It may not have been a spectacular performance, but it was a really solid team win Saturday for West Ham United, as they completed the season sweep over Newcastle 2-0 at the London Stadium.
Goals from Declan Rice and Mark Noble in the first half was all Manuel Pellegrini’s men needed to get all three points and start March on the right note. It was the type of consolidating result after an encouraging, diligent defeat at mighty Manchester City on Wednesday.
Rice’s opener came in the sixth minute with the Hammers already establishing control in the opening moments of the game. The newly made England dedicated player took advantage of winning his matchup with Magpies centerback Fabian Schar, when he headed home Robert Snodgrass’ fine corner to give West Ham a lead they would not relinquish.
Energetic throughout was not only Rice, but his holding midfield partner Mark Noble. The captain would get his team’s second after Javier Hernandez was taken down in the box by Florian LeJune in the 41st minute. Noble would add another spot kick goal just a minute later.
From them on, it was once again another terrific defensive performance by Pellegrini’s side, with the always impressive talent that is Issa Diop showcasing his top abilities once more by preventing a Newcastle goal. The uber-talented French center halves denied Schar a shot at Lukasz Fabianski after a Hammers clearance of a first half stoppage time corner was placed back in by Newcastle.
Although there will be questions on which forward of the three, Andy Carroll, Marko Arnautovic or Hernandez will start in their next game, it’s been a solid encouraging week to start the antepenultimate month of the season.
The Hammers will hope to continue those steady vibes, and they have a real opportunity to do so against two really struggling sides. A trip up north to Cardiff City is next on Saturday, followed by a home matchup against all but doomed Huddersfield the following week.