Sunday, 19 January 2020

Experts Predict West Ham Survival Chances - and it makes for worrying reading!

There are just 16 games to go in this season's Premiership and West Ham are in a real relegation dog fight! Will the Hammers avoid the dreaded drop? We asked our resident experts for their take on our likely points tally from each remaining game and came up with some worrying predictions!

Our current Position is 16th with 23 points from 22 games. Olly the Optimist sees us finishing on a healthy 55 points! Pete the Pessimist reckons we will crash out of the Premiership with a mere 32 points, while Reggie the Realist sees us scraping home on the last day with a win at Villa (possibly to relegate them instead of us!) and finishing on 40 points (with a total of 10 wins).

One thing is for certain, it's not going to be boring!!!


The Truth About Yesterday's Performance

VWH's Youth Reporting Team Enjoy the build up to Yesterday
Another point gained as we crawl tortoise-like towards 40 point. In truth, this is how it was last time under David Moyes - tight, patient, tactical and conservative. Everton looked there for the taking but Moyes had few options with a desperately depleted squad where the starting XI essentially self selected. Right from the start you could see that we were going to have to play it tight with a starting XI that had no real pace, lacked height across the team for set pieces, and relied upon Noble and Rice putting in a busy and physically demanding shift with no real support available from the bench if either tired or got injured.

Despite these major impediments, we looked determined and passed the ball really well, building attacks slowly - mostly because we had no pace to do otherwise! A point will therefore suffice but with some very tough fixtures ahead, it's hard to see us not slipping into the relegation zone again over the coming 4-6 weeks. At least with Moyes we won't panic!

Yesterday also highlighted how thin our squad is right now. We need reinforcements. Imagine if any of Haller, Rice or Noble got injured??? Zabaleta was superb yesterday, as was Noble but they cannot be relied upon to keep that up week in and week out. You really have to wonder why Diangana has not been recalled from West Brom - he would have been a real addition to our bench yesterday as we lacked a game changer to bring on and at 70 minutes the game was there to be taken if either side had a decent impact player to introduce. Neither did!

Here are our player ratings in what was a solid overall performance.

Randolph: Great to have him back! Quiet day but handled everything well and decent distribution with kick outs.No chance with the goal. 7/10.

Zabaleta: Tremendously mature performance. Gave not an inch at the back and was decent going forward. Neither he nor Snoddy rely on pace to get down the wing and seem to work well for each other as a result! 7.5/10.

Cresswell: Decent performance all round. Linked well with both Fornals and then Masuaku. Set pieces not so good. 7/10. 

Diop: Very reassuring to have him back to his best. Solid and confident in defence and chipped in with a brilliantly headed goal. 8.5/10

Ogbonna: Solid, Solid, Solid. It's really hard to decide who he prefers alongside him - Diop or Balbuena but he looked comfortable with Issa yesterday. First CB on the team list fully justified again. 8/10. 

Noble: Worked unbelievably hard to keep us on top of the visitors. Everywhere for 60 minutes but then faltered a bit. We desperately need reinforcements. In a side with no pace he managed our passing game plan to perfection. 8.5/10.

Rice: A big presence in midfield and a major part of why we look more solid defensively. Possibly prefers the Moyes method to Pellegrini's more open game? 7.5/10.

Snodgrass: In the thick of everything good that we did offensively. Nice free kick for Diop's goal. Linked well with Zabba and Noble to control the right flank. 8/10.

Fornals: Has settled into the Premiership and looks comfortable in the team. Strange early sobbing as he looked much more likely than the rather flat Lanzini. 7/10.

Lanzini: In and out but still not back to his old self. The only player with real pace on our side yesterday but was caught alone when we tried to break. Also, does he like playing with Haller? There is very little evidence that they are linking well to date? 6/10.

Haller: Hmmm. Lacks pace and his languid style creates an air of disinterest. Has physical presence and at last we are starting to get some crosses in to him. Very average performance for a £50M striker. 6/10. 


Masuaku: Lovely on the eye with his twinkle-toed style. Playing further forward suits him but Arthur lacks the killer touch and is no real substitute for Felipe Anderson. 7/10.

Ajeti: The best that we've seen from him so far - maybe there's hope that he can be more than just emergency cover for Fornals. Bristled for the few minutes that he was on. 6/10. 

MOTM: Issa Diop.

Saturday, 18 January 2020

Dazzler and Diop Return As Moyes Looks for Solidity

The excitement is gathering at the LS as David Moyes looks to ease the tension on a relegation- threatened West Ham. The gaffer has gone for an attack minded side with Lanzini, Fornals and Snoddy supporting Haller up top. At the back, Issa Diop gets s big chance to demonstrate his undoubted ability as he comes in for Balbuena. 

No Antonio or Anderson though and a bench that once again includes a number of untried youngsters. Masuaku is our most offensive (!) Substitute so the starting XI will need to deliver if we are to realistically hope for a much needed win!


Hammers: Randolph, Zabaleta, Ogbonna, Diop, Cresswell, Rice, Noble, Fornals, Lanzini, Snodgrass, Haller

Substitutes: Martin, Reid, Balbuena, Cardoso, Masuaku, Ajeti, Ngakia

Friday, 17 January 2020

Disturbing News For Hammers Fans

West ham welcome Everton to the London Stadium today hoping to recover after the disappointment of losing under controversial circumstances at Sheffield United last weekend. David Moyes is talking tough suggesting that his side can develop upon their superb 3-0 crushing on Everton in one of his final games during his successful previous stint as club manager.

Indeed, the Hammers have looked much more organised both offensively and, inevitably at the back, since his arrival. However, Everton have also formed up under new boss Carlo Ancellotti and have risen up the table to 11th. With  series of super tough fixtures coming up, the Hammers simply need some points on the board so they will be inclined to play it tight and tough.

Dazzler Randolph looks set to walk back into the side after boomeranging back from a successful period at Middlesboro and Moyes has hinted that he is likely to start. Otherwise, Antonio could he back while Anderson is a doubt.

Paddy Poor- Maker has Everton as favourites at 7/5, the Hammers at 15/8 and the draw 12/5. Worryingly, Mystic Mark Lawrenson reckons the Hammers will prevail 2-1....but he's usually wrong with most things to do with West Ham!



At Last, Some Movement...

It's already more than half way through January with very little transfer action at relegation-threatened West Ham. Darren Randolph has returned to steady our dodgy defence, while exciting youngster Conor Coventry has signed a new contract, but otherwise there has been precious little for Hammers fans to celebrate.

Most meaningful January action happens in the final few days, so it's too early to panic. In addition to bringing in a defender and a box to box midfielder, West ham need to clear out some deadwood. To that end it has been confirmed that Roberto will be heading on loan back to Spain to Alaves, probably early next week.

The Spaniard has endured a torrid time at the club during which his contributions have been highlighted as major factors in the Hammers lowly position in the Premiership table, and ultimately the departure of Manuel Pellegrini.

Maybe Carlos Sanchez might be next?


Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Barcelona Hitman Perfect Fit for West Ham in Relegation Charge

How Andy Suarez might look at the Hammers Treatment Room

It's been repeatedly rumoured that West Ham might take a punt on South American striker Gabriel Barbosa or 'Gabigol' as he is known. The Hammers certainly need goals to support their efforts to avoid relegation in a season that has gone pear shaped.

However, in bad news for Messrs Gold and Sullivan, the hopes for capturing Gabigol look to be fading with reports that indicate Barcelona are considering bringing the striker to the Nou Camp to replace Luis Suarez as the Uruguayan hitman recently sustained a season ending knee injury.

With ever closing door another one opens, they say, and for the Hammers the Barca situation represents an ideal opportunity to bring in a top forward at a bargain price. Suarez would surely now be available on loan until the end of the season and could really add energy to our medical room. 

In reality, the medical team have been starved of opportunities to work their magic since the departure of 'Big' Andy Carroll. It's been rumoured that some staff keep a picture of Andy in the medical bay just for old times' sake to remind them of the days where the hopes and dreams of Hammers fans rested upon their belief that the medical team could get their top player back in time to change our fortunes. Replacing the persistently injured Carroll with a quality striker the likes of Suarez could be just the filip West Ham need!

Meanwhile, as some Hammers fans lament how unlucky the club is with injury, its worth noting that according to current figures West Ham are merely mid-table in terms of numbers out injured (six players at present) which makes the need to select three unknown kids for the bench at Sheffield United all the more concerning as our squad is clearly small and threadbare!

All of which raises the issue of incoming transfers who need to meet simple criteria (1) Be of Premiership standard (unlike Ajeti, Sanchez, Roberto), (2) Have a good history of avoiding injury (unlike Wilshere), and (3) Be capable of getting stuck in at the messy end of a messy season.

We are half way through the transfer window and apart from a new Conor Coventry contract, there's been no incoming... 


Sunday, 12 January 2020

Clear As Mud: Hammers InVARiably Lose Out in Latest Fiasco

OOogh - that looks like a deflection to me!
Friday night's clash between arch-rivals Sheffield United and West Ham was a thriller. The blades came out full of intent and dominated the first 20 minutes but thereafter West Ham slowly took control, playing some nice football and dominating possession. However, the game changed suddenly on 53 minutes when a slack goal kick by stand in keeper David Martin let the Blades in for a simple goal. The Hammers huffed and puffed before Declan Rice decided enough was enough and went on a surging run through the centre, slipping a  neat pass out to Robert Snodgrass to rifle the ball home against the post for a late late equaliser.  Pure Hollywood as the Hammers celebrated with much abandon.

Ant then those buzzwreckers at VAR decided it was handball as in a desperate attempt to dispossess Rice, John Egan had headed the ball against the Hammers player's upper arm. No big deal, usually....BUT the goal was overturned.

Interestingly, many observers have commented that the call was harsh but correct - however, a quick look at the Premiership Website (see below)  suggests that it's far from that simple! The ball went directly from Egan's head onto Rice - surely that's a deflection???

With the Hammers now firmly top of the table for VAR decisions that have gone against any club you have to wonder if the lost point might prove crucial as the season unfolds!

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) updated the Laws of the Game for the 2019/20 season stating:


Any goal scored or created with the use of the hand or arm will be disallowed this season even if it is accidental. The handball rule now has extra clarity because it does not consider intent by a player.



Premier League players will be allowed extra leeway when it comes to ricocheted handballs.  It is often impossible to avoid contact with the ball if it has deflected off the body of an opponent, team-mate, or even another part of the own player. So a handball will not be awarded if the ball touches a player’s hand/arm directly from their own head/body/foot or the head/body/foot of another player who is close/nearby.