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Opinion

Calm down dear – Was the Newcastle performance v West Ham really that bad, or indeed any worse than the 3 wins?

6 months ago
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West Ham went back to East London with all three points, only the second time since 1998 that this has been the case.

I would say that the Hammers deserved to win but I’m not convinced that Newcastle played that badly, maybe even up to a point deserving a draw, based on the stats anyway.

Newcastle had more possession (59%), more shots (16 v 7) and more corners (7 v 3).

It was only when it came to putting the ball into the net where West Ham came out on top.

There were only four shots on target for the two teams and the Hammers put away three of theirs, in reality Newcastle didn’t make Fabianski work too hard in having to save any of them.

For at least the first hour or so I would say that Newcastle were certainly the better team.

The defence went to sleep in that 11th minute and Hernandez was left unmarked six yards out, even one of our players might have finished that one.

As we are well aware this season, with the team we have got and ‘options’ on the bench, it doesn’t tend to end well if the other team score first.

In fact, Saturday was the eighth time this season where the opposition have scored first, Newcastle have lost all eight.

If Newcastle can get the first goal then it has been a different matter, winning three of those four games isn’t a bad return, Man Utd that only exception.

Give this team something to hold onto and they can generally grind it out, give the opposition first go and we are basically knackered.

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Not spending money on creative and attacking players is criminal and West Ham’s two goalscorers yesterday cost some £10m-£15m more than Newcastle’s entire team.

Ayoze Perez could have had a first half hat-trick but he isn’t good enough, never looked like scoring.

Salomon Rondon is the best Rafa could get when not allowed to buy a striker and has to look for somebody on loan who nobody else wanted to buy either, which is the reality.

I like Rondon and it would be great if we had bought him, as say a third striker in the pecking order, rather than as a main hope of goals.

Scoring nine, eight and seven in his three Premier League seasons at West Brom, tells you we have bought a striker/target man, but not a reliable/regular goalscorer.

It wasn’t his fault Newcastle didn’t get anything yesterday but his goals are going to be largely a bonus this season.

As it happened, West Ham’s most dangerous striker/player didn’t even have the best of games, (£20m+ signing) Arnautovic’ main contribution being the flick on that released Hernandez for the killer second.

Ki played well once again and kept the team ticking over but there just isn’t the quality there elsewhere in the team when it comes to trying to unlock the opposition. Kenedy is the only player Newcastle have who is capable of running past an opponent and he had a game where his influence was limited, though once again I don’t see the point in Rafa subbing him.

Even the players I don’t rate do try, they just aren’t good enough.

Then when it comes to changing things from the bench, you do think what is the point?

We ended up with a front three of a loan striker, Atsu and Joselu. Dear me.

Anderson, Hernandez and Arnautovic cost some £70m whilst that is what Rafa is left with trying to get back into the match…

I actually think Newcastle played far better than in the win over Watford and created far more chances against West Ham, Watford should have been out of sight at half-time.

Against Burnley, apart from the sitters missed by Ritchie and Joselu, did we create any other chances apart from the two goals? The difference on Monday was simply luck and that is something a lot of Newcastle fans seem to have a problem in accepting.

For me, the Bournemouth match is the only one where Newcastle have really risen to it and suggested that they could be better than we know the players to be. No surprise that this match was where Rondon had one of those games where he could do little wrong, in his fourth season of Premier League football it was only the second time he has scored two or more in a match, so clearly we aren’t going to see that happen too often.

Saturday wasn’t a disaster, just a game where our bargain buys/loans couldn’t take their chances, whilst West Ham had the quality on the pitch to do just that.

We move on to Everton on Wednesday with little/no change in the game plan and maybe hoping Muto will be fit enough to replace Perez.

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Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 0 West Ham 3

Goals:

West Ham: Hernandez 11, 63 Anderson 90+3

Possession was West Ham 41% Newcastle 59%

Total shots were  West Ham 7 Newcastle 16

Shots on target were West Ham 4 Newcastle 4

Corners were  West Ham 3 Newcastle 7

Referee: Paul Tierney

Newcastle United:

Dubravka, Yedlin, Schar, Fernandez, Manquillo, Ritchie (Atsu 54), Diame, Ki, Kenedy (Shelvey 70), Rondon, Perez (Joselu 78)

Unused Subs:

Woodman, Longstaff, Lascelles, Clark

Crowd: 51,853 (West Ham 3,200)

(Damning Alan Shearer verdict HERE)

(Newcastle 0 West Ham 3 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Saturday’s defeat HERE)

(Has Mike Ashley finally broken the Newcastle fans – Read HERE)

(Rafa Benitez makes clear to Mike Ashley “What they spend, what we spend…you can see that on the pitch” – Read HERE)
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