The Premier League's ninety-two remaining games, spread across nine rounds of games are set to play out beginning June 17th 2020, with Project Restart's health and safety conditions meaning the remaining games of the season will be played out behind closed doors. We will be providing match reports from these behind closed doors competitive encounters as the league campaign nears its end-game. All aboard.
Match Report (GW33): Newcastle 2-2 West Ham
Travelling up to up north in their fight against relegation, West Ham didn't waste time in getting ahead when Jarrod Bowen's back-post cross was controlled well by Michail Antonio who then rifled a close-range effort into the roof of Martin Dubravka's net for an early lead.
The goal came completely out of the blue and put Newcastle on notice, with the home team responding well until Newcastle found the likely equaliser based on the run of play. Emil Krafth charged down the right and collected a through ball from the lively Allan Saint-Maximin, with Krafth delivering a first-time low-cross which was clinically turned home by Miguel Almiron for his 4th goal of the season and the first time the midfielder has scored in back-to-back games for the club.
The rest of the first-half dragged out without incident with both teams happy to probe without committing a pile of bodies forward in attack.
A second-half of back and forth probing didn't factor in any real goal-scoring chances until the 65th minute dealt Newcastle another hammer blow when Declan Rice rose highest to a corner, hitting the top of the bar with his headed effort, with Tomas Soucek smashing home the rebound inside the six-yard area.
Just as David Moyes had celebrated a big goal for the Hammers, was the Scot left absolutely fuming when Newcastle hit back with an immediate equaliser when Krafth galloped down the right-channel again. The right back ed Joelinton who then found Almiron. The tricky Paraguayan then turned and found Shelvey and played a one-two with Dwight Gayle in the box before Shelvey calmly slotted the ball into the net to level the scores at 2-2 - there were a question of offside though you see Fornals in the left-back area playing Gayle on by a country mile.
West Ham ended the game with serious intent as Soucek tested Martin Dubravka with a good headed effort before substitute, Andriy Yarmolenko forced a good save from Dubravka as the Ukraine international struck well from range. Having led twice in the game, third time wasn't the charm for a West Ham side who are moving in the right direction up the table.
Man of the Match: Tomas Soucek (WHU)
Of a few contenders, we debated a couple of the goal-scorers in Almiron and Antonio, though ultimately we felt that West Ham had the lion share of the game and were the ones who were always likely to win the game. Declan Rice had a good game in midfield with Tomas Soucek, with the midfielder in the first place at the right time to put into the right net this weekend. Of the pair, Soucek was the one that ventured forward to aid Antonio and was largely effective in helping his side create 17 chances - a rarity for West Ham away from home.
NEW 2-2 WHU - Insight and Analysis:
Ask any Newcastle fan, myself included if we were surprised by today's game having gone down twice, the most you'll get is a shrug on the shoulders. It wasn't a vintage performance for my beloved Magpies, rather we laboured for large chunks of the game and struggled to enforce our will against West Ham much like we have done to Sheffield United and Bournemouth in recent games.
Without having and bias involved here, West Ham shaded the encounter and were unlucky not to win - if they didn't switch off after going ahead, they would have had a comfortable away win this afternoon. Saint-Maximin had moments but wasn't at his best, whilst Joelinton was ineffective on the wings yet again. Jamaal Lascelles, usually so good for us, will have the fingers pointed at him for both goals, somewhat, whilst the only players that came out with glowing reviews are Emil Krafth and Miguel Almiron - Krafth in particular caused problems all afternoon, whilst Almiron is finally doing what made him such a threat in MLS by getting into the penalty area and supporting the central forward.
On Almiron, I hope that the impending takeover happens so we don't lose him to Atletico Madrid or a 'bigger' side in England. He's a supreme talent that alongside Sant-Maximin might be good enough to make the cut when the Saudi's billions roll into the city.
Rounding off on West Ham, David Moyes has home games against Norwich and Aston Villa to look forward too and based on the last couple of games, The Hammers will have too much firepower to go down, especially with Bournemouth, Watford and Aston Villa both struggling beneath them. If West Ham did see the drop, it would be open season on their top talents.
Venue: St. James' Park
Manager: Steve Bruce
GK: M. Dubravka
DEF: E. Krafth
DEF: J. Lascelles
DEF: F. Fernández
DEF: J. Manquillo
MID: J. Shelvey
MID: I. Hayden (Bentaleb 43')
MID: A. Saint-Maximin (Lazaro 67')
MID: M. Almirón
MID: Joelinton (Carroll 81')
FOR: D. Gayle (Ritchie 70')
Schär, Carroll, Ritchie, Yedlin, Lazaro, Darlow, Rose, Bentaleb, M. Longstaff
West Ham United:
Manager: David Moyes
GK: L. Fabianski
DEF: R. Fredericks
DEF: I. Diop
DEF: A. Ogbonna
DEF: A. Cresswell
MID: T. Soucek
MID: D. Rice
MID: J. Bowen
MID: P. Fornals (Yarmolenko 75')
MID: M. Lanzini (Noble 57')
FOR: M. Antonio
Balbuena, Yarmolenko, Noble, Wilshere, Masuaku, Ajeti, Costa Silva, Randolph, Johnson
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