Sunday, 17 March 2019

Irish Eyes Still Smiling As Cullen Steps Up!

Happy St Paddy's Day all you Hammers folk! On the day we get to drink green Guinness and celebrate all things Irish let's consider how a the greatest Irish Hammers XI might look.

Goalkeeper: One of the more disappoibting departures of recent years was the exit of Darren Randolph as he had pushed past Adrian as the Hammers first choice keeper before a sloppy spell and then the arrival of the outstanding Mr Fabianski. For Ireland its probably just as well that Dazzler departed as he would probably of been consigned to Cup campaigns as the Polish netminder has been so impressive. Despite his relegation to Championship status,  'Randy' still gets the nod ahead of the likes of Gerry Peyton, Roy Carroll, Stephen Henderson and, dare I mention him....... Allen McNightmare!

On the defensive front the situation is less impressive. Unbalanced and not endowed with aerial presence. There would undoubtedly be much sweating at set pieces. For some reason West ham does not attract decent Irish defenders!

As full backs Joey 'the Lips' O'Brien and Georgie 'Linda' McCartney are solid if a little uninspiring in attack, but Centre back is a real patch up and forced us to bring Georgie more centrally alongside Gary Breen, with Noel Cantwell taking the left back spot.

Just to remind you that Stuttgart wasn't the first!

Midfield is by far our strongest zone. Steve Lomas as enforcer and water carrier and a nice partner for Chippy Brady. Although Brady is primarily a Gooner, we got two very decent seasons out of him that included some cracking moments, and a delightful strike against the Gooners!.

Wee Michael Hughes was a great seizure from Wimbledon - gamey, if lacking in physicality, and with a useful habit of scoring at key moments. Both Frank O’Farrell and Tommy Moroney were key contributors in the early fifties but Tommy Moroney gets the final nod, mostly based upon his presence on the glorious Ireland team that was the first foreign team to beat the old enemy on their own turf at Goodison Park in 1949.

We havent mentioned Mr R as the wounds are still open but last weeks first call up to the senior Ireland squad for Josh Cullen gives cause for hope that Irish Hamme4s will have something to feel 0roud about. Whether ha can make the transiton back to the London stadium from Charlton remains to be seen.

Up front, David Kelly underachieved – too light for top-level English football. David Connolly was too, well, David Connolly (i.e. perfectly average). Jimmy Quinn was a decent contributor in the late 80s while Robbie Keane came and went in the blink of an eye, with most of that time spent on the injury room table, but on the basis of what might have been he gets the nod, just!

And finally, Iain Dowie – a true Hammer who was not prolific by any means but always gave 100% and created opportunity for those around him. A real servant who had two determined spells at the club and is one of the more refreshing TV pundits about. Loyalty – a rare thing amongst our footballing folk these times.

So, a team that would by no means be worldbeaters, but we might expect plenty of effort and any team with Liam Brady could always find a moment of magic, while Michael Hughes would be sure to spoil a few Man United celebrations and Robbie could always find cause for a party!

Enjoy your day!

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

The Statistic That Really Matters About West Ham This Season

The arrival of Manuel Pellegrini was heralded as the dawn of a new era at West Ham. Expectations were high that after enduring dour football under Allardyce and Moyes, Hammers fans might see a bit of flair and even a return to the much fabled 'West Ham Way'.

But in reality nobody really expected West Ham to break into the top six in one season. More astute observers noted that (Leicester apart) there are virtually no examples of teams managing that feat in the past decade. Realistically, transitioning from the chasing pack to top six is a 2-3 year process that requires patience and commitment - something few managers can achieve in the modern game.

However, at West Ham we have a board that do a lot of talking but are actually conservative at heart and who are astute business people. No doubt they will be delighted at a table that has been released showing the percentage change in performance for each club since last year - West Ham are the most improved side in the Premiership with 30% more points than this time last year!

The tame defeat to Cardiff last weekend may have left many fans feeling that little has changed, but in reality the club is possibly the fastest growing in the World right now with a huge new stadium, top class manager and a rapidly improving squad who (some of the time!) play attractive attack-minded football. Add in the healthy stream of youngsters that are getting valuable playing time and you have a very happy house indeed!

If West Ham are to become a top six club, this is the only realistic journey that can deliver  sustainable change. With a few more astute signings to join the definite top six quality of Rice, Diop, Anderson, Lanzini and Fabianski, West Ham can really make a charge next season!


Sunday, 10 March 2019

The West Ham Way, Part IV

Manuel Pellegrini's troops gave a masterclass in the least likeable aspect of the much-fabled 'West Ham Way' yesterday as after a few good performances where we looked to be realising our potential, we tamely conceded to a 2-0 defeat at Cardiff City.
Just as many Hammers fans were starting to dream of a late run to snatch a Europa League spot, they were brought back down to Earth with a bang as despite enjoying more than 70% of The Possession our expensive front line created very little. In comparison, Cardiff's hard-working forwards created a host of chances and thoroughly deserved their win.

There was very little to feel positive about in the game from a Westham prospective. Even after conceding two relatively soft goals the Hammers struggled to create any real pressure. Ultimately our best chance came as a result of Declan Rice decided to take matters into his own hands and forcing his way through Cardiff defence before firing a sizzling shot which came back of the inside of the post. That should have been the cue for a rampaging comeback but alas, we stuttered through to the end.

Ultimately, the game fizzled out leaving the undeniable sense that despite the improvements under Manuel Pellegrini West Ham still lack the sort of consistency that is required if we are to break through to the next level.

Next up will be Huddersfield who come to the London Stadium desperately in need of points. After today's showing, Hammers fans will be worried that Huddersfield's hungermMay make all the difference.

As for yesterday, in all honesty if you're going to give points to any club in the Premiership right now that would probably be Cardiff given their recent misfortunes 9and even with Colonel Whingepants as manager!).


Saturday, 2 March 2019

Pellegrini Shuffles the Pack: But can West Ham accomodate two Magicians in midfield?

After a decent performance but an irritating result in midweek as the Gods of Football deemed to award a hapless Man City a soft soft penalty to scuttle home 1-0, Pelle is looking for justice today and has a strong starting XI with the first trial of a combined Lanzini-Anderson attacking midfield presence. If we can get enough possession we will create chances! With Chicharito up front these will need to be on the floor but Arnie is back and ready to spring from the bench if we don't unlock Newcastle's defence. The magpies are on a decent run so it'll be a lively encounter!
The Billy Bonds Stand will be unveiled in a ceremony before kick-off - a much deserved recognition of a true legend.
Rory Nostradamus predicts a 3-1 home win.
West Ham: Fabianski, Fredericks, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Noble (c), Rice, Lanzini, Snodgrass, Anderson, Chicharito
Subs: Adrian, Masuaku, Obiang, Nasri, Antonio, Arnautovic, Perez

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Bull-Skutter, Balderdash, Codswallop, Poppycock!!!

As a rule we don't do referee bad mouthing at VERYWESTHAM.COM. It's a hard job in the middle and its important that referees are respected and develop the confidence to make hard decisions, especially against home sides when 60,000 fans are bellowing for a call.

However, West ham can feel mighty disappointed with Referee Stuart Attwell tonight. Attwell caved in at the Etihad and awarded the Moonies a dreadfully soft penalty mid way through the second half when, in all honesty, Man City were starting to look short on ideas.

Bernardo Silva went down on the edge of the box, travelling in no particular place of note under a fearsome challenge from that fearsome man mountain Felipe Anderson!

Sergio Aguero stepped up to take the penalty and duly silenced the thousands of travelling West Ham fans who had until that point been endlessly sniggering at his truly crap hairstyle. Think Gazza Euro '96 gone wrong!

Even with that immense leg up, City still didn't look like stretching things and at the end of the day West Ham can feel pretty sore at yet another poor refereeing decision against them in games against the top six.

In Attwell's case, it wasn't even in his top ten of poor calls as he is credited with perhaps the most ridiculous refereeing error of recent history when in a Championship game between Reading and Watford in September 2008, he awarded Reading a goal for a passage of play where the ball did not go anywhere near the Watford goal! He was demoted from Premiership responsibilities in 2012 after a series of poor performances, being reinstated in 2016.

Hammers fans will hardly be thanking the FA for that call, as just when the game is trying to get on top of players cheating by going down too easily we have this type of supersoft nonsense. Its hard to imagine West Ham getting a similar decision at the other end.

In summary......Bull-Skutter, Balderdash, Codswallop, Poppycock!!!


Bizarre Team Selection as Pelle looks to Speed Merchant

The teams have been announced for tonight's clash at the Etihad and Manuel Pellegrini has pulled a real shocker!

No Noble or Arnautovic, Andy Carroll starts up front and is Captain, and we have gone for youth and pace over experience at full back with Ryan Fredericks and debutante 19 year old Ben Johnson - both naturally right sided!

It's pretty crazy stuff but maybe Pelle accepts the bookies perspective who have recognised that West Ham have very poor recent away form while high flying City have won 13 out of 14 home games this season.

To add to the total terrifyingness of the whole thing, City have a pretty full squad available. Hmmm.

West ham are 33-1 outsiders with William Hill who have city at 14-1 on and the draw an outside bet at 10-1!!!

West Ham United: Fabianski, Fredericks, Diop, Ogbonna, Johnson, Obiang, Rice, Antonio, Nasri, Felipe Anderson, Carroll (c)
Subs: Adrian, Zabaleta, Noble, Snodgrass, Lanzini, Diangana, Chicharito.
Manchester City: Ederson, Danilo, Kompany (c), Otamendi, Zinchenko, Gundogan, D. Silva, de Bruyne, Mahrez, Sane, Aguero
Subs: Muric, Walker, Mendy, Sandler, Foden, B.Silva, Sterling


Friday, 22 February 2019

Handy Hammers Heading up the Table

West ham commenced their charge to the top of zone two of the Premiership in earnest tonight with a 3-1 win over misfiring Fulham. In truth, the Hammers made hard work of things gifting an early goal as Pablo Zabaleta had an astonishingly poor start. However, Pellegrini's troops kept their cool and gradually overcame Fulham who fought bravely but look to lack the quality needed to maintain Premiership status.

The big talking point will undoubtedly be Chicharito's hand of God goal that got the Hammers back on level terms, but in reality awest ham had 12 corners to Fulham's none and 21 shots to Fulham's 8, underlining the home dominance.

Tasty headers from Issa Diop and Michail Antonio in his 100th game proved the difference and now with ten wins in the bag West Ham can go in chase of Watford who lead the second tier clubs with 40 points in 7th position. If both League and FA cup go to top six clubs the 7th will be a Europa League qualifying finish which would represent good progress for Pellegrini in his first season.

With Arnautovic looking hungry and focused agaon, Lanzini back in action and a host of other big names returning to fitness a push forwards could well be on. However, Man City will be a tough test having glided to a 4-0 win at the London Stadium in November. In truth, West ham had very little reward for a decent effort that day and could possibly spring a surprise at the Etihad as City have a lot going on just now.