A frustrating summer followed by two defeats left Rafael Benitez with plenty to think about but Newcastle United very well knew that they had to respond when West Ham United visited the north east of England and there was no scope for excuses as the St.James’ Park looked on.
The home side responded and responded with flying colours as they superbly shrugged off the team from London with a dominant performance. Goals from Joselu, Clark and Mitrovic put the tie beyond any doubt as Bilic’s side succumbed to three defeats in a row. Here’s how the Magpies have been rated after a morale-boosting win :-
GK : Robert Elliot – 7.5/10
Sharp and decisive in his approach and distribution was really good today. Saved two good shots from both Cresswell and Hernandez to keep West Ham at bay. A clean-sheet is an added bonus.
RB: Javier Manquillo – 5.5/10
Not much noticeable and didn’t do much against Antonio when the winger switched from right to left. Needs to step up.
CB : Ciaran Clark – 8/10
Absolutely superb today. His positioning was top notch and a clearance from very near the line prevented a huge goal. Got himself into a sweet position to convert Ritchie’s cross for Newcastle’s second. He’s going to be integral at the back and today’s display should provide the motivation for him to keep performing consistently.
CB: Jamaal Lascelles – 7/10
Tidy and disciplined. Didn’t at all feel like he was vulnerable all game.
LB: Chancel Mbemba – 7.5/10
Fared fantastically at left back even though Antonio got the better of him at times. His tackles were very timed and so were his advances forward. Solid!
CM: Isaac Hayden – 6.5/10
Did well against Noble and Fernandes and didn’t drop his work-rate all game. Good display.
CM: Mikel Merino – 7/10
His no-nonsense approach in the midfield provided so much for Newcastle. Won several duels and a few decent aerial battles.
RM : Matt Ritchie – 9/10
Simply a magnificent performance! His ball control and tireless work-rate was lovely to watch. Provided a glorious assist for Clark’s goal and he didn’t look like losing a dribbling battle all afternoon. Man of the match!
CAM: Ayoze Perez – 7/10
Always tried to trouble West Ham and gave it his all. Should improve on his first touch and end product otherwise it was a nice show.
LM: Christian Atsu – 7/10
Made Zabaleta work really hard and his pace adds another dimension to Newcastle’s attack. Selflessly made a goal for Joselu that churned the entire team’s confidence.
ST: Joselu – 6.5/10
Got himself a good goal and that should play a positive role in his confidence but he really needs to work on controlling the ball and managing his touches. Lots of scope for improvement but lots of positives as well.
ST : Aleksander Mitrovic – 7.5/10
Made an instant impact getting himself in the thick of Newcastle’s attack. Missed a header and a clear cut-chance after Hart made a good save but he made up for it by finishing the next chance that came along. Great substitution.
CM : Mohamed Diame – 6/10
He was brought along just to calm things down in the centre and add his strength to it. Couldn’t do much as it was well past 80 minutes when he came on.
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