West Ham show their class with impressive win at Newcastle
PUBLISHED: 12:30 03 December 2018 | UPDATED: 12:32 03 December 2018
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Hammers striker Javier Hernandez shows the finishing skills we had forgotten
On another day this match might have gone horribly wrong.
Newcastle, off the back of three wins on the trot, looked confident, attacked with pace and gusto and at times West Ham were clinging on grimly.
But cling on they did and at the other end, Newcastle forgot the art of defence and West Ham’s four-pronged attack took full advantage.to win at a canter.
For all Newcastle’s attacking endeavour, West Ham defended superbly. Fabian Balbuena, despite seemingly playing with a hamstring injury, was immense with Issa Diop not far behind him.
Pablo Zabaleta survived a worrying first five minutes to play his part, while Aaron Cresswell showed Arthur Masuaku how to defend after his Manchester City nightmare.
Declan Rice was immense in the middle of the park, Mark Noble’s leadership was vital, while up front Robert Snodgrass returned from suspension with a superb display on the wing.
West Ham created more chances than they have in any game all season.
The last pass was missing for much of it as Marko Arnautovic and Felipe Anderson ran amok, but when you have a fox in the box like Javier Hernandez then you always have a chance of goals, and they came.
Manager Manuel Pellegrini sprung another surprise in selection just as he had against the champions last week.
Michail Antonio, last week’s best player, was not even on the bench though he had travelled, Grady Diangana was also rested.
And who knew that Hernandez would not only come in, but be the star?
Perhaps Pellegrini knew, he praised the team for a ‘complete performance’.
“I am satisfied because it was a complete performance both in defending and attacking,” said the boss.
“In defending, I think we changed fro the bad game we had against Manchester City and didn’t make one mistake.
“In attacking, scoring three goals in a game is not easy, especially against Newcastle, who are one of the better defensive teams in the league.”
He was not quite right. Newcastle certainly had their chances and Rafa Benitez pointed out their 16 shots after the game.
But in truth, Lukasz Fabianski had to make regulation saves and the more clinical team was West Ham.
While ‘Arnie’ sulked at times, Hernandez just got on with things, and while many have been wishing his departure from the club, he showed just what he can do.
“I enjoyed it, of course, because when you’re a manager or a player, in the first five or 10 minutes you know how you’re going to play,” said the manager.
“You cannot play exactly the same away as you do at home, but we want to have that trust and confidence that we can go away and win and I think that one of the best things we did on Saturday was that, from the first minute, we tried to score and to win the game.”
They certainly did that. At times the match was so open it looked like the 85th minute all the way through.
The Hammers rode their luck at times and could have paid for their wastefulness, but in the end this was a fine display, three good goals and a clean sheet.
And for the noisy, loyal West Ham fans in the top corner of the stadium, it was well worth the journey in the rain to see this display.