Can Issa Diop grow into West Ham talisman?


West Ham were soundly beaten by Manchester City last weekend, losing 4-0.

Martin Dubravka bemoaned a "sloppy" performance from Newcastle United after Rafa Benitez's side suffered their heaviest defeat of the season.

Diop delivered another masterclass on Saturday to help the Hammers earn an impressive 3-0 away victory at St James' Park against Newcastle.

"I don't think we played particularly badly, but we gave them too many opportunities to score and they punished us".

"We need to stay concentrated for 90 minutes".

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He said: "Arnautovic, Felipe Anderson, Snodgrass and Hernandez, four players - all of them have quality, all of them have pace, they have ability, that's the point".

Jack Wilshere is nearly 100 per cent fit but it remains to be seen if Manuel Pellegrini names him in the first eleven.

West Ham have been left sweating over the fitness of defensive duo Aaron Creswell and Fabian Balbuena ahead of the visit of Cardiff.

They got their noses in front courtesy of Javier Hernandez's 12th-minute strike and then picked off the Magpies at will with a display of lethal counter-attacking football.

Meanwhile, frustrated Newcastle boss, Rafael Benitez, said: "I can not complain of the effort of the players or the commitment but again today we had chances, but they scored theirs".

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West Ham defender signed for £22million (BBC) in the summer from Toulouse and he looks like an incredible investment for the club.

The Hammers boss said: 'There were very few words that I spoke with him at the beginning of the season.

This was the first of seven Premier League matches in December for West Ham and a sizeable points tally will be expected.

Anderson's pace down the left caused Newcastle all kinds of problems, but it was Mexico worldwide Hernandez who put them to the sword.

"We know he's a six-yard box player, and that if you cross or put a good ball in, he's always there in the right place at the right moment", said Zabaleta.

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"We played with two strikers with Marko and him, and it was good, but everyone individually was on their game".