West Ham United came from behind twice to beat Newcastle United in a thrilling match at St James’ Park, kicking off their Premier League campaign in style. The Hammers trailed 2-1 at halftime but rallied with goals from Said Benrahma, Tomas Soucek, and Michail Antonio after the break.
Newcastle took the lead after just five minutes, with Callum Wilson heading home Allan Saint-cross Maximin’s to delight the stadium’s 50,000 screaming fans.
West Ham equalized midway through the half after a VAR review determined Aaron Cresswell’s cross-shot had gone all the way into the net untouched, despite the flag being raised for offside against Jarrod Bowen.
Newcastle took the lead again just before halftime when Jacob Murphy nodded in Matt Ritchie’s cross, but West Ham equalized soon after the restart when Benrahma headed in.
After Pablo Fornals was adjudged to have been fouled by Murphy inside the box, Antonio’s penalty was saved by debutant keeper Freddie Woodman, but Soucek was first to react to the rebound, putting the Hammers ahead for the first time.
Antonio then sealed the victory by driving in a thunderous shot for his 47th Premier League goal for the Hammers, equaling Paolo di Canio’s club record.
West Ham narrowly missed out on a top-four finish last season by two points, but this was the ideal result and performance to demonstrate that they can compete for Champions League qualification again this season.
While the defending for the two goals conceded could have been improved, David Moyes’ side showed great spirit to overcome a raucous home crowd and claim a convincing win. They dominated the second half, attacking with pace and numbers to overwhelm a Newcastle side that had no answer despite a promising first 45 minutes.
Newcastle manager Steve Bruce will have taken both positives and negatives from the performance.
After being chastised for being overly pragmatic at times last season as his Newcastle side flirted with relegation, Newcastle fans who applauded their side off at halftime will have welcomed the attacking intent shown in the first half.
But their flaws remain, with as many as three of West Ham’s goals attributable to sloppy defending – the penalty decision was arguably harsh on Murphy – and Bruce will want to address that area if they are to avoid relegation this season.