Saturday, 29 September 2018

Player Ratings vs Man Utd: guess who gets MOTM?



The last time that things felt so good in the crazy world of West Ham was when we beat Manchester United for the last time at the Boleyn! In today's game we were equally as fired up and really from the very start West Ham's intensity seemed too much for a fractured Man United.

After top performances away to Everton and hosting Chelsea last week, this was a step even further upwards as Pellegrini's side pinged the ball around, for once enjoying the open space of the London Stadium.

Picking out a MOTM is a real challenge as this was a team that were totally on fire. The contrast with the Wolves performance of a few weeks ago was simply remarkable! This was a courageous front-footed assault that reaped dividends.

Here are our individual player ratings:

Fabianski: Calm, assured, good under crosses and an outstanding shot stopper, Lucas put in another tremendous performance and pulled off a stunning save to frustrate Fellaini towards the end. 8/10.

Zabaleta: Wow, just like last week, Pablo put in a young man's shift and even added an assist for Anderson's goal. Young Fredericks looked great in midweek but Pablo just keeps on justifying his starting berth! 8/10.

Masuaku: Still keeping Dressy on the bench and rightly so as he again looked tasty going forward and (reasonably) solid defensively. Kept Ashley Young under wraps in a feisty battle down the left flank! 8/10.

Diop: Tremendous stuff! What a signing and with Fabian Balbuena seems to have found their frequency. Physically imposing but also pretty nifty around the pitch and made a few decent forays forward. A tremendous find - as the Special One was keen to point out in his post match analysis! 9/10.

Balbuena: While Diop has been catching everybody's eye as one of the most promising talents in the league, Balbuena has been quietly putting in some truly assured performances and passed the dreaded Lukaku test today with flying colours! 8/10.

Rice: This young man is growing by the game and once again was everywhere today. Declan's positional sense is tremendous fir somebody of his age and he has the pleasing ability to move the ball quickly. If Perez is worth 50k per week surely this man is worth something similar? 9/10.

Obiang: Quietly putting in the yards and part of a dominant midfield, Pedro has been unlucky with injuries in the past but is still only approaching his peak age and now finding excellent form. At one point he looked all set to repeat his Spurs strike, but almost hit the corner flag instead! A real dynamo. 8/10.

Noble: The biggest cheer during last week's Chelsea tussle was for Captain Claret when he departed at 85 minutes. Again today he looked like a man possessed - simply everywhere and constantly nicking the ball and driving us forwards. This was one of his greatest Hammers performances!!! 10/10 (MOTM).

Anderson: Felipe has that x-factor that every team needs and is filling the massive void left by Manu Lanzini's absence. It was great to see him open his goalscoring account with a cheeky heal flick for the opening goal. Not shy about tracking back either, the question now is how we can accommodate both he and Lanzini when they are both available! 8/10.

Yarmolenko: Although Andriy is quite one footed, his penetration is such that he keeps defenders guessing. The relationship with Pablo is growing nicely and, of course, he is scoring. Today's strike looked headed for the top left corner until it deflected to the top right, but having a winger who can shoot keeps the opposition nervous and opens up all manner of possibilities! 8/10.

Arnautovic: A constant thorn in the Mancs side, Referee Michael Oliver really should have given him more protection today and one hopes that he wasn't injured too badly as the challenges became more and more fierce as they went unpunished. Marko had the last laugh though, as he put Man U to the sword from Noble's super through ball with a quarter of an hour left. What were Stoke doing with him out on the wing all that time? 9/10.
just before the end. Could do nothing about Rashford's goal. Thoughtful distribution from kick outs.  8/10.

Subs: Antonio had limited impact and perhaps could have looked more energetic. Snodgrass kept things ticking over while Diangana didn't have time to show his stuff.



Manchester United 'embarrassed' as Hammers showboat!



Rio Ferdinand didn't mince his words with his post match comments on BT Sport after West Ham coasted past an out of sorts Man United at the London Stadium.

West ham have absorbed the Pellegrini way and simply outplayed the visitors for long periods in the match, with Mark Noble in absolutely stunning form as he bossed  the midfield and totally eclipsed Paul Pogba!

Felipe Anderson opened the scoring with a cheeky flick from Zabaleta's cross. Just before half time Andriy Yarmolenko's shot deflected wickedly into the net to widen the gap. 

Although Marcus Rashford pulled one back against the run of play, 3 minutes later Mark Noble raced forward and slotted Arnautovic through for an inevitable clincher.

Ferdinand was obviously impressed with a passage of play that followed soon after wherein the Hammers played keep ball for almost 30 passes as Man United were forced to chase after the ball.

Speaking after the game, Rio commented "The way they (West ham)  played, the personality, in the end they were showboating and for Manchester United fans it was embarrassing".

Onwards and upwards - With Spurs as the next visitors to the London Stadium things are pretty positive right now! For Jose Mourinho this may be the final straw that forces an Old Trafford exit!

High Scoring Draw in Game of Give and Take: Here are West Man Utd!

There's plenty of history between the Hammers and Manchester United, with some dramatic season finales standing out in the memory of moments when West Ham have frequently come out on top! With both sides enjoying mixed fortunes so far this season it looks like anything is possible today!

As the excitement levels rise before the 12.30 kick off, we took some time to consider
the best team comprised of players who have played for both clubs making up the impressive ‘West Man United XI’.  

Ultimately, will these performers be considered Hammers or Devils?





At Man United he failed to inspire confidence - epitomised by ‘the goal that never was’. Joined West Ham in 2005 after falling out over a lack of first team opportunities. Had a good initial season but sustained a back injury in Jan 2006 and slipped into a variety of difficulties that ultimately earned him a place in the ‘Troubled Bubbles XI’! Verdict Neither.

Hammers debut at the tender age of 17, Rio soon forced his way into the regular first team squad where he continued to impress until Leeds paid a record 18 million for him in November 2000. Quickly moved to Man United where he has been a fantastic servant for a decade and was key to the many successes of the past decade.Verdict Devil.

8 appearances for Man United where he was never really given a chance. A bargain signing for 500K for West ham that led to a five year career and over 100 appearances . Versatile defender who had his finest hour when scoring twice in a 4-0 victory over Man United in 2010. Ran out of road as the Hammers regrouped after relegation and moved to Birmingham City. Verdict: Hammer.

Top man. Signed from Cork Athletic in 1952. Noel enjoyed a fruitful 8 years at West Ham with 250 appearances. Captained the Hammers to promotion back to the top flight for the first time in almost 30 years in 1958 . Sold to man Utd for almost 30K in 1960 where he captained a cup winning side and was part of two league winning teams. Verdict Hammer.

Hmmm. One that got away having impressed at youth level but nicked by Man United. He might have fared so much better had he stuck with the Hammers and gotten a better shot at first team football. Many observers would say that he has never lived up to his potential in a promising career ultimately fizzled out. Verdict Neither.

Industrious and gamey, the 'Guvnor'  was never found wanting in the Hammers shirt after replacing Billy Bonds in 1987. He didn’t handle his Hammers departure very well being photographed in a Man United shirt well before the deal was confirmed. Probably did not deserve the  criticisms thrown his way by Fergie and after 6 years and over 200 appearances Verdict: Devil.

Another one thrown in as a teenager at 17 into the Hammers first team. Skilful but perhaps a little ‘ghosty’ at times. Happy to do the unglamorous work and stayed loyal after relegation in 2003 before losing patience and moving to Spurs for 3.5 Million and then Man United where he was a solid performer for ten seasons. Verdict Devil.

Trouble with a capital T during his time at Man United, Fergie tired of his disciplinary problems and Big Sam obliged for a mere 650K. Initially 'Raveldo' looked like an astute piece of business but  disciplinary and personal issues re-emerged and after 18 games for the Hammers he was moved on. Currently AWOL from our attentions! Verdict Hammer.

Arrived at Man United late in his career but proved another astute Fergie signing and achieved legendary status in stoppage time of the 1999 Champions League final. Came to the Hammers not far short of pension age but still had plenty to offer by virtue of his excellent footballing brain. Returned as forwards coach to great effect in the 2014-5 season. Verdict Devil. 

Played in a different era when United were not quite the same powerhouse they are now but picked up a cup winners medal, scoring in the 1977 final against lovely Liverpool. 
Moved to the Hammers in 1979 after a nasty knee injury but still managed to play a major part in the 1980 Cup final victory over Arsenal, teeing up Trevor Brooking’s ‘stunning’ header! Verdict Both.

Arrived at the Boleyn in a bizarre deal in 2006. Bemused Hammers faithful endured two-thirds of a season of Carlos trying to inspire a lacklustre side and then it all clicked into gear for the final 10 games where he couldn’t stop scoring, including a final day win at Old Trafford to keep the Hammers up! The Apache had some classy moments in the United shirt but got sidetracked by his own ego needs. Ultimately moving to City was the final straw.Verdict Hammer.

Substitutes: Luke Chadwick, Les Sealey, David Bellion, Ashley Fletcher.

So, final score 4-4. The odds of that being the score in today's game are 350-1!!! 

Here Comes the Barry McGuigan!



My son phoned earlier this week in a panic informing me that his significant other had bought them tickets to go to a comedy night in Cork tomorrow night! Arrgghhhhhhhh!!! He was desperately seeking advice as to how best to tell her that he couldn't commit to such hilarity as Saturday 29th September would be spent on a Ryanair flight back to Shannon 'considering' the events of earlier that day in the London stadium!

Ahem! I pondered for a moment before suggesting he should lean on a bit of prison slang to emphasise the importance of events in London and his need to be present. This one is the Barry McGuigan son, I advised. This is the principal reason that we have season tickets for the London Stadium. This is the big un! 

Thankfully, she got it. And now we are on our way to observe the game that Hammers fans enjoy the most - forget Spurs et al, the visit of the Red Devils is the game we want to win most of all! With a queue as long as your arm of potential replacements, he was given the permit to abandon his bofriend duties and give it socks in support of the Hammers. 

Let's hope he has a tale of endeavour and heroism to recount, and after a string of performances that suggest that we have finally absorbed the essence of the Pellegrini method, it's looking pretty hopeful. Arnie is scheduled to return, our defence looks to be on a good wavelength and Anderson and Yarmolenko look like they are enjoying their game - even better, as the Special One and Pogba pretend to be friends, the Mancs look vulnerable for an East End drubbing!

Against Chelski we conceded the bulk of possession, but today Pellegrini will be looking to dominate as much as possible and prevent a fractured Man Utd from getting any rhythm. Rice against Pogba will be fascinating as our wonderkid gets to go toe to toe with the World Cup winning midfielder. 

Predicted starting XI: Fabianski, Zabaleta, Masuaku, Diop, Balbuena, Noble, Obiang, Rice, Anderson, Yarmalenko, Arnautovic.

COYI!!!

Friday, 28 September 2018

Disgraceful Scenes at London Stadium

Everybody knows the Count's favourite number!
The Cup can bring all sorts of extravagant fare - giant killings (yes, we know!), joy and tragedy (F*** off Stevie G!), and hopeless mismatches. Wednesday night saw the ruthless side of Pellegrini - something we Hammers can remember from a recent cup mauling by Man City, as a dominant Hammers side simply didn't know when to stop. All over the world, various protection activists abandoned their posts to express outrage at the whipping dished out by a second line Hammers side to poor League 2 Macclesfield.


Hammers fans were left with a terrible sense of self loathing as we murmured 'enough is enough now lads' while secretly wishing for more. Disgraceful, unwarranted but simply delicious! It had been 35 years since the 10-0 mauling of Bury but in the modern era such huge goal spreads are much less common, making this possibly our greatest ever dismantling job!



Speaking after the game, Rory Nostradamus revealed "eight was probably a bit harsh on the Macc Lads, I'd settle for 4 or 5 against Man U on Saturday!".

Confidence is high right now and maybe after all the disappointment of the first four games we have earned the right to savour a bit of success!

COYI!!!

 

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Greedy Pelle and Ghastly Chelsea!




MOTM Decky Rice stalks the canary-like Hazard
Before Sunday’s game you would have gratefully settled for a point but after creating three gilt-edged chances and putting in a rock solid defensive showing, you can’t blame Pellegrini for getting greedy with lamenting two points lost.
Chelsea, meanwhile, were left with a reminder that they lack the striker that they’ll be needing if they have true Premiership title aspirations. And that canary yellow kit was absolutely Ghastly!!!
Here's our player ratings in what was another great performance where we got a result against high-flying Chelsea by playing football rather than Allardycing the bus! We can compete with the best by going toe to toe and could easily of taken all three points. Man U next - bring them on. Let's get the stadium rocking next week!!!

Lucas Fabianski–8.

Another absolutely superb performance. I’ll admit that I wondered if we could really upgrade from Adrian, but Fabianski has been consistently outstanding and the late save as we stumbled home in injury time summed up his day. He can rightly feel miffed to miss out on the man of the match award as it would have been well deserved.

Arthur Masuaku-6

Arthur is a classic Hammers player – stylish, skillful, good going forward and cheeky! However, his defending can sometimes by ‘clunky’ and his natural tendency towards offence means that he can get caught out of position. That said, he is enjoying playing alongside Filipe Anderson who has been surprisingly willing to track back and defend. The one period where we looked in trouble on Saturday was in the final 15 minutes when the Masuaku-Snodgras combination struggled when Eden Hazard switched to the right wing. For some games you wonder if Aaron Cresswell at full back and Masuaku on the left side of midfield might be the best set up.

Issa Diop-8

After a shaky start, he is developing a good understanding with Balbuena where their strength and ball skills are allowing us to play the ball about a bit more than a Reid-Ogbonna pairing would allow. Diop was our best player versus Wolves and excellent against Everton. He looked completely at ease against high-flying Chelsea. A fantastic signing and looks set to keep getting better.
Two bald geezers savouring the cauldron-like atmosphere of the London Stadium

Fabian Balbuena –7

As above – Balbuena is particularly calm in possession. He made an excellent early challenge on Hazard that set a pattern for the game. One wonders how Winston Reid will manage to fit back into the set up when he returns! Nice piece in the match programme highlighting how Fabien has taken over the mantle as principal Punk Rocker in the dressing room (previously held by Stuart Pearce)!

Pablo Zabaletta – 7.

I really worried about Pablo getting exposed by Chelsea’s skillful and pacey left side but he used all of his experience to good effect and was not shy getting forward. Amused the whole stadium with his fresh air kick after getting into an excellent attacking position!  Now working better with Andriy Yarmolenko who is more willing to help out in defence.

Declan Rice - 9.

Man of the Match. He is so like Billy Bonds! It’s hard to believe that he’s only 19 as he seems to know where to be so often. Moves the ball quickly and to effect. You’d guess that he will eventually move to centre back, but as a defensive midfielder he looks the real deal already. He has snuffed out Gyllfi Siggurdsson and Eden Hazard in consecutive games!  

Pedro Obiang – 7

Tremendous energy and was kept busy chasing a fluid Chelsea midfield all day. Hard to think that we almost let him go in the Summer as he is one of those quietly effective players that keeps things ticking over. Aren’t you glad that we kept him rather than Cheik Kouyate – Obiang’s link up play is more precise which allows him to slip nicely into the Pellegrini system.

Mark Noble – 7.

The biggest cheer of the day was for our departing captain with 5 minutes to go. There are those who feel that he is no longer up to it at this level but the end of last year and the past few games indicate that Captain Claret still has plenty to offer on the pitch and in a starting role. That said, evidence to date suggests that it is unwise to play both Noble and Wilshere in the same midfield as the lack of pace is a real problem.

Andriy Yarmelenko – 7

Many fans believe that he will be our best signing of the Summer! He had a great game that unfortunately will be remembered by many for his missed header with a quarter of an hour to go. That aside, he is giving better support defensively and has real pace and a cutting edge moving forward. Andriy has been voted Ukrainian player of the year for 4 of the past 5 seasons. Lots more to come!

Felipe Anderson - 6

The early morning Shannon crew (Rod, Sean and I) were totally divided about the merits of Mr Anderson. He has tremendous skill and (I think0 has been impressive in tracking back and supporting Arthur Masuaku. Others, however, feel he has yet to prove his worth. Nice work in setting up Antonio’s first chance but struggled in a game where we only had 28% possession. Of note, our defence opened up on the left side soon after he departed (but then again Hazard switched wing at that point too!).

Michail Antonio -6

He really is not a lone striker. Two great chances missed in the first half. Arnautovic’s intense physicality and excellent first touch have highlighted Michail’s deficiencies. That said, he is a great impact player and brings determination and physicality, albeit a little clumsy at times. He really needs a goal to get him rocking again.

 

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.

COYI!!!!