Newcastle 3 Everton 1
Kieran Trippier scored a stunning free-kick as Newcastle boosted their survival hopes and dragged Everton firmly into the Premier League relegation battle.
The £12million January signing’s first Magpies goal cemented a 3-1 win over the Toffees and ensured Frank Lampard’s first league game as manager ended in defeat.
Unfortunate first-half own goals from Jamaal Lascelles and Mason Holgate had left the sides locked together at the break, but it was Newcastle - who handed a debut to £35million new boy Bruno Guimaraes as a late substitute - who eventually got themselves over the line courtesy of Ryan Fraser's scruffy strike and Trippier's effort in front of a passionate crowd of 52,186 at St James' Park.
The win — just their third of the campaign, but second in succession — left them just a point behind the Merseyside club, who succumbed despite the introduction of newcomers Dele Alli and Donny van de Beek from the bench.
The Magpies' Aston Villa loanee Matt Targett saw plenty of the ball during the early stages, although it was Jonjo Shelvey who sent a dipping second-minute shot over Jordan Pickford's crossbar after latching on to Yerry Mina's loose pass.
After a ferocious start by the home side, the visitors started to work their way into the game with Andre Gomes and Allan steadying the ship in the middle of the field, although Andros Townsend was unable to make the most of Seamus Coleman’s driven ninth-minute cross.
Richarlison might have done better when allowed time and space to shoot by Fabian Schar, but dragged his effort wide, and with Anthony Gordon — who was floored by a rugged challenge which cost Shelvey a yellow card and might have been punished more severely — prospering in the space between the Magpies’ defence and midfield, the Toffees were causing problems.
They made the pressure tell nine minutes before the break, if in slightly fortuitous circumstances when Holgate saw his shot cleared off the line by Schar, only for the ball to ricochet off team-mate Lascelles and into the net.
However, the Newcastle skipper and the Everton defender’s fortunes changed markedly within seconds when Lascelles’ header from a Trippier corner hit the underside of the crossbar and then Holgate before crossing the line.
The second half unfolded in equally committed style and Jarrad Branthwaite, who had replaced the injured Yerry Mina before the break, was left with a painful reminder of his evening on Tyneside when Pickford caught him as he punched a cross clear.
But the keeper was picking the ball out of his net for the second time 11 minutes after the restart when Fraser stabbed Allan Saint-Maximin’s deflected cross past him despite his best efforts on the line.
Everton’s efforts to work their way back into the game were laboured and the game became increasingly ill-tempered as time ran down.
Trippier effectively ended their hopes with 10 minutes remaining when he curled an unstoppable free-kick past England team-mate Pickford, and it might have been even worse has substitute Jacob Murphy not been denied by a post late on.
West Ham 1 Watford 0
Kurt Zouma got a first taste of the public outcry towards his cat-kicking shame as West Ham beat Watford 1-0.
Jarrod Bowen’s second-half goal secured a much-needed victory for the top-four hopefuls, but the main talking point was the controversial inclusion of Zouma. The French defender was named in the starting line-up despite a police enquiry into a video showing him dropping, kicking and slapping his pet cat, and despite the club insisting that it “unreservedly condemns the actions of our player”.
Watford’s visiting fans were quick to make their feelings clear by relentlessly booing Zouma’s every touch and chanting, among other things, ‘RSPCA, RSPCA’.
Former West Ham players Joe Cole and James Collins, at the match working as pundits, felt the club had made a mistake in refusing to drop the 27-year-old. Cole told BT Sport “I think it’s a miscalculation by the club. He could have sat this one out,” while Collins said on BBC Radio 5 Live: “I think there is a lot of anger and rightly so. I personally don’t think it is the right call.”
Yet despite the widespread revulsion towards the disturbing footage, Hammers manager David Moyes stuck with Zouma "because he is one of our better players". Moyes added on BT Sport before the match: "It is certainly ongoing and the club are dealing with it, so that is a separate matter."
The priority for Moyes was clearly getting West Ham’s Champions League challenge back on track after successive defeats but it felt like he really had not read the room, especially as an online petition calling on Zouma to be “prosecuted for animal cruelty” had attracted 25,000 signatures by the time the match kicked off.
Relegation-threatened Watford arrived at the London Stadium fresh from a first clean sheet of the season in a goalless draw at Burnley in Roy Hodgson’s first game in charge.
They almost took an early lead when Juraj Kucka headed Hassane Kamara’s cross narrowly wide.
West Ham should have gone ahead shortly before half-time when Bowen’s clever reverse pass found Said Benrahma eight yards out. After Benrahma’s initial shot was blocked by Hornets keeper Ben Foster, the Algeria international crashed the rebound against the outside of the post.
The goal came after 68 minutes with Watford standing off Bowen as he drove through the centre. The England hopeful’s low shot clipped the heel of Hornets defender Samir, sending Foster the wrong way as the ball trickled into the net.
Watford’s best chance to equalise fell to Kucka, who was teed up by Joshua King 15 yards out but blazed his effort over the crossbar. Bowen almost doubled the advantage with six minutes remaining but Foster tipped his curler onto the post.