Paquetá responds to Newcastle’s fast start and salvages point for West Ham | Premier League
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As the price tag attached to Declan Rice almost certainly increased and Newcastle’s hopes of Champions League qualification receded a little, David Moyes’s grip on the manager’s job at West Ham tightened.

Admittedly Moyes is still inching his way back into boardroom favour and his side remain in relegation peril but a few more stellar performances of this hugely impressive ilk from Rice and his fellow midfielder Lucas Paquetá should ensure an ultimately happy ending in East London.

At the end of a week in which Newcastle had reached the Carabao Cup final, Eddie Howe was forced to settle for a fourth draw in the last five Premier League games as, once again, he received a reminder of the suspended Bruno Guimarães’s importance.

In some ways the game’s key sub-plot centred on two Brazilian midfielders who became on-field partners and close friends off it during their time at Lyon. While Guimarães eventually left France for Tyneside, Paquetá headed to the London Stadium where he is now doing his bit to keep Moyes in a job.

The biggest difference between them here was that while Guimarães watched intently from an executive box Paquetá proved incisive in Newcastle’s box, scoring West Ham’s equaliser on a day which started appallingly for the visitors.

In the third minute Joelinton and Sean Longstaff combined to intercept Lukasz Fabianski’s goal kick and Longstaff’s fine through ball prefaced Callum Wilson advancing to shoot, left footed, beyond West Ham’s goalkeeper.

It was Wilson’s first goal since October and offered swift consolation for Newcastle’s disappointment after 40 seconds when Joe Willock thought he had scored courtesy of a beautifully calibrated shot from a tight angle only to see it disallowed following a VAR review. Miguel Almirón was the culprit, the Paraguayan having allowed the ball to go out of play as he cued Willock up with a defence confounding cut-back but.

Callum Wilson celebrates with his Newcastle teammates.
Callum Wilson celebrates with his teammates after giving Newcastle an early lead. Photograph: Serena Taylor/Newcastle United/Getty Images

The pensiveness writ large across Moyes’s face suggested he was not entirely looking forward to the ensuing 90 minutes or so. Barely 30 minutes later the Scot was sporting a smile as wide as the Tyne. When Rice whipped in a near post corner, Nayef Aguerd flicked on and, lurking at the far post, Paquetá converted the equaliser unerringly, Newcastle’s new-found defensive solidity evaporated.

It was the first time Nick Pope had retrieved the ball from the back of his net in seven Premier League games and reflected the shift in the game’s power balance which had begun when Rice galvanised his teammates by issuing them with quite a talking to following Wilson’s goal.

After starting strongly Newcastle were beginning to miss Guimarães’s controlling influence in a central midfield department dictated by Rice and could have done without Willock collecting a yellow card for fouling Paquetá.

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“Declan’s going to be a top player; undoubtedly he’ll be a British transfer record when he leaves West Ham – and then some,” said Moyes who also had Aguerd to thank for an excellent defensive performance crowned by a goal-preventing tackle on Wilson. “But I hope that’s not anytime soon. Declan and Paquetá were immense, top quality. Newcastle are a big, big side and we got our fingers burnt at first but, after that, we played incredibly well.”

With the ring rusty, and ultimately disconsolate looking, Allan Saint-Maximin struggling to make a positive impact during a rare start it was no real surprise when he was eventually withdrawn and replaced by Anthony Gordon, making his Newcastle debut after his £45m signing from Everton.

The new boy swiftly showed off a nifty change of pace and some pleasingly fancy footwork but afterwards Howe did not look exactly overjoyed about reports Gordon had been caught driving while disqualified. “I’m aware of it,” he said. “I’m not sure the story quite matches up but I need to find out more.”

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