Ciaran Clark on target as Newcastle break duck against West Ham

Pressure mounts on Bilic as Huddersfield stay unbeaten after Southampton draw

Ciaran Clark of Newcastle United celebrates scoring his side’s second goal during the Premier League match against West Ham United at St James’ Park. Photograpgh: Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Ciaran Clark of Newcastle United celebrates scoring his side’s second goal during the Premier League match against West Ham United at St James’ Park. Photograpgh: Jan Kruger/Getty Images

 

Newcastle United 3 West Ham United 0

Joselu marked his first start for Newcastle with a goal as Rafael Benitez was finally able to celebrate a first win of the season.

The Spanish striker converted Christian Atsu’s 36th-minute cross to lift the mood at St James’ Park, and defender Ciaran Clark and substitute Aleksandar Mitrovic sent the locals among a crowd of 52,093 home happy with second-half strikes.

It was exactly was the promoted Magpies needed after weeks of claim and counter-claim on Tyneside and ahead of a hugely important final few days of the transfer window.

By contrast, Hammers boss Slaven Bilic, the subject of reports that Benitez is being lined up to replace him, left the north-east reflecting on a third successive Premier League defeat and with a deepening gloom surrounding his own club.

If there has been tension within the four walls of St James’ in recent weeks — and there has with Benitez making little attempt to disguise his frustration with the club’s summer transfer dealings — there was a more immediate anxiety as the Magpies attempted to open their league account at the third time of asking.

But for all the current squad may lack the depth of quality it will need to prosper in the top flight, the manager could not complain about the industry, endeavour or commitment of the 11 men he sent out against the Hammers.

That was typified by bargain basement acquisitions Mikel Merino and Joselu, who spearheaded a spirited first-half display which ended with their side deservedly ahead.

Joselu had already fired wide at the near-post when Isaac Hayden only just cleared the crossbar with a rising 18th-minute shot.

Aaron Cresswell went even closer at the other end in a rare West Ham attack 14 minutes before the break, but it was the home side who finally broke the deadlock five minutes later.

Jordan Ayew celebrates scoring Swansea City’s second goal against Crystal palace. Photograph: John Walton/PA
Jordan Ayew celebrates scoring Swansea City’s second goal against Crystal palace. Photograph: John Walton/PA

Matt Ritchie, closing down tirelessly, caught Declan Rice in possession and allowed Merino to pick out Atsu’s run into the penalty area, where the Ghana international squared unselfishly for Joselu to slide home.

Joe Hart had to save from both Merino and Atsu as the half ran down with Newcastle well on top.

The Magpies came close to extending their lead within two minutes of the restart when Joselu flicked the ball into the path of Ayoze Perez and saw him draw a finger-tip save from Hart with a skidding effort.

But it was opposite number Rob Elliot in the firing line as he blocked Cresswell’s 53rd-minute piledriver and then got a hand to Javier Hernandez’s follow-up and saw Clark scramble the ball off the line.

The second goal arrived with 18 minutes remaining when Ritchie hunted down Lanzini deep inside his own half and exchanged passes with Hayden before crossing for Clark to power a header past Hart off the inside of the post.

Mitrovic wrapped up the win four minutes from time when he rounded the England keeper and slide the ball into the empty net.

Crystal Palace 0 Swansea City 2

Swansea increased the dark clouds circling over Frank De Boer’s Crystal Palace with a 2-0 victory at Selhurst Park.

Tammy Abraham — with his first Premier League goal — and Jordan Ayew struck either side of half-time to hand Swansea an opening win of the campaign.

But for Palace this is a worrying start to De Boer’s reign; no goals, no points and no confidence heading into the international break after three defeats.

De Boer wants to change the Palace philosophy and make them a more attractive side to watch, but the adjustment has not been smooth at the start of the Dutchman’s reign.

The two league games between the sides last season produced 12 goals — including an incredible 5-4 home win for Swansea.

But both sides were still searching for their first goal of this league campaign and it was already being billed in some quarters as a relegation battle.

Swansea handed a debut to £15million new boy Sam Clucas, while James McArthur came in to the Palace midfield with Ruben Loftus-Cheek nursing a groin injury.

The visitors should have been ahead inside three minutes when Kyle Naughton played Abraham down the right and Ayew headed his cross wide from in front of goal.

Palace were slow to settle but the crowd came to life when Patrick van Aanholt flashed across goal and McArthur went close with a header.

McArthur also rifled a shot past Lukasz Fabianski’s far-post, but both sides were guilty of lacking urgency and any real quality in the final third.

Swansea were almost ahead after 36 minutes as Ayew spied Abraham with a ball over the top.

Timothy Fosu-Mensah seemed to have the situation under control but he allowed the ball to run away from him and Abraham stuck out a foot to force Wayne Hennessey into action, although the effort was going wide.

Alfie Mawson was left unmarked from Tom Carroll’s resulting corner, but the centre-half could not locate the target from six yards.

The half was meandering to a close when Swansea scored with the first on-target attempt of the game.

Leroy Fer swung over a cross and Abraham showed strength to fend off Palace substitute Martin Kelly and finish with a close-range volley.

Kelly nearly made amends when he got above Mawson from a McArthur corner at the start of the second half, but Fabianski gathered on his goal-line.

But there was another moment to forget for the former Liverpool defender after 48 minutes when Naughton dispossessed him and spotted the run of Ayew.

The Ghanaian blocked Hennessey’s attempted clearance and the ball rolled into the Palace net.

De Boer used his three substitutes by the 60-minute mark to try get Palace back in the game and Andros Townsend was a threat when he cut in from the flanks.

Palace upped the intensity levels but were toothless in front of goal and Paul Clement celebrated another victory at Selhurst Park, just like he had done in his first game as Swansea boss in January.

Huddersfield 0 Southampton0

Promoted Huddersfield Town extended their unbeaten record after three games of the Premier League season but could not manage a third successive win as visiting Southampton held out for a goalless draw.

Seven points was still enough to put the Yorkshire side on top of the table on goal difference, at least until Manchester United play Leicester City in the late game.

Huddersfield were the better side but goalkeeper Fraser Forster kept them at bay with saves from new signings Steve Mounie and Tom Ince.

Huddersfield Town and Southampton played out a stalemate as the Premier League new-boys stayed unbeaten. Nigel Roddis/Getty
Huddersfield Town and Southampton played out a stalemate as the Premier League new-boys stayed unbeaten. Nigel Roddis/Getty

Nathan Redmond wasted two chances for the visitors, who otherwise failed to trouble the Town defence until the last minute, when Ryan Bertrand’s effort was cleared off the line. They also remain unbeaten after three games.

Watford 0 Brighton 0

Watford played with 10 men for three quarters of the game but held on comfortably for a 0-0 draw at home to Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday to maintain their unbeaten start to the Premier League season.

Uruguayan defender Miguel Britos was sent off for a wild tackle on Anthony Knockaert midway through the first half, home manager Marco Silva responding by subbing the skilful Nordin Amrabat for defender Craig Cathcart.

Watford’s plans were undermined again when Cathcart was injured and had to be replaced by Andre Carrillo for his debut having signed on loan from Benfica.

Miguel Britos was shown a straight red for his challenge on Brighton’s Anthony Knockaert. Eddie Keogh/Reuters
Miguel Britos was shown a straight red for his challenge on Brighton’s Anthony Knockaert. Eddie Keogh/Reuters

Either side of Britos’s red card Brighton hit the woodwork, first with Knockaert then through Tomer Hemed, but they struggled to carve out opportunities against a Watford side who defended deeply.

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