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WHUFC vs Burnley 3/11/2018 EPL 2018-2019

November 6, 2018 Leave a comment

IMG_6705Once again a late submission, but times are busy these days.

A game we really needed to win as our opponents are not having the best of seasons and we need to close the gap on the middle tier, as we hit our supposedly easier run of games (including city in the middle), which takes us to December.

Injuries mean Grady held his place on the right (ahead of Antonio) and Obiang came in for suspended Noble.  Anderson also started of Antonio, for reasons best known to the manager. He has had no issues dropping players for poor performances previously, and surely Felipe is in that category.

Anyway we get going and seem to be in no problems , moving the ball around comfortably and they don’t overload the midfield which probably does us a favour.

After 10 mins Marko robbed an outgoing ball from their defence to slot home the first, and to be honest it was going to be a case of how many. But Burnley defended well and in spells had the ball, but didn’t trouble the hammers. Until just before half time when with pretty much their first shot on target they scored.

We retook the lead when Anderson bent one round Joe Hart, only to be pegged back again from a corner (again).

For the last 30 mins we brought on Hernandez and having 2 up top made such a difference. I know I have been banging on about this for some time , but we really need to bite the bullet and just bloody do it. It gives Marko licence to go wide if needed and it was him linking up with Anderson that got our 3rd, sealed with a typical assured finish by Hernandez in injury time to take all the points and cushion the gap to the bottom 3.

So , is the heat off Anderson ? From this house, no it’s not. Still not willing to put in a tackle. He woke up once he realised the competition wasn’t much. We cannot carry flat track bullies, but maybe the 2 up top option will give him more space in front to do his stuff, but the jury is still out.

Balbuena and Diop were fantastic again ,but need more help because letting in 2 goals at home normally means 0 points.

Rice is getting better and better and I imagine that contract is getting more expensive. It also looks like Zaba might be on his way come the end of the season, so Frederick’s needs to up his game if the cup game against Totts reserves was anything to go by.

MOTM Balbuena.

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WHUFC vs Tottenham 20/10/2018 EPL 2018-2019

October 22, 2018 Leave a comment

I’ll be brief as its a late file (not feeling too clever). Lets get to the ending first , the spuds won their cup final, but once again , like Wolves a draw would have been a fair result.

We started Cresswell for Masuaku (required) and Snodgrass came in for the injured Obiang. The bench was attack heavy, so we needed to play well.

We actually did. Just one lack of concentration by Declan Rice just before half time let Lamella in to score the only goal of the game.  Maybe this might bring him on that bit more (as would giving him the contract he wants!).

Cresswell gave us balance at the back, however having Anderson in front of him hindered him somewhat. The fella was useless, like really poor. When you have 3 attempts at a corner and cannot get it over the first man, you really need to take a  look at yourself. Noble used to do this and we took him out of the firing line. But at least Noble would win a tackle and not dally around doing the root of nothing. Once flash goal against Man U doesn’t make a season, and the boss needs to pull this fella in before he really flops at the club. Especially when our U23 player Grady Diangana came on early for the injured Yarmalenko and didn’t look out of place at all. Which doesn’t bode well for  Antonio, who didn’t see game time until well into the second half.

It was nice to see 2 up top with the introduction of Hernandez ion the second half to play alongside Arnie, but it may have been too little too late.

One thing that I did see, which I hope was just the ref having a a bad day at the office, was Harry Kane seemed to get away with murder. Diving,  shoving, fouling, all not penalised. It was like Shearer had never retired.

MOTM by a mile was Diop. He’s forming a great partnership with Balbuena and long may that continue. I just hope that some of these poor results but massive reviews for him, don’t turn his head.

 

WHUFC vs Manchester United EPL 2018-2019 29/09/2018

September 30, 2018 Leave a comment

Free scoring West Ham. Words never said in these pages before. But after 11 in a week and 2 comfortable wins at home in the bag, maybe we have changed into a more attacking force on a permanent basis.

Some may argue that 8-0 against Macclesfield doesn’t count. My argument is that not many pro games between any two teams irrespective of their position end up 8-0 , let alone one where the favourite hands out 3 debuts to u-21 players. Anyway, onto the main game. West Ham Man U games always seem to have something about them, whether its “Hands up if you are out of the FA cup” Fabian Bartez or Sweinstiger throwing people and balls into the goal. And obviously the last ever game at Upton Park. Winston Reid, nuff said.

Confidence was high coming into the game and the visitors seem to be in turmoil. Why I just don’t know. The reason I say I don’t know is that the squad and players available should not be having any issues. Seems to be mainly around Pogba and the lack of decent centre backs. Obviously Jose thought a defensive Pogba would cover the defensive frailties. Pogba and the rest of world seem to think he’s better further up the pitch. But Sky making it headline news with cameras at  Carrington ? Ridiculous. Would Fergie have them there ?

We started out of the blocks quickly and West Ham took the lead after 5 minutes with Anderson giving me a heart mumour, with his cheeky flick around De Gea.

Man U, as well as having an unfamiliar kit (pink ? Ecru? c.WHU 1996 ?) had an unfamiliar style. No swagger, no plan, and seemingly, no care. Is this the new Man U, or are the players staging a rebellion to off the manager ?

To be fair to them, they came back into it, forcing a couple of good saves from Fabianski. But we seem to be back on top by the end of the half, and we rode our luck as a Yarmalenko shot defected against Lindelof for our second. The second half was very much United but we seem to be really happy for them to have the ball, as we were dominating everywhere. Diop threw a tackle in on Lukaku that WHU forums are describing a Moore eske. Noble made Pogba look very poor, and PP ended up being subbed off after 70 mins. Masuaku and Anderson were linking up well on the left, to keep us ticking over. Yarma was subbed off rightly for Snodgrass. And what a sub. That fella was everywhere for the remainder of the game, harrying and breaking up play. Rashford made an impact after coming on and took his goal well.

Normally that would be a sign for WHU to collapse, but the new look hammers don’t do that, and a great pass from Noble sent Arnie through for our 3rd, and more importantly 3 points.

We rounded the game off by bringing on Wednesday’s  2 goal debutante Grady Diangana for a couple of minutes experience.

The stadium was lit, which really makes a change, and we deserved the win despite all the papers today banging on about Man U and their implosions.

MOTM was Noble by a mile. Every time this fella gets written off , he comes back and earns his stripes all over again. Having Rice just behind him, frees him into his best position.

Rice ? Just give him the contract. I understand after the Oxford fiasco, that giving a young lad a few bob can turn his head, but this is different. He now has plenty of games under his belt ,and seems to mature with every game. He also seems to be a magnet for the ball by his positioning and that is rare. If this drags out to January, we will lose him, plain and simple.

Its very interesting how MP has upgraded the team. Fabianski is a massive upgrade on the popular Adrian. Diop and Balbuena are streets ahead of Ogbonna plus 1. I think there will be a clear out in Jan ,and I see Antonio being near that door as well. He just doesn’t look right in the team any more. What’s really interesting is that all of those players were nailed on starters when fit last year, and not players I thought would be fringe this year.

Long may it continue. Phone was flat yesterday so pictures are courtesy of the Evening Standard.

 

WHUFC vs Wolverhampton Wanderers 01/09/2018 EPL 2018-2019

September 2, 2018 Leave a comment

With zero points from 3, we move onto a game which may have been more suited to our league position against a team enjoying their first run in the prem since the 2011-2012. Holding onto their Championship talisman Neves ,they have also signed West Ham target Dendoncker and Adama Traore from Boro.

West Ham this week enjoyed their first win of the season beating Wimbledon away in the League cup. Hopefully this gave the team some confidence moving into a game, while not a must win would be a big confident boost ahead of the international break. Of out 2 current mysterious injuries, Marko made the squad while Noble made the bench. What was interesting was Ogbonna was bombed out completely, and the centre back pairing consisted of Balbuena and League Cup scorer Diop.

So we start for the first time this season with one up top. Presumably to counter the fast midfield of the opposition. Should we be doing this at home ? No, is my opinion as we should use the OS to our advantage. This was borne out as even though WHU had the early advantage , Marko was on his own, against 3 defenders, and looked lost and almost disinterested. Snodgrass and Antonio were not as effective as they should be , but at least Snodgrass made an effort. That may be because Antonio started on the left. This is now 3 consecutive managers who are just trying to squeeze him in. He needs to either start on the right or not at all. Anderson seems to be a luxury we could do without right now despite him nearly opening the scoring early on. I don’t think he went past a player at any time in the game. Jack Wilshere was quite industrious in the middle. But with nothing going forward and when it did going nowhere, it was all huff and puff. Wolves were very tidy, and took advantage when they could and finished off the half on top.

Having seen Yarmolenko in mid week, my opinion was he needed to be on, and at the half time break he was duly introduced and made an effect almost immediately on the right and by playing further up the pitch. Anderson was still poor, but after 20 minutes Jack (who was starting to pull strings) was subbed for Obiang. Watching the body language suggests this was planned from the beginning. Once again I disagree. And I would have been wrong, as Obiang did liven things up and we seemed to have more connection with the front line. Hernandez was introduced maybe 10 minutes too late (75) and although he did link it up we still didn’t get any clear cut chances.

Our guests however, were getting better as the half went on (as per the first half – not sure if this is their “thing”) and the introduction of Traore gave some pace to attack our relatively solid centre back pairing. As the whole ground was getting ready to leave after a 6/10 0-0, Traore struck well from distance and beat Fabianski to nail us the bottom of the league and 0 points from 4 (last time this happened we went down).

A draw was the right result, but as in the Allardyce years , we have to play for the whole game and keep our concentration to keep this things more predictable.

Back to Wolves, fair play to them and big shout to their fans, who made themselves known the whole time. And had a big ole tifo flag, not seen in the away end since Juventus in 2016.

So what does Pellegrini do ? 2 up top is essential. Also, we have to be careful not to become the Marko show. I think making him the main man , is not good for him personality wise. Also, when him and Hernandez are on, surely Chicarito should be on the last man and not Marko. Once has played 3 World Cups and been a successful striker all his career, and the other, while good, has played up top for 1/2 a season. Marko also has the physical presence to win the balls and make the passes. Our midfield needs to be more consistent. Anderson left, Yarmo right, and Jack and Obiang in the middle. There, I’ve done it , I’ve dropped Noble. Only for a few weeks but he needs to see how he fits in this team, with the likes of Rice around as well. Diop seemed to play well yesterday which could be bad news for Ogbonna, as Balbuena was my MOTM.

No one is happy , and Everton away next. But if we play well, we stay up. Carry on chopping and changing and we get to have the most expensive team and stadium in the Championship, without the fighters required to get out of it.