to any great degree but made several decent interceptions and kept it simple.


Mark Noble
It seems his legs still haven't gone - and he's looking like a leader in every game.


Felipe Anderson
A decent half from the Brazilian winger, who gave one or two City defenders nightmares in the opening stages.


Manuel Lanzini
A decent first half but like many others, faded after the break.


Jack Wilshere
Fit again and it showed - and long may that remain the case.


Michail Antonio
A real busy bee in the 45 minutes he played as the lone striker - a role to be filled by the club's record signing upon returning from China.



Substitutes

Carlos Sanchez
(Replaced Rice) A pretty horrible appearance, in which he was responsible for the final City goal and lucky not to concede a (fairly clear) penalty.


Robert Snodgrass
(Replaced Wilshere) Largely anonymous against the better City players.


Andriy Yarmolenko
(Replaced Rice) "I'll be like a new signing!" he (sort of) said last week. And he was a bit. Unlucky not to score with an effort that rattled the post.


Javier Hernandez
(Replaced Antonio) Not really involved although one 25-yard free kick nearly caught City unawares.


Pablo Zabaleta
(Replaced Fredericks) The old boy endured a bit of a torrid time against City's attack in the second half.


Aaron Cresswell
(Replace Johnson) No more effective that young Johnson, who he replaced.


Pedro Obiang
It may well be his final appearance in claret and blue, the lack of notable effort was evident. * Other subs used: Grady Diangana (Lanzini 62); Winston Reid (Ogbonna 68).



Match Facts

West Ham United: Roberto Jimenez Gago, Ryan Fredericks, Ben Johnson, Issa Diop, Angelo Ogbonna, Declan Rice, Mark Noble, Felipe Anderson, Manuel Lanzini, Jack Wilshere, Michail Antonio.

Goals: Mark Noble 25                  .

Booked: None.

Sent off: None.

Newcastle United: .

Subs not used: .

Goals: .

Booked: .

Sent off: None.

Referee: tbc.

Attendance: 0.

Man of the Match: Ryan Fredericks.