Sunday, 23 September 2018

The Three Factors That Will Decide Today's Clash

Back on track after last week's impressive display at Everton, Manuel Pellegrini's troops will be relishing the chance to show what they can do against Premiership high flyers Chelsea. VERYWESTHAM will be attending in the company of some Chelsea supporting 'friends' and the pre match banter has identified three major talking points that will be central to the outcome.

1. Can the Hammers deal with Eden Hazard? Well rested after missing Thursday's Europa League trip to Greece, Mr Hazard has been on fire this season in a more central roving role. Pellegrini likes to focus primarily on his own team rather than base his tactics on the opposition's strengths, but Hazard poses an exceptional threat that makes you feel that West ham need the pacier Ryan Fredericks instead of Zabaleta, and Aaron Cresswell's better defensive abilities might give him the edge over Arthur Masuaku. Thankfully Diop and Balbuena are starting to develop a decent understanding and will need that today. The Noble/Obiang/Rice triad can provide better cover in front of the defence but need to be careful with Alonso's free kick ability.

2. Will Arnie be leading the line? The rumour mill suggests that Arnautovic is likely to start today. He thrives on big games and let's hope the growing relationship with Felipe Anderson and Andriy Yarmolenko can be a factor today. Chelsea are least impressive at the back with Rudiger and Luiz like a high line and Pelle will be hoping that Arnie and company undermine this from the start.

3. Can the Hammers fans get a good atmosphere going. Against Wolves the London Stadium lacked passion and was not helped by the limp on-field performance. We really need to get a vibe going today - an early goal would certainly help!

Kick off is at 1.30.


Saturday, 22 September 2018

Why West Ham will win against Chelsea tomorrow!

It is a bit tempting to leave this post blank as for many, the bookies included, the Hammers have little hope of picking up a win tomorrow. Although Manuel Pellegrini's men picked up a rare win away to Everton last week, Chelsea are in top form and have recorded five straight victories to top the Premiership.

The reports regarding Marko Arnautovic are mixed with the old 'late fitness test' being peddled as the Hammers try to create a sense of uncertainty! Without Arnie the Hammers would surely struggle up front with the tempestuous Perez as the most likely back up.

At the back, the Hammers rode their luck against the Toffees and you'd have to think that Pelle will be worrying about Eden Hazard's pace against the ageing Zabaleta. Ryan Fredericks could well get the call - a mixed blessing for him given Hazards recent fine form!

Too add to the gloom, Mike Dean is officiating which will at least add to the uncertainty, while Mystic Meg Lawrenson has uncharacteristically tipped us to nip it at 2-1!!!

That said, the Hammers Look to have found a reasonable solution to the midfield conundrum with Obiang / Noble / Rice, and with both Yarmolenko and Anderson in great form we might be in for a toe to toe goalscoring slugfest! Chelsea have had a pretty soft start to the season with a (relatively weak) Arsenal the only top half team they have met so far. Moreover, the Hammers have a decent record against Chelsea in recent times with two wins and a draw in our last four meetings.

Rory Nostradamus is going for a crazy 3-3 draw!!!

What price Decky Rice to pitch in with a goal against his old club?


Probable West Ham United starting XI: Fabianski; Fredericks, Balbuena, Diop, Masuaku; Rice, Obiang, Noble; Yarmolenko, Anderson; Arnautovic.

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Hammers Dispel the Bogey Boys - but who was MOTM?

Sunday's victory at Everton is likely to go down as a major landmark in the Pellegrini era, marking the end of a troubling start to his leadership and the beginning of what should be a push up the Premiership rankings. Having only beaten Everton twice in our previous 22 attempts at Goodison, it was especially pleasing to get the better of our bogey team. The significance of the result was further emphasised by the fact that in their Premiership history Everton have scored more goals against West Ham than any other team!

That said, the manner of the win was a major talking point as Pellegrini's team demonstrated pace, mobility and precise passing that simply left Everton chasing shadows for long periods. Despite a four game losing streak, his calm assuredness was demonstrated by a team that looked confident and determined. There was a sense right from the beginning that this was West Ham's day! 

Add to that the presence of Theo Walcott on the Everton team (have we ever beaten a team he was playing for before?) and with our least popular referee, Martin Atkinson, officiating, this was a day when we picked a few bogeys! 

The one uncertainty from the game was who should get Hammers MOTM? Declan Rice was superb and seemed to be everywhere, Felipe Anderson was a constant thorn in Everton's side - both in attack and defence where he provided tremendous support for Arthur Masuaku in keeping Walcott quiet, Diop followed up his MOTM performance against Wolves with a similarly assured display at the heart of our defence, while Arnie created one and scored another - all the while urging his teammates on to keep the pressure on the tired looking Toffees, but with two goals in his first starting competitive game, Andriy Yarmolenko surely gets the MOTM award? 

You'd imagine that it's a pretty happy training ground this week out in Romford! Let's hope we can be as fluid against an impressive Chelsea side who come visiting next Sunday! 




Sunday, 16 September 2018

Birthday Boy Shakes it Up as Hammers Go In Search Of Kick Start to Season

The team sheets are in and Manuel Pellegrini has opted to change things once again as Andriy Yarmolenko gets a big chance to impress with a starting spot with Rice, Obiang and Noble in the centre. Arthur Masuaku is fit, while Pelle is keeping it tight at right back with Zabaleta starting. Diop and Balbuena will be hoping to build upon the Wolves showing where Diop was excellent.

Anderson and Arnie are up front as Snoddy starts on the bench.

West Ham: Fabianski, Zabaleta, Balbuena, Diop, Masuaku, Obiang, Noble, Rice, Yarmolenko, Arnautovic, Anderson.

Subs: Adrian, Cresswell, Ogbonna, Sanchez, Antonio, Snodgrass, Perez.



As If Things Aren't Bad Enough.......And Now This!

What's in that ciggie?

It's been a trying start to the Pellegrini era to say the least. After a £100M investment and a decent preseason campaign, West Ham have lost all four Premiership games and look set to break our own embarrassing record of consecutive defeats at the start of a season with a tough trip to our bogey team in Everton! 

When you are down on your fortune there is no shortage of fools to offer 'friendly' advice as to how to improve your lot and luckily for Pellegrini Stan CollyWobbles, football Yoda, has stepped up with some to quality advice - to sell Marko Arnautovic!!!

Arnatovic was our player of the season last year and has offered the few moments of respite so far this season with his two goals. He has run and run despite playing in an underperforming side and has set an example with his work rate and commitment that is surely the basis of West Ham's desired recovery? Many fans would agree with the sentiment that 'if only we had eleven players like Marko'!

But the world of football punditry is no stranger to gratuitous controversy which seems the best explanation for Collywobbles unprovoked attack upon the Hammers star. Referring to Marko as a fancy Dan, he has suggested that "he (Pellegrini) needs to get rid of players like Arnautovic and build a proper spine ­before adding the players around the periphery".  

Perhaps Stan should stick to his other hobbies and leave Pellegrini and his 35 years of managerial success to work out what to do next? Let's hope that we can get a result today - if only to get away from this type of speculative nonsense! 



Monday, 3 September 2018

Reflections on West Ham's Defeat to Wolves

It all started so well for the VERYWESTHAM crew, catching the 7am flight from Shannon to Stansted and then off to a family event in East Ham before making the walk to the London Stadium. The atmosphere was a tad restrained, but understandably so given our three opening defeats. Still , Arnie was fit and we were at home, right?

Wrong! After 15 minutes I wondered if the lads had been segregated in training as we were struggling to complete simple passes while Wolves looked sleek. After half an hour it was obvious that we lacked leadership and, for all his lack of pace and vulnerability beside Wilshere, we were missing Mark Noble. At half time I wondered how many Pellegrini would substitute at the break. Fab, Arnie and Diop aside, we looked lacklustre.

No changes at half time but we had a decent first 20 minutes in the second half before we slackened off and Wolves took over again, creating three really decent chances before Arnie almost stole a winner with a break against the run of play. Wolves were saved by their goalkeepers's face and thereafter we looked to have settled for a draw.

Until Wolves scored in injury time. In all honesty, it made for a fair result. We look lost, almost Abram Grant level of bewildered. Hmmm.  It's early days but with a series of tough games ahead you'd have to wonder where any points might be coming from. My sense is that the noard will stay calm for a dozen games. Hopefully we will do a typical Hammers and beat a few big boys to kick start things. Failing that, the Claret n Blue cup against Burnley is looking like a big big game for Pellegrini!


Ratings of starting XI: Fabianski 7, Diop 8, Balbuena 6, Cresswell 5, Fredericks 5, Wilshere 5, Sanchez 6, Antonio 5, Anderson 4, Snodgrass 5, Arnautovic 7.

Crowd Rating 4/10. In fairness, we had very little to get energised by in this drab performance. It was all too easy for Wolves.

Friday, 31 August 2018

Unsettled Hammers Look to Beat the Odds

West ham have endured a pretty disappointing start to the new era under Manuel Pellegrini. Having lost each of their opening three games they languish at the bottom of the Premiership table. The midweek win against Wimbledon may have provided some light, but given that they trailed for an hour despite having an extra man will not have gone unnoticed as yet more evidence that the new squad is far from firing on all cylinders!

Wolves, meanwhile, enjoyed a morale boosting draw with Man City last weekend and then dispatched the Owls during midweek, using their back up players. If the Hammers lose tomorrow it will equal their worst ever start to a season - the other coming under Avram Grant's doomed tenure. No pressure then!

However, in better news, Marko Arnautovic and Mark Noble are available. In reality, when 2 of your first 3 games are away at Enfield and the Emirates it is not a total disaster to come away with little to show, but Pellegrini's men really need a win to kick start their campaign. First up, Pellegrini needs to sort out a stable CB pairing, with tomorrow's selection likely to reveal where his longer term intentions lie. The Hammers boss has been singing the praises of both Masuaku and Cresswell, so selection at left back will also provide an interesting talking point.

But perhaps the biggest question is whether Mark Noble will walk straight back into the starting XI. Carlos Sanchez had a mixed performance against Arsenal, so it looks up for grabs. Javier Hernandez will hope that his goal in midweek might swing a starting berth for him, while Andriy Yarmolenko had a lot of the ball with modest impact against the Wombles. In truth, there is considerable uncertainty regarding most of the side with plenty of positions up for grabs.

Interestingly, BETWAY have the Hammers at 8/5 for a win, which seem like generous odds. Rory Nostradamus at VERYWESTHAM predicts a 3-1 win for the Hammers.