Date: Saturday 2nd November 2019, 3.00pm
Venue: London Stadium
Conditions: Unexpectedly prolific
£3.50 (available as an online download for £1.99)
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.
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.
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
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.
Full time: Hammers 2 Magpies 3
Groovy 1970s retro typeface on scoreboard
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
"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
"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
"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."
"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."
"I brought him in because of his ability to find a pass and also from
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
Jonjo Shelvey reached double figure 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
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.
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,
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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