Newcastle 0-0 West Ham
Not a huge deal to report when it comes to this particular match. It was a drab and dull affair from the first minute. The abysmal weather summed up the game. The first closest Newcastle came in the first-half to Jussi Jaaskelainen’s goal was through West Ham centre-back Winston Reid heavy back pass which sent the Finnish goalkeeper wrong footed as the ball trickled wide of the post.
Newcastle may have had plenty of shots in the first 45 minutes but the Hammers strong and resolute defensive shape meant that they were almost all from outside of the box. Hatem Ben Arfa was becoming more and more frustrated with the defensive strength of the back four and blazed numerous strikes over the crossbar and into the stands. James Collins made block after block to deny the toon the chance to break into the box and defensive partner Winston Reid was cleared up after the big Welshman. Newcastle’s player’s frustrations showed when Papiss Cisse flicked out a leg at James Collins.
Winston Reid could have had two goals. The first came from a free-kick launched into the box by Collins only for Reid to put the ball over from 6 yards-out. He would soon get another opportunity when the ball was once again pumped long into the box but the New Zealand international couldn’t quite reach far enough to make contact with the ball.
Modibo Maiga won the vast majority of his headers, the most in the league in fact, however he was playing with his back to goal for almost the entire match and only had one headed attempt at goal throughout the whole match; not something which we would expect considering the number of crosses which our wingers and full backs put into the box.
Talking of headed attempts at goal, Kevin Nolan should be entirely ashamed of his squandered header 7 yards out after Stewart Downing crossed superbly into box. Nolan completely missed timed the header and wasted a simple opportunity which Andy Carroll would have relished.
Maiga showed his lack of strength and desire when Downing headed down a Matt Jarvis cross and the Malian forward was out-muscled by Fabricio Collocini. I have no doubt that Carroll would have bullied the defender out of the way and bundled the ball into the back of the net.
When we did eventually get the ball in the net, Maiga was offside. After Ravel Morrison’s deflected shot trickled along to him it was certainly not difficult for him to get back onside.
Youngster Ravel Morrison made his Premier League bow whilst sporting a pair of gloves… in August. He didn’t really make a huge difference and seemed slightly too composed when he attempted a dragback on the edge of the West Ham box whilst surrounded by black and white shirts.
Into stoppage time and it was a heart in mouth moment when Sammy Ameobi’s cross came back off of the post and fell to Yoann Goufrann only for the “striker” to put the ball high and wide from 2 yards out.
I think Alan Pardew post-match comments showed the sheer frustration that Newcastle faced.