Jonjo Shelvey and Miguel Almiron each scored equalizers as Newcastle continued its unbeaten Premier League run with a 2-2 draw against West Ham United at St. James’ Park on Sunday.
Tomas Soucek and Michail Antonio scored for the Irons, who move four points clear of the drop zone after its midweek win over Chelsea.
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The Newcastle point hampers its top eight hopes but runs its unbeaten league run to seven matches. The Magpies are 12th with 43 points.
Three things we learned
1. Almiron finds a home: Atlanta United fans will offer a “Well, duh?” when told that Newcastle playmaker Almiron is having a much better time finding goals and assists since a move from the wing to attack midfielder. The Paraguayan showed his nose for goal from close range in the first half on Sunday, giving him two goals and an assist since the restart. He also was often a left wing under Rafa Benitez last season, bright but without finish, and has been on the right an awful lot this season.
2. Few standouts for visitors: There’s no doubting the effort levels of West Ham’s opening scorer, and Antonio hassled the Magpies plenty on Sunday. The 30-year-old scored for the third time in his last six PL matches, his 30th goal in five Premier League seasons since a 2015 move from Nottingham Forest.
As for Soucek, the 25-year-old Slavia Prague loanee cleaned up a rebound off a corner kick when Declan Rice headed the service off the bar. Soucek’s been quite good, scoring against Chelsea at midweek and adding his second PL goal. Much of the Irons’ back line, however, was absent as were the three playmakers underneath Antonio (though that’s a bit harsh on Jarrod Bowen, who was dangerous very early in the match, and Aaron Cresswell grew into the game late).
3. Big Jonj delivers again: Forgetting for a moment that West Ham’s center backs allowed Shelvey and Gayle to work the 18 like a training routine on the second Newcastle goal, Shelvey is about to lead Newcastle in goals as a center midfielder. It’s Shelvey’s most productive offensive season in the PL since his first year at Swansea City and his six goals match a career-high despite
Man of the Match
Shelvey — The Magpies leading scorer (?!?) passed at 86 percent with three key passes and 8-of-15 long passes completed.
Newcastle – West Ham recap
A head-scratching play from Jamaal Lascelles allowed Antonio a back post goal in the fourth minute, West Ham getting off to a flying start from Jarrod Bowen’s cross.
Dwight Gayle stung a low free kick under the leaping wall that Lukasz Fabianski stifled in the 10th minute.
The Irons’ Declan Rice picked out Antonio at the back post a minute later, but Martin Dubravka caught the off-balance volley.
Almiron leveled the score line in the 17th minute, darting to the front post to convert an Emil Krafth pass following a dribble from Allan Saint-Maximin.
Fabianski was busy twice more in the next few minutes, a reaction save on a direct corner kick and a far less troubling effort from Saint-Maximin.
Bowen swept a great free kick into the mixer in front of Dubravka after the half-hour mark before forcing the keeper into a terrific save moments later.
Antonio put another header into Dubravka’s hands before halftime, Saint-Maximin answering with a shot saved by Fabianski.
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Little used, Krafth was busy again at the restart as Newcastle earned a corner.
The second half was sleepy, perhaps both sides ready to accept the point.
It sprung to life moments after we typed those words, West Ham taking a lead for barely over a minute through Soucek’s finish of a Rice rebound.
Newcastle needed even less time to answer the second Irons goal, Shelvey working a 1-2 with Gayle in the middle of the Irons box before calmly slotting home.Follow @NicholasMendola