The first half of Newcastle United’s Premier League opener against West Ham United arguably couldn’t have gone much better.
The Magpies went in to half time with a 2-1 lead that they deserved after an impressive attacking display, something that hasn’t been seen for a number of years at St James’ Park.
But the second half showing was something all too familiar to Newcastle supporters as the crumbled and let West Ham run rampant with three second half goals.
New season, same problems
The second 45 minutes on Sunday would have had many United fans concerned, especially with the manner in which they conceded.
Saïd Benrahma was able to head home unchallenged for the Hammers’ second, whilst defenders tracked back at the pace of a snail for West Ham’s fourth scored by Michail Antonio.
The defence didn’t cover themselves in glory for the third goal either. After Freddie Woodman did well to save Antonio’s spot-kick, not one Newcastle player bust a gut to get back and try to clear the ball allowing Thomas Soucek all the time in the world to fire home the rebound.
As ever, there has been a lack of investment in the Newcastle squad, with Joe Willock being the only addition to the team, this time on a permanent basis.
Surely defenders are one area that the Magpies should be looking in strengthen in before the transfer window closes at the end of August.
Finding plus points after such a disappointing start to the new campaign is difficult.
However fans will have enjoyed what they saw in the first half when Newcastle scored two well-worked goals.
Allan Saint-Maximin teased Declan Rice before eventually putting a superb cross into the box which fell right onto the head of last season’s top scorer Callum Wilson.
There was also good work from Matt Ritchie for Newcastle’s second as be picked out Jacob Murphy.
The big issue was that United didn’t build on their bright opening 45 minutes of the season. Taking a real foothold in the game could have played to their advantage, and with West Ham having to field a load of youngsters on the bench, they didn’t exactly have Premier League proven players to bring on and make an impact.
If Newcastle can put in strong performances, like they did in Sunday’s first half, for 90 minutes each week then they could give any team a torrid time.