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West Ham United
26 December 2013
• St. James' Park, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Referee: M. Atkinson
• Attendance: 51665
L. Rémy 44', 56'
Y. Gouffran 48'
Y. Cabaye 66'
P. Cissé 80'
O. Assaidi 29'
Anyway, that'll be all from me, Sam Wells, today. Thanks for following today's action with me and, until next time, farewell!
Newcastle will be delighted that, in spite of their slow start, they managed to absolute dominate that second half. Of course, their fortunes were helped by the referee's decision to dismiss two players, but the way in which they controlled that second period was impressive nonetheless. Stoke, meanwhile, will simply have to write off that game and pick themselves up again; they were given (or perhaps earned, depending on your perspective) a thankless task in that second half and failed to deal with it.
90' + 3'
And the referee calls an end to proceedings, much to the relief of the beleaguered Stoke players. It ends 5-1 as Stoke are left to rue those two dismissals that ended up proving so costly.
90' + 1'
The Magpies continue to camp out in front of the Stoke half as it's Ameobi's turn to go down now, this time under pressure from Cameron. Again, nothing given as the referee appears to be feeling some late sympathy for this Stoke outfit.
Haidara hobbles off to the side as Newcastle take the corner, Ameobi works it back to Ben Arfa who, having enjoyed a tremendous second half, attempts to get on the scoresheet with a speculative shot on goal. It flies over the goal but I think he can be forgiven, given his contribution to this half.
Martin Atkinson is, arguably, generous once again to Stoke as Shawcross goes in hard on Haidara in the penalty area. Though the centre-back got the ball, it was most certainly a hefty challenge and Haidara is still down.
Ben Arfa is unlucky to not be given a foul after, once again, worming his way in between Pieters and Shawcross with some style. Nothing given, however, and Stoke are, perhaps, lucky for the first time in this encounter.
Stoke make a rare venture into the Newcastle half through Wilson Palacios but, after the Honduran slips, the Magpies pick the ball up again and go forward once more.
Newcastle continue to control matters as their passing is ceaseless in the latter stages here. Remy is oh-so-close to providing Cisse with another goal but the latter slips in untimely fashion, allowing the chance to pass him by.
This has been a truly torrid half for the away side and matters are almost made worse by the awardal of what would have been yet another penalty! Shawcross appeared to have pushed Cabaye in the box but the referee elects not to give a penalty and it remains 5-1.
Penalty Goal Papiss Cissé
GOAL! And Cisse gets his first goal since April as he plants it perfectly into the top right-hand corner. It's an excellent penalty and, also worth noting, a nice gesture from Remy to allow his occasional strike-partner the opportunity to end his drought.
Penalty! And, surprise surprise, it's gone to Newcastle! Ben Arfa, after getting the ball caught up underneath his feet, retrieves it before being brought down by Pieters. It probably is a penalty but Stoke clearly feel hard done by. Despite Remy being on a hat-trick, Cisse steps up to take it...
Newcastle remain camped out in the Stoke half as the Potters are currently operating in a novel 4-4-0 formation. Hughes checks his watch in the stands as he clearly can't wait for this game to draw to a close.
Debuchy, who's undoubtedly benefitted from Assaidi's withdrawal at half time, almost creates another goal as he heads down to Sissoko. The Frenchman can't quite finish though and it remains a three-goal deficit.
Newcastle continue to dominate as Cabaye hurls a cross into the box. Stoke have barely touched the ball in this half as the two-man advantage really has killed off this contest.
Changes for both sides as a disconsolate-looking N'Zonzi is replaced by Muniesa, while Gouffran is replaced by Cisse up top for Newcastle - he must fancy his chances of grabbing a goal.
Gouffran goes close! He should do better from a header after Remy tee'd him up on the edge of the six yard box. His technique is all wrong, however, and his effort flies wide of the post.
Ben Arfa, who is revelling in this second half, goes down after a challenge from Adam, claiing a free kick. Nothing given but the Frenchman continues to look hungry.
Assist Mathieu Debuchy
Goal Yohan Cabaye
GOAL! And it's Cabaye with an excellent finish! A lovely move culminated in Debuchy cutting the ball inside to his compatriot and Cabaye made no mistake, planting the ball firmly beyond Sorensen and into the corner. A lovely goal, even taking into account their two-man advantage.
Remy almost has a chance to extend the lead further but the fresh legs of Wilson Palacios come in handy as the Honduran makes a timely intervention, sliding in and halting the Frenchman's progression into the Stoke half.
Haidara immediately looks to stretch his legs, taking on Wilkinson before firing a low cross into the area. Sorensen does well to gather the ball though, and Stoke keep the tally at three.
Newcastle make a change at left back as Haidara replaces Santon. You can't imagine this will be a particularly difficult shift for the French defender.
Walters, now operating as a lone frontman, is put in behind the Newcastle defence by Adam but he can't do anything productive with the pass, striking wildly behind for a goal kick.
Wilson Palacios comes on to replace Peter Crouch as Mark Hughes looks to be turning to damage limitation with a daunting half an hour ahead of this nine-man Stoke outfit.
Ben Arfa almost scores an absolutely magnificent goal! With Stoke stretched, the Frenchman really begins to enjoy himself as, working his way into the area, he beats about four Stoke players before thundering an effort against the bar from ten yards out! That would have been quite spectacular.
Assist Moussa Sissoko
Goal Loïc Remy
GOAL! Remy makes it three! Santon does well down the left wing, turning Wilkinson before crossing a ball into the unmarked Sissoko. The rangy midfielder should really do better with his header but can only flick onto the far post. Luckily for him, his compatriot is there to divert into the empty net - 3-1 here at St. James' Park and this could be all over.
Ben Arfa hits the post! The Frenchmman is fed short from the corner and, after coming inside, strikes with venom towards the far post. It's an excellent effort but rebounds off the post and Stoke can breathe again.
Debuchy finds Remy with a nice ball behind the Stoke backline but Shawcross does well to intervene, coming across to block the Frenchman's cross behind, putting it out for a corner.
Cabaye chips the ball into the area and Cameron clears from danger. However, there's no-one up there as Crouch had dropped even deeper to help out defensively. That right there could be the story of the half for this Stoke outfit.
Debuchy strikes goalwards and, after the ball is deflected behind for a corner, Ben Arfa chips the set piece back to Cabaye, some 30 yards from goal. He tries an audacious effort but it flies wide of the goal.
This could be an incredibly long half for Stoke as, as one might expect, Newcastle's pressure is incessant as the ball keeps coming back at the away side.
Stoke have further cause for complaint in the build-up to that goal as the ball appeared to have gone out before Ben Arfa crossed into the area. It will be interesting to hear what Mark Hughes has to say after the game!
Goal Yoan Gouffran
GOAL! And it's Yoann Gouffran! Sorensen cuts a lonely figure in the Stoke goal as he makes an unconvincing punch from a Ben Arfa cross that is headed up into the air. It falls to the Frenchman, who duly plants the ball into the corner, and Stoke have a huge mountain to climb. It's 2-1 Newcastle!
And Newcastle have a free kick in a dangerous area as Adam fouls about 30 yards from goal. Cabaye strikes goalwards but his effort goes slightly awry, flying wide of the near post.
Stoke, meanwhile, have also made a change at the break as Andy Wilkinson replaces Assaidi at the back. They appear to have set up in a 4-3-1 formation as Crouch has to lead the line all alone, with Wilkinson coming in at right back as Cameron moves into the centre of defence. This could be a tough half for the Potters.
And Newcastle get us back underway! They look to capitalise on their man advantage with a substitution as Shola Ameobi comes on for Vurnon Anita.
Mark Hughes, meanwhile, will be apoplectic with rage after that first half, though the rage surely won't be directed at his own team. The manager's ire was already invoked by the referee's decision to dismiss Whelan, so the penalty decision, coupled with the red card, will only exacerbate matters. He will have to do some reorganising at half time if Stoke are to get anything from this game as they have a mammoth task on their hands - let's see if they can beat the odds and take at least a point from St. James'!
Alan Pardew will be feeling relieved at half time as, in all honesty, they can consider themselves lucky to be both level and afforded a two-man advantage in the second half. The Magpies didn't play at all well for the earlier part of the half as, before Whelan's harsh dismissal, they failed to really assert themselves on the contest. Although, given they're facing a nine-man Stoke, they can surely expect to triumph in this second half, Pardew will not be happy with their overall performance.
45' + 3'
And the referee brings an end to a controversial first half at St. James' Park! In an action-packed final ten minutes or so, Stoke had two players sent off (as well as Mark Hughes), while Newcastle equalised after having a penalty saved.
45' + 2'
Newcastle try to capitalise on their two-man advantage before the break and almost manage it! Ben Arfa shimmies his way in between two Stoke players before firing goalwards. His effort isn't the best though, flying well over the crossbar.
45' + 1'
Yellow Card Mathieu Debuchy
There's barely been opportunity to catch your breath at St. James' Park as it's been a truly incredibly ten minutes or so! N'Zonzi was, incidentally, booked in the aftermath of that goal as he felt they should have a free kick in the build-up to the equaliser.
Assist Hatem Ben Arfa
Yellow Card Steven N'Zonzi
Penalty save Thomas Sørensen
Goal Loïc Remy
GOAL! Minutes after Remy was denied by Sorensen, the Frenchman does get a goal. After Stoke pile forward, Ben Arfa counters before feeding Remy on the left. He cuts inside and shoots at goal and, after getting a deflection off Shawcross, the ball finds its way past Sorensen and Newcastle are level!
Missed Penalty Loïc Remy
Red Card Marc Wilson
And Remy misses! Sorensen dives to his right, making a top quality save to deny the Frenchman the equaliser. Truly amazing scenes!
And Newcastle have a penalty! And it's another red card! Incredible scenes at St. James' Park as Wilson is dismissed for a foul on Loic Remy. The Frenchman had turned the centre back and it probably was a penalty - whether it was a red card or not it is another matter. Anyway, Remy prepares to take the penalty...
Yellow/Red Glenn Whelan
Anita's delivery from the subsequent free kick is poor and Sorensen claims with ease. That, however, will do very little to allay the concerns of the home team - they are going to have to survive 50 minutes at St. James' Park a man down.
Whelan is off! The Irishman receives a second booking after bringing down Cabaye. It was silly to nibble at the Frenchman but that did seem a fairly harsh dismissal and Hughes is, perhaps understandably, irate on the touchline.
Newcastle have a spell on the edge of the Stoke area but, up against the home side's densely-packed ranks, they once more resort to an effort from distance. Anita's shot is blocked and Stoke scramble the ball clear.
Assaidi has another chance and, once again, it's the winger cutting inside from the left. Debuchy allows him to come across and have another strike at goal. His initial effort is blocked but he takes another pop when the ball falls at his feet from the deflection, though it doesn't really trouble Krul as the keeper claims with ease.
Yellow Card Glenn Whelan
Whelan is at the centre of the action once more as he diverts the subsequent free kick behind for a corner. Cabaye plays it short before attempting to whip it in, only to see the considerable figure of Cameron deflect the ball out for a throw.
A coming together between Whelan and Cabaye leads to a booking for the former. The Frenchman was unhappy with the Stoke midfielder's challenge and took it upon himself to confront the Irishman about it.
Stoke continue to control possession as Newcastle appear to be struggling to cope with their opposition. They are finally afforded a throw-in (and some respite) due to a poor touch from the goalscorer Assaidi.
Newcastle appear to be rocking here. Directly after that goal, they're in trouble again as Walters gets in behind the Newcastle defence. Bearing down on goal, a combination of Krul and Williamson manage to avert the danger, though it's quickly reinstated by a Charlie Adam delivery. Debuchy, this time, is the man who clears and the Magpies hang on.
Assist Charlie Adam
Goal Oussama Assaidi
GOAL! And it's another cracker from Assaidi! A long ball into the area is cleared by Williamson, eventually falling to the winger on the edge of the area. He turns inside Debuchy and, in a fashion similar to the one against Chelsea, curls the ball into the opposite corner. A delightful finish and the Potters are a goal to the good!
Adam goes close again! He turns inside and, despite some support from teammates, he elects to shoot and, much like his effort earlier in the half, this one is close but flies over the bar.
The home support are incensed by a couple of Stoke players and, more specifically, their decision to go down and tie their laces before the free kick is taken.
Newcastle can't take full advantage of the subsequent corner as Wilson heads clear at the near post. The ball eventually comes to Assaidi on the wing and the winger earns his side a free kick after being clipped by Santon. The loanee has been quiet thus far but that was lovely play.
Newcastle, who have been a bit quiet in the past ten minutes or so, enjoy a spell of possession, culminating in an effort from range. This time it's Cabaye and, though the striker is tame, Sorensen can only parry behind for a corner.
In a direct ball that is swiftly becoming uncharacteristic in this new-look Stoke outfit, Shawcross pumps the ball up towards Walters. It doesn't quite work out though, as the centre back overhits the pass, allowing the ball to run through to Krul in the Newcastle goal
Gouffran dallies on the ball deep in his own half and is almost dispossessed by Cameron. Coloccini bails him out, however, and the danger, almost brought on of their own accord, passes.
Up the other end, Remy has an opportunity to get in on goal but more excellent work from Shawcross prevents the Frenchman from working a strike a goal, the Englishman stepping across the striker in timely fashion before playing back to Sorensen.
Adam goes close! The midfielder spurns the best chance of the game as Stoke waste an opportunity to go ahead. Cameron beats Santon all too easily down the right before squaring to the Scot on the edge of the area. He drives an effort goalwards but he doesn't quite catch all of it as his effort flies wide of the post.
It's been fairly even in the early stages here and the stats, as well as the score, lay testament to that - it's been 50/50 in terms of possession in the opening 18 minutes.
It's Shawcross' turn to engage in some sterling defensive work now as he makes a timely intervention to stop a rapidly advancing Loic Remy in his tracks.
Newcastle have an opportunity to threaten but they fail to really capitalise. Gouffran feeds the ball out to Remy down the right wing but, with little support being offered, Remy delays playing the cross and, when he does try to delivery, his cross is blocked and, subsequently, cleared.
Remy and Ben Arfa try to work something down the right but Wilson does well to intervene, overpowering the former and playing it back to Shawcross to clear. Good defensive work there.
It's been a lively opening here at St. James' Park as, although we've yet to have a real clear-cut chance, both sides appear primed to attack with some gusto. The intent is there, even though no opportunities have yet to materialise.
Remy is irate with Sissoko as the midfielder failed to feed the prolific goalscorer despite an excellent run being made by the former. He really should have played that but, in the end, he did nothing and Stoke robbed him of possession.
The Potters' strong spell is put to an end courtesy of another miscued speculative effort, this time from Wilson, and Newcastle have a goal kick.
From the ensuing corner, Stoke cause all kind of problems as, after a goalmouth scramble, it falls to Adam on the right wing. He whips an extremely dangerous ball into the area but Debuchy manages, somehow, to divert the ball behind for a corner. That could, to employ the well-worn football cliche, have gone anywhere!
Stoke's spell of possession continues as they stroke the ball around nicely, before threading Walters through behind the Newcastle defence. It's Adam with the ball and, though it looks as though the Stoke forward is through on goal, Williamson recovers well, putting the ball behind for a corner.
Stoke look to assert themselves on the contest as they get the ball down and enjoy some possession as the back. Adam looks to open the play out but his attempted switch is cut out by Debuchy.
Newcastle, as one might expect, continue to enjoy the majority of possession as Debuchy almost works an opening down the right. He gets forward well but his cross is blocked and, subsequently, the ball is cleared by a Stoke defender.
Long distance efforts aplenty in the early stages here as it's Gouffran's turn to try a speculative effort. Coming in from the left wing, he elects to shoot despite a good run from Debuchy, but his effort is poor, trickling well wide of the far post.
Ben Arfa goes close! He comes in from the right wing, cleverly getting the ball onto his left and curling towards the top corner. It's a smart effort but not quite smart enough - the ball whistles past the crossbar and Stoke have a goal kick.
Crouch tries an audacious effort! He takes a chipped ball into him down on the chest before swivelling in one movement and striking on the volley. It is looping in but, in all honesty, Krul is never troubled and gathers the ball fairly easily.
Newcastle open the game with a spell of possession as Remy sets Sissoko away down the left. The rangy midfielder ships it onto his right before having a pop at goal from distance. It's deflected, however, and Sorensen claims with ease.
And Stoke get proceedings underway! The away side kick off as they look to continue their run of good form by causing another upset today.
And we're minutes away from kick-off here as both sides are out on the pitch on a cold day at St. James' Park.
Stoke, meanwhile, make two changes from their win over Aston Villa as Charlie Adam comes in for Marco Arnautovic just behind the frontman, while there's also a change in goal as the injured Asmir Begovic makes way for Thomas Sorensen.
Alan Pardew is forced into making one change from the side that triumphed against Crystal Palace as, with Cheikh Tiote suspended, Hatem Ben Arfa returns to the starting eleven in his absence.
Stoke: Sorensen; Cameron, Shawcross, Wilson, Pieters; Whelan, N'Zonzi, Walters, Adam, Assaidi; Crouch. Subs: Butland, Muniesa, Palacios, Jones, Arnautovic, Wilkinson, Ireland.
Newcastle: Krul; Debuchy, Coloccini, Williamson, Santon; Sissoko, Cabaye, Anita; Ben Arfa, Remy, Gouffran. Subs: Elliot, Yanga-Mbiwa, S.Taylor, Haidara, Obertan, Shola Ameobi, Cisse.
And here come the team line-ups:
However, despite their position, they undoubtedly remain more concerned with the bottom of the Premier League table, as they are just eight points from safety in what looks set to be an extremely tight relegation race. If Stoke are to prosper in that race, points in games like these could prove vital and, with his team high on confidence, Mark Hughes will fancy his chances of claiming a scalp at St. James' Park today - this could be a cracker befitting of the festive period!
However, Stoke have, of late, been no slouches either, embarking on an unbeaten run of their own - they have yet to lose in the league this December and can now include Chelsea among their list of notable scalps this season. As a result of their strong showing over the past month, Mark Hughes' men have been left sitting in the lower reaches of the top half.
Alan Pardew's men have lost just once in their last eight and are sitting pretty in fourth, just four points adrift of a Champions League qualification berth. What's more is that they've been imperious at home since October, having not lost in front of their fans in six home league games. With hope slowly growing in the north-east, a win today in a potentially tricky fixture could really cement Newcastle's top four credentials.
With yesterday's festivities over and done with, it's time to focus once more on what's important: football. And, in Newcastle, that focus turns to their Boxing Day clash with Stoke City. The Magpies have been on an excellent run of late and The Toon fans will be hoping that they can carry that form into this festive fixture.
Good afternoon and welcome to live coverage of today's Premier League clash between Newcastle and Stoke, I'm Sam Wells and I'll be guiding you through today's proceedings.
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