Premier League
Newcastle United 0 West Ham United 0

Saturday, 24th August 2013
by Trevor Twohig

The mighty Irons faced a tricky trip north to St. James' Park on the second week of the new season. As the traveling fans arrived to the stadium like drowned rats, both sides knew that the weather conditions were not going to make the beautiful game easy today.

West Ham come off the back of a solid home win against Cardiff City last week while pressure piles on Pardew after their 4-0 drubbing at the Etihad Stadium.

The only change for the Irons was a straight swap with Stewart Downing coming in for Joe Cole, a little unlucky on the Man of the Match last week, prompting insider comments that perhaps the England midfielder is not up to two lots of 90 minutes in consecutive weeks.

So what could Downing offer our attacking threat at a sodden St. James Park? Not a lot really. But then neither did anyone else in the first half with only one shot on target. A few long range efforts from Newcastle aside, there was little for the home team to shout about either and Jussi Jaaskelainen looked understandably relaxed.

West Ham looked most dangerous from set pieces and Winston Reid and Modibo Maiga went close with a couple of headers in the first half that went just over the bar. So 0-0 at half time and job well done for the West Ham defence.

There were a few jitters and a reminder of the James Collins howler at Swansea away this time last season, when the communication between the back four left a little to be desired and nearly let the lively Ben Arfa in on goal.

Yet at the break, West Ham had 1 shot on target whereas Newcastle had 0. West Ham?EUR(TM) possession was 57%, Newcastle 43%, so there was plenty to be cheerful about from a West Ham perspective.

The second half started a little brighter and saw periods of Newcastle dominance, again though it was West Ham with the better of the chances. Downing had a tame shot on target and the new man set up captain Nolan who was unmarked in the six-yard area and shot wide.

Downing was replaced by Joe Cole who was lively from the outset and the introduction of Ravel Morrison was greeted with rapturous applause from the 2,200 West Ham supporters who made the journey.

Morrison looked quick and had the best opportunity of the game when his deflected shot found Maiga who slotted the ball into the back of the net only to find he was three yards offside.

Newcastle also had their fair share of chances and in injury time found a wide cross hitting the inside of the post and falling at the feet of Gouffran who somehow shot over the bar.

So honours even and all in all that seems like a fair result. Both teams could have won the game and I would rather be in West Ham?EUR(TM)s position (that is third, by the way) than Newcastle?EUR(TM)s and in particular Pardew?EUR(TM)s at this stage.

* Trevor Twohig also hosts a blog at

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Player Ratings

Jussi Jaaskelainen
Not a lot to do today, kicking could still be better.

Guy Demel
Solid performance, not a lot to write home about.

Joey O Brien
Good defensively ?EUR" poor going forward.

Winston Reid
Solid and a threat going forward.

James Collins
A mixed bag - Some excellent blocks but some poor decisions.

Mo Diame
A mixed bag too. Gave the ball away more than usual and some touches of the sublime.

Mark Noble
Solid ?EUR" put in some impressive tackles.

Kevin Nolan
Was a nuisance as always but missed a sitter and he knows it.

Matt Jarvis
Excellent work and produced some top crosses into the middle.

Stewart Downing
God pace and will be good for us but a little lacklustre today.

Modibo Maiga
A poor display really. Did put the ball in the net but not enough of a threat.


Joe Cole
A busy performance. Could have won it at the death.

Ravel Morrison
A fairly unremarkable Premier League debut until his last minute shot found its way into the net via the (offside) Modibo Maiga.

Did not play.

Razvan Rat
Did not play.

Jamea Tomkins
Did not play.

Alou Diarra
Did not play.

Ricardo Vaz Te
Did not play.

Match Facts

West Ham United: Jussi Jaaskelainen, Guy Demel, Joey O Brien, Winston Reid, James Collins, Mo Diame, Mark Noble, Kevin Nolan, Matt Jarvis, Stewart Downing, Modibo Maiga.

Goals: None.

Booked: Joey O Brien 44          .

Sent Off: None sent off.     .

Newcastle United: Tim Krul, Mathieu Debuchy, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Fabricio Coloccini, Davide Santon, Hatem Ben Arfa, Moussa Sissoko, Vurnon Anita, Sylvain Marveaux, Shola Ameobi, Papiss Cisse.

Subs not used: Dan Gosling, Gael Bigirimana, Rob Elliot, Haris Vuckic, Paul Dummett.

Goals: None.

Booked: None booked..

Sent off: None.

Referee: Phil Dowd.

Attendance: 49,622.

Man of the Match: Matt Jarvis.