Newcastle United continued their pursuit of a Champions League spot last night with a dominating victory over West Ham at the London Stadium. Callum Wilson and Joelinton both returned to the starting 11 in place of Alexsander Isak and Joe Willock, both scoring twice. Isak also found his way onto the scoresheet with a lovely volley into an open net following an error from West Ham keep Lucas Fabianski.
This result keeps Newcastle in third place level on points with Manchester United, who also claimed victory last night. The Magpies now sit three points clear of fifth place Tottenham, having played two games less, with only 10 league games remaining.
Here are three key takeaways from last nights action.
Allan Saint-Maximin is growing into his new role under Eddie Howe
Questions have been asked for a while now with regard to the future of Allan Saint-Maximin at Newcastle. The talismanic winger has been in and out of Howe’s line-ups this season due to injury and poor performances leaving many asking how he will fit in under the new regime at Newcastle and if he will be moved on come the summer.
However, recent performances seem to suggest that Saint-Maximin might finally be finding his feet under Howe. He has started Newcastle’s last four matches all of which have resulted in a Newcastle victory. His performances against Manchester United and West Ham are particularly impressive. Saint-Maximin has created 12 chances across those games and registered two assists couple this with his ability to draw defenders towards him and his likelihood to create chaos around the box and Newcastle really have a quality forward.
Going into the final stretch of the season and with European football seemingly on the horizon for Newcastle Saint-Maximin will be a player with a big role to play in the club’s near future should his recent form, especially his displays against Manchester United and West Ham, continue it will be hard for Newcastle to justify letting the forward go in the summer.
Callum Wilson and Alexsander Isak both being fit for the final stretch of the season if going to be huge for Newcastle
Since Premier League football returned post World Cup Callum Wilson’s appearances for Newcastle had left a lot to be desired, he never seemed quite at full fitness and was struggling to find the back of the net. Thankfully, for Newcastle, Alexsander Isak stepped up in his place and kept Newcastle in the hunt for the Champions League with vital goals in recent matches. Last night, against West Ham, Wilson looked sharp, fit and hungry for goals. He was pressing well, dropping deep to help out the midfield and importantly he was finishing his chances.
Newcastle still have some tricky fixtures to navigate through this season Tottenham, Brighton and Arsenal at St James’ Park to name a few, last night’s Wilson is the one that they will need to turn up in those games. If both Wilson and Isak can stay fit and available for Newcastle it will give everyone on Tyneside hope of a Champions League finish, the pair have contributed to 20 of Newcastle’s 46 goals this season.
Newcastle looked fired up and ready to claim a Champions League spot
Newcastle have won four out of their last five games leapfrogging their way above Manchester United and Tottenham back into the top four. After the victory against West Ham, they sit on 53 points in third place having played 28 games. Newcastle hold the third-best goal difference in the league at +26 with Brighton being the only team within touching distance at +17.
Newcastle’s supporters have every right to be excited and hopefully following last nights victory and looking ahead to the end of the season. Their team are playing good football scoring 11 in their last five games and Newcastle still have the best defensive record in the league, only conceding 20 goals, whilst also being tied for the fewest defeat.
The remaining five home games are where their season is likely to be decided, they face Tottenham, Southampton, Arsenal, Leicester and Brighton at St James’ before the season is up the games vs Tottenham and Brighton seem to be the deciders with both teams sitting within touching distance of the Magpies in the table.