Football is football, and with that said, it is somewhat unpredictable. Last time West Ham United took on Newcastle United at St. James’ Park, West Ham slumped to a 2-1 defeat in which Nikica Jelavic scored West Ham’s only goal. This was a pill we could swallow with ease. This time, however, things are somewhat different.
Here are Five Things We Learned from Newcastle United’s 3-0 win over the Irons.
5: Good Starting XI from Slaven Bilic
On paper, this looks to be a decent Starting XI. It’s certainly strong, but in the case of Newcastle United away at St. James’ Park, it wasn’t enough.
Manuel Lanzini was substituted on in place of Declan Rice, however our Argentinian Midfielder couldn’t do a lot in this match.
Chicharito’s yellow card early on in the match meant he was walking on eggshells for the duration of the match, but he was more of an attacking midfielder throughout this match, until the end of the game.
4: Newcastle were stronger once they scored their first.
Newcastle did look strong from the beginning, however it did take quite a while for them to gather some real momentum. Joselu’s goal in the 36th minute for the hosts put them up 1-0, however it was from this point on when they looked their best. Assisted by Christian Atsu, Joselu’s shot came in off the right foot from the center of the box, straight down the middle of goal.
This should’ve been an easy save for Hart, but evidently, it wasn’t.
Ciaran Clark’s goal for Newcastle in the 72nd minute was a little trickier to save as it was a header, straight to the bottom right corner, but the build-up play for that goal was excellent.
Substitute Alexandar Mitrovic also had a good game as he put the final nail in the coffin for West Ham by scoring from the center of the box straight down the middle of the box, assisted brilliantly by Ayoze Perez’s through ball.
3: 10 goals conceded: Is it time for a change in starting keeper?
Here’s a fun little stat for you to think about. Joe Hart has made 3 Premier League appearances for West Ham, conceding 10 goals already. Adrian made one appearance this season in the mid-week Carabao Cup fixture against Cheltenham Town, letting no goals through, keeping a clean sheet.
To some, this is just Joe Hart cutting his teeth in the Premier League again, however the general consensus is Hart needs to be dropped in favour of Adrian. Personally, I tend to agree - Hart isn’t ready, and doesn’t deserve the starting keeper’s position in the Club at the moment.
Perhaps in time, Hart will return to this position, but allowing 10 goals in three games isn’t the best way to announce your arrival back in the Premier League.
2: Newcastle United deserved the three points.
Full credit does go to Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez as he proved to be the better manager on the day. From the dugout, he manipulated the game to his advantage, ordering different shapes and techniques to be employed, however his time on Tyneside has been a tough road so far this season.
With the off-pitch distractions, Newcastle needed a big morale boost, and it came in full force as the Magpies walked all over the Irons throughout the end of the first half, and most of the second as well.
Newcastle United are set to face West Ham United again on December 23 at the London Stadium, with kick off scheduled for 3pm.
1: Is time running out for Slaven Bilic as West Ham boss?
Something isn’t working at the moment, and the backlash towards Slaven Bilic following this game is rough to an extent. Yes, he has made some tough decisions, leaving key players on the bench and not making the most of his opportunities to bring the team in line.
However the stats don’t lie. His only saving grace, at the moment, is the 2-0 win away at Cheltenham Town in the Cup. Other than that, this season has gone the polar opposite to what we’d all expected. What is he doing wrong? Is time really starting to tick for the Gaffer?
Potentially, yes. Three League defeats in a row and he has made it significantly tougher for himself to pull the club out from the relegation spot. He’ll be looking at the International Break and will use the time to sit down with his coaching team, discuss what can be done, then begin implementing changes in training.
He’ll need all the luck he can get as West Ham prepare to host Huddersfield Town at the London Stadium in two weeks time. Fingers crossed it all works out well.