West Ham 2 Newcastle 0: Slaven Bilic gave Steve McClaren another miserable evening as West Ham finally got their home campaign up and running with a 2-0 win over Newcastle last night.
Goals in each half from Dimitri Payet proved enough to fire the Hammers up to fifth in the Premier League, and leave McClaren’s Newcastle stuck in the bottom three.
Bilic famously masterminded McClaren’s darkest hour in management eight years ago when his Croatia side beat England 3-2 at Wembley.
That defeat prevented the Three Lions qualifying for Euro 2008 and cost McClaren his job as England boss, as well as a large chunk of his credibility.
And in their first competitive meeting since that rain-soaked night, Bilic once again came out on top while McClaren’s Toon side are still winless, having not scored in the league since the opening day of the season.
West Ham’s start to the campaign has been somewhat bizarre to say the least, with wins at Arsenal and Liverpool sandwiching home defeats by Leicester and Bournemouth.
But they could sense Newcastle were there for the taking after just nine minutes when summer signing Payet capped a sweeping move with a stunning opener.
Mark Noble collected Diafra Sakho’s backheel in the penalty area and laid the ball back for the French midfielder to coolly sidefoot a curling effort into the top corner.
Payet arrived from Marseille with a reputation for creating goals as well as scoring them, and he showed why by teeing up Manuel Lanzini for a shot which the youngster blazed over, before playing in debutant Victor Moses only for the Chelsea loanee to fire wide.
By contrast, the sum total of Newcastle’s efforts in the first half was a Janmaat shot which Hammers keeper Darren Randolph comfortably kept out.
And three minutes into the second half West Ham doubled their lead.
Moses was desperately unlucky not to mark an impressive first appearance with a goal when he ran almost the length of the field following a Newcastle corner, only to crash his shot against the crossbar.
The ball bounced down and out towards the lurking Payet, who thumped it into an empty net to take his tally for the season to three.
Newcastle tried to find a way back into the match but the closest they came was a shot from Siem de Jong which was deflected narrowly over the top, much to McClaren’s frustration.
It may not have rained at Upton Park as it did at Wembley that fateful night, but you sense the storm clouds may already be brewing at Newcastle.
Randolph, Tomkins, Reid, Ogbonna (Jenkinson 42), Cresswell, Noble, Kouyate, Lanzini (Obiang 59), Payet, Moses (Carroll 88), Sakho.
Krul, Janmaat, Mbemba, Coloccini, Haidara, Anita (De Jong 60), Colback, Sissoko, Wijnaldum (Aarons 79), Thauvin (Perez 60), Cisse.
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