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3-0: Pressure eased on Rafa Benitez and ramped up on Slaven Bilic

Rafa Benitez engineered Newcastle  first win of the season to lift the mood at St James’s Park.

Goals from Joselu, Ciaran Clark and super sub Aleksandar Mitrovic sealed the points against West Ham after three consecutive defeats had heaped the pressure on the Geordies.

New signing Joselu grabbed his first goal in his first start.

The Spaniard has had an underwhelming time in front of goal in the last two seasons, scoring just eight times, four each for Stoke and Deportivo La Coruna.

But Benitez saw enough value in him at just £5m to give him a chance at St James’s Park.

he goal was created when Ayoze Perez robber Declan Rice high up the pitch after he stumbled.

Mikel Merino slide a brilliantn ball through bodies to Christian Atso who squared for Joselu to slam home.

As Newcastle’s internal club politics swirl, with Benitez challenging the Mike Ashley over the transfer budget, it was a welcome relief, and their first league goal of the season after 217 minutes fo trying.

West Ham were poor and Newcastle deserved theirs second goal to clinch the points.

Matt Ritchie crossed and Ciaran Clark, unmarked, nodded home.

Earlier Clark cleared of the line after a double save by Rob Elliot from Aaron Creswell and Javier Hernandez after 52 minutes.

Mitro made in two goals in a week rounding Joe Hart to slot home in the 87 minutes.

NOW THE BIG QUESTIONS… 

1. Newcastle on the verge of crisis on the pitch?

Not on this evidence. They were organised and spiky. Energetic and aggressive.

They controlled the first half. Mikel Merino was excellent in the holding midfield role, the defence bosses it.

Wide man Matt Ritchie and Christian Atsu were pests. A very professional and competent Premier League win for Newcastle.

2. Newcastle on the verge of crisis off the pitch?

Well, the brewing trouble between Mike Ashley and Rafa Benitez over the transfer budget is unsettling.

All isn’t rosy and Newcastle fans will have to hope the big players get face to face and the situation calms.

The more Benitez taked the club on in public, the more likely there is to be trouble ahead.

Current best case scenario for the club is that Benitez keeps them up and sees out the season.

3. No Dwight Gayle but Joselu delivers

The £5m new signing was on target in the first half – after Dwight Gayle was left out the squad.

Gayle’s form this season has been off the pace, and his mood isn’t great.

So it was essential United proved they had goals elsewhere in the team.

Joselu worked the line well, took his chance, and clearly has something about him. Perhaps Benitez can be the making of him?

4. What’s wrong with West Ham?

They have decent players but have not gelled.

They were bullied by Newcastle at times, who pressed high up the pitch, and unsettled the defence when they had the ball.

Javier Hernandez was competitive, but until they can control the ball and work through the pitch, he won’t get much joy.

5. Can Slaven Bilic survive as Hammers’ boss?Three defeats out of three for Bilic’s side and they were not functioning as a competitive outfit.

West Ham have been a long term admirer of Rafa Benitez but he comes with a £5m compensation fee which the Hammers don’t like paying.

Bilic needs something to hang on in the next few games or he will be the first boss under big pressure.

 

mirror.co.uk

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