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Encouraging Chronicles: Instant reaction to Newcastle United 2 - 1 West Ham

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Two encouraging performances in a row! A genuine midfield presence!

Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

On the heels of the battling point earned against Manchester United, Newcastle needed to produce a performance to show that they just might have what it takes to avoid the drop this season.  In the first half, they showed every little bit of that.  Jonjo Shelvey was given his first start in the black and white shirt and he looked extremely good value for the £12m paid for him as he stepped in and exhibited signs of being what Newcastle have been missing since Yohan Cabaye forced his way out of the club.  He was spraying passes everywhere and calling passes for his teammates from the opening kick.  Small sample size disclaimer and all, but his role in the two goals in the opening quarter of the match is as undeniable as it was beautiful.

Goals fell to Ayoze Perez (on a play almost a carbon copy of Gini's opener v. Manchester United) and Gini Wijnaldum and Newcastle were truly the better team for the lion's share of the first half.  West Ham came into the match late in the first half and would throw a huge helping of nerves into the Newcastle United faithful as they capitalized on another terrible backpass (this time from Chancel Mbemba) to bring the match to 2-1.  Although it was certainly less certain than the first half, Newcastle managed to avoid the seemingly inevitable fold and kept creating as many chances as they were giving.  For all of his good play on the day, Aleksandar Mitrovic will be the name on many fans' lips as he really should have done better with a large number of chances that dropped to his feet.  It would be a fair criticism, but a little unfair as he brought a lot more to the match. That said, he absolutely does need to start scoring.

It has been a long season up to this point, but we have dragged ourselves out of the bottom three (if only just) and actually followed an encouraging performance with another encouraging performance.  We'll hope that the worm has truly turned and can carry this on and up the table.  If we continue doing the good things that came from this match, it seems likely that we can.