What was anticipated to be a match full of passion, physicality and goals turned out to be a tame affair, and one that will not live long in the memory.
It was evident even before the kick-off that there was something missing from the atmosphere. Maybe it was the downpour that soaked the ground prior to the start of the match, but an out-take from Braveheart it certainly wasn’t. West Ham started slowly, happy to sit back and watch Newcastle play the ball around, a far cry from their usual positive home form. The return of Ben-Arfa for Newcastle gave them more scope, and Fabricio Coloccini was back giving the defence a well-needed boost. In terms of shots on goal, Cisse had an effort cleared off the line by Winston Reid, but the first half remained goalless, although Newcastle were ahead on points.
The Hammers improved after the break and Rob Elliot in goal for Newcastle had to make saves from Nolan, Jarvis and Carroll, and Nolan had a fair shout for a penalty. But the game drifted to its inevitable conclusion, and despite the obligatory positive noises from the management teams, it was definitely a day to forget. Wigan’s win means that Newcastle bums are getting progressively squeakier, and West Ham are still not mathematically safe. Let’s hope that the Hammers’s next game away at Everton will be a tad more entertaining.