How ‘simple errors’ cost Newcastle United four goals in their opening Premier League defeat to West Ham
After a bright start to life back at St James’s Park, supporters were soon brought back down to earth as Newcastle United conceded three unanswered goals in the second-half.
Steve Bruce’s side surrendered a 2-1 half-time lead to lose 4-2 against the Hammers in front of over 50,000 fans.
The constant rotations of Michail Antonio, Jarrod Bowen and Said Benrahma caused the Magpies all sorts of headaches, especially in the second period.
West Ham’s first goal came down Newcastle’s right-side after Aaron Cresswell found space on the overlap past Jacob Murphy who, along with Emil Krafth and Isaac Hayden, had been sucked towards the ball.
Cresswell’s cross evaded everyone and nestled into the far corner but even if he had missed the target, West Ham had Tomas Soucek, Antonio and Bowen all in front of their markers, waiting to pounce.
The Hammers’ second goal also came down United’s right, but it was sloppiness in the build-up to the goal which really cost Bruce’s men.
As Declan Rice dispossessed Allan Saint-Maximin, Bowen found himself in acres of space, picking up the ball ten metres away from the nearest challenge.
As he jinked his way past Miguel Almiron, Bowen was able to thread the ball through to Antonio, taking four ball-watching Newcastle defenders out of the game in the process.
Benrahma was then able to take advantage of the fact Matt Ritchie was still out of position after Saint-Maximin’s dispossession to score.
Ritchie’s positioning was also criticised for the third West Ham goal as he allowed the ball to sail over his head to Vladimir Coufal, whose cross led to the awarding of the penalty.
The fourth Hammers goal came through a scintillating counter-attack, finished clinically by Antonio.
Once again, it was the run of Benhrama that set up the West Ham goal but it was enabled by Krafth, who allowed the Algerian to cut inside onto his right, giving him the chance to scan all his options, rather than trying to show Benrahma down the wing to cut-down his options.
The visitors were good value for their win but it was simple errors of being sucked towards the ball, losing the ball in their own half and a failure to close down players quick enough that made it all too comfortable.