If this was a movie it would be binned at submission for being too far fetched.
We have the return of the once great one to save the day again. We also have hero returning to the site of his recent exploits to see if he can repeat the formula from the dark side. And we have the introduction of a former hero, now into his dotage, to see if he can just one more time recreate the magic that made him famous throughout the land.
West Ham have never won their first three games in the Premier League but with 2 down and a 0 point Palace rolling into town, things were looking good for another small piece of history this weekend. Not to mention the chance to remain top of the league through the International break.
Getting into the ground was considerably easier this time around, but getting there 90 minutes before kick off helps !
My second visit of 2019 to the London Stadium also brought home the harrowing fact the in the Premier League era, Arsenal have beaten West Ham more than any other club. But the early kick off normally upsets the apple cart (and the Acca punters) and this game did its bit to keep up that tradition.
Rumours abounded around Arnie. He’s going, he’s staying, his brother is a shit stirrer, allsorts. My take is this. If he wishes to leave to play in empty stadiums, in a league that will also most likely mean he loses his international place as well, just for cash, then good luck to him. He earns more than he can spend already.
Also lets be realistic, if someone offered you twice your wages to do the same job somewhere else, you would take it. Maybe not in China, but at least your head will be turned. He left Stoke quick enough, and we are no different, such is the way of the modern footballer. They chop and change all the time. Reece Oxford is our 5th longest serving player currently !
So Arsenal, Wengerless and let off the leash. 22 game unbeaten runs, new broom, and no win in 4 away from home in the PL.
We started with probably with as good as team as we could, but this was no plucky little West Ham. All the big guns were there with the exception of Balbuena. Ogbonna has scared me this season, and early on did nothing to shake that feeling, as Rice had to get him out of a hole a couple of times as Lacazette gave him the run around. However , once the early nerves went, everyone did their job. Antonio was making the runs down the wing we got used to a few years ago. Diop seemed to get his confidence back (it took a few games with Balbuena as well, obviously doesn’t mix well with others!)
Rice and Noble dominated. Rice especially. I’m not the only one saying every game he gets better, but he does ! We have started passing instead of lumping. Nasri I thought was quiet after reading the report of the previous week but he did nothing wrong. Arnie was quiet, and I’m sure I saw Anderson make a tackle !
Just after half time (0-0), we get a bit of a ricochet ball in the box, which Nasri calmly tees up for Rice, and its top corner , one nil. Declan’s first goal for the senior team on his birthday weekend, 2 weeks after getting a new contract. Arnie take note.
After that , we looked assured and controlled the game. Arsenal had some longer range shots and did actually get the ball in the net twice, but with comically offside attempts. And that was that, no panic, no last hurrah from the opposition. A relatively painless win, except for Arnie who left early to be replaced by Carroll. He applauded all round the stadium as he left the field. I have commentated above on my opinion around this, so that’s that, or is it? Would you pay a potentially injured player 200k a week ?
Carroll looked sharper again, and closed down well, as did Snodgrass when introduced. We finally have a proper squad.
Obviously a lot of the credit has to go to the manager, who had kept banging on about installing a big team mentality into the team. But this needs to translate across to the fans as well. We can live in the past glories of being there just about in the league but always having a say in the title with a couple of big scalps a year or we can become the team that plays in front of 60k every week ,with big players, and expectations to match.
Gary Firmager used to say the worst thing to let loose at West Ham is expectation and back then he was right. But we have to accept that the fan base and the club has changed dramatically over the past few years, and we should now demand this level of team from our board.
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.
The season finished off on a bit of a high today as West Ham pulled apart an on the beach Everton in the last game of the season.
To be fair , it was easily the best performance I have seen us put out all season including beating Southampton 3-0 a few weeks a go. Noble commanded the midfield, Arnie was on point and linked up well with Mario. Lanzini had his usual poor start, but grew into the game and rounded off the first half with a tidy finish from an Arnie and Mario assist.
Everton didn’t really bring anything to the party. Davies put a shift in in the 2nd half and Baines seemed reasonably interested.
Arnie smashed in a second, which actually looked better because Pickford almost avoided it. Bodes well for the WC next month ! Everton got back in through a very Sam like goalmouth scramble, and then up popped Lanzini to leather in the WHU 3rd to seal the points and 13th in the league.
Of more interest was the interviews afterwards, as both managers have no idea what they are doing next season. Moyes tried to put a shine on by suggesting that with players coming back in and the last week’s performances that there is something to build on and he could be the architect. But level that against his pre Man U interview where he defended his top 8 + finishes and asked if the club could match his ambition. He also mentioned that the Burnley game was the turnaround for the season. In a nutshell he has the measure of the owners and they will have to buy big in the summer if he is to stay.
Sam started waffling about with no smoke without fire when asked if he was out. The Everton fans were not backward pointing out their opinion on their manager. Everton have more choice than us in the market and hopefully will see sense and bin the sanctimonious idiot. Mr 11/10 indeed.
Weird stuff in the ground today, loads of wall hung big WHU panels have gone up. I assume just in time for them all to come down over the close season, when the stadium owners have The Stones, The Foo fighters, Beyonce and Athletics in town.
Also the little temporary bars in the lower tier disappeared, which although a cost saving will be a pain the arse next season.
Special shout out to Ginge today who probably made his last appearance in our claret and blue. A quiet legend at West Ham over his two spells at the club, lets never forget his pointing at the board at the end of a game just before Xmas suggesting they don’t want to spend money. Also spending the last 2 away games in with the fans, and taking his kids with him. Top fella and there will also ever only be One Ginger Pele. One more season would be great but if he is off, then fair play and good luck to you big fella.
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.
Another day, another hiding. This week we have lost 4-1 to Man U away and now 5-1 at home to Arsenal. Things are not good, and only the fact that 3 teams appear to be worse than us is keeping us from dropping into the relegation zone. And having watched these games, I’m struggling to believe they are actually “worse” than us.
Slaven has an issue, the board have an issue and we as fans have an issue.
Slaven needs to raise the team back to last seasons levels. This is becoming difficult if what he said in the post match interview is anything to go by. He is aware the players aren’t putting a shift in and basically stated they are the same in training. Now I’m not close enough to say whether he has lost the dressing room, but things don’t look good. Even Mark Noble looks resigned. Continue reading “WHUFC vs Arsenal 03/12/2016 EPL 2016-2017”→
Really, really not a lot to say here that wasn’t summed up by Slaven, who stole my thunder with his “A draw was fair, as neither team deserved it”. Spot on big fella.
So let’s have a look why.
It’s often said in Boxing that styles make matches, and i think it’s fair to say that this was part of the issue yesterday. West Ham set themselves up in their new look 3-3-3-1. Stoke set up in a traditional 5-3-1. What this meant was as West Ham attacked they were swallowed up by the Stoke back 5, and Stoke’s natural defensive play with the ball was negated in the packed midfield. Continue reading “WHUFC vs Stoke City 05/11/2016 EPL 2016-2017”→