Premier League
West Ham United 2-3 Newcastle United 

Saturday, 23rd December 2017
by David Fletcher

Newcastle take all three points in a well fought encounter at the London Stadium where West Ham fought until the end to salvage something in what was to be an anti-climatic ending for the Hammers.

Both sides were fast out the blocks as Marko Arnautovic pounced on an awful back pass from Newcastle's Henri Saivet to put his side in front, only to be pegged back less than four minutes later from a long range Saivet free kick.

The game soon shifted into Newcastle's favour as they gathered rythmn and continued to put West Ham under pressure. However, their efforts went unrewarded. Time and time again, the Hammers were getting outplayed down the right hand side. Firstly DeAndre Yedlin found space to drill a low cross into Dwight Gayle who beat goalkeeper Adrian, though fortunately his effort was kept out by the frame of the goal.

It wouldn't be long before Adrian's post was shaking again when Matt Ritchie's curling effort set up by Gayle hit the top of the crossbar. Shortly after, Newcastle had another clear chance to pull clear as Yedlin's sheer pace on the ball drew West Ham defenders towards him allowing Ritchie to receive in acres of space to be able to pull it back for Gayle whose effort flew over the crossbar.

West Ham were let off the hook again and players and fans alike, breathed a sigh of relief as referee Lee Mason signalled for half time.

Despite having the half time break to regroup, West Ham were still disorganised dealing with Newcastle attacks as they continued to push forward with intent.

Unlike the end of the first period, Newcastle's efforts were rewarded with a brace of goals building up a comprehensive lead. Firstly, former midfielder Mohamed Diame stepped up to the plate with a very convincing finish after team mate Atsu pulled it back for him having easily nutmegged Zabaleta previously, moments after Arnautovic carved up his own very good chance at the other end.

Minutes later, the tide seemed to have turned as West Ham rejoiced having won what looked to be a rather dubious penalty decision, considering Ciaran Clark's poorly timed challenged on Michail Antonio was only just outside the box. However, Andre Ayew failed to convert the penalty kick.

Furthermore, the 'Toons' rubbed salt into the wound as they increased their lead. A defensive misconception between Ayew and Zabaleta allowed the away side to counter. Atsu picked it up in midfield and surged forward, as he approached the penalty area he lent the ball to Joselu who immediately returned it to him and found the far corner of the net.

All hope seemed to have been lost, especially considering that Newcastle reverted to a more defensive set up, soaking up pressure and relying solely on the counter attack breaking West Ham's rythmn. Nonetheless, the Hammers did pull a goal back from a lobbed corner from Aaron Creswell finding Andy Carroll at the far post whose header was parried by 'keeper Rob Elliot into Ayew's path who put in the rebound.

Though there would be no further contribution to the scoreline as Newcastle effectively shut their opponents down and secured the all-important three points.

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Player Ratings

Adrian San Miguel Del Castillo
Should have done better for the first goal. Not very good considering three of Newcastle's four shots on target found the back of the net.

Pablo Zabaleta
Outpaced and outplayed constantly down the right, failing to deal on many occasions with Newcastle's Christian Atsu.

Arthur Masuaku
One of the only players on the West Ham team willing to get forward with intent, his nifty and tidy footwork getting him out of sticky situations.

Angelo Ogbonna
Didn't do much wrong thoughout the course of the ninety minutes, he was just left exposed as were his two fellow centre-backs in Newcastle's two second half goals.

Winston Reid
Needlessly gave away the free kick that led to Newcastle's first goal. His fitness is slightly worrying.

Aaron Cresswell
An improved player since slotting into David Moyes's back three. Was a decent source for crosses alongside team mate Masuaku.

Pedro Obiang
Not the same player as last season. Struggling to make simple accurate passes.

Cheikhou Kouyate
Alongside Obiang, failed to act as a supply line for the attacking players.

Marko Arnautovic
Different class since the managerial takeover. Never stopped running and though his goal arose from a Newcastle error, he still had the pace and the composure to finish the job.

Andre Ayew
Seemed to bring more to the team in defence than in attack covering for Pablo Zabaleta. An underwhelming penalty miss partially redeemed by his goal.

Michail Antonio
A poor performance from him today struggling to find some rythmn throughout the course of the match. Missed three very important headers in the first half that could have put West Ham back into the lead.


Andy Carroll
(Replaced Antonio) Made a very quick impact and was a crucial figure to West Ham's second goal. However his team mates relied on him far too much considering him the only option to reverse their one goal deficit in the last quarter of an hour.

Javier Hernandez
(Replaced Ayew) Provided absolutely nothing to assist West Ham's cause.

Andre Ayew
(Replaced Antonio) No comments.

Nathan Trott
Did not play.

Ben Johnson
Did not play.

Domingos Quina
Did not play.

Anotnio Martinez
Did not play.

Match Facts

West Ham United: Adrian San Miguel Del Castillo, Pablo Zabaleta, Arthur Masuaku, Angelo Ogbonna, Winston Reid, Aaron Cresswell, Pedro Obiang, Cheikhou Kouyate, Marko Arnautovic, Andre Ayew, Michail Antonio.

Goals: Marko Arnautovic 6 André Ayew 69                .

Booked: Cheikhou Kouyaté 77          .

Sent off: None.

Newcastle United: Elliot, Clark, Lascelles (c), Gayle (Perez 76), Diame, Ritchie, Manquillo, Joselu, Yedlin, Saivet (Mbemba 83), Atsu (Murphy 90+1).

Subs not used: Darlow, Dummett, Aarons, Haidara.

Goals: Henri Saivet (10), Mohamed Diamé (53), Christian Atsu (61), .

Booked: Christian Atsu (67).

Sent off: None.

Referee: Lee Mason.

Attendance: 56,955.

Man of the Match: Arthur Masuaku.