Tottenham Hotspur vs WHUFC


After WHU’s draw against Stoke and Spurs draw away against Lazio, this wasn’t really set up to be a classic. But Spurs WHU games are usually fiercely competed and the form book goes out of the window. I’ll be honest and say here that as Spurs had played during the week in Italy, I thought WHU had the advantage.

I changed my mind after 10 mins. It was all Spurs and WHU were not at the races. Bale and Defoe seemed to be running through us at will. Noble and O’Brien picked up yellows in the first half hour, due to just getting in the way more than anything else.

After half an hour, BDS made the changes taking off Maiga for Jarvis. This seemed a good move as we started to have some decent chances.

I thought we would go to half time at 0-0, and so did everyone else, apart from Jermain Defoe, who with a couple to go, spun past Ried, sent Noble the wrong way, and drilled in a screamer past Jussi.

Did a fired up WHU come out for the second half. In a word NO. We pissed about, and didn’t get forward at all. The game was over when Bale stole the ball from the midfield, and put another long ranger past Yussi. Then Spurs really piled it on and Lennon and Defoe combined well to get their third.

West Ham got a consolation goal, when Andy Carroll headed home near the end. Taylor went really close, which could of made it interesting, but 3-1 it ended.

One disturbing point was when Cole came on for Nolan with about 20 to go. Nolan, I assume was removed from the field, to be fresh for Man U on Wednesday. Cole looked really disinterested, and wasn’t much better when he was on. He was way off the pace, and looked like a non league player. Moving him on in Jan, would be the best move for all parties. For me it would be shame to see him go, but i wouldn’t blame him.

Man U on Wednesday will require the team to make an effort or we will get a battering. Sam needs to earn his money in the next 4 days.

MOTM Jermaine Defoe. No one in the WHUFC team deserved it. Lloris should also get a mention, as although WHU didn’t really get him busy, when they did approach the goal, he was always on point, and cut out a couple a chances, that another day might of gone a different way.

Image
Defoe scores his first as WHU look on.

WHUFC vs Manchester City 03/11/2012 EPL


Having missed our great win against Southampton while i was in Vegas (post to follow), i travelled to Upton Park with slight trepidation, as i had also heard that we were extremely poor against Wigan.

Man City came to this game with a run of so so results and probably felt this would be a game where 3 points were a formality. This was backed up by team selection, with Mancini starting Tevez, Balotelli, and Edin Dzeko all up top. West Ham put out probably their best starting 11, with Benayoun and Jarvis starting. Collins got a bit of rough reception from the home crowd when announced. Tomkins wasn’t even on the bench, and O’Brien came in at right back.

The game started as you would imagine with City moving the ball around, West Ham picking up scraps. However my main fear hadn’t materialised as Silva wasn’t playing, and the City midfield was not as quick and agile as i expected.

West Ham played themselves into the game with Diame and Noble starting to take charge with some real blood and thunder tackles. Then the potential turning point occured. Kevin Nolan scored a goal from close range that was ruled for offside. Turns out the goal was ruled out wrongly. I haven’t seen the evidence myself but every report seems to back this up.

This shook up City however, and from then on for the first half WHU were on top ,with Benayoun hitting the Bar, and Carroll going close. City had their chances however, but most of them fell to Balotelli, who frankly was useless. This guy has all the talent in the world, but his laziness and refusal to go for any ball that isn’t already on his foot, would frustrate the hell out of me.

No changes for the second half from either team, and no change on the pitch, with City having a shade on possession but WHU keeping their hand in, and once again Carroll went close with a spectacular overhead kick.  City didn’t get te chances they had in the first half, but the ones they did fall to Tevez, who knowing his place at Upton Park, did his best to miss !

West Ham battled on and some good subs by Sam to get Diame off before he was sent off, and a late sub of Collins to give Jordan Spence some game time worked. Collins to be fair had made some great blocks, and tackles and hopefully has redeemed some of the ill will of the WHU faithful.

The game ended  0-0 and it really was a point earned by WHU, and 2 lost by City. I’ll take that.

On leaving the ground, as usual we ended up with the away fans , and i heard some interesting comments. They thought we put 11 behind the ball, and this is what always happens to City on the road. What nonsense ! We had as many scoring opportunities as them and really gave them a game.

The more telling comment was from a young girl, who said that if it had been United rather than City, they would of got the win. This is because United are a team, and City are a group of talented players, who struggle to play as a team when the going gets tough. Witness their CL performances in the last 2 years. This is a trate of Mancini, see no further than his tenure at Inter. He needs to get rid of Balotelli pronto, and push Yaya Toure further up the pitch. Last time we played City at home they won 3-1 and he ran the whole game. Yesterday, he was deep and ineffectual. I would love to say this was due to WHU pressure, but i will admit it was more likely to Mancini’s team selection and tactics.

These City fans need to remember where they were 4 or 5 years ago, and not assume they already have a permanent seat at the top table of European football.

All in all, a good day to build confidence for the Hammers, and keeps us in the top 10.

MOTM. Reid and Collins were excellent, Noble and Diame threw themselves around. But for fitting straight back in and playing a full 90 with style and class, my award goes to Yossi Benayoun.

AC goes close with a speculative overhead kick.

WHU vs Arsenal EPL 06/10/2012


We come to our second London derby of the week, after our good win against QPR away on the Monday. Arsenal come to Upton Park of the back of a good win in the Champions League. That was not the first difference of the day. The ground was full and the atmosphere was fantastic.

Most WHU fans were optimistic about this game, as Arsenal have shown some weakness this season against the dead ball, and they are missing their talismanic striker Van Persie, following his exit to Old Trafford over the summer. Personally i was concerned they may end up starting Oxlade-Chamberlain and Walcott, and just kill us for pace.

Arsene helped me out by not starting either, but putting Podolski on the wing instead isn’t a bad replacement I suppose !

The game got off as expected with Arsenal piling in the pressure, with constant incisive passing. But as usual with Arsenal had no finishing quality (it was out on the wing as usual – this would frustrate me massively if I was a fan of our North London neighbours).

WHU’s forays into the opponents box were limited, but they weathered the storm at the beginning to fight back into the game. However it was still against the run of play, in the 21st minute, when Diame shrugged off Ramsey on the edge of their box, to absolutely rocket in the first goal of his Hammers career from an obtuse angle. Game on.

Then normal service resumed, but it looked like WHU would hold out the first half for a dream start. Andy Carroll was winning everything in the air, and as usual was bringing in other players. The improvement on Carlton Cole cannot be disputed now, and we need to do everything we can in January to hold onto the big Geordie.

Arsenal seemed to find space everywhere, especially on their left, and just before half time Poldolski got a cross in for Giroud to push home on the front post, to bring Arsenal level. Nolan went close to getting onto the end of cross to put us 2-1 up at the break, but just didn’t have the pace.

One all at half time, and although both teams were probably content, I’m sure Arsenal were the happier, having got back into the game at a crucial time.

The second half was more of the same, as the Arsenal pressure just got bigger and bigger. The space they find in the middle of the park is amazing, and WHU couldn’t close them down. However, WHU had some chances with Carroll coming close with a header going just past the post. At the 60 minutes mark Walcott came on, and didn’t look to clever to be honest. Until about 15 minutes later when Diame got robbed of the ball, Walcott got on the end of it with no one near him, and cooly slotted home to put the Gunners ahead. During that 15 Vaz Te halfheartedly got into a tangle with Mannone, and got rewarded with a dislocated shoulder. Also Demel, who was playing well, went off with knock to be replaced by Tompkins, who must be in for a shout for a next game, as we are losing defenders like Man U at the moment.

This put WHU into a bit of a spin, and the third looked imminent. But after 5 minutes we seemed to be making a fist of it again, with Nolan having a couple of chances that he didn’t finish. With 7 to go Carzola drilled in a 20 yrd screamer to end WHU’s chances of at least one point, and close the game out for Arsenal.

So we end up 1-3 to Arsenal, and we learn the the Premier League is still 2 or 3 leagues in one. We lost the game in the middle, as we spent most of our time chasing shadows, we were just not quick enough. Jarvis was also found wanting on the wing against Kieran Gibbs, as was Vaz Te when we swapped about. Whether this is fitness or awareness, will be down to BFS to sort out.

But its not all doom and gloom for the Hammers. Carroll was fantastic, and Reid played well again, as did Diame (although some final ball passing wouldn’t go amiss). Nolan’s fitness was found out again. Also, if Noble thinks he has an England chance, he needs to stop trying and failing to deliver Gerrardesque hollywood balls, and concentrate on what he is good at. Maybe he could hit the club shop and get a few season reviews from the Scott Parker era.

So not too disappointed overall, and after the international break we have Southampton at home, which should be 3 points for WHU on current form.

MOTM: Carroll for WHU, but overall Cazorla ran the game from start to finish, and got a good goal at the end.

Cazorla with 3 WHU players. A familiar sight unfortunately !

WHU vs Sunderland 22/09/2012 – EPL


I said at the start of the season that we needed 10 points before the visit of Arsenal, and we started off the day being in line with that, and with a chance of going 3rd in the prem, as anyone who is any good was playing on the Sunday.

With that in mind i set off towards London with a confident feeling of another 1-0 win ,a la Villa. The journey to UP was a little disjointed as i got to the Pub in Forest Gate to be told i had missed the lads by 5 minutes, and they were on their way. Now i know they are old boys, but they do know their mobiles are not just for answering !

Anyway, a quick trip on the 58 later, and I arrive at the Theater of Mediocrity in time for a beer (which they had got me, despite having no idea where i was !) and kick off. The game started as these seem to , with a bit of feeling out from both sides. WHU seemed to be on top, but not too keen on pushing forwards. WHU seemed to be happy playing across the back without advancing and this is one thing that gets my goat. If you want to move it around down the pitch fine, but when it gets back to the anchor (in this case, Collins), then make sure that we are further up the pitch than when that phase starts. Anything else is a waste of time. Anyway, Collins seemed to be a little uncomfortable with this. So uncomfortable infact, he tried a hollywood ball out to Taylor, miss hit it, and gave is straight to Larrson, who then put in a beauty for Fletcher to get onto, nuts Collins and put the Black Cats one up. Arrrrgggg. This is the second time this season Collins has given away goals for no reason, and still he starts in front of Tompkins.

This put WHU on the back foot for some time, but with about 10 to go in the half we started to put the chances in with Vaz Te missing a sitter on the back post, while in the air. CC put a header just over, and the “athletic” Kevin Nolan forced a great save from Mignolet in the Mackem’s goal, with an overhead volley.

WHU go in at the break with a goal deficit, but seem to be capable, if they push on a bit. But there are too many loose balls from RVT and Noble needs to play further up the pitch.

The second half was a different story with WHU having all the game, but no clinical play near the Sunderland penalty box. CC was very quiet, and the crowd are getting on his back again. I have defended this guy to the end, but they now have a point, he is getting support from Nolan and RVT, but is not making the moves that a premier league striker needs too. Along with the fact that Bramble and O’Shea were playing well, meant he had to up his game.

The lack of incisive play was apparent to BFS as well, so he brought on Jarvis and Benayuon just before the 60 minute mark. This changed things massively. Jarvis forced Gardner into an early yellow, which gave him free reign for the rest of the game, and without the stats to hand, I would say he put in more crosses in 30 minutes than the rest of the team in the whole of the game.

With 90 gone and our pressure unrelenting it looked like just a bad day at the office, right up until another Jarvis cross led to some toing and froing, and ended up with Kevin Nolan getting on the end of a loose ball to equalize. Chicken dances all round, and a deserved point for the Hammers.

Martin O’Neill suggested his team should of won 3-0. I have no idea what game he is watching. Without his centre backs he would of got an hiding. No Idea what Sam said, but i imagine it was along the lines of hard fought, no easy games,etc, etc.

So what do we do now? Sam needs to start Jarvis. Why pay 11 mil for a player of that quality and put him on the bench. Hopefully we dont have another Baldock on our books. We are not Man City and every pound has to count.

RVT. I have suggested elsewhere, that this lad is not Premier League quality, and yesterday was more proof. He looks OK when he has space, but with quicker players closing him down, he was terrible. He doesn’t have the quick thinking a player of his undoubtable talent should have. Maybe a Jan exit back to the championship for a few mil will help everyone. Talking of slow thinkers, Mark Noble. He may be Hammer of the year, he may be a local boy, but he is not irreplaceable. He takes too long on the ball, and seems to always go sidewards and backwards. Now with Diame in the team, he should play deeper, but he’s almost a 5th defender. And his obsession with taking every free kick and corner is starting to grate, especially with Nolan, Taylor and Jarvis on the pitch ! Apparently he’s getting a new 5 year contract on Monday, but if someone comes in with silly money we should move him on.

CC needs to buck up. Obviously the Carroll situation has pissed him off, but come on Carlton, move about a bit. You were an international 2 years ago, where’s it all gone ?

SAM: Jarvis must start, no negotiation, he was the best crosser of a ball last season in the prem. Why bench him now? Also Collins need to be given a kick up the arse. Play Tomks in mid week, and if he does the business, then let him start against QPR next Monday.

So for MOTM, Reid and Diame were again solid and played really well, but for his support play, his attempts at goal and keeping our unbeaten home record this season, it has to be the newer, fitter, Kevin Nolan.

Captain Chicken to the rescue.

WHUFC vs Aston Villa EPL 18/08/2012


This will be abridged as i have had wordpress delete my first attempt at this.

We came back to the Premier League on a sunny day in August. For reference out first game last year was in driving rain and freezing cold. Personally I was not too fussed about the new season, as i still had the Olympic blues, but here i was.

So for WHU, it was about being back in the real business of the PL, for new Villa manager Paul Lambert, it was about improving on last year’s dismal performance. The game was dominated by Villa in the first half, with Ireland and Vlaar running the show. But WHU looked solid and didn’t appear to be under threat at the back. James Collins looked like he had never been away, and seem to team up well with Reid.

Just before half time, in what was becoming a bit of non event, some nice interplay between Carlton Cole, Vaz Te and finally Kevin Nolan, led to a goal from Kev, with a hint of offside. Villa thought so, and the linesman had his flag up, but the ref overturned it, and WHU go in at the break one nil to the good.

Big Kev celebrates being back in the Prem, with the winner, on the opening day of the season.

The second half was all West ham, with Noble and Diame running the show. Diame actually played like a world beater, and if he keeps this up, will be way better than Papa Diop, whose place in the squad, i assume he has taken over. Not many chances to talk of, but CC should of got a pen, but once again his size goes against him.

Jussi had only one decent save to make in the second half, a rasper from Vlaar. I believe Rob Green failed to make at least 5 saves, on his debut for QPR !

So a win on our first outing back with the big boys. great stuff, and my gloom of no Olympics is starting to clear.

All our new signings shined in what was a really average game, including Maiga, who came on for the last 10, rounded Shay Given, only to see his shot cleared of the line.

I spoke to some Villa fans afterwards, who said that was better than they had played all last season ! One small concern i have is that Tompka came on for a midfield cameo appearance. I’m hoping this isn’t going to become normal, but i cannot see him moving the Kiwi or Collins out on their performances today

MOTM: Mohammed Diame, who was everywhere. Mobots all rounds for the big fella.

 

West Ham United vs Cardiff 07/05/2012 Playoff Semi- Final second leg


After the great result away from home last week, today’s game should of been a walk in the park, as long as the first half an hour went well. Cardiff had sold their allocation, and fair play to them being 2 0 down after the first leg.

After quarter of an hour , the summers went or nil up after Nolan followed  up from a corner to header in our first. West Ham were dominating, and got the clincher just before half time when Vaz screamed in a cracker across the Cardiff  goal and into the top corner.

The second half was dire as you would expect with the tie in no doubt, but Nicky Maynard also hit a screamer to make it 3 0 in the dying minutes, and 5 0 on aggregate.

The only downer was Jack Collison leaving the field with a suspected broken collar bone, which would be a shame as he has started to look the part again.

Short report for a short game.

2 weeks till Wembley !

 

MOTM Winston Reid

Told you it would be OK !

West Ham United Player of the Season Awards 2012


This party was a little premature with us having hopefully 3 games to go, but end of season it was. What could of been a bit if a downer, was actually great fun.

As usual with these types of events, the players were in attendance and put a brave face on bearing in mind they would probably be more concerned about Cardiff away on Thursday rather than Monday in central London. After some strange awards (save of the season ? best team performance ?, we got to the meat and veg. Best youth player was Richard Hall (well deserved). Players player was George McCartney. Then we got onto the auction. Crazy times, 10k for a half day with the chairman. 5 k for a trip to Italy to get the new shirt ?

Post our meal, it was time for the main event, player of the year. I had voted for James Tompkins, but he came second to local boy Mark Noble.

After some more crazy auction time, we had a rousing speech from Mr Gold, practically promising us premier league football next year.

Then the best bit for the fans, the meet and greet. Carlton Cole and Kevin Nolan  were great craic, and Mark Noble must be about the politest bloke i know (or dont know ) I’ll leave it at that, enjoy the photos. Apologies, i’m in them all !

James Tompkins
Kevin Nolan and Joey O’Brien
Mark Noble
Henry Lansbury
GREEENOOO
The big fella, Carlton Cole

Barnsley vs WHUFC 06/04/2011Championship


I watched this round a friends house, so i cannot really comment on tactics, and ebb and flow, as i was half on this on half elsewhere. BUT.

0-4 to West Ham and an all time away wins in a season record. Nice work chaps.

The front 3 seemed to actually be a front three with Nolan, Maynard, and Vaz Te, involved and all scoring. nice chip from Noble for his one as well.

Barnsley were poor thought, almost completely bereft of ideas.

The real issue is that we are now third, and if Southampton win, 6 points of auto promotion with 5 games to go. If we need to overtake Southampton, they need to lose three games (goal difference), and Reading 2. At this stage of the season, that is a tall ask. So it looks like we could have 90 points and be in the playoffs. Obviously Sam’s plan of averaging 2 points a game to guarantee promotion was spot on. Shame he never set the team up with a chance of doing that until its too late.

Brum on Monday. MASSIVE.

WHUFC vs Doncaster Rovers 10/03/2012 Championship.


After the disappointment of our midweek draw against Watford. This was a welcome game to have, against a Donny team that have been near the bottom all season.

We started with Collinson and Vaz back in. Vaz had a perfectly good goal overruled after 20 seconds for an alleged foul on the defender. Not sure if you know Vaz, but he’s not the bullying kind ! Then CC hit the bar, and finally after waiting all of nine minutes we went one nil up, after Tompkins headed a great ball back across goal for Nolan.

i really thought this would be a rout for WHU. But as usual at home , we sat back and the game drifted into nothingness until the second half. It really was that bad.

Donny started to get on top mid way through the second half and WHU’s defending was spacious to say the least and Donny got their reward with an equaliser after 73 mins.

2 home daws in a week at this stage of the season is suicide , and Reading are now on equal points, but our goal difference keeps them out of the automatic promotion places.

We have to put teams like this away, and comfortably. And this is where we fail. We cannot put teams to the sword. I have to blame the manager. He has bough a raft of strikers this term with no real impact from any of them. CC is the only one playing well, but with no support is becoming a scapegoat. Sam needs to sort this as a matter of extreme urgency. Sam also needs to look at the tactics, that say as soon as we go behind or the opposition draw, we should go ultra long ball. This has only crept in for the last 2 games, but needs to dissapear ASAP.

I said playoffs, at the start of the season, and I hope I’m wrong, but it’s out go my hands and up to Sam to install some fight into his front line! And deliver some creativity into the mid field. I think with the personnel we have this is quite easy, but they need to play closer, and Nolan needs to stop wandering.

One other thing that is bothering me is the following. When I watch Premiership football, it seems way above what I see at Upton Park. If we do go up this season, i fear for the next one !

MOTM Carlton Cole. Did a lot of work for not a lot of return from his teammates.

Cardiff City vs WHUFC 04/03/2012 Championship


Watching a game on the telly, when it’s raining outside is never a bad thing. I could claim a family connection today as apparently Don Cowie is a second cousin of mine, but as we have never met and he doesn’t read this, I’ll leave it there. Don, if you do read this , Hi Cus. LOL.

West Ham had lost Winston Reid and Faubert during the week, so Nolan came back post ban, and Tomkins moved back into the back 4. Lansbury came in to the midfield after his 2 goals for the under 21’s during the week. With Maynard and Vaz Te up front, I assuming Sam wants a quick front line. Nolans reinclusion meant Noble had to drop into a holding and carrying role, despite playing at his best in the last 3 games, in a further forward position.

The first 15 passed with no excitement, but both teams had half chances. Cardiff were showing no signs of tiredness after their Carling Cup exploits the previous week. Maynard missed an absolute sitter in the 20th after a nice head back in from Collinson.

After 35 Gesate had the be replaced for Cardiff, after pulling a hamstring, so maybe there were some cup final gremlins about.

At the 42 minute mark, Collinson broke up play to get the ball through to Maynard. He delivered a great ball through to Nolan who struck a sublime pass into the net. That was the first shot on target in the whole game. One nil WHU, half time.

Early in the second half Faye played a beautiful ball to Vaz Te, who rounded the keeper, but was cut off from putting into an empty net. 2 minutes later Vaz Te showed some serious inexperience in not putting Nolan through. Maynard missed another stone wall chance after  headed a pass back straight to NM on his own, who then shot straight at the keeper.

At 61 mins Faye got away with murder father he blatantly brought down an oncoming Cardiff player in a great position. Everyone saw it, except the ref

CC came on shortly afterwards for Maynard. wrong decision IMO. Should of taken off VT if anyone. Whittingham hit the post with a fantastic free kick from some distance at 67. Cardiff at this stage were in the ascendency and WHU were starting to look sloppy, and tired.

For the last 15 Gary O’Neill came on for Lansbury, who had been quiet. In the 76 minute McCartney ran over the half the length of the pitch, go a luck bounce of a defender and pushed it in the bottom corner to register his first goal for WHU in this spell of his tenure.

So another hard won 3 points for west ham, but we do need to look at some issues within the team. Vaz Te needs to get some bottle and put his foot in when needed. Collison played better than recent weeks, and maybe now will take to the left hand side, instead of wanting to play in the middle.MOTM for me was again Mark Noble. He had a very solid game and shepherded the Cardiff middle well.

The main issue I now have is this Portsmouth business. Why should anyone lose 6 points after working hard for 2 good wins. Should this happen and we don’t go up, it will be a disgrace and give Southampton effectively another 5 points. I don’t care if Pompey play their youth team in a park every week, they have to see out their fixtures. I do feel sorry for their fans, but ,I have no sympathy for bad management of both money or personnel.