Henry Saivet headed back
towards his own goal before inexplicably scuffing a dreadful sideways pass
straight to Marko Arnautovic on the half way line who strode forwards.
Ciaran Clark looked likely to get a
challenge as the former Stoke player neared the Newcastle box, but was slow
to turn, allowing the forward to
shoot across Elliot into the far corner before indulging in the embarrassing Adam Ant 'Prince Charming'
salute popular round these parts.
A belated decision of a high boot by Winston Reid on
Christian Atsu to the left hand side of the box saw play pulled back for a
free kick after Matt Ritchie had wastefully blasted over.
stepped up hit a superb curling right footed free-kick from
25 yards, beating Adrian low at his near post. The 'keeper seemed a long
way over, possibly expecting a cross rather than a shot and had too much
ground to cover but the kick was well-placed and hit with power.
Half time: Irons 1
Clark played a measured pass out to Atsu
down the Newcastle left and he nutmegged Zabaletta before crossing for Mo
who opened up his body and blasted a right-footed effort into the top corner from eight yards out.
Despite being at the end housing the away contingent, he avoided actively
celebrating - presumably as a gesture towards his former club West Ham
The Magpies gained possession and broke at pace out of their own half after
a ricochet off two home players after a West Ham corner was cleared. Dwight Gayle's
superb pass found Atsu charging forward towards the left side and he opted
to feed Joselu out on the left of the area.
Atsu's pass was a little wide
and the Spaniard evaded "dandy highwayman"
Arnautovic before pulling the ball back. Christian Atsu continued his run and met the cross
first time to slide in. 3-1
Aaron Cresswell's corner
from the West Ham left found
recently-arrived substitute Andy Carroll powering past two defenders at the far post and his firm
downward header was well saved by Rob Elliot. The ball fell loose and
was lashed into the net by Andre Ayew - who had earlier missed a penalty - from inside the six yards box.
Full time: Irons 2
Rafa - who kept himself fit by shuttling between
the bench and the technical area - a not insignificant distance:
"It's difficult when you have a bad run. What was really important was to
win, and to have a good performance against a good team. It is important not to be in the
bottom three at any time, not just at Christmas.
"We were working so hard for
so many games, we deserve a day like today. For the fans, it's fantastic.
"The game against Everton we hit the post twice. And today it was one of
those days where I couldn't believe it would be the same again.
"We deserved to win. The performance of the team has been so good, it's a
great feeling for us and the fans.
"I could not say too much before
the game about the selection, because I knew (David) Moyes was
listening, but we had problems with Merino and Hayden, and (Jonjo) Shelvey
"Henri is a good professional and trained really
well - he was unlucky, but after he made the difference with his goal.
"Saivet understands the game. Technically, he's good
and he can take free-kicks. Both he and Diame are from Senegal, so it was
important they understood each other and they did really well.
"In terms of the club, you have to keep winning to be sure that you stay
in the Premier League - that's the target.
"But for the fans this is about belief and showing we can win games and
"You can see the team spirit and work
rate of different players, but it doesn't mean we don't still need players
to compete at another level. They are different things."
"Not a good one that's for sure. It was a game full of errors, I just
keep looking at the goals we've conceded and the mistakes we've made.
"It was near enough right from the start. We got the goal - I think from
a Newcastle mistake - but after we made two or three terrible mistakes
which led to them scoring from a free-kick.
"All in all, it just seemed like that on the touchline. Mistake after
mistake. We then missed a penalty at 2-1 which makes it even more
"Everyone knows how good Andy is. But we gave ourselves too much to do
after conceding a farcical third goal.
"We have to try and get rid of the individual errors. We missed him at
home. He's the one player who can do more on the ball and it was
glaringly obvious we missed him here.
"It was going to be a test with expectations changing towards us
winning, but it showed today that we could not do that.
"It was the manner of losing the goals. The third was a catastrophe, the
way it came about. We don't score the penalty, and those things can make
a big difference."
Henri Saivet made a
first Premier League appearance of the season, becoming the 22nd player
used in that competition in our 19 games to date.
Last sighted in a League Cup defeat to Nottingham Forest in September, this
was only midfielder Saivet's fifth PL outing for the club and his third
PL start. He last featured in the PL as an 89th minute sub against West
Bromwich Albion at SJP back in February 2016.
A debut Toon goal made Saivet the club's 132nd PL scorer
- and Mo Diame
then became the 133rd. His most recent top-flight goal before today
came for Hull City at Arsenal in October 2014.
Efforts against former clubs Wigan Athletic and Hull City were among six
goals Diame scored last season, and today's strike completed a full
house against English clubs he's played for; having also previously
netted for Hull against Newcastle.
Saivet scored Newcastle's 200th league and cup goal against the
Hammers, with that total then being increased to 202 after Diame and
Newcastle recorded their 107th away win in the PL at the 432nd
attempt - and an eighth against West Ham. That takes them level in the rankings with Aston Villa and one behind Spurs.
Saivet and Diame
became the fifth and sixth Senegal internationals to score in
the PL for us, after Habib Beye, Abdoulaye Faye, Demba Ba and Papiss
Cisse. Of those, messrs Beye, Ba and Diame were all French-born, making
Saivet only the third native of Senegal to find the net - all three hailing
United scored three away goals in the Premier League for the first time
since a 3-0 victory at Hull City in January 2015. The only Newcastle player
who featured in both games was Ayoze Perez.
Rob Elliot's penalty
save was the first made by a Newcastle goalkeeper in the Premier League
since Karl Darlow denied Yohan Cabaye of Crystal Palace at St.
James' Park in April 2016. The Greenwich-born custodian had conceded all
seven previous PL spot kicks faced for Newcastle.
The last away penalty save in the top-flight was by Tim Krul to
foil David Dunn of Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park back in February
First footing - debut results at PL "new builds":
West Ham (2017/18) won 3-2
Brighton & Hove Albion (2017/18) lost 0-1
Huddersfield Town (2017/18) lost 0-1
Cardiff City (2013/14) won 2-1
Swansea City (2011/12) won 2-0
Stoke City (2008/09) drew 1-1
Hull City (2008/09) drew 1-1
Reading (2006/07) lost 0-1
Arsenal (2006/07) drew 1-1
Wigan Athletic (2005/06) lost 0-1
Manchester City (2003/04) lost 0-1
Leicester City (2003/04) drew 1-1
Southampton (2001/02) lost 1-3
mackems (1999/00) drew 2-2
Derby County (1997/98) lost 0-1
Bolton Wanderers (1997/98) lost 0-1
smoggies (1995/96) won 2-1
(NB: earlier visits in other competitions excluded)
Following a 3-0 home victory in August, Newcastle completed their first
double of the season (although they're yet to play Manchester City at
all). Their last maximum points return in the top-flight came against Spurs
in 2015/16 - the only double secured that season.
London Stadium is
different venue to have hosted a PL
game involving Newcastle. That count will increase to
57 following our visit to
Wembley to face Spurs next year.
Magpies @ Hammers: Premier Years:
2017/18: Won 3-2 Saivet, Diame, Atsu
2015/16: Lost 0-2
2014/15: Lost 0-1
2013/14: Won 3-1 Cabaye 2, Remy
2012/13: Drew 0-0
2010/11: Won 2-1 Nolan, Carroll
2008/09: Lost 1-3 Owen
2007/08: Drew 2-2 Martins, Geremi
2006/07: Won 2-0 Duff, Martins
2005/06: Won 4-2 Owen 3, Shearer
2002/03: Drew 2-2 Bellamy, Jenas
2001/02: Lost 0-3
2000/01: Lost 0-1
1999/00: Lost 1-2 Speed
1998/99: Lost 0-2
1997/98: Won 1-0 Barnes
1996/97: Drew 0-0
1995/96: Lost 0-2
1994/95: Won 3-1 Lee, Mathie, OG
1993/94: Won 4-2 Cole, Lee 2, Mathie
PS: An OPTA statistic repeated by various outlets caught our eye;
namely that Henri Saivet was the sixteenth Newcastle player
to net direct from a free kick in the Premier League.
Try as we might, we couldn't find any listing of the previous fifteen - so the
challenge of doing so was duly accepted. To date, we've uncovered 15
of that 16: Henri Saivet, Andros Townsend, Demba Ba, Yohan Cabaye, Ryan
Taylor, Geremi, Charles N'Zogbia, Emre, Hugo Viana, Laurent Robert,
Nolberto Solano, Gary Speed, Tino Asprilla, Alan Shearer, Peter Beardsley.
Christmas jumpers! A resurgent
Newcastle leapt out
of the bottom three with a memorable and unexpected victory in their first
appearance at the London Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
It was an outcome that defied all the odds, especially after a stray pass from
midfielder Henri Saivet after just six minutes set up Marko Arnautovic to
stride forward and give the hosts the lead.
The forgotten man of the squad was played his first league game in 22 months
due to suspension of Jonjo Shelvey and fitness concerns
over both Isaac Hayden and Mikel Merino.
But back came Newcastle - and Saivet - with a superb free-kick four minutes
later, beating Adrian low at his near post to get the visitors back on terms.
With confidence flooding back, the Toon hit the woodwork twice
before the break -
Dwight Gayle crashed a shot off the bar before Matt Ritchie's superb curler came back off the inside of
West Ham themselves were guilty of missing chances at the other end though:
Elliot equal to an effort from Arthur Masuaku and Michail Antonio heading just
wide when well-placed.
But in an amazing second half, Mo Diame soon put Newcastle ahead and the away followers were in a Winter wonderland when
Elliot saved a penalty before Christian Atsu made it 3-1 to the visitors.
That 56th minute spot kick block was crucial to the victory, the custodian anticipating Andre Ayew's
poor penalty - seemingly having taken advice from the Hammer's Ghanaian team mate, Atsu.
There was a measure of justice to that outcome, TV replays confirming Ciaran Clark's challenge on Antonio was outside the area - something that
soon had the away bench remonstrating with the fourth official after they'd
viewed footage of the incident.
When Ayew did get one back following a 69th minute corner - aided by
recently-arrived substitute old boy Andy Carroll - it was easy to fear the worst for
the Magpies, who had failed to hold a lead on three occasions during their
winless nine game run.
However the visiting defence stood firm thereafter and a monumental effort saw the
last 25 minutes completed without mishap, despite a continuation of the aerial
bombardment that seemed be Plan A, B & C for a remarkably average side
overseen by David Moyes.
A bench featuring two left backs both lacking match fitness in the shape of
Paul Dummett and Massadio Haidara saw Ayoze Perez introduced, but his lack of
physical presence did nothing to settle our nerves as Newcastle struggled to
maintain possession for more than a few seconds.
Chancel Mbemba then replaced Saivet in the closing moments, taking up a
defensive midfield position that he's previously occupied internationally for
Lee Mason's full time whistle was greeted with delirium on and off the pitch as
a first victory in 10 games and two months was rightfully celebrated and
savoured, as a festive soundtrack of "All I Want for Christmas" blared
out across the rapidly-emptying stadium.
Newcastle's second away win of the season saw them climb to fifteenth in the table, above the Hammers, Crystal Palace
and Bournemouth. Jingle bells indeed.