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Season 2019-20
West Ham United (a)
Premier League


Saturday 2nd November 2019, 3.00pm

 London Stadium

Conditions: Unexpectedly prolific
Programme: £3.50 (available as an online download for £1.99)

West Ham


2 - 3




16 mins Miguel Almiron was clipped in full flight on the right hand edge of the box by Issa Diop, who inexplicably protested his innocence as he was cautioned. Jonjo Shelvey's free-kick to the back post was nodded back by Joelinton and headed in by Ciaran Clark, who out-jumped Aaron Cresswell. 1-0

22 mins Almiron won a corner which was taken short by Shelvey to Saint Maximin on the left touchine. He laid it off to Jetro Willems, whose long ball into the box was nodded over Jimenez by Federico Fernandez into the unguarded goal at the away end. 2-0

Half time: Hammers 0 Magpies 2

51 mins Isaac Hayden was knocked over in a central area by Robert Snodgress and Jonjo Shelvey bent in a free-kick from 30 yards before running the length of the pitch to reprise his "goggles" celebration in front of the Toon fans.

Shelvey's free kick conversion came at the same end of the stadium as Henri Saivet's had in 2017 and like that effort look a trajectory that made it bounce first time on the goal line and go in.

This goal inspired yet more disgruntled home followers to vacate their seats, although they exited via conventional means, rather than taking shortcuts across the pitch to the Director's Box...

mins A corner from Robert Snodgrass reached the back post via touches from Issa Diop and Martin Dubravka where the unmarked Fabian Balbuena kneed the ball in. 3-1

mins A pass was pulled back from the West Ham left by Manuel Lanzini for Robert Snodgrass to place a low volley beyond Dubravka's left hand and into the bottom corner of his net. 3-2

Full time: Hammers 2 Magpies 3

Groovy 1970s retro typeface on scoreboard

We Said



Steve Bruce said:

"It should have been six! 

"It wouldn’t have been unjust. We had some wonderful opportunities that we didn’t take, and you wonder if it’s going to come back to bite you. It nearly did.

"Overall, we’ve got to be a bit more clinical. The front three were a threat but you’ve got to give them time - they will only get better.

"In a different way, we were fantastic at Tottenham and terrific when we beat Man United. I was delighted, away from home, to take West Ham on. That was good to see.

”Fair play to my coaches who worked on a set piece routine that, when it gets delivered like it did, you have to say well done to them. With all the criticism they’ve had, I was delighted the plan came off.

If we are going to be ultra-critical we gave away a bad first goal, but on the counter-attack we were a threat.

"They are all young lads at the top of the pitch and they need time to settle in and bed in.

"We've paid a lot of money for them and those price tags bear on them. It's a glimpse of what we can do and I was delighted with some of our forward play.

"I’ve said before it takes time, for the lads who’ve come into the team, it’s not easy to adapt. It was only Allan’s fourth game and he, Almiron and Joe were terrific in their work.

"If they can play like that and we get the other side right, we’ll be okay. We were a threat and we caused them all sorts of problems.

"If I’m being critical, we missed too many opportunities. They don’t come around that often. Almiron was terrific. When he scores, which he will do, we’ll see an even better player.

"It could have been slightly better and a little more easier, the first half in particular was the best we've played since I've been at the club.

"We looked rock solid and on the counter we looked very dangerous, but if we're going to be ultra critical we have to take the chances we got and if we had taken them we would have got four or five.

“When I look back, it could and should have been four or five, that would have been a true reflection with the chances we had. Then at the end you think, ‘Is it going to bite you?’ We tried hard to make it bite us, but I think that would have been unjust. That’s what we’ve been after.

"I'm going to try and enjoy it and hopefully in time, with results, they (the away fans) will get behind me as much as they did Rafa (Benitez): that would be nice."

On Saint-Maximin:

"He should have scored but you can see he is a handful and will get people off their backsides.

"He's that little bit of different. He is exciting and quick and if he can learn to be more clinical we will have a player on our hands."

On Shelvey:

"I brought him in because of his ability to find a pass and also from set pieces."

They Said

Manuel Pellegrini said:

"It is really difficult to explain why we played the way we did in the first 45 minutes.

"The last two games we played at home we started by pressing from the beginning, playing in the opposite half. I do not understand why we played so, so bad.

"In some games before we lost here, Crystal Palace was two set-pieces, today also was two set-pieces.

"They’re important points. In the second-half we reacted a little bit more but that’s not enough. You need
(to play well for) 95 minutes in the Premier League to win.

We start the season well and then we lose to Oxford, after that we start losing games so we need to know why. The second half, we improved a little bit but I repeat you cannot play 45 minutes in a game. I need to find the reason to understand why we start the game in that way.

"The other two games that we played here at home we had the possession from the beginning, we went in front, we create chances and maybe the score depends on a lot of things.

"Today, for me, we cannot believe that the score was 3-2. Newcastle had a couple of chances first half that Roberto saved but we need to have a good meeting to review what we are doing.

"You must try to recover after that. We’ve been in worse positions than now but we need a strong reaction. We can’t play like we did against Everton. I hope the squad understands.”



After 11 games United have 12 points - twice their tally of 6 points after the same number of games last season but two less than the 14 they'd gained at this stage of the 2017/18 campaign. Our last two relegation seasons saw us with 7 points (2015/16) and 12 points (2008/09).

Newcastle have now been successful nine times away to West Ham in Premier League games. That's a total second only to Spurs with ten wins in our visits to them since 1993. The next most successful trip is Aston Villa, with eight Newcastle victories there during the PL era. 

Seven of those nine wins over the Hammers were at their former Boleyn Ground home; today's was our second at the London Stadium following another 3-2 success back in December 2017. 

Three members of our starting line-up from that day were in the first XI here today: Jamaal Lascelles, Ciaran Clark and DeAndre Yedlin. Christian Atsu also featured in both games. And a certain Andy Carroll featured as a substitute in both games; for them in 2017 and us today. 

United scored more than a single goal in a game for the first time this season - and the first time since their 4-0 victory at Fulham back in May.

Federico Fernandez registered his first goal for the club, becoming the 146th player to have done so in the Premier League, from 236 who have played.
His last career goal was for Swansea City away at Leicester City in the PL back in February 2018.

Fernandez became the fifth Argentinean to net for us in the Premier League, following on from Daniel Cordone, Christian Bassedas, Jonas Gutierrez and Fabricio Coloccini.

Jonjo Shelvey
reached double figures in a Magpies shirt with his fourth PL strike - added to his five in the Championship and one in the FA Cup. Shelvey's free kick conversion against West Ham was the 31st time that he's shot from a set piece for us in the PL - and the first time he's scored.
By our reckoning this was the second time that he's netted direct from a free kick, following on from his debut strike for United at home to Brighton in the Championship back in 2016.

Ciaran Clark
scored his ninth Newcastle goal - and the sixth in the PL (the other three were all in the Championship). His last came away Chelsea in January. All nine goals have been headers.

DeAndre Yedlin
completed a century of league and cup appearances for United (88 starts).

The Hammers have failed to win any of their last five PL games, while Manuel Pellegrini finished on the losing side to Newcastle in a League game for the first time in his career (NB: that stat was mangled by some as being in any game; ignoring our League Cup win at Manchester City in 2014).

United conceded a goal in the 73rd minute for the third game in a row.

As was the case last season at Leicester City, United wore home shirts and white socks. And won.

Magpies @ Hammers - PL era:

2019/20: Won 3-2 Clark, Fernandez, Shelvey
2018/19: Lost 0-2
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

This was a second meeting with West Ham this season, following on from a 1-0 friendly victory in Shanghai back in July, just after Steve Bruce was confirmed as Head Coach.

Five of the starting line-up in China were in today's XI: messrs Dubravka, Lascelles, Clark, Hayden and Shelvey.



London, aye!

Typical Newcastle.

Having taken seven and half hours to score three times away from home this season, they managed to double that tally in just 51 minutes here. And just as stereotypically, a downturn in the latter stages somehow threatened to reward West Ham's thoroughly dreadful display with a point. 

After ten games during which they laboured to produce any coherent attacking play, Steve Bruce's side suddenly discovered some fluency in the final third of the field at the eleventh time of asking.

Rather than rotating his forward line though, the Head Coach happened upon a winning combination comprising of Joelinton, Miguel Almiron and Alain Saint-Maximin - even if none of them scored.

Having despaired at the lack of assistance given to our Brazilian number 9 thus far, it was vastly encouraging to see him seek the ball out and hold it up with colleagues near enough to be brought into play - and in the case of Miggy and Maximin, prepared to push forward beyond Joelinton.

Their collective contribution was allied to a criminally inept showing from the hosts reminiscent of ourselves at Leicester, but to focus on the shortcomings of Manuel Pellegrini's side underplays the quality of our approach work - and the sheer unexpectedness of it.  

Key to our success was the "box clever" tactic of getting the ball near the opposition area and improving our delivery into it; hardly rocket science but uncharted territory so far this season.
Newcastle's most recent
goal stemming from a set piece had come at Fulham in May, but somehow we conjured up three today, two of them headers from defenders, the other a free kick that the home goalkeeper won't look back on fondly, but for once was actually on target.

Nine of the starting lineup held at home by Wolves last week kept their places: the Longstaff brothers replaced by Jonjo Shelvey and Isaac Hayden as Dwight Gayle remained benched. That partially enforced alteration in midfield (with Sean Longstaff suspended) would be prove to be key, with Hayden's effort allowing former West Ham junior Shelvey to adopt a "quarter back" role. 

Shelvey's free kick on 16 minutes pierced the Thames barrier for the first time; Joelinton nodding it back across goal for Ciaran Clark to head in. Federico Fernandez then repeated the feat in the aftermath of Shelvey's short corner before the midfielder made it 3-0 with a 30 yard free kick.  

Scoring from open play proved to be rather trickier than via set pieces; Saint-Maximin denied three times in the first half, Shelvey hitting the crossbar and Almiron spurning two more chances to break his duck. A close call confirmed by VAR also saw DeAndre Yedlin's close range effort disallowed.

That clutch of failures to score preventing this from being an absolute rout - at least until we slackened off and allowed West Ham back into the game. It does though underline that today was just one small staging post in the road to respectability - and a welcome tonic for the troops.

A reaction did come from the home side, for whom Fabien Balbuena had been denied a goal by the altertness of Martin Dubravka just before the interval when we led 2-0. Balbuena it was who did get one back with 17 minutes to play, before Robert Snodgrass volleyed in just as added time began.

A nervous final few minutes ensued before referee Stuart Attwell finally blew in the seventh minute of added time, but there were enough clear and experienced headers in the visiting ranks to break up play and disrupt the momentum that the Hammers were threatening to build up.

The three points took United up to 15th in the table, just a point behind today's opponents and four points clear of 18th-placed Southampton.

Post-match, Bruce was described as "prickly" in his press conference, interpreted as anger that his quotes earlier in the week about sitting on the loo reading the paper had been used prominently in match previews, along with the inevitable "bog standard", "busted flush" and "potty" quips.

We did wonder though whether the real reason for his fettle was the lack of a golf buggy to ferry him the ludicrous distance from bench to technical area on the occasion of his first visit here....

Having lamented comparisons to his predecessor for much of his time in Toon thus far, the Head Coach did recover enough to needlessly mention Rafa on TV. He's gone, you're here, just leave it at that eh? Few folks actually want you to fail, but sniping like that won't help you succeed. 

Reports of our demise proved to be slightly premature then and for the second successive season, a November revival has begun - stimulated by welcome and overdue signs of life in the forward line. 

Last season it was Salomon Rondon belatedly getting into shape and scoring the goals to defeat Bournemouth on Tyneside; a repeat of that by any of the front trio against the Cherries this coming Saturday would be opportune - if only to confirm that today wasn't just some sort of mirage.

PS: One of the inevitable consequences of a lifetime spent watching this lot and scribbling about them are those games when you think you’ve seen it all before. Today was one such occasion.

At one point, apparently rivaling our infamous 1-8 loss to the Hammers in 1986, the controls of today’s Toon time machine ended up being set to Shepherd's Bush some two years earlier.

That occasion saw United take an improbable 4-0 half time lead, but end up hanging on to scrape a point from a 5-5 draw with QPR. Thankfully today though we avoided that level of implosion. 

Post-match analysis (on licenced premises) cast Saint-Maximin in the unplayable Chris Waddle role (although the sausage stuffer put away all three of his chances that day). Further contemplation (pints) then brought the conclusion that the Frenchman’s lack of finishing made him more Lomana LuaLua and less Hatem Ben Arfa or Tino Asprilla. And you wonder why we don't do podcasts...

Whether Magpies boss Jackie Charlton felt the need to reference popular predecessor Arthur Cox in his post-match press conference at Loftus Road isn't recorded.


Page last updated 30 November, 2019