Thursday, 19 October 2017

Hammers Look to Silver Lining...

After his 90 seconds of madness on Saturday, Andy Carroll will be serving a ban when West Ham welcome Brighton to the OS on Friday night. missing out on the three points that we looked destined for against Burnley was hugely disappointing, but for many fans Carroll's loss may be a bonus as it will likely mean that Chicharito will return to his favoured central role.

In truth the Mexican assassin has looked out of sorts since he was displaced from the central striker's position by Carroll's return. Never the less, he is joint top scorer for the club with three goals in eight games - compared with Carroll's zero return from 4 starts.

Perhaps even more interesting will be the opening created for Diafra Sakho - a player that is starting to look like his old abrasive self as he regains hard-won fitness after repeated injury woes. Sakho has delivered 3 goals from 2 starts (and seven substitute appearances) but clearly needs more game time.

With the Hammers at home and under the floodlights, it's surely time to go with two up front - with Arnautovic on the left and Antonio on the right. Add Lanzini in the middle and we have the prospect of goals galore. The one issue is who will fill the holding midfield role - with Kouyate and Obiang neck and neck while poor Mark Noble looks out of the picture.

Whatever else, Friday night will answer some important questions about Bilic's intentions for our forwards and his preferred offensive style. Chicharito and Sakho will no doubt be hoping to seize this excellent opportunity to impress the boss regarding their respective claims for the central striking role.



Typical, just bloody typical! hammers fans will be amazed to hear that Simone Zaza - the guy who couldn't score at West Ham (eleven games and no goals) has won La Liga player of the month for September!

Zaza enjoyed a decent run in the latter half of last season after escaping London for Valencia - netting six goals in 20 appearances, but this season he has been on fire with 7 goals in 8 games, including a recent hat trick against Malaga!

While Hammers fans would never wish anything but the best of fortune to ex-players (with the notable exceptions of Ince and Payet), Zaza's story raises important questions about Messers Sullivan and Gold's transfer 'deals' as Zaza's failure was compounded by contractual issues that prevented him from playing sufficient games to adjust to the unique environment of the Premiership.

Whatever next? Modi Maiga to win African player of the year? Hardly, as the Mali international has endured a torrid time since leaving West Ham and has struggled to settle in the Gulf leagues managing just 9 goals in the past 3 seasons!

Would Zaza have been a success in the Premiership if he had been handled differently by the club?


Saturday, 14 October 2017

Bilic Plays Strong Hand in Claret n Blue Cup

Slaven Bilic has fielded probably the strongest attack-minded starting XI available to him for today's clash at Turf Moor with a chance for Hammers fans to see what we can do with all our big guns up front. With Sakho and Ayew on the bench, Bilic really has options to shake things up if they don't go according to plan.


West Ham: Hart; Zabaleta, Reid, Fonte, Cresswell; Antonio, Kouyate, Lanzini, Arnautovic; Carroll, Hernandez. Subs: Adrian, Noble, Masuaku, Ogbonna, Obiang, Ayew, Sakho.

Time to Repay the Bank of Bilic!

As the Hammers return from the International break with an away trip at Burnley, it has emerged that manager Slaven Bilic runs a bizarre credit rating system to support his team selections!

Speaking in an interview this week, he explained how players get credits for performances in training as well as match day performances- with the latter considered most important.

Having splashed the cash on the high profile signings of Chicharito, Arnautovic, Zabaleta and Hart, Bilic must be feeling that his signings are all in major debt to the Bank of Bilic!

Of the four, Chicharito has delivered a few much needed goals but has not yet found a rhythm within  the team. Zabaleta is a great pro but struggles against pacey opposition, Hart hasn't done anything especially wrong but has shipped a lot of goals as our defence has been porous, while Marko Arnautovic has delivered mostly in terms of his dodgy temperament rather than penetrating attacking play.

Arnie is thus the most in debt but after a decent international break in which he scored for Austria, he will be hoping to start today and lead the charge up the table. Let's hope today brings the first evidence of a growing partnership between him and the returning Manny Lanzini as our principal shortcoming so far this season has been the lack of a coherent attacking plan.

The Hammers are 15/8 but have beaten Burnley in their last 4 encounters. Burnley are unbeaten in their last 5, so something will have to give at Turf Moor today.

We reckon 2-1 to the Hammers!


Thursday, 12 October 2017

Let the dream begin...

As Slaven Bilic prepares to resume the Hammers campaign after the International break, it's an ideal time to take stock of our season to date.

After a difficult start which found the Hammers bottom of the table after four games, Bilic has weathered the storm with a series of decent rests, albeit underpinned by patchy form during which the team have struggled to discover a convincing rhythm.  In reality, the recent results have been due to good fortune and hard endeavour rather than by virtue of quality play.

Never the less, West Ham are lurching towards mid table boredom and with a full squad of players who are mostly match fit, it's surely time to unleash an attacking five comprising Lanzini, Arnautovic, Antonio, Chicharito and Carroll. With Sakho on form to replace either striker, Mr Bilic has decent options up front.

Moreover, the return of the impressive Pedro Obiang to partner Cheik Kouyate in midfield sure maintain an increasingly tight defensive unit.

Burnley, Brighton and Palace ahead in the league with an exciting opportunity to kibble the Spuds at their temporary Wembley home and suddenly it's time for some positivity.

Who knows, maybe we can push into the top half and let the dreaming begin?

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Dream time ahead for Hammers

Ok, so yesterday was a repeat of the Baggies game a fortnight back where two unimaginative sides played out a turgid affair, with one exception, just as in last week's defeat to Spurs, Bilic was able to change the game with his substitutions.

Arthur Masuaku came on with Diafra Sakho and conspired to land a knockout punch just on full time. We are now out of the relegation zone and looking ahead with as close to a full squad as Bilic has ever enjoyed during his time at the club. The next three months will test just how good the Croat really is. 

With Salvo, Carroll and Chicharito all fit it's hard to remember when we last had such potential up front. The return of Manny Lanzini can spark pour creativity while the choice of any two of Antonio, Arnautovic, Ayew and Masuaku is tantalising. Put Kouyate and Obiang in front of a back four and we should be defensively solid.

All we need is a bit of rhythm and confidence and we can push up the table. A run of results and we can think about a top six spot...


Saturday, 16 September 2017

Baggies go for Record as Arnie returns

The Hammers will look to build upon Monday night's win over Huddersfield while the Baggies will want to move on from their saggy performance against Brighton last time out. Games between these two can often be dour affairs but last season's OS clash was a humdinger as the Baggies grabbed an injury time equaliser having previously led. The Hammers dominated that day and were entitled to feel hard done by as there were a number of poor refereeing decisions in the lead up to the goal and they will be hoping that Lady Luck favours the Irons on this occasion.

Gareth Barry will become the player with the greatest number of Premiership appearances as he is selected in West Brom's starting line up. Presuming that he doesn't do a Winston on it and get injured in the warm up! Meanwhile, Bilic persists with the Chicarito out wide and Carroll up top that was reasonably successful against Huddersfield with the returning Marko Arnautovic on the bench but surely likely to get some action. Let's hope that Michail Antonio makes that a late option with another barnstorming performance like he provided on Monday night - terrorising the poor Huddersfield defence popping up on both flanks.

You can get 5/2 against a West Ham win which is decent odds, as is Chicharito at 9/4 to score at some point. We are optimistically going for a 2-1 victory as we reckon Bilic has got it right with the three CB formation at the back for West Ham!!!

West Ham United - Hart, Reid, Cresswell, Fonte, Collins, Zabaleta, Kouyate, Antonio, Obiang, Hernandez, Carroll.

Subs - Adrian, Arnautovic, Sakho, Ayew, Ogbonna, Masuaku, Rice.