WHUFC 1 Watford 0 EPL 2021/22 09/02/2022


I came into this game not expecting a lot , after catching the game on Saturday. As usual breaks don’t really suit us and our poor showing in the transfer market didn’t exactly inspire confidence either. And then we had CatGate. I’m not going there. It’s been done to death everywhere and the club need to make a stand and ensure the correct disciplinary procedures are undertaken.

I was surprised how busy it was outside the ground so skipped in early, and caught the now customary light show. Despite the empty seats shown in the photo, it was pretty much a full house come kick off.

Fire !!

The game itself was very reminiscent of the Palace games last year (no surprises with Mr Hodgson taking up the reins at Watford recently) . Watford were compact and disciplined , and broke well. We were stifled somewhat, but just needed to break a line or 2 to get the upper hand.

Watford fans were enjoying themselves booing Zouma at every opportunity, and at one point chanting RSPCA ! He actually played well, but maybe against a home crowd this weekend coming at Leicester it may be more of an issue. Easy to ignore when you are miles from the support.

We were very poor. Rice was out of sorts, and everyone else seemed between 5 and 6 /10. Watford were on top , no doubt, but didn’t have that clinical last touch, or bit of magic.

Benrahma had one chance saved when Bowen made a great run and pass to leave him in the box unattended. And that’s that.

0-0 half time and my pre-match prediction of that very score was coming to fruition.

Second half was better for West Ham, but Watford were no way out of it. Both teams had chances but they were mainly of the lash it goalward variety.

About the hour mark, the game took a subtle change and West ham were getting that ball into the box to a player more often, . We kept prodding and were getting better chances but still nothing clear cut. Rice was head and shoulders above his first half performance. Lanzini and Fornals were very busy, and Antonio was still a little lost.

And then the stars aligned with Jarrod Bowen receiving the ball from the sub Lanzini, and getting a lucky deflection to break the deadlock.

And then it went back to stalemate again for the remaining 20 minutes.

So not the most exciting game and we rode our luck, but that’s 2 games on the spin where we have ground out a result despite being the worse team. Are we lucky, or are we trying harder ?

MOTM Dawson. Big Daws does it again, got his head in where it was needed (probably with some extra motivation, bearing in mind the opposition), and at one point in the first half went on a unheralded mazy run past 2 opposition players to hold possession, when Zouma was down injured.

West Ham Utd 3 Chelsea 2 EPL 2021-2022 04/12/2021


Nice and bright, but cold

Early kick off on a freezing Saturday morning against the reigning European champions (as they may have mentioned, once or twice, zzzz)

Not a great set up, after our recent run of no wins in 3, but I had a feeling that if we got at them we had a chance.

As most people expected Lanzini came in for Benrahma. We also changed to 3 at the back with Coufal and Johnson as wingbacks, to allow Diop back in to the defence, to partner Zouma and Dawson

Empty Seats for the Champions of Europe

The game itself early doors was what you would expect. Chelsea were on top possession wise, and we defended resolutely and got the odd breakaway. One issue at this point but it persisted throughout was Antonio. Constantly giving the ball away and falling over for no reason. Embarrassing. How about use the skills that got you to where you were , not start relying on faking fouls.

Our visitors took a lead from a corner, makes a difference for someone to get a set piece against us ! 10 minutes later we were gived a lifeline after Bowen was brought down by Mendy running away from the goal with no one else in the box. Cheers. Up steps Lanzini and comfortably puts it away to level up. Just before half time Ziyech send across an amazing cross form the left straight onto Mounts foot, and Deccers best mate gave the visitors the lead going in to half time.

Everyone I spoke to at half time was doom and gloom . Talk of 4 or 5 -1 hidings abounded. I thought it may stay the same as neither team were on fire.

We started better, and Masuaku was on for the injured Johnson, which gave us a bit more balance going forward. Soon enough we got the equalizer from Bowen which went through the keepers legs with a nice well hit curving shot across the goal. Chelsea at this point were full of uncharacteristic mistakes and a bit blunt in attack despite Lukaku coming on at half time. We knew the keeper had a mistake in him so had to keep the pressure on, and we did. Bowen had a couple of other chances as did Benrahma when he replaced Lanzini. And with 3 minutes to go off normal time it was an odd shot / cross / who knows from Masuaku that beat Mendy on the near post to wrap up the points and streams of Chelsea leaving early.

Whats the takeaway ?Great game and we seem to have got over our habit of parking the bus against top 4 teams. We are still in there on merit, and are going into what would be considered easier games against Burnley, Arsenal and Norwich.

Injuries to Johnson, and Zouma could be massive if longer term. That would 4 first team defenders out. Not a good position. We have a dead rubber European game this week against Zargreb and although not very sporting I would play none of the first team at all , and save them all for Burnley.

It was pointed out to me (by the opposition) thatDeclan was quiet. I will say that Chelsea gave him less space than usual so fair play. He still made some key interceptions on the edge of our box and covered some distance. Soucek is more worrying. Another through the motions game. But we have to remember that his 6/10 is the same as others 8/9.

MOTM Bowen all day long. The goal, the effort, the linkup, using the space left to him by the Chelsea’s midfield trying to contain Rice.

FACTS

West Ham 1 Brighton 1 EPL 2021-2022 01/12/2021


Line Up Line Up

A lot can be done in 3.5 minutes. You could drive 5 miles on a motorway. You could eat a Big Mac. You could go from Upton Park to East Ham on the tube. Or you could add another nail in the national game via the use of VAR.

The game probably had the right result and we go on, but this season I thought we had got rid of this drawn out nonsense happening in Stockley Park. Once again a corner comes in and we get it into the net through some bodies. No massive complaints from the opposition. And then it starts. Checking possible foul. To be fair it looked like (from a still) that Dawson had hands on a defender. Welcome to every corner in professional football. So that gets recinded. Then we take a look at a possible offside, another 2 minutes. I’m sorry but this was brought in for clear and obvious errors and here we go again. The picture that was showed doesn’t even have Antonio offside and further reports have said that it’s unclear who it hit last. Absolute joke and the quicker they use this in an efficient manner the better.

Anyway a point is a point. I was not one of booing contingent at the end. Maybe some of our supporters need some history lessons, to paraphrase the oppositions manger after their recent draw against Leeds. We have no right to win every game and to be fair the way we played in the first half would indicate we could lose more than we win if we carry on like this.

Squad depth has played a part here. Out of our back 4, we played 2 out of position. I know Johnson has played on the left a few times , but now he is used to being on the right, he was getting turned regulary which then invites crosses. Zouma, being the better of the two centre halfs, has stepped into Ogbonna’s place but seems to have issues getting it out from defence at his feet, which is a massive part of his game. Hopefully Cress is fit for Saturday, but if not Masuako will have to start in left midfield to assist young Ben, as he did when he came on last night. Also Dawson has to go in favour of Diop. Although still lopsided we could have some pace to get us out of issues.

The game itself was pretty poor, similar in some ways to Wolves, where we were the better team without punishing the opposition. Antonio still looks tired, and despite his goal (from a corner ) Soucek was just tidy without any explosivity. The second half livened up somewhat, but we couldn’t put away our chances. And what a goal from Maupay for their equalizer.

Benhrama started again after being poor for a couple of games and carriedon in that vain for the first 20 minutes. Consistently giving the ball away, poor passing and zero decision making. He was replaced by Lanzini with 15 to go. Manuel harried, tackled ran past people, and generally upped out game. Surely he starts against Chelsea ?

Interesting to see what happens to Brighton afterwards as lobbing flares near a pitch cost us a one match attendance ban.

Blue Wednesday

And it was cold. MOTM I’ll give to Maupay for the goal. Out takeaways are we need ot be more at it from the get go. Like we were against Liverpool . Chelsea up next and the crowd will demand a performance. Question is can the team deliver.

One to keep an eye on is the standing up situation. Where we sit the lower tier is just in front and if they stand it is difficult to watch the game. However they only stand when we are attacking and the guys in the back row have no option but to stand as there are 50 rows in front of them on their feet. However the loud bickering started yesterday, and I imagine will continue into the future. Sly digs and offhand statements never work out well so i’ll just be an interested observer in this debate.

WHUFC (1) – Man Utd (2) 19/09/2021. EPL 2021-2022


A damp day in East London

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.

Continue reading “WHUFC (1) – Man Utd (2) 19/09/2021. EPL 2021-2022”

WHUFC (2) vs Crystal Palace (2) – EPL 2021-2022 28/08/2021


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 !

Continue reading “WHUFC (2) vs Crystal Palace (2) – EPL 2021-2022 28/08/2021”

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


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


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


IMG_4778
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


IMG_1387

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. Continue reading “WHUFC vs Tottenham Hotspur EPL 2016/2017 06/05/2017”

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


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.

Continue reading “WHUFC vs Swansea City 08/04/2017 EPL 2016-2017”