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WHUFC vs Manchester United – EPL 2019-2020 23-09-2019

September 23, 2019 1 comment

Before someone tells me I only write about wins, I have only made one of our two previous home games this season and that was the predictable white wash by City on the opening day, and there was literally nothing to write about.

I arrived at this game quietly confident (and had been for a couple of weeks). We have been not only playing well but seem to be settled in our style and cadence. This hasn’t been seen for some time. Man U on the other hand seem to be struggling with team selection and a (for them) poor transfer window. This also hasn’t been seen for a while.

I watched Man U in their Thursday night European game and thought they huffed and puffed, but in Greenwood they had a player, who could get in amongst our defence.

Talking of which, the preferred line up seems to be Ogbonna and Diop in the centre back berths. I have warmed back to Ogbonna since his most recent run in the team. He has stopped the silly mistakes and seems confident to be the leader over Diop, whereas with Reid or Collins he wouldn’t despite being the better player. There were some interesting words being said about Balbuena by MP, so lets trust the manager on that one. And 5 games unbeaten suggests he is right.

There were 2 enforced changes this week, Cresswell coming in for Masuaku at left back and Fornals getting the nod over Wilshere for the Lanzini position. Fornals, sort of yes. Cresswell however seem to split the support, who were vocal in their support for either Zaba or Johnson, both right backs.

Longer readers will remember my obsession with round pegs in round holes, so I was happy with the selection. I don’t get the stick Cress gets although I admit he was a better player pre injury. We are not enamoured with high quality left backs !

Our visitors decided not to play Greenwood, which suited me and with no Pogba, and the aging Mata and Matic playing, seemed quiet understrength.

The first half was a pretty dull affair up until just before half time, a Noble – Anderson interchange ended up with the ball at Yarmalenko’s feet, and he duly slotted it away.

I did have a lot of words to follow that wordpress dained not to save, so I’ll be brief.

Second half, West Ham were the better team by far, especially after Rashford left the field with an injury. Cresswell topped off a good game on this comeback by raising the spirit of Dimitri Payet to drill in a free kick late on in the half.

Nearly everyone played well, Noble was outstanding. Fornals, not so. He needs to rise to the pace of the game. I was very surprised to see Anderson and not Fornals being replaced by Wilshere. But I suppose MP thought the game was won and he needed the gametime. MOTM was Ogbonna, commanding at the back and looking like a leader.

The press have gone to town on Man Utd with no praise for us, as usual. We are now back to back winners against Man U in the league at home. Yesterday was plainly a good team performance against a not so good one, but this time I dont feel it was a bad day at the office for our visitors. It’s more endemic and could be the new standard unless things change quickly. There is a malaise in Manchester , which I think was displayed by the subplot of Phil Jones and Ed Woodward. Why Greenwood never got a chance I don’t know.

Apparently Sky was full of Roy Keane trapping off. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

On the way I met a group of lost early 20’s Man U fans, and each one shook my hand, so at least real fans got it. These are lads who have only known success, so fair play. Also had my photo taken by a crazy Ukranian who was shouting about Yarmalenko.

Oxford and Bournemouth up next. Both away. Would be nice to get an unbeaten September in.

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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 Manchester United 10/05/2018 – EPL 2018-2019

May 11, 2018 1 comment

And so the season winds its way to its sorry end with our premiership status once again secured due to the inadequacy of others and self harm. OK, that’s the fun stuff out of the way!

This game is usually a decent affair but the scoreline of 0-0 tells you everything. Neither keeper was massively troubled (although there was a good double save from Adrian in the first half) , and both teams were happy to play it out and see how they got on.

Although near the end things got very tasty when Pogba got some afters on Carroll that went unpunished so he thought it would fun to do the same thing to Noble about 2 minutes later.  This didn’t go down so well, and at one point Noble had him by the neck, which is no mean feat as Pogba is about a foot taller.

Yellow cards all round and the game ends in hugs all round. That’ s about it. One point off the magical 40 with Everton to come in a guaranteed Big Sam bore fest.

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About as exciting as it gets.

In other news, I have a new job, which in itself is not that amazing. However I do have this view on my journey to work every day now.

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WHUFC vs Manchester United 10/05/2016 EPL 2015-2016

May 11, 2016 1 comment

The 80’s are fashionable currently so I hear. Jordan 1’s are back in stores, as is garish gym gear. Women’s fashion seems to be very 80’s based currently and last week I swear I saw someone playing with a Rubik Cube on the train.

West Ham join in the revival and we get castigated ! I remember a time when smashing the opposition bus, having several thousand fans locked out the ground, starting the game an hour late, throwing bottles at their keeper (plus the obligatory, should be old enough to know better, pitch invader) ,  running a bar dry, and leaving the ground to make your way through riot police was a staple of most Saturdays. But now people just get hot about it.

OK I jest, but anyone who wasn’t there and has just read the websites and papers, and listened to Adrian Durham drone on (who wasn’t there either) will think (once again) WW3 broke out in Upton Park last night. I’m not condoning any of the above  (except the bar bit) but lets be real. Yes the streets were packed, yes loads of people without tickets were there, but a few idiots throw some bottles at a bus and it’s the ICF comeback. Nonsense. Absolute nonsense.

I spent about 5  hours there, and never heard a raised (angry) voice. But I heard many voices, all raised. The atmosphere was just something to behold. This fixture is always an occasion, but last night was off the chart. I was there for the last game of the South Bank, the North Bank and the West Stand, but this was something that will live with me forever.

All the stuff afterwards with the fireworks and all that, although I see some people liking it, isn’t for me and I scooted prior to the Rejects playing, which is a little annoying but like I say, that stuff isn’t for me

There was a video played on the screens, listing many of the players that had passed away but would technically been “young enough” to be there, and although John Lyall, and Graham Paddon were up there, obviously the big one was Sir Bobby Moore. The Man U fans spontaneously burst into a chant of his name. Class Act all round. It was that kind of night.

With all this going on there was a football game on as well, and although late, it was probably one of the best Premier League games of the season. Both teams still have their eye on 5th, and both put out very strong teams. Our nemesis, Mr Rooney, started for United which is usually ominous. But we seemed to contain him ,and he seemed a little off form, which doesn’t bode well for the Euros. Misplaced passes out wide were common place and we started to get the upper hand. For the first time in a long time we played two real strikers up top, I assume to keep the Utd centre backs busy, and it seemed to be paying off. Then Sakho bent one round De Gea from distance, and it was game on after  10 minutes. We had another chance when Carroll went clear from a great through ball from Payet but hit it straight at the keeper. Anyway, we held onto our lead to half time, and it looked like the dream night would happen. In the 2nd half Man U came out firing, and the wingers seem to be on their A game. In fact one of them, Mr Martial strolled though our defence to pick up a straight pass/cross and draw the visitors level. Did I expect it it ?  Yes. Did I expect a re run of the first 2 Swansea goals? No. Slaven needs to get the CB’s to work on position when there is an overlap, its just too easy for the opposition.

Soon after Martial got another one by getting into a stoppable position again, and the wheels were coming off. But the team fed off the incredible crowd, and in only 4 minutes, Antonio had equalised with a great header. Once again he had a set celebration ready, but Andy Carroll dragged him up the pitch. He knew it, we knew it, this was our night, and ours only, even if you are the most decorated team ever in the English game. Another 4 minutes, another goal, this time from the unlikely source of Winston Reid, whose other goal was pretty famous on the terraces as well, but will always now be the scorer of the last ever goal at The Boleyn.

We played out the last 10 minutes on the edge but for a change in control. So who won the game? The players played for the fans, the fans went berserk for the players, and Slaven was the architect. Did it mean as much to him as everyone else? Considering he was in tears at the final whistle, I think the answer was yes.

5th place is in the hands of others now, and I think the game at Stoke is a bit after the Lord Mayors show, so we have to see the shake out of FA Cups and UEFA cups to see if we get another shot in Europe in our new shed in season 1, but I for one will never forget this evening. Leaving earlier than most gave me a bit of time on my own taking one last look at the old girl and I left with a heavy heart, but hoping we can build this club on the potential that is now in place. Whether I will be along for the full ride will depend on how the new “experience” plays out, but I have my ticket, and we shall see.

Thanks for the memories, old girl..

MOTM: The Stadium and the Fans

 

WHUFC vs Manchester Utd 13/04/2016 FA Cup Qtr Final Replay

April 13, 2016 2 comments

Gutted is not a word I have used at Football since Mr Gerrard smashed in a 40 yarder past us in Cardiff in the FA Cup Final in 2006. That was a game we had led and should have won, and one moment of brilliance meant FA Cup glory eluded the Hammers once more.

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WHUFC vs Manchester United EPL 08/02/2015

February 8, 2015 Leave a comment

First WHU blog of this year, as various work and personal stuff has kept me away from Upton Park for nearly 6 weeks. This post up until about 45 seconds from the end of the game was going to be based on the famous Norwegian “We beat your boys ” speech. However as we probably all know by now, Danny Blind , shinned in an equalizer in the dying seconds of the game.

Games ends one-one and 30 odd thousand WHU fans go home royally pissed.

That said Kouyate as well as scoring, played very well as a drafted in centre back. Everyone in fact played well including everyones favourite hammer, Kevin Nolan. Yep. He actually played well.

We have been talking about getting in centre backs as cover for ages, but no, we spend most of transfer deadline day pissing about lodging good strikers to buy pain in the backside strikers, and moving on wingers who have had no opportunities and then failed at all of the above. Hence today we play one of our best midfielders next to James Tomkins. And we still dont know what’s happening to Winston Reid. Well, we do but no one wants to admit it.

Our opponents today were the rejuvenated Man Utd. And to be honest they didn’t look a patch on previous teams I’ve seen over the years. Falcao will not be there next season based on his performance, not to mention missing a clear opportunity. Rooney cannot be enjoying playing the midfield with Van Persie, Falcao and Di Maria missfiring all over the place. Jones still doesn’t look good enough to lead the Man U defence and should be replaced at the earliest chance.

I’m sure in time we will respect the point, but at the moment, I feel as if we threw away 2 points. Even more annoying, is our opponents will feel they won a point. I did call a representative from Man U for a quote but unfortunately couldn’t get through so you will just have to believe me when I say they were lucky to get anything.

MOTM Kouyate, and hopefully WHU are back on the road to winning after our recent blips.

Pre match test of new phone

Pre match test of new phone

Another failed attack

Another failed attack

West Ham United vs Manchester United EPL 22/03/2014

March 22, 2014 Leave a comment

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So no surprises here. the game was like the weather at Upton Park today. Started bright and became dull and boring. Big Sam will complain massively about both goals, for alleged infractions. Wrong. The press will say Utd have turned the corner. Wrong. They were average at best. The press will also say Wayne Rooney scores a wonder goal. I would challenge that as well, as it was an open goal due to poor positioning of the WHU keeper, which Rooney did well to steer in from distance. His second was more luck than judgement, but you gotta be in it to win it, so fair play to him.

Why am I so down ? I’ll tell you why. We witness once of worst Man U displays ever last week, and since then both Vidic and Ferdinand are not in the starting line up as well (for differing reasons). What does Sam do? Same old bollocks of starting AC on his own, and Diame down the wing. No dynamism, no change to catch out a weak opposition, just the same old nonsense. I have had enough, and once this season is finished (about next week, assuming we win our next 2 against Hull and Sunderland), Sam needs to be moved on. Also the players Sam put out there today could not be bothered in the slightest. That alone is a disgrace. So they are comfortable with Sam and him with them. Time for a shake up. So Sam leaves and he can take his mates with him.

Who next then? Last year i wanted Gus Poyet, and would still back that up. Why not Slaven Bilic as an option? Whoever it is, I don’t think I could put up with another season of the same old thing. But i don’t make the decision, and if we do win our next 2 (and I think we will), Sam will be home and hosed, and ready for next year.

No West Ham player had a good game today, so i’ll go with Wazza for the MOTM.