West Ham United 0-2 Newcastle United
- Goals: Callum Wilson (£6.5m), Jeff Hendrick (£5.0m)
- Assists: Hendrick, Miguel Almiron (£6.0m)
- Bonus: Hendrick x3, Wilson x2, Jamal Lewis (£4.5m) x1
Dream debuts for Callum Wilson (£6.5m) and Jeff Hendrick (£5.0m) helped Newcastle to an impressive opening-day win at West Ham.
It’s fair to say, however, that seasoned Fantasy Premier League (FPL) watchers might not wish to board the Wilson hype-train just yet.
The striker is currently in the top ten for Gameweek 2 transfers-in, but many more managers are probably too busy recalling previous bouts of trolling from the ex-Bournemouth man to take the plunge on a player with a history of both scoring streaks and long, barren spells.
Although the match as a whole lacked quality, the first half was entertaining enough for one that finished goalless.
Wilson showed early signs of his danger, twice latching onto left-back Jamal Lewis (£4.5m) crosses but steering a header, and then a shot, wide of the near post.
No Newcastle player created more chances than Lewis and his attractive price point could boost his ownership levels – currently standing at just 1.6% – once the Magpies have navigated a tricky run involving Spurs away and a visit from Manchester United over the next four Gameweeks.
He certainly impressed on Saturday evening, having endured a poor 2019/20 season in which he managed to concede more goals (56) than he scored points (48).
The Hammers shrugged off those early threats to create chances of their own, with both Angelo Ogbonna (£5.0m) and Pablo Fornals (£6.5m) hitting the Newcastle bar before the team’s second most popular FPL pick, among starters at least, came close to breaking the deadlock.
That man was the 6.2%-owned Tomas Soucek (£5.0m), who returned from a period in quarantine to steer a header just wide following an excellent Ryan Fredericks (£4.5m) cross.
And that, aside from a couple of other wayward attempts, was that for Soucek, leaving the (arguably) good value midfielder with an (undeniably) horrible schedule to come, with the Hammers up against Arsenal, Wolves, Leicester, Spurs, Manchester City and Liverpool over the next six Gameweeks.
That should dissuade further investment in David Moyes’ players, and those owning Michail Antonio (£6.5m and 10.8%) could be forgiven for eyeing alternatives up front after a tough opener for their man.
The former midfielder was the loneliest of lone strikers against Newcastle, with Jarrod Bowen (£6.5m) trying, and frequently failing, to make up the ground to provide him with some support up front.
And while West Ham did manage three shots on target to the visitors two, one of those came in injury time at the end of a game well and truly won by Newcastle by then.
That victory came courtesy of two second-half goals.
Wilson opened the scoring, and his Newcastle account, when he hooked home at the near-post from a Hendrick flick on.
The midfielder then sealed the deal late in the game with a sweet strike from just inside the area after good work by substitute Miguel Almiron (£6.0m).
Wilson, who worked well with Andy Carroll (£5.5m) up front, looked lively throughout and was close to a second when Javier Manquillo‘s (£4.5m) cross just eluded him, allowing Lukasz Fabianski (£5.0m) to clear.
The only Fantasy blot on a good day for the Magpies was a blank for their most popular asset, the 23.2%-owned Allan Saint-Maximin (£5.5m), who managed only one (off target) shot, put over just the one cross and created precisely zero chances.
Not that his boss, Steve Bruce, cared. He was too busy singing the praises of his new boys, and one older one.
The last week has been a positive week for everybody, the impact the signings have made, the supporters in particular will like the look of them. That is certainly the best I have seen of Andy Carroll since the year he has been back. He has scored a couple of goals in pre-season and when he plays like that and he stays well, we know what sort of competitor he is.
That is unlikely to signal a stampede to get Big Andy in our Fantasy teams, but Wilson is an entirely different matter. If – and it’s a big if – he can find some consistency for his new team, he won’t stay £6.5m and 10%-owned for long.
As for West Ham, Moyes was refreshingly direct about the match.
I didn’t enjoy the performance and didn’t enjoy the game.
Looking at that evil upcoming schedule, he might not be enjoying anything for a while yet.
West Ham United XI (4-2-3-1): Fabianski; Cresswell, Ogbonna, Diop, Fredericks; Soucek, Rice; Fornals (Haller 67′), Noble (Yarmolenko 67′), Bowen (Anderson 89′); Antonio.
Newcastle United XI (4-4-2): Darlow; Manquillo, Fernández, Lascelles, Lewis; Hendrick, Hayden, Shelvey, Saint-Maximin (Joelinton 75′); Wilson (Almiron 85′), Carroll (S Longstaff 88′).
FPL Lessons Learned from Gameweek 1
- Fulham 0-3 Arsenal
- Crystal Palace 1-0 Southampton
- Liverpool 4-3 Leeds United
- West Ham United 0-1 Newcastle United
- West Bromwich Albion 0-3 Leicester City
- Tottenham Hotspur 0-1 Everton
- Sheffield United 0-2 Wolves
- Brighton and Hove Albion 1-3 Chelsea