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WHUFC vs Arsenal 12/01/2019 EPL 2018-2019

January 14, 2019 Leave a comment

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.

MOTM Declan Rice. All day long. Happy birthday !

Little bit wobbly.

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 Everton 15/05/2018 EPL 2018-2019

May 13, 2018 Leave a comment

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Don’t see this often

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.

MOTM Lanzini

WHUFC vs Tottenham Hotspur EPL 2016/2017 06/05/2017

May 6, 2017 Leave a comment

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Cast your mind back to 2006 and this. Well #ItHappenedAgain but minus the Lasagna.

Our friends from round the 406 popped over for a pre weekend festivity in our first (I think) Friday night game for while (ever ?).

A win for the visitors would guarantee them second and really put the pressure on Chelsea for the title. More of a cup final for the Totts than they want to believe. Read more…

WHUFC vs Swansea City 08/04/2017 EPL 2016-2017

April 9, 2017 Leave a comment

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.

Read more…

WHUFC vs Crystal Palace 14/01/2017 EPL 2106-2017

January 15, 2017 Leave a comment

Warning Explicit content early on:

Read more…

WHUFC vs Arsenal 03/12/2016 EPL 2016-2017

December 4, 2016 Leave a comment

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Empty, expensive seats…..

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. Read more…

WHUFC vs Stoke City 05/11/2016 EPL 2016-2017

November 6, 2016 Leave a comment

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That time of year – Lest we Forget.

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. Read more…

WHUFC vs Southampton 25/09/2016 EPL 2016 -2017

September 25, 2016 Leave a comment

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I didn’t blog after our killer win against the might of Accrington Stanley (exactly !) on Wednesday because basically it was shit. But Slaven did put out all the new boys, and I thought had worked out that Antonio goes back on the right, Tore goes home and Zaza needs to knuckle down.

So we start today with no Tore or Feghouli, Antonio on the right, and Zaza up top with Payet and Lanzini for company. So far so good. But Arbeloa starts on the left and Nordveit on the right. Excuse me ? Arbeloa has won world cups playing right back, sure if we are going to play a midfielder as a full back, lets make sure the real right back is on the right side.

Anyway, Southampton played everything down their left to get inside of Nordveit, but we seemed to be weathering the attacks and were actually playing well, from  a defending standpoint. Attacking was different though, Lanzini was shocking and both Payet and Kouyate looked like they had never met anyone on the team before.

Southampton kept plowing a furrow down their left and got their rewards when Austin broke the deadlock , just before half time.

Slaven tried to ring the changes at half time, swapping Lanzini for Feghouli, but it didn’t work, and in what is now becoming a rather worrying trait we shipped a further 2 goals in the second half to cement our position in the bottom 3.

Now, I’m not pushing the relegation button just yet, but we cannot ship 16 goals in 6 games (more than anyone else) and not be concerned. Reid, believe it or not played well. Slaven has to pick his best back four and get it done. For me, its Reid, Ogbonna, Arbeloa (RB) and for now with Masuaku injured, why not Sam Westley? He’s a defender, plays either side and has a squad number. He’s 22. If he is not good enough bin him.

Desperate times call for desperate measures and I hope the board stick with Slaven, but we don’t have many more games to lose before we lose touch with the rest of the league.

The one thing no one wants to talk about is Mark Noble. He has gone over one summer from someone who should be in the England squad no question, to someone who’s looking lost on the pitch. This needs sorting quickly, either drop him out, or let him play his game further up the pitch, because he slows our game down so much currently, the defending team get to reshape.

MOTM for WHU Winston Reid

WHUFC vs Bournemouth FC EPL 2016 -2017 21/08/2016

August 21, 2016 2 comments

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We’ll stand when we want !

After our small adventure in Europe and our last minute loss to Chelsea we start our home campaign in the new shed against Bournemouth hoping for no repeat of last season.

Last season saw us lose 4-3 in an end to end game (see here WHUFC vs AFC Bournemouth EPL 22/08/2015). Our team was missing Andy Carroll that time and it turns out he was absent again today, making it 3 for 3 for the Geordie with respect to injuries and first league home games ! As well as AC, we were also missing Ayew, which gave Valencia another chance to redeem himself as our main attacker. Slaven has obviously been listening to the critics and took Antonio out of the right back slot only to put him into left midfield. So we have to assume he fancies both Feghouli and Gore in front of the best attacking right winger we have had since Kevin Keen. Wrong, wrong, wrong. And Payet was missing. This made me think that maybe 0-0 wouldn’t be too bad.

It appeared that everyone else had the same thoughts as the game itself was dull as hell. Nobody really took it by the scruff of the neck. The first half flashed by in a series of mediocre football, only livened up by the standing West Ham fans bickering with the Stewards. How anyone thinks that 5 teenagers will make 200 fans sit down is beyond me, and so they just kept going backwards and forwards almost pleading to no avail.

As we all got an email regarding this last week, means something will happen and there will be a few empty seats for the next game I imagine.

I got to meet my new seat mate, and I think although nice enough there will be some interesting conversations as the season goes on. Hi Steve if you are reading this..

The goal came late on when Antonio was allowed to play on the right and made the run and got the cross in. Gore picked it up at the far post, put it back in and Antonio nods it in to keep our competitive 100% record at the OS. Food for thought Slaven.

Bournemouth looked a shadow of last season, although Ibe looked useful when he moved into the middle.

Key takeaway from today was that we need Lanzini and Payet back as soon as possible, and Calleri needs to start. He got a chance late on when Noble put him through , that I think will be bread and butter later on if he gets the game time

MOTM Antonio. And a big shout out to debutant Arthur Masuaku, who looks very comfortable at left back.

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All that matters, 3 points