Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Hammers Left With No Room for Last Gasp Heroics



Next Season's fixture list was released this morning and it makes for some interesting thoughts about how SuperSlav's men will need to consider their campaign.

With a high profile start away to Man United, there is then a run of relatively 'soft' fixtures and it's not until December that things get testy with games against Man City and London derbies versus Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham!

If the Hammers find themselves in trouble they will be under pressure in the final six games where they have a tough run in that includes games against Chelsea, Arsenal, Man City and Everton!

Hopefully, we will be viewing those games as Champions League qualifying six pointers!

It's already only 9 weeks until it starts all over again.

August
12 Man Utd (a)
19 Southampton (h)
26 Newcastle (a)

September

9 Huddersfield (h)
16 West Brom (a)
23 Tottenham (h)
30 Swansea (h)

October

14 Burnley (a)
21 Brighton (h)
28 Crystal Palace (a)

November

4 Liverpool (h)
18 Watford (a)
25 Leicester (h)
29 Everton (a)

December

2 Man City (a)
9 Chelsea (h)
12 Arsenal (h)
16 Stoke (a)
23 Newcastle (h)
26 Bournemouth (a)
30 Tottenham (a)

January

1 West Brom (h)
13 Huddersfield (a)
20 Bournemouth(h)
30 Crystal Palace (h)

February

3 Brighton (a)
10 Watford (h)
24 Liverpool (a)

March

3 Swansea (a)
10 Burnley (h)
17 Man Utd (h)
31 Southampton (a)

April

7 Chelsea (a)
14 Stoke (h)
21 Arsenal (a)
28 Man City (h)

May

5 Leicester (a)

13 Everton (h)

Monday, 29 May 2017

Ayew Edges Ahead in Hammers Annual Award



After the first day of voting Andre Ayew has pushed ahead in the 'Miss of the Year' competition at West Ham. Having managed to hit the post not once, but twice from a yard out against Liverpool the majority of fans (60%) have so far voted for his outrageous miss.

However, a substantial minority (40%) feel that Jonathan Calleri's botched rabona is a better miss! Considering that he had been so unproductive up front one might have thought that a more straightforward effort to claim a goal would have been warranted but...

Disappointingly, Sofiane Feghouli's remarkable scuff from 3 feet out against Man City has not attracted any great support and languishes well behind the twin leaders of Ayew and Calleri....

With another six days to go, its all up for grabs! Why not check out the action courtesy of youtube:


Sunday, 28 May 2017

Your chance to vote for the Hammers MISS OF THE SEASON


Anyone feeling bored yet without a weekly fix of footie? After last season's stuttering campaign, many Hammers fans are left with a sense of being unfulfilled. Undoubtedly our chairmen will keep us in the news about possible signings, and who knows, might even actually splash some big cash, but otherwise there is little to savour from last season.

One area where the Hammers did excel was in respect of spectacular misses! With a misfiring attack that seemed woefully lacking in confidence, we managed to notch up some of the most amusing misses that we have ever managed! We have compiled a list of the top three for you to select your favourite and here they are!


Option A: Sofiane Feghouli (6th January, FA Cup versus Man City). The Hammers started well against Man City before conceding to a super goal. Despite this, we fought on and were still very much in the game when Michail Antonio's shot was spilled into the path of the on rushing Feghouli. Two yards out and with the goal gaping.....somehow he missed - slicing the ball back across goal!!! Bizarre. We ran out 0-5 losers but you'd have to wonder what if we had converted this simple chance?

Option B: Andre Ayew (14th May Vs Liverpool). Liverpool arrived needing points and although understrength we hoped to frustrate their efforts. The game was tightly balanced  until Coutinho opened up our defence for Mr Sturridge to put the reds ahead. However, undeterred we hit back and seemed destined to equalise from a delicious Lanzini corner where the ball fell to Andre Ayew just a metre from the goal line. Somehow the £20 million signing managed to hit the post - twice!!!


Option C; Jonathan Calleri (29th April Vs Stoke City). Calleri arrived with a big reputation but struggled with the pace of the Premiership and soon fell down the pecking order. Towards the end of the campaign injuries forced Slaven Bilic to give the young Argentinian a run of games to prove himself. He fluffed it, managing a single goal in 19 appearances. This miss - whereby he has a gaping goal and decides to showboat with an unnecessary rabona - is surely his most bizarre miss!

So which miss do you think wins the greatest miss of our season competition? 

 

The Truth Behind West Ham's Drab Season


For West Ham fans the 2016/17 season was a frustrating campaign, with the title crushing win over Spurs and the Cup victory over Chelsea the highlights. While there are a number of explanations - adjusting to a new stadium, another harsh run of injuries to key players, the lack of pace in midfield - undoubtedly the main problem was in attack where none of their forwards managed to make double figures.

Perhaps the writing was on the wall with the panic signing of World Cup penalty comedian Simone Zaza after efforts to lure the likes of Carlos Bacca or Michy Batshuayi came to nothing. Thereafter, an impotent Hammers attack laboured away to limited effect with Manuel Lanzini and Michail Antonio the main lights in what was a drab offensive campaign. 

As usual, Andy Carroll popped up with a few decent strikes and an overall decent strike rate of almost a goal every third game - which was our most potent scoring percentage per game. When twinned with his contribution in terms of general physicality and at both attacking and defensive set pieces, it's hard to not be lured into continuing to hope that he will find a consistent run of fitness. However, it's fair to assume that Andy cannot ever be relied upon as our principal starting striker as he only managed 110 appearances in five seasons at the club.

Similarly, after a tremendous start to his career at the club, Diafra Sakho has succumbed to sustained injury problems and has been almost constantly absent for the past 18 months. With squad numbers at a premium, it's hard to justify having so many injury-prone forwards on the books (and Daniel Sturridge seems unlikely to improve matters!). As such, either Carroll or Sakho need to leave this Summer - Carroll is the more consistent performer but his wages are considerably higher. The outcome will tell us something important about how cash rich we really are!

Otherwise, the departure of Jonathan Calleri comes as no surprise but perhaps what confused some fans is that he was started ahead of Ashley Fletcher for the final half dozen or so games of the season? Andre Ayew seemed to find form after his early injury setbacks but is clearly not the natural poacher that the club need if they are to push into the top half of the Premiership next season.

As for developing talent, for all the talk of Toni Martinez being the next big thing, he endured a disappointing spell at League One Oxford, while Jaanai Gordon fared no better at League two's Newport County.

The bottom line is that we need to invest in at least two top class strikers this Summer.

NOTE to Messrs Sullivan and Gold: Top class players are rarely available on loan!

Let the transfer games begin!!!


 

Saturday, 27 May 2017

The contrasting fortunes of West Ham's 2017 escapees


The 2016/17 season can at best be described as one of consolidation for West Ham as they trundled in 12th in the Premier League having endured a frustrating first season at their new home. Undoubtedly the story of the year was the departure of Mr Payet, who returned to Marseille claiming that the London club lacked true ambition. Meanwhile, their marque signing was supposed to be Italian hitman Simone Zaza, but he was shown the door in January after failing to score in eleven miserable appearances. 

The departures served to galvanise SuperSlav's troops who went on a decent run before running out of steam and succumbing to a series of frustrating injuries. Meanwhile, Mr Payet huffed and puffed but his Marseille side finished precisely where they were when he arrived - in a Champions League missing 5th. He managed 4 goals in 15 games - therefore averaging a similar strike rate to his West Ham career, and despite playing in the relatively easier environs of Ligue 1.

Zaza meanwhile rediscovered his scoring boots and notched a decent 6 strikes in 18 appearances for Valencia who have decided to take up the purchase clause in his loan deal and he will stay at the club for the coming season. As such, while Payet  looks to have hit a plateau, Zaza is back in the ascendency.

Let’s hope that whoever comes as replacements fares better at the Olympic Stadium than these two wannabes did last year!

 

Hammers prepare for Superman's return


As the transfer merry go round kicks into gear the Hammers gave moved quickly to address their longstanding problem at right back by capturing Pablo Zabaleta from Man city. Zabaleta is no spring chicken at 32 years of age, but will bring his experience and discipline to the position with the hope that young Sam Byram can learn from the Argentinian veteran.

Meanwhile, the rumours about regarding their other key area of deficit as they have been linked with a series of forwards.

In other news, it appears that Enner Valencia will be returning from his loan spell at Everton. After 21 appearances and three goals, his contribution at the Toffees has mirrored his in and out form over the two previous seasons at West ham where he managed 8 goals in 54 appearances.

Valencia has not managed to bring his prolific scoring at International level to the Premiership but with Gokhan Tore departed, he may be deemed a useful squad member as Superslav looks to push for top six status next season.

What do you think? Should we hold on to him in the hope that he has finally adjusted to the physicality of the Premiership or let him go?

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Rice Decision Shows How Premier League Need to Change Payments


West Ham travelled to Burnley for what was on paper a dead rubber from the outset. Perhaps the only issue of note was the possibility for each club of finishing as high as 11th or as low as 16th. That equates with a whopping £9 million up to play for - not so boring for the respective club's management all of a sudden!

However, although the prize money system keeps clubs focused until the very last kick of the season, today's game demonstrated how it may be impeding the development of young players. It had been widely rumoured that Declan Rice, Captain of the U23 side that recently won the PL2 trophy, would be rewarded with a first Premier League start but the lad had to settle for a 90th minute entrance as Angelo Ogbonna was preferred in the starting XI.

Rice looks the real deal, but it seems a terrible pity that the pressure to finish as high as possible in the league rankings can discourage managers to take a punt with young but inexperienced talent.

Let's hope the lad gets his chance next season but with Reid, Ogbonna, Fonte and Collins in the mix and with the two Reece's looking to push on, it'll be hard for the Irishman to break into the team. The preoccupation with end of season placings further detracts from the opportunities available to blood new talent.