Rock-bottom West Ham crumble to horrible defeat to Newcastle United
PUBLISHED: 17:15 26 August 2017 | UPDATED: 17:15 26 August 2017
PA Wire/PA Images
Hammers boss under pressure after third straight loss in the Premier League
Newcastle United 3 West Ham United 0
It proved another pointless weekend for woeful West Ham United, who slumped to a third successive dismal defeat.
Newly-promoted Newcastle United came into this game winless and pointless, too, but by the time the final whistle blew they had easily dismantled Slaven Bilic’s boys with a three-goal Geordie blast,
Striker Joselu gave Rafa Benitez’s battlers an interval lead, while Ciaran Clark doubled Newcastle’s advantage with a quarter-hour remaining, before substitute Aleksandar Mitrović rounded off another miserable away-day in the dying seconds for everyone claret and blue.
Following their Carabao Cup win at Cheltenham Town on Wednesday evening, the Hammers made just five changes as Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta, Aaron Cresswell, Michail Antonio and Javier Hernández each returned to the fold in place of Sam Byram plus substitutes Adrián, Pedro Obiang, Arthur Masuaku and Diafra Sakho, who were joined on the bench by fit-again Manuel Lanzini, albeit there was no sign of ex-Magpie Andy Carroll.
While Bilić’s boys had at least managed to record their first win of the season, Benitez’s side had followed-up two Premier League reverses with a humbling home defeat against Nottingham Forest in midweek, too.
Indeed, with the Spaniard making ten changes, only Chancel Mbemba retained his place and, with the Hammers merely looking to counter-attack in the early stages, the new-look Magpies soon saw Joselu drill well wide before Ayoze Perez quickly closed down Hart, who hurriedly hacked clear.
Finding their feet, West Ham also forced a couple of corners, while the brave Zabaleta needed treatment for a gashed temple sustained in an aerial collision with Christian Atsu and, as the contest started to get edgy, Mark Noble was booked for a niggly tussle with Matt Ritchie.
Issac Hayden came closest to breaking the deadlock midway through the opening period, when he returned a half-cleared corner just inches over the crossbar from 20-yards and, with the Hammers on the back foot, André Ayew was the next casualty, emerging from a sliding tackle on Mikel Merino with a bloody nose.
The No.20 duly returned to action sporting the No.60 shirt and, perhaps trying three times as hard, he duly fired high into the crowd from the edge of the area before Cresswell sent an angled screamer inches over, too.
But on 35 minutes, the pendulum swung back towards Newcastle, when the unfortunate Rice stumbled in midfield before regaining his footing and finding himself ambushed, whereupon the ball was worked back to Merino, who sent Atsu clear with a defence-splitting pass.
Unselfishly, the galloping Ghanaian international drew the advancing Hart before squaring to Joselu, who slotted home from six yards, as Zabaleta and Collins fruitlessly slid-in, simply too late to prevent Newcastle from taking the lead.
And things got could have got yet worse before the break, when Hart escaped after drop-kicking the ball straight into Ritchie before Atsu sent a low 25-yarder into the clutches of the England ‘keeper, whose save restricted the hosts to just that one-goal advantage at the interval.
Lanzini replaced the unlucky Rice for the restart and, with the Argentinian ace still getting used to his surroundings, Hart tipped away Joselu’s teasing low cross into the six-yard box as the black & white stripes raced in for the kill.
On 53 minutes, West Ham had a great chance to level, when Rob Elliot found Cresswell’s thundering 25-yarder simply too hot to handle and, although Hernández was on the scene, he just could not get clean contact and, off-balance, the Mexican saw his follow-up cleared off the line by Clark.
Just after the hour-mark, the Hammers suffered a scare of their own, when Ritchie carved into the area before forcing Hart to beat away his shot and as Joselu prepared to convert the loose ball, the zippy Zabaleta slid in to hack clear of the bemused Spanish U-21 international.
With West Ham struggling to exert any influence, Bilić responded with a double-switch that saw Sakho and Kouyaté replace Ayew and Noble for the final 20 minutes, while Mitrović came on for Joselu.
But within seconds of their respective arrivals, the game was put out of West Ham’s reach, when Ritchie was allowed to collect a return pass and send a deep, right-wing cross towards the edge of the six-yard box, where Clark – who had earlier denied Hernández with that goal-line clearance - got behind Zabaleta and headed home via Hart’s right-hand upright.
The frustrated Sakho followed Edimilson Fernandes into the notebook, while ex-Hammer Mo Diamé made a late appearance from the bench and Mitrović was thwarted by Hart.
With four minutes remaining, however, the Serbian substitute again found himself with just the Hammers keeper to beat after Perez sent him clear and, this time, Mitrović easily beat the helpless Hart to guarantee Newcastle their first points of the campaign, while the beleaguered Bilić was left to contemplate his third blank weekend of the season.
MAGPIES: Elliot, Clark, Manquillo, Lascelles, Mbemba, Merino, Hayden (Diamé 82), Atsu, Perez, Ritchie, Joselu (Mitrović 71). Unused subs: Woodman, Murphy, Aarons, Saivet, Gamez.
HAMMERS: Hart, Zabaleta, Cresswell, Collins, Ogbonna, Rice (Lanzini h/t), Fernandes, Noble (Kouyaté 70), Antonio, Ayew (Sakho 70), Hernández. Unused subs: Adrián, Fonte, Obiang, Masuaku.
Booked: Noble (20), Fernandes (65), Sakho (79)
Referee: Neil Swarbrick.
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