Premier League
West Ham United 1-5 Newcastle United 

Wednesday, 5th April 2023
by Chris Wilkerson

West Ham United were brushed aside Wednesday evening at the London Stadium, Champions League chasing Newcastle United smashing five past their desperate hosts.

Remarkable errors and an unremarkable attack combined to give the Magpies an easy evening, with a dash of awful management thrown in for good measure.

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The Hammers gave a strong first half performance, but only recovered to go in 2-1 down after abject defending left them chasing the game.

Any hope dissipated instantly after Aguerd was robbed in his own area and Newcastle took a 3-1 lead 22 seconds into the second half. Moyes's men crumbled and failed to threaten Newcastle with a game of football again.

It was the lowest of the lows from a team that has been diving to deep depths this season.

They were supported by a manager who remained too cautious to even chase the game, making a quartet of substitutions with 25 minutes to go that were all like-for-like, offered no additional attacking threat and kept the shape the same. The quick turnaround of games this month - West Ham have nine in April - might be all that saves him. There was one change from the drab but crucial win against Southampton, Antonio returning to lead the line, replacing Ings.

Infuriatingly, West Ham started well. They hit the post inside a minute, Bowen running 40 yards with the ball, chased by Dan Burn down the right channel, only to see his low ball into the box punted off the post by Bruno Guimaraes.

The Hammers did look up for it, quickly engaging the crowd with direct running, quite the contrast from the suffocation of the win on the weekend.

But it will come as no surprise to see this team throw away a good start under very little pressure inside 10 minutes.

A long Newcastle ball towards the edge of the box was headed off for a corner when Kehrer could have controlled on his chest or headed back to Fabianski, like he attempted.

The corner was cleared as far as Saint-Maximin, who twisted and turned before firing in a cross to the middle of the box. Stood alone was Callum Wilson, heading in from close range to score his 11th goal in 13 games against West Ham.

Just over five minutes later, it was two.

Schar took the ball into midfield under no pressure and looked up to pass. Joelinton made a darting run from the left channel and into the middle, tracked by no one, receiving the pass and then rounding Fabianski before rolling it into an empty net.

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The offside flag went up, but Emerson was a yard behind the defensive line, keeping the Brazilian midfielder onside for a second easy goal.

And those two weren't even the biggest gifts handed out back there.

West Ham's best hopes were Bowen and Paquet??, both of whom have seemed to grow in stature as the pressure of the relegation scrap has ground others down. The Brazilian stung Pope's palms with a good low freekick.

For all the huff and puff, and West Ham were certainly working hard and making Newcastle uncomfortable, there was little in the way of threat on goal. A perfect example was Rice bursting through a packed midfield and onto the edge of the Newcastle box, only to slip it to Antonio between his feet, his eventual shot smothered wide by a defender. It was glimpses of opportunities rather than anything substantive.

It was back once again to the set piece masters for West Ham to get a deserved foothold in the game.

Bowen again did good work to win a corner, and went over to the right to take it. Firing it deep, it curled and dropped at a fast pace about six yards out, and Zouma had run free to attack it.

Pope was poor, trapped under the flight of the ball, so Zouma headed down into an empty net to get his side back into the game with five minutes before the break.

Newcastle still had a chance in stoppage time, a lovely Trippier cross finding Saint-Maximin free on the far left of the box, but his cushioned ball back into the middle only found claret and blue. He should have shot.

With a goal just before half-time, you'd expect West Ham to come back out buoyed and with momentum.

It was 22 seconds from kick-off to being 3-1 down.

With the ball in Fabianski's arms, you'd assume there was no trouble. But as he rolled it out to Aguerd, the Moroccan took two touches and panicked under mild pressure from Murphy. He lost it, Murphy squared to Wilson, and it was 12 in 13 for the striker as he flicked it into an empty net.

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And that was the end of West Ham. A team so brittle this season could just not take the setback. After fighting to get back into the game and find some hope, they were just too deflated to watch it all go away so quickly.

There is nothing left to write about from West Ham's performance in the positive. It truly was that moment, such a miserable third goal, that absolutely ruined them. The fight went instantly, and only Bowen and Paquet?? continued to make any real attempts to play.

You can take your positives from Fabianski making two excellent saves, but he soon blew that credit away.

The first came after Newcastle tore West Ham open with one cross field pass. Saint-Maximin took it down, exchanged passes with the brilliant Joelinton, before squaring to Murphy. He passed it to Fabianski's right, but the Pole threw out a strong right hand to push it away at full stretch.

Moments later, he was tested again after Saint-Maximin cut inside off the left and curled low to the far corner. Somehow, Fabianski was down fast enough to flick it around the post with his outstretched fingers.

With 25 minutes to play, Moyes went to his bench for four changes. And boy did he expose who he is as a manager with those four changes.

It was all like-for-like. Two goals down, 25 minutes remaining, and not a single positive change. Nothing to add impetus, energy or intent. Coufal for Kehrer. Cornet for Benrahma. Ings for Antonio. Downes for Soucek.

You can argue that a bit round of changes sends a message, but the unintended message was one of hopelessness. It was caution over creativity, once more.

Downes, for all his hard work and tenacity, offers even less goal threat than this current version of Soucek.

The Czech midfielder has gone from a stumbling point in midfield to the invisible man, and whilst Downes may be more effective, especially better at keeping the ball, he offers nothing going forward. With Soucek's presence a threat, and the possibility of his darting runs, he gives the attack more even on his worst day.

One wonders what Lanzini and Fornals must be thinking as they see a man who held deep in the midfield for Swansea last season being thrown on when the team is two goals down.

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Ings was, of course, ineffectual as a lone forward. Did this game really need him to come on in place of Antonio?

And was the system working well enough at this point to be persevered with? The answer is no, it was not. That one was a rhetorical question with too clear an answer to ignore.

Unsurprisingly, the changes didn't work. They did make the side worse, somehow, which is impressive, in a way. But this is a West Ham team with two points from games against the top eight this season. They play four of them in the remaining 10 games, as well as fixtures against ninth-placed Brentford and this weekend against Fulham, who sit tenth.

Usually, this is a team that doesn't get beaten badly. But even that weird boasting point has gone this season, and it was at its worse here.

The fourth was as bad as the third, and both were pathetic.

A little clipped ball over the defence was chased by Isak, but the striker was going to be beaten to the ball by both centre backs.

Instead, out came Fabianski. 25 yards from his line, he came to meet a bouncing ball and judged it atrociously, jumping through the air and just popping it upwards with his hip. It dropped to Isak, who passed it on the volley into the empty net.

There was time for an exclamation point as Joelinton hit a fifth, running at Zouma and then baffling the defender by moving the ball onto his other foot before shooting. Fabianski got a hand to it, and should have done better, but it rocketed in as Newcastle celebrated in a nearly empty London Stadium.

The Hammers stay in 15th, level on 27 points with the three teams below them. With Rodgers departing Leicester at the weekend, it is only West Ham and Nottingham Forest remaining in the bottom half who haven't changed manager. Even Cooper was given the vote of confidence earlier in the day.

But West Ham appear to have chosen to stick with their man. This relegation fight lurches back and forth, and anger at the manager today can fade with a win at Fulham. Time is running out, and West Ham certainly are showing no signs that they'll get away from the trapdoor with much haste.

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Manager's Rating

David Moyes: 2/10
His big calls in the last few games have been Soucek, Kehrer and Fabianski. All were awful today. His changes not only came too late, they were ridiculous. Individual errors keep happening, which eventually comes back to him. And in what he can control, he's making bad choices.

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Player Ratings

Lukasz Fabianski
A couple very good saves ruined by one wild error, another sloppy one, and poor kicking.

Thilo Kehrer
From the good against Southampton to looking shaky at every opportunity here.

Emerson Palmieri
Just went around making silly fouls. Wasn't helped by Benrahma not bothering.

Kurt Zouma
Well taken goal and generally one of the better defenders, but it wasn't much of a contest. Too easy for Joelinton on the fifth, didn't take responsibility on the first goal.

Nayef Aguerd
Also gave Wilson as much space as he wanted on the first, then gave the game away for the third.

Declan Rice
He was good when West Ham were good, but disappeared once it got tough. He's an emotional player and suffers with these team performances.

Tomas Soucek
He was as bad in his anonymous display at a player like Aguerd who made numerous errors. His confidence is clearly at rock bottom, continuing to pick him is astonishingly bad management.

Lucas Paqueta
One of the few who keeps battling, one of the few who kept trying to play. Let down by a slack team around him. Soucek is a problem in midfield, we don't have a good striker to play into or to make runs, Benrahma was a non-entity. He is being judged to a different standard from the rest, based on people's expectations of an expensive Brazilian.

Said Benrahma
Said is unavailable at the moment. If you'd like to leave a message?EUR?

Jarrod Bowen
The only real threat. Had Dan Burn beat all game, but doesn't get the ball enough and has to carry the attack on his own. Kehrer is no support, Soucek even less so, which leaves Bowen as the whole right side and the main attacker.

Michail Antonio
Tried hard, but crowded out and lacks the guile to sort it. His running war of words with Wilson is embarrassing, he's half the player in every aspect.


Flynn Downes
(Replaced Soucek 63) What can you say? He's being sent into games that don't need him, don't suit him and he can't influence.

Vladimir Coufal
(Replaced Kehrer 63) Didn't get too involved, but nice to see the right back going beyond Bowen and getting into the final third.

Danny Ings
(Replaced Antonio 63) So badly unsuited to Moyes football that it's hard to understand why the manager wanted him so badly.

Max Cornet
(Replaced Benrahma 63) They all came on to find the team was just done.

Alphonse Areola
Did not play.

Aaron Cresswell
Did not play.

Angelo Ogbonna
Did not play.

Pablo Fornals
Did not play.

Manuel Lanzini
Did not play.

Match Facts

West Ham United: Lukasz Fabianski, Thilo Kehrer, Emerson Palmieri, Kurt Zouma, Nayef Aguerd, Declan Rice, Tomas Soucek, Lucas Paqueta, Said Benrahma, Jarrod Bowen, Michail Antonio.

Goals: Kurt Zouma 39                  .

Booked: Emerson Palmieri  Flynn Downes         .

Sent off: None.

Newcastle United: Pope, Trippier (Manquillo 87), Botman, Schar, Burn (Targett 85), Longstaff, Guimaraes, Joelinton, Murphy (Willock 65), Saint-Maximin (Gordon 65), Wilson (Isak 65).

Subs not used: Dubravka, Ritchie, Lascelles, Anderson.

Goals: Wilson (6, 46), Joelinton (13, 90), Isak (82).

Booked: Joelinton.

Sent off: None.

Referee: Craig Pawson.

Attendance: 62,470.

Man of the Match: Jarrod Bowen.