So the game at the weekend was a massive surprise! a 3-0 win over Newcastle away. Our second away win of the season and it was an absolute masterclass which was tactically spot on.
Pellergrini went with a formation which could be seen as a 4-4-2 or a 4-2-3-1 with Cresswell coming into left-back, Chicharito partnering Arnautovic, and Snodgrass and Noble coming back into the side after serving their suspension.
The game was surrounded with controversy, the planned protest from the Newcastle fans which involved a late entrance was met with mixed responses, and they arguably missed their sides best spell in the game, as Newcastle piled on the pressure to get an early goal.
The backline remained solid during this rough spell, and we managed to create an opening in the 11th minute. A brilliant ball from Snodgrass unlocked the Newcastle defence to find an unmarked Chicharito, who slotted past Dúbravka. The goal came ironically after the Newcastle fans started to enter the stadium after their protest, so the first thing they saw was Hernandez running off celebrating.
Throughout the game we created many chances, Hernandez missed 2 golden opportunities to put us further ahead and some unusual sloppy play from Arnautovic could have came back to bite us. Chicharito struck again in the 63rd minute when he got on the end of an Arnautovic flick-on and he again cooly slotted it past Dúbravka.
The game for me was put to bed after that, Newcastle never looked like scoring, they had their fair share of chances, but none really threatened us. As the commentator said, ‘You have to have the patience of a saint.’ when supporting Newcastle and i agree.
We ended up scoring a third through Felipe Anderson as he ran through on goal after a through ball from Jack Wilshere, he out-muscled Schar and effectively passed the ball through Dúbravka’s legs to finish off the game.
Overall the game plan was executed to perfection, Pellergrini got the game plan spot on and he took a gamble starting Hernandez after the strikers comments in the press during the week, Hernandez backed his comments up after that display, hopefully he does the same on tuesday against Cardiff City.
Everyone played a blinder, the backline were solid, Cresswell rolled back the years to the Sam Allardyce days with a sublime performance, Snodgrass again grafted all game, and played a brilliant ball for the first goal, Anderson was unplayable again oozing class everytime he touched the ball, creating chances and getting his reward in the end.
However, one player i’m concerned over is Marko Arnautovic, his head seems to be elsewhere, ever since the rumours came out over wanting a move and comments from his “Agent” AKA his brother, he has seemed a different player despite him claiming otherwise on instagram.
Whats next for West Ham? Its Cardiff City tomorrow night at the London Stadium. And personally I wouldn’t make any drastic changes to the winning side unless we are forced to.
A change of left-back will definitely happen, due to Cresswell coming off with a hamstring injury, which will see Masuaku come back into the side. And a change of right- back which was hinted at by Ex on twitter, as Zabaleta cannot play all the christmas period fixtures.
That could possibly see a CB slot into right back, or see Antonio return to the position for the first time since the disastrous performance against Chelsea in the opening fixture of the 2016/17 season. Personally I’d move Diop to right-back and bring Ogbonna back into Centre-back for a game or two.