Match Report by @WestHamAmerican
West Ham returned to winning today with a 2-0 victory over Newcastle at the London Stadium. First half goals from Declan Rice and Mark Noble were the margin as the Hammers held the visiting Geordies off the score sheet. It was a strong day for the home supporters that featured honoring Billy Bonds by renaming the East stands after the club legend.
In the opening half West Ham kept attacking pressure on Newcastle and maintained a 65-35 advantage in possession for the first 45 minutes. Declan Rice’s goal came early as a Robert Snodgrass cornerkick fell to Rice and he was able to head it away from Martin Dubravka. The set piece goal was a great start and kept the London Stadium crowd into the match.
Late in the half Javier Hernandez was breaking past Newcastle’s back line when Florian Lejeune had a sloppy challenge on the Mexican international. Chris Kavanagh awarded the penalty kick and Mark Noble scored his 22nd career goal from the spot in Premier League play, finding the top left corner of the net.
During the opening half Aaron Cresswell took hard contact. He had already had some lingering training injuries, and he was subbed off for Arthur Masuaku midway through the first half.
The second half was a bit more pedestrian for West Ham, as they held the Magpies to only two shots on target, but more importantly they maintained a clean sheet at home. Of note during the final half, Manuel Lanzini did play the entire match. His first start and full match since his injury leading up to last summer’s World Cup. Also of note, Marko Arnautovic returned to action midway through the second half, after missing the Manchester City match with a virus.
With the victory West Ham is in ninth position with some winnable matches on the horizon. This season is shaping up to be a battle for “best of the rest” outside the top six. Assuming one of the Manchester teams wins the FA Cup then the seventh place club will earn European football next season. While Watford and Wolves one and four points ahead, there are chances for West Ham to sneak into that final spot before the end of the season. Despite the inconsistencies this season, they are still managing to give the fans hope for the Europa League. If the defense continues to play at a high level, then that isn’t an unrealistic goal.
West Ham: Fabianski, Diop, Fredericks, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Noble, Rice, Snodgrass, Lanzini, Anderson, Hernandez,
Subs: Adrian, Masuaku (34’), Obiang (79’), Nasri, Antonio, Arnautovic (70’), Lucas
Newcastle: Dubravka, Manquillo, Schar, Lascelles, Lejeune, Ritchie, Perez, Hayden, Longstaff, Almiron
Subs: Darlow, Dummett (65’), Yedlin, Ki, Diame (45’), Atsu (79’), Muto