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WHUFC vs Manchester United 17/04/2013 EPL

April 17, 2013 Leave a comment

This years 4th tie against the Champions Elect (beats Birmingham !) was supposed to be a dead rubber as far as I was concerned. Sam had loads of defenders out. We can beat Wembley bound Wigan at the weekend to stay up, and Man U can do pretty much what they want to win the title.

So I was surprised to see Winston Reid back in the team, and Noble on the bench. Still one up top , but hey ho. Man U played probably their strongest available team as well, with both  Ferdinand and Vidic, and Rooney and Van Persie starting.

Talking of Rooney, you can tell what sort of game he will have within 3 minutes of kick off, and this was not going to be one to build his legacy. In fact he was awful, and my xmas prediction of him leaving this summer is starting to look nailed on. His attitude is all wrong for starters.

WHU were on top for a change from the off. The midfield seem to flow into attack nicely, and Jarvis was seeing plenty of the ball. RVT wasn’t but no issue there. United seemed to be taking it in their stride, but the did look frail.

I seem to be on the only one who spotted RVT drift in from the outside right to get on the end of Carroll’s flick on the open the scoring on 16 minutes.

And still WHU looked comfortable. But being WHU you just knew something was going to happen, and just before half time they all switched off, for United to put 3 or 4 perfect balls together, and end up with Valencia getting the equaliser. Just before the break was the only contentious point of the match (for me – see later), Rooney and Carroll had some handbags before a corner which the ref stopped. Carroll reacted when the corner was taken, by bludgeoning through both De Gea and Evra. Most odd behaviour. And no punishment.

I assume this was pointed out at half time, because early into the second half De Gea and big Andy both went for a ball which the Spaniard won but then dragged Carroll for about 10 feet by his neck before dumping him on the floor. Yellow Card for carroll, obviously !.

This spurred on Andy, he then tried a cheeky one from about 30 yrds out that went close, and then he won to ball for Diame to roast the poor Rooney and blast in a 20 yarder to give the Hammers the lead again in the 55th minute.

Rooney was subbed for Giggs and Sam decided to Sub off our midfield (because this worked so well against Liverpool !). Giggs and Kagawa were linking up well (until the little fella was subbed off for the other little fella Hernandez), and pressure was piling on WHU, and resulted with 14 mins to go an equaliser for United after Kagawa managed to hit James Collins and both posts with RVP netting the follow up. Apparently he was offside but in true Arsene style i have not seen it, so only one bit of contention for me tonight. We tried our best in the last 20 minutes to throw it away but eventually got it over the line and another point on the board and our second 2-2 against Man U this season.

The score was about right, with Jussi making some world class saves (as usual at the moment), and no one goes home unhappy, unless you count me queuing nearly 20 mins for a tube, while watch plonkers jump over fences and stewards doing nothing at all.

MOTM, could of been James Collins early on, Carroll for his effort, Jussi for the saves, but this time I’ll go for Diame, as he scored a screamer, kept most of the Man U midfield quiet all night (until subbed), and had he stayed on i think we might have edged it. Still not happy with BFS playing RVT but he scored tonight so what do i know !

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Worth every penny. Mohamed Diame

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WHUFC vs QPR EPL 19/01/2012

January 20, 2013 Leave a comment

This game, although not a six pointer was important for both teams. WHU needed to stop the slide towards danger, and Harry’s QPR need to try and capitalise on recent good performances to try and lift them from their rivals. Needless to say, the weather was shocking, the only good news coming from the fact the wind was blowing away from us in the Upper Bobby.

After we played well in the second half for the last few games, i sort of hoped we might start well today. This was not the case, as after 13 minutes if WHU pressure, QPR broke and found our defence wide open and put a through ball to this weeks big signing for QPR, Loic Remy. Fair play to him , he ran to the ball with out a touch, and fired past Jussi’s left to open his and QPR’s account. The rest of the half was the WHU show, but no goals to show for it. Where we did let ourselves down was in crossing the ball. Both Nolan and Joe Cole were consistently overhitting balls to the far side. To say this was frustrating was an understatement. Winston Reid came close after Mo Diame had a little Giggs style run around the QPR defence, and his cross was met by Reid only to run the whole width of the goal untouched about 1ft from the line. But the key was the crossing. Terrible. Chamakh started for the hammers today, and if I’m honest did not really impress in the first half, although he seemed to be geting about and winning the odd long ball.

The second half was just as annoying, with further crosses into QPR area being mishit and more chances going to waste. We have to learn to finish teams like this. And I have a plan but more of that later.

Winston Reid seemed to be camped in the QPR box, and had a couple of shots blocked by a resolute defence. Cesar in the QPR goal was showing all of his experience by playing quickly when needed and giving QPR time when they needed it as well. But he does kick goal kicks way left, so obviously Rob Green has been showing him some of his talents.

My Remy was very absent in the second half and seems to suffer from the “Berbatovs”. If he gets the ball played directly to him, he is interested, but if not he won’t go looking for it. This will frustrate QPR moving forwards.

CC came on from Chamakh in the 62nd minute, and started to terrorise an already panicing defence. After 6 minutes he rose to a cross, which was saved by Cesar, and then JC followed up to reopen his account at Upton Park (for West Ham !).

After this WHU really pushed on but not break dow the R’s defence.

The game ends one one, and questions have to be asked. We are not scoring enough goals and more shots in this game and the United game during the week would have changed thing significantly.

It should be said at this time. Nolan was shocking today. Passes going everywhere but where they should. This, hopefully was a bad day at the office.

The issue is easy to see. Sam has 4 strikers, Cole, Maiga, Carroll, and now Chamakh. They are all the same. Apparently RVT is a striker as well, according to the squad list on whufc.com, but he’s a midfielder at best. So we have 4 strikers who all offer the same thing at different levels. If Sam needs another striker, and he obviously thinks we do as he got Chamakh, then why 1). Get what we already have. 2). Not play more than one at a time.

Point 2 is just as frustrating. Nolan helps out, as does RVT (to some extent), but to win games we need to have 2 strikers. When Carroll is fit, surely him and CC should terrorise any defence. This leaves Nolan to pick up lose balls, and JC to have 2 options open to him to pass the ball forward.

Point 1 is trickier, as strikers seem to be a dying breed. So we just have to get on with playing  2. Or we try and get players in on loan like Macheda from United or go crazy and try and get some one like Billy McKay from Inverness as a wildcard.

MOTM. Noble played well, and just did his job (and left some corners to JC). Reid looked accomplished as usual, and added to the attack today, but the romantic in me has to give todays award to Joe Cole. Welcome back !

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JC seals his return to West Ham.

QPR vs WHUFC 01/10/2012 EPL

October 1, 2012 Leave a comment

Who would of thought it? The R’s and the Hammers in the EPL !

After the humiliation against Wigan, Sam brought out the big gins for the visit to Loftus Road. Cole up top, Carroll on the bench, Diame reinstalled in the middle, and unsurprisingly no Tompkins in the back four. No point embarrassing yourself on the Telly.

Ex Hammer Zamora started for the R’s unlike the shafted Rob Green.

For two teams that play football, the game started quite ugly, and turned into a head tennis match. After 3 minutes RVT fot the ball on right, got through a challenge, and put a cross in for Nolan. Big Kev made a mess of the shot, straight onto Jarvis’ head, and into the net. Cheers, 0-1 to the Hammers.

After that, the next 15 were end to end with no end ! WHU seemed to be quite “agricultural” in the tackle, and luckily Mark Clattenburg was light on the yellows.  On 19 minutes QPR had a free kick that put some panic into the West Ham box, and ended up with Jussi sparking out Winston Reid. Having had a concussion last season, and the fact he wasn’t moving a lot, they were a little concerned, and they subbed him off for Tompkins. Winston left on his feet, which hopefully is good news.

Once again CC seems to be getting penalised for no reason. Maybe Sam needs to have a chat with the refs, a la Mr Rogers at Liverpool. Noble seemed more settled, must be his new wallet balancing him out.

On 33 Joey O’Brien went off with an injury for McCartney. So, with about half an hour gone, we are two defenders down. What to do, eh? How about a goalmouth scramble, an excellent cross from Tompks, and a smart finish from Ricardo Vaz Te, for his first of the season. Happy birthday RVT!

With 5 to go, from a QPR free kick, Cisse gets a nice volley in only for Jussi to push over the bar. This was the first time he had really been called into action in the half. The weight he seems to have lost since he signed for WHU helped him him get up to it, I’m sure!

After 5 minutes of extra time, WHU go into the break 2 up, in a game that was really even to be fair. WHU pushed a little more and were harder in the tackle.

The second half started in West Ham’s favour, with Diame forcing a save from Cesar, and QPR seemingly all over the place.

After 55 minutes Mark highes made a double sub and brought on Adel Taarabt, who waited 70 seconds before rifling in a screamer into the top right hand corner. 1-2 to the Irons. Then the game livened up as you would expect, and WHU started to look concerned., picking up needless yellows, and running balls out for no reason. Jussi made a brilliant save  from Granero, only then to get booked for time wasting.

On 67 Carlton Cole missed a stone wall sitter by putting wide, after Nolan picked up a loose pass, and put him through perfectly. Definitely a man not in form.His reward was also a yellow, along with Kevin Nolan who did no more than question the ref (this is the job of the captain, isn’t it ?). With the game going against us bit by bit (another save by Jussi, after a good long range shot by Cisse), BFS played the trump card and brought on Andy Carroll  in lieu of CC for the last 20. The big question now was “Is he fit ?”. With 15 to go, Diakite (a second half sub) got his second yellow, and the R’s were down to 10. Once again the pendulum swung the way of WHU. QPR were tired and this didn’t help. Carroll made a nice knock down to RVT, whose strike pulled a fantastic tip on to the bar from Cesar. With 2 to go, Jussi made another good save from Zamora, to keep WHU ahead.

The extra time went up as 6 minutes, real Fergie time stuff, and QPR seemed back in the ascendancy. Howlett forced another Jussi save from distance. James Tompkins made it 8 yellows for West Ham. Just before the end, Carroll took a ball down, turned and got  a shot off, and was unlucky to get a rebound. That was about the end of the match, and WHU recorded their first away win of the season, and went 7th in the league.

Not a lot to winge about tonight, but once again selection is odd. O’Brien in front of George Mac. Really ? Training must show things i’ve never seen. Noble seemed more content, with Nolan ,and Diame, moving well around him.

While we are blowing smoke up ourselves, lets stay grounded. We seem to play well against teams at our level, but we will struggle against anyone who wants to pass and move quickly (as proved by Taarabt). Cisse and Bobby Z were never going to set fire to the grass tonight. I said earlier in the season 10 points before Arsenal would do us well. We have 11, and our real season starts on Saturday. We might need to watch the discipline as well, with 8 yellow cards !

What was encouraging is that we seem to be getting more shots off, because we are playing further up the pitch. Andy Carroll’s return was unexpected and welcome.

The crowd must get a mention. Its so good to hear on old school London derby crowd, with both sides going for it.

MOTM: Noble played well, AC looked the part when he came on, but Jussi Jaaskelainen kept WHU in the game.  Much to Rob Green’s disappointment, I’m sure.

WHU vs Sunderland 22/09/2012 – EPL

September 23, 2012 Leave a comment

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

August 19, 2012 1 comment

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.

 

Blackpool vs West Ham United Championship playoff final. 19/05/2012

May 20, 2012 Leave a comment

People have said the future is orange. WHU proved this to be incorrect yesterday.

I have to say that i dont really remember much of the game as it seemed to fly by and i was physically and mentally knackered by the end. What i do know is Blackpool outplayed us, and but for some snatched finishing in the first half, could of gone in two one up. If Kevin Phillips rather than Ince’s boy had those chances he would of put at least one away.

So instead, i’ll concentrate on the day. We met at Liverpool Street, at around 10:30 in the morning. With about 10,000 other Hammers.  We managed to get a pub, that didn’t have thousands in, for a spot of breakfast and some morning refreshment. After a tube ride in which i saw about 30 Blackpool fans, we arrived at Wembley, where as usual everything becomes a Q.  So we queued to get in , and queued and then walked on the broken escalator, and then queued for a beer (4.70 ? Really ?), and then we geared up for the main event. Sam had picked what he considers to be his best team, so it was up to us to keep our part of the bargain.

Our support, as usual, was top draw, BUT, the guy behind me was an arse, and just kept slagging of all of our players, constantly. This resulted in me having a word, which led to his brother literally trying to kick my head off. So, after this got sorted, we scored, and life was good, especially for me as plank boy behind had focused on CC for most of his ire. At half time, the brother wants to buy me drink. Mad times indeed !

One of our group had tickets in the Blackpool end , and had to retire to the pub at half time, as the Blackpool fans dont play well with others it would appear.

The second half we did play a little better, but i really thought we were going for extra time after the young boy Ince equalised. Then as the game was almost settled into a draw, up pops Ricardo Vaz Te to “score when he wants” to net the winner. The 4 mins of extra time was too long for me, and i had to sit down, exhausted.

Post the celebration was got back to Liverpool street, to a have some more refreshments, and watch the Chelski game. As you can imagine, seeing Mr Lampard lift the trophy, brought a tear to the eye of everyone in the pub.

Then off home, for a well deserved rest. MOTM: My liver

Some photos of the day.

A Blackpool free zone. The tube

The obligatory Aussie John with Copper on a big game shot !

A Blackpool less Wembley way.

Wembley, Wembley, we are the famous West Ham and we’re going to Wembley.

Bex, Aussie John, Richard, Mossy, Gordon, Angry John

So they were here all along !

And so are we.

The half lap of honour.

Hammers get what they came for and go home.

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

May 7, 2012 Leave a comment

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 !