The 2-1 defeat at St James Park has been hard to take over the last few days. West Ham fans were left wondering why a team floundering at the bottom of the Premier League table managed to rather comfortably defeat a West Ham side that should of been full of confidence after a nine match unbeaten run and the midweek turnaround against Bournemouth.
The one thing that this shows is the improvement of our club this season. Nine games unbeaten, we lose one and suddenly it seems like the end of the world. We now expect to win the majority of games we play in, or certainly not to lose them.
St James Park is a tough place to go to at the best of times. Newcastle have been struggling, but got a late equalizer against Manchester United midweek, have been slowly picking up form and made a £12 million signing in Jonjo Shelvey who bolstered their midfield dramatically. They showed real desire from the start against us, and carried this throughout the game. They scored early and were eyeing up a second straight away, then could have ended up scoring four or five. It was the kind of performance from Newcastle that has typified West Ham this season. Desire and great attitude in abundance, plus some real quality in the final third.
Our performance lacked a lot of the things that we have shown this season, especially in recent games. Jelavic done well to grab his equalizer and it was a great time to score, but after that West Ham didn’t do enough. Newcastle were still the ones pressing for their third goal, and a couple of chances aside, we were deserved losers in the end.
There are still positives for us to take to the Manchester City game at the weekend. Adrian made some fantastic saves, keeping us in the game at times. Payet didn’t have his greatest of games, mainly because he was left playing wide instead of through the middle where he thrives. It would be surprising if this didn’t open Bilic’s eyes that Payet needs to play in his favoured position. Payet still created 3 chances against Newcastle and had some top class moments, but he didn’t get enough of the ball in the right areas to really hurt Newcastle.
Moses came on, giving us another option for the City game. Obiang carried on his recent good form, showing what he can bring to this team. It is likely Reid may also be back at the weekend, which can only be a positive thing. The goals we conceded weren’t particularly sloppy, the second goal was great football and difficult to do anything about. The first goal could have been stopped but was a great strike from Ayoze Perez. The goals weren’t the most disappointing aspect, but the reaction to them wasn’t what we have come to expect from Slaven Bilic’s side.
In terms of the team, we have lost one game in ten so a little perspective is important, there is no doubt that we can get back to winning ways against City if we show the desire and team spirit that has been second nature to West Ham this season. The Newcastle game should now be forgotten about, every team has good and bad days and there hasn’t been many bad days for West Ham United this season.