After the raw emotion of hammering PSG on Wednesday night, Newcastle needed to come back down to earth relatively quickly and concentrate on a tricky away trip to the London Stadium to face David Moyes’ West Ham United.
With Anthony Gordon suspended after picking up another yellow card against Burnley last weekend, it was Elliot Anderson who was tasked with replacing him in the starting XI.
Newcastle had so much of the ball but did very little with it in the first half. The Magpies showed all the attributes of fatigue, and West Ham were happy to spring on the break—perhaps their favorite way to play.
Lucas Paqueta’s pinpoint through-ball found Emerson, who poked it around a stranded Nick Pope and found Tomas Soucek for a simple finish eight minutes in.
Newcastle were struggling to win the second balls, and West Ham were hungrier in tackling.
Possessing the ball is one thing, but it’s pointless if it doesn’t lead to anything. Newcastle’s afternoon could have been tougher still had Guimaraes, booked moments earlier for a professional foul on Emerson, been dismissed after catching Ward-Prowse on the halfway line. He was extremely fortunate to stay on the pitch.
Eddie Howe must have been livid as Newcastle weren’t clicking at all and rightly gave them a rollicking at halftime. With Howe’s voice still ringing in their ears, Newcastle looked much better in the second half. They team were more controlled and worked the ball a lot better, making something of that higher possession.
Newcastle won a free-kick twelve minutes after the restart. Kieran Trippier’s delivery was nodded across goal by Edson Alvarez to leave Alexander Isak barely believing his luck to side-foot in a simple finish.
Lift off. Finally, something for Newcastle supporters to shout about.
Isak made similarly light work of his second five minutes later, finishing off from close range after Sandro Tonali’s raking pass was turned into the six-yard box by Trippier.
Isak should have taken home the hat-trick ball when he was played clean through as the gaps opened up in West Ham’s increasingly attacking shape but struck the base of the post from a tight angle after rounding Alphonse Areola.
It was quite a turnaround from Howe’s side and he would’ve felt desperate for them to see the game out.
West Ham had been causing problems down Newcastle’s left, and it was clear without Gordon’s recovery runs that they were struggling to cope.
With seconds of regular time remaining, Vladimir Coufal was given space to run down the Hammers’ right before squaring for Kudus, whose powerful finish inside the near post earned them a point.
It could have still got better for the hosts, with Jarrod Bowen denied by an injury-time stop by Pope and leaving both sides wondering what might have been.
It was a strange game Newcastle would’ve been happy with a point before kick-off, and surely delighted with one at half time. However, leading the game with only a few minutes left will leave them with a tinge of disappointment after conceding the equalizer late.
Yet another international break is upon us, before Newcastle host Crystal Palace at St James’ Park. Howe will hope to have Sven Botman, Joelinton, and possibly Joe Willock back to full fitness, along with the return of Gordon from suspension.
Newcastle’s injury list will look a lot healthier in the coming weeks, which should be a massive boost going into the festive period.