First off, I know its been a while. Work and other things have been taking up most of my time and I just haven’t had the opportunity to put fingers to keyboard. Even my twitter posting is down 61% for April (@mrben09) .
Anyway yesterday was a beautiful day, and we welcomed Swansea to Corp HQ. The Swans are usually 3 points for us, but currently we are slipping down the table like a drunk octopus and although Swansea let go a winning position late on Wednesday night, generally Paul Clement seems to have turned the corner for them.
First off welcome back to the blog. Things have been pretty busy. I do have 2 more entries lined up around a trip to Vegas and a trip to Dubai but time has conspired against me. If there is any interest in the comments, I’ll fire them up.
So onto the show. The longer the summer went on the more concerned I was about our new home. Would there be atmosphere? Is my seat any good? Will it feel like home? Well after a sample size of one, I can say Yes, Fantastic, This will take time.
The ground itself is well laid out and as it was nearly full last night (53K), the atmosphere took a bit of knock early on as everyone is sitting with new neighbours, etc and was feeling things out, so after a rousing chorus of bubbles to begin with (slight lump in throat) things were a little flat (with the exception of both Kouyate goals) . However once people were settled things got going, and for most of the second half you could be in Upton Park, same songs, same sounds. Bearing in mind there were more than a few day trippers yesterday, we need to witness a league game to really compare.
The game. We were 2 -1 down from the first leg, which was a poor show. We still don’t have our Euro participants except for Randolph, so last night we lined up with Reece Oxford pairing with Winston Reid and Nordveit playing in the midfield. The bug bear of nearly all WHU social media “commentators” was also apparent, with Antonio playing right back, and Byram playing left back. This has to stop. Obviously losing Cresswell at LB was not planned, but come on, a professional football team playing a RB at LB, and Right Winger at RB. Especially one who has made it clear he doesn’t want to play there. Needs must, but we will get torn apart in the PL with this strategy. Antonio, for all his talents, is not a defender, and if this carries on I can see him leaving this window.
Seeing Oxford back was great and I hope not temporary. He obviously is not 100% on staying as some seriously big boys are sniffing around, and he hasn’t signed his new contract. 18 years old and £18mn quid could turn anyone’s head. It’s a worry if I’m honest, not just for us, but for him. At this stage Ogbonna and Reid are better, but we cannot let him go to City or United and become the next Scott Sinclair or Wilfried Zaha. This kid is being touted as the future of England, and surely we are in a position to now keep someone like that. It’s Rio Ferdinand all over again.
We started very patiently, very happy to keep the ball and not waste chances. Valencia as is his want, went off and lost the ball from innocuous positions once or twice but we are used to that now (10mn from Swansea? I’ll drive him there myself). One of our other new signings Feghouli looked lively, as did Kouyate. Oxford looked composed with Reid but in reality they were not under pressure. As is the pattern in these types of game, our opposition were all behind then ball and not bothered about throwing a lively tackle in. This makes getting real chance a challenge. However just after the quarter hour, a ball came out to Byram on the corner of the box. He took a shot, which was mishit and it went past Kouyate, who stuck out one of his Inspector Gadget legs to poke it home and put himself in the history books. From then in it was more of the same, and Antonio made a fantastic run down the line to rescue a ball destined for a thrown on. He got it under control and chucked it in the box and Kouyate got his second from again picking up the second ball. Maybe if Antonio was a winger he could get assists like this every week !
Randolf had little to do all half, and the extra week of training and fitness looked to be paying off, as this WHU were about 50% quicker to everything than the pale imitation of last week.
Second half was pretty boring to be honest. NK had a couple of long range shots and we tried some route 1, down the wings to Valencia and Feghouli. After a couple of misfires, Feghouli finally realised diving wasn’t getting him anywhere and latched onto a great pass from Noble to pop in the 3rd. Game over.
We are now one round away from the group stag so it will be interesting what team he puts out for those games. Last year Slav was pretty clear about priorities and let the fans know before tickets were sold. It’s also against the team that knocked us out last time, Astra Giurgiu.
So stage fright didn’t happen and we probably don’t need the Juventus friendly, but hey it wouldn’t be us without some element of poor planning. New place is nice for now, let’s see once the novelty wears off and I didn’t have to Q up the side of Queens Market for an hour to get the tube.
Yesterday we welcomed one of the new teams to the Premiership. I for one, was not sure of victory as we had had a tough game at Leicester during the week, which was lost in extra time. This was born out by the WHU start which was leggy to say the best. Noble and Kouyate especially were out of sorts and just looked knackered. Just as well we are not still in Europe !
Noble summed this up just before the 10 minute mark, by directing a lazy pass across our goal looking for Tomkins. This was intercepted by Brady who coolly opened the scoring for the canaries.
West Ham huffed and puffed throughout the half. Just after the half hour mark we managed an equalizer when Payet and Sakho combined well to finish with a tap in to make it 1 – 1 at half time.
No subs at half time for WHU , which surprised me, as I wouldn’t have been amazed to see neither Noble, Koutaye, or Jenkinson come out for the second half.
The second half was very much more of the same in what was becoming a easy to forget game. Nathan Redmond came on near the end and I imagine thought he had scored the winner when once again Noble fell short to allow Redmond’s shot to find Adrian’s bottom corner.
Then WHU woke up, and we threw everything at them including Andy Carroll who got himself into a couple of good positions, which were well covered by Ruddy, who also made a great save from Payet. Ruddy’s luck ran out when he tried to punch out a Free kick with Carroll bearing down on him and got it as far as Kouyate, who finished well to secure a draw with seconds to go
So, a point at home keeps us in 3rd and 1 point closer to Man City, but Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham, are 2 points closer to us. Fairplay to Slaven, who had no problem taking off our Captain, as he was having a shocker, maybe a little earlier next time. He also finished with 2 up top, which is encouraging, but with Moses and Payet, you will always have some sort of forward presence.
The Norwich fans seem to be turning into some sort of Palace style “Ultra” support model, which is funny if nothing else.
MOTM was both goalkeepers who kept the goals with some great saves, especially Adrian with his face, which must of stung a bit. With all these saves you would think the game was a classic, it really wasn’t. It was a bit of an attritional game and the score was about right, although Norwich may feel they shaded it, but they did sacrifice the lead twice.
Hopes were high as The Hammers entertained their struggling opponents under the lights at the Boleyn. Newcastle were not having the best start of the season ever, but WHU were yet to register a point at home, whilst taking full points on the road at Arsenal and (historically) Liverpool.
Since that game at Anfield, some 4 players have joined WHU and one made his debut last night as Victor Moses came in for Obiang, and Tomkins found himself once more in the right back berth. Mark Noble also made his first appearance as officially the club captain, although with the fans he has held that position since Scott Parker left.
WHU started the game with a spring in their step, with Payet and Koutyate especially taking the game to the Geordies. The players seemed happy to close down, move around and make quick passes. Something we haven’t seen for a while. In the 9th minute a neat interchange between Noble and Sakho fed the ball to the edge of the box to Payet, and he shaped up perfectly to meet the ball in his stride to smash it into the top corner
As is usual for WHU the game started to drift and although we maintained the attacks, we were not really making the best of our chances. The Newcastle No.8 Vumon Anita was playing as a one man defence and was stopping everything and everyone coming his way. We continued as is now usual to half time, content to be ahead but not really pushing. But it must be said we were playing further up the pitch than normal and not buggering about passing it around the back.
It made a change not to go in 2-0 down at home, so happy days.
Once again we started the second half with the wind in our sails attacking the Bobby Moore. We cleared an early attack from Newcastle to Moses who ran the whole length of the pitch and got himself in on goal. He shoots, beats the keeper, but not the bar. The rebound comes straight out to Payet who volleys it in to make it 2-0. Big shout to the the team here, as Payet ran off on his own to celebrate, everyone else was congratulating Moses, who had his head in his hands ! From here on, Payet ran the show and gave us his full set of tricks and passes. This started to breed confidence within the team and soon everyone was at it. Against a better team we may of suffered , but Newcastle could not capitalise on the showboat circus. Even Mark Noble was taking people on and getting crosses in. There were back heels and fancy passes all over the place. The crowd were loving it, but occasionally you could see where the loss of the ball could reduce the deficit easily. The biggest cheer of the evening was reserved for the reintroduction of Andy Carroll (again), who nearly picked up a yellow card with his first touch (or non touch as it was on Tim Krull). His five minute cameo ended the night perfectly. The crowd were chanting “Are you watching Allardyce” for the last few minutes in between cheering on the back flicks and nutmegs.
2-0 to the Irons and 5th place in the league with Man City up next to hold on to our perfect away record this season (!). Why are we playing better? My theory is that now that we have a real squad, competition for places is driving players to play a higher standard of football. Lets hope this continues Messrs Bilic and Dicks
On a side note, Kevin Nolan was on Goals on Sunday this weekend and spoke glowingly of the club and his time there. With the stick people (myself included) have given him for the last 6 months, fair play to him, especially having his boy in a WHU kit. In parting, good luck to him in his future endeavours.
So in short, we have a top, top, quality flair player in midfield,backed up with some steel, we can pass balls all over the shop without fear, we score some tremendous goals, we can defend and attack in numbers, we are all in it together, and are always on the edge of going too far and screwing it all up.
THE WEST HAM WAY IS BACK !!!!!
MOTM: Payet, big shouts to Moses, Kouyate, Noble, and Tomkins.
Last season two of our most admired players were Aaron Cresswell and Carl Jenkinson . Aaron picked up Hammer of the year and Jenks was the first name on the shopping list for most fans following his successful season on loan.
Yesterday, they both had shockers and gifted all 4 goals to Bournemouth. First up was Cresswell slipping over to allow an easy cross and shot, followed by passing a ball straight into the path of Hat Trick Hero Callum Wilson to net his second.
I have been back a few hours since the end of game wondering what to write, and to be fair I’m still struggling. Anyone with knowledge of these two teams current form could have written this at 10am this morning.
Before the start of the game, a mention was made offering condolences to Ex- Hammer Rio Ferdinand and his family following the tragic loss of his wife that morning. Nice touch and the chants of Rio, Rio, echoing around the Bobby Moore bought a bit of a lump to my throat. Continue reading “WHUFC vs Burnley EPL 2014 -2015 02/05/2015”→
Last Weekend, thieves performed an old school heist on a safety deposit box vault in the centre of London. It is thought to be one of the biggest robberies ever in the UK. It would have been beaten into clear second place if WHU had secured all 3 points today. Continue reading “WHUFC vs Stoke City 11/04/2015 – EPL”→
Its been a while so even though I’ve watched this on the telly, I thought I’d put in a match report.
Spurs had a tough game against Florentina a few days earlier and WHU had a weeks rest after their embarrassing exit from the FA cup at the hands of West Brom the previous weekend. So we had a chance, but recent games would suggest the opposite with Spurs and Harry Kane on the rise and WHU losing form like a 3 legged horse.
First WHU blog of this year, as various work and personal stuff has kept me away from Upton Park for nearly 6 weeks. This post up until about 45 seconds from the end of the game was going to be based on the famous Norwegian “We beat your boys ” speech. However as we probably all know by now, Danny Blind , shinned in an equalizer in the dying seconds of the game.
Games ends one-one and 30 odd thousand WHU fans go home royally pissed.
That said Kouyate as well as scoring, played very well as a drafted in centre back. Everyone in fact played well including everyones favourite hammer, Kevin Nolan. Yep. He actually played well.
We have been talking about getting in centre backs as cover for ages, but no, we spend most of transfer deadline day pissing about lodging good strikers to buy pain in the backside strikers, and moving on wingers who have had no opportunities and then failed at all of the above. Hence today we play one of our best midfielders next to James Tomkins. And we still dont know what’s happening to Winston Reid. Well, we do but no one wants to admit it.
Our opponents today were the rejuvenated Man Utd. And to be honest they didn’t look a patch on previous teams I’ve seen over the years. Falcao will not be there next season based on his performance, not to mention missing a clear opportunity. Rooney cannot be enjoying playing the midfield with Van Persie, Falcao and Di Maria missfiring all over the place. Jones still doesn’t look good enough to lead the Man U defence and should be replaced at the earliest chance.
I’m sure in time we will respect the point, but at the moment, I feel as if we threw away 2 points. Even more annoying, is our opponents will feel they won a point. I did call a representative from Man U for a quote but unfortunately couldn’t get through so you will just have to believe me when I say they were lucky to get anything.
MOTM Kouyate, and hopefully WHU are back on the road to winning after our recent blips.
A bit of an odd one. As Chelsea, Arsenal, Totts and these two London clubs were all playing in the capital yesterday, our games kicked off at 16.20? A new one even for Sky.
Arriving in Green Street wasn’t quite the same as Wembley Way for the NFL, but we did have a band in the car park. Some good old Ska from the SkaTonics who were covering Guy Lombardo’s (and latterly Prince Buster’s and The Specials) Enjoy Yourself. Being a bit of a 2 Tone man myself, I stuck around for a couple of tracks and then headed in with a spring in my step.