A big big day in London…
Rafa would ring that changes for this one, particularly in midfield with Henri Saivet getting a surprise start, his first in the league for two season, alongside Mo Diame. At the back there would also be a place for Clark with Lejeune, just like Merino and Hayden, not even making the bench.
STARTING XI: Elliot, Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Manquillo, Ritchie, Saivet (Mbemba, 84), Diame, Atsu (Murphy, 91), Gayle (Perez, 76), Joselu
Things could barely have started much worse for the visitors, when with almost no pressure on him, Saivet would play a ball across his back line that was intercepted by Marko Arnautovic virtually on the half way line allowing the Hammers player to break free and fire past Rob Elliot in the Newcastle goal. 1-0 down then after just 6 minutes.
You’d think that would do for any confidence this side, and particular the returning Saivet would had before kick off.
To the contrary.
With just three minutes on the clock since going one behind Newcastle would get a free kick fully 30 yards from goal. Up would step none other than the would be villain for Newcastle, Henri Saivet to score with a screamer, over the wall in beating Adrian at the foot of his right post.
Give it another 8 minutes and Newcastle could, and probably should, have been ahead. Great link up play from Yedlin and Ritchie on the right would end up with a centre from the USA International only to see Gayle smash the ball against the cross bar and back into play when it seemed easier to score.
Newcastle were in their regular pattern now, letting West Ham have some of the ball but breaking at pace when they could, particularly down the right with Yedlin influential.
And whilst there would be some half chances for West Ham players the next big chance would fall to Newcastle again. This time Ritchie cutting in from the right onto his favoured left foot and crashing his curling effort of the West Ham post. The rebound would fall to Diame who perhaps could have done better than totally fluffing his lines!!
1-1 at the break then.
Newcastle could have been behind when another Arnautovic effort would keep just wide with Elliot well beaten.
Then the first of a number of turning point!
Atsu with some great work on the left, his run including a nutmeg on ex City defender Zabaleta, lead to him putting him the ball on a plate for Mo Diame who’s cracking effort would find the roof of the net. 2-1 Newcastle United.
On 56 minutes the linesman informs the referee that a foul on Antonio was inside the box, when replays clearly show contact was outside the box. Justice then when the resultant penally was saved by Elliot and smuggled behind to safely. Another huge moment.
The introduction of Carroll on the hour gave the Newcastle defence something else
Moments after his introduction, West Ham would throw men forward for a corner in search again for a leveller. The clearance however would be moved upfield quickly and when Zabaleta hesitated in midfield the break was on. Incisively the ball would end at the feet of Joselu who’s cut back to Astu giving the Ghanian a tap in on 61 minutes.
3-1 Newcastle United. Is today the day?!
Things are never that easy.
Another corner to West Ham and this time the corner does find Carroll who’s header would be palmed away by Elliot but only into the path of Ayew who would make up for the missed penalty by slotting home to make it 2-3.
A massive rearguard effort from Rafa’s men though would see them see out the game for a precious 3 points and a win that would see the Magpies move back out of the bottom 3.