David Hautzig's Match Report
I don’t need to start this with a complaint about the incompetence of our owners. Been there, done that. Won’t make any difference anyway. We are stuck with them apparently, so whatever. And despite my snarky title above, I don’t think relegation has been confirmed just yet. Instead I want to lodge an official complaint against my USA broadcaster, NBC, and their new Peacock app. Costs me $5 per month, which is fine. What’s not fine is that it does not permit me to play through my television with an HDMI cable. I tried mirroring with my older Apple TV but that was a bust. I had to settle for watching on my iPad at my desk while typing on the computer. A far cry from a 65 inch flat screen and a comfy couch. Yeah, boo f-ing hoo for me considering the current state of the world. Guess I’m just having a moan. Very West Ham of me.
It was interesting to hear the banter between Robbie Earle, Robbie Mustoe, and Rebecca Lowe on NBC. They collectively said that both West Ham and Newcastle are too big to constantly be near the bottom of the table. “They should be the Leicester and Wolves” said Lowe. Mustoe then wondered aloud if perhaps the ownership for West Ham was the problem.
Callum Wilson is our new Lukaku, in that he seemingly scores every time he plays against us. With his injury record I can’t blame Moyes or anyone else in Stratford for staying away. In the 4th minute, Wilson got on the end of a decent cross from Lewis but his header went wide. Moments later Shelvey started a counter attack that ended in a Newcastle corner when Diop sent a cross out behind the goal. The delivery went into the box, and chaos seemed to ensue. A shot went off Fabianski, but the flag went up so the fear we all felt was unnecessary. For the moment, at least.
West Ham had their first opportunity in the 14th minute after Hayden fouled Antonio, giving the home side a free kick 35 yards from goal. Noble floated a ball in to the box, and Ogbonna ran onto it and headed it off the bar.
For all of the talk about Cresswell needing to be replaced, Bournemouth attacked our right backs last week. And Newcastle did the same again in the 21st minute when Lewis sent a low cross to Wilson who got a toe to it but sent it wide. Two minutes later they won a free kick 25 yards out, but Shelvey’s attempt took a deflection and flew straight into Fabianski’s arms. Moments after that Newcastle attacked again, this time going at Cresswell, and Ogbonna put the delivery out for a corner. The set piece found Man Bun all alone in the box, but his header went over the bar.
The first 25 minutes could be summed up pretty neatly. West Ham were anemic. Slow. Plodding. We made Newcastle look like a top four side. And a draw felt like the best we could possibly hope for.
The Hammers showed a sign of life in the 29th minute when Fredericks put a quick cross into the box. Soucek rose above the crowd, and when he put his forehead through the delivery I thought I’d see the net ripple. Instead it went wide. A minute later Rice lost the ball and launched Newcastle on a counter. The ball went wide to Shelvey, who tried to beat Fabianski at the near post but hit the side netting instead. A moment later Man Bun did well to chest down a pass near the top of the 18 yard box and after one touch tried a volley that took a deflection and went out for a corner.
West Ham thought it had a shout for a penalty in the 34th minute when a poor Fredericks cross somehow found Fornals, whose shot went off the bar after what was thought to be a handball by Lascelles. VAR said no. Seconds later a truly horrific back-pass by the same young Spaniard set Saint Maximin on a run, with Fredericks in pursuit. Amazingly, Fredericks played defense like a defender, forced Saint Maximin off the ball, and eventually West Ham cleared.
West Ham 0
In the final seconds of the opening forty five minutes, Declan Rice went in for a tackle near midfield. He did not get back up right away, so when he walked out onto the pitch for the second half there was a notable sense of relief.
The inevitable happened in the 56th minute when Manquillo broke down the right and sent a cross into the West Ham box. It took a slight deflection, and guess who was there to tap it in? Could Fabianski have done better? Who the hell knows, but he does look to have lost something since his injury last season.
West Ham 0
Moyes made a double switch in the 67th minute, removing Noble and Fornals while inserting Haller and Yarmolenko. Seconds later, Antonio won a corner and Haller got on the end of it. His attempt on goal was blocked by what looked to be the arm of Hendrick. VAR had a look, and disagreed with Moyes, Haller, and everyone else in Claret & Blue.
West Ham pressed as well as they could for a leveler, but every attempt looked half baked. Rice ran into a crowd, a Cresswell delivery on a corner found nobody in the box, nor did a second corner from Yarmolenko. A header from Haller was weak and no trouble for Darlow. There was virtually no movement from anyone up front for The Hammers, who looked disjointed and out of sync, as if all of the optimism from our decent end to last season was undone. Only one shot on target all game was a testament to that.
Newcastle took full advantage of that, and in the 87th minute Hendrick put the match to bed with a shot from inside the box that Cresswell did absolutely nothing to prevent.
West Ham 0
Two teams that historically do very poorly on the opening day of the season got together, and unsurprisingly the team that had been in the papers for absurd levels of drama capitulated. It’s ridiculous to seriously say we will go down after one match. West Ham often pull some surprise wins out of the hat to counteract their more plentiful shock losses. But the West Ham players looked demoralized. Lost.
A lot like us supporters.