West Ham United twice came from behind to get their Premier League campaign off to the ideal start by beating Newcastle United in a hugely entertaining match at St James’ Park.
The Hammers trailed 2-1 at halftime but staged a remarkable fightback after the break with goals from Said Benrahma, Tomas Soucek and Michail Antonio.
Callum Wilson put Newcastle ahead after just five minutes, heading home Allan Saint-Maximin’s cross to delight the 50,000 vocal fans in the stadium.
West Ham equalised midway through the half after a VAR review ruled Aaron Cresswell’s cross-shot had gone all the way into the net untouched, despite the flag initially going up against Jarrod Bowen for offside.
Newcastle regained the lead just before the break when Jacob Murphy nodded in Matt Ritchie’s cross but West Ham levelled again soon after the restart as Benrahma headed in.
After Pablo Fornals was adjudged to have been fouled by Murphy inside the box, Antonio saw his penalty kept out by debutant keeper Freddie Woodman but Soucek reacted quickest to the rebound to put the Hammers ahead for the first time.
Antonio then wrapped up the win, driving in a thunderous shot for his 47th Premier League goal for the Hammers, equalling Paolo di Canio’s record in the competition for the club.
est Ham missed out on a top-four finish by two points last season but this was the ideal result and performance to show they could fight for Champions League qualification again this season.
While the defending for the two goals they conceded could have been better, David Moyes’ side showed great spirit to overcome a vociferous home crowd and claim a convincing win.
They dominated the second half, attacking with pace and numbers in a manner that overwhelmed a Newcastle side that had no answer despite their encouraging opening 45 minutes.
There will have been some positives as well as negatives to take from the performance for Newcastle boss Steve Bruce.
Having been criticised for being overly pragmatic at times last season as his Newcastle side flirted with relegation, the attacking intent they showed in the first half will have been welcomed by Newcastle fans who applauded their side off at halftime.
But their frailties remain, with as many as three of West Ham’s goals down to sloppy defending – the penalty decision was arguably harsh on Murphy – and Bruce will want to address that area in order to avoid another relegation battle this season.
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