Friday, 26 August 2016

They are laughing at us.....for now!

An early morning hello from a Chelsea fan

The fall out from last night's disappointing result against Astra Googly carried forward into this morning as many Hammers fans woke to the ecstatic banter of rical fans.

For sure the defeat left us with a bloodied lip, but the hysterical reactions of some fans are like the sort of embarrassing hissyfits we usually associate with Johnny-come-lately followers of Man U or Chelski!

Let rival fans enjoy their moment as West Ham's Ropey League exit makes us considerably more likely to beat other Premiership teams this season.

It's time for calm appraisal of our strengths - we haven't become useless over night and Bilic hasn't suddenly become a poor tactition.

In goals, Adrian is a top keeper and Dazza Randolph would be in the starting line ups for most Premiership sides.

At the back we have three top quality experienced centre backs along with the two most exciting young defensive talents in England in the Reeces. In particular, Winston Reid is amongst the top four CBs in the league. At full back we are adjusting to the (temporary) loss of Aaron Cresswell and have captured a player who might well make Cressy have to sweat for his starting place in 10 weeks time. On the right, Sam Byram is developing at a rapid pace and starting to look much more comfortable both in defence and offensively. And mercy of mercies, Slaven looks like he has finally realised yhat the Antonio-RB experiment doesn't work.

In midfield the Noble-Kouyate-Nordtveit combination looks like a match for most. Our attacking midfielders are more than exciting. Payrt is possibly the best player in the league while Lanzini is an able understudy. Feghouli looked very snappy until he was forced out by injury. Tore looks to be starting to  adjust to the Premiership, while Antonio is an unusual talent who also scores goals.

Up front we suddenly have Zaza, Carroll, Ayew, Calleri and the promising Fletcher. Salho may yet return to add his abrasive style to the mix.

All in all, its our best squad ever and best manager since John Lyall. Laugh now boys, we are looking forward to taking more than a few scalps on our Premiership travels this year. "Smile-wipe-face-from" come to mind. Hammers fans need to take a leaf from Michail Antonio's book of loyalty right now and show a bit of belief.


What is the Solution to the Sakho Situation?

There are a mere two days remaining on the massive VERYWESTHAM fans poll regarding the future of bad boy Diafra Sakho at West Ham. Diafra marooned himself in no mans land with a series of petulant actions during the Summer before missing the departure bus to West Brom due to a failed medical. Now the question is what to do with £15 million's worth of proven Premiership striking talent?

Hanging Cool
As Simone Zaza edges ever closer to a West Ham arrival and Ashley Fletcher looks like he may well be ready to contribute to West Ham's offensive efforts, many would say that Sakho should be left to stew. However, a whopping 71% of fans who have voted so far feel that SuperSlav should put a fatherly arm around the Senegalese hitman and offer him a fresh start.

With Enner Valencia endlessly misfiring, Jonathan Calleri finding it difficult to get into goal scoring stride, and Big Andy back in sickbay, it's no surprise that many think that we should give Saks the pay rise that appears to be at the centre of the current dispute and let him do his talking on the pitch. After last night's limp display we really could do with his abrasive energy up front. 

Waddaya think peeps? Why not vote in our poll?

Oops! Hammers hit an Astra Googly!

Are we Scunthorpe in disguise?
It was really only when we reached injury time last night that it really hit home that West Ham had been done over by last night's visiting Romanian minnows Astra Giurgiu. Having started in sluggish mood, the Hammers were caught on the counter just before half time allowing 35 year old ex-Baggie Filipe Teixeira to slot the ball home to give Astra the lead.

The Hammers upped the intensity for the second half but Astra keeper Silviu Lung was in fine form and pulled off a series of excellent saves in what was to end in an embarrassing defeat for the Olympic Stadium tenants.

In truth, many fans will be quietly pleased that West Ham now avoid a season of tiring midweek fixtures as recent injuries have highlighted the limitations of the squad depth. Moreover, any match where SuperSlav rests Captain Claret is clearly not of the highest priority. No doubt Dimitri Payet will also be available at the weekend and how west Ham missed his invention last night.

West Ham again seemed to lack purpose or a coherent game plan and are still playing like a team of individuals, but there were some positives. Ashley Fletcher looked very lively indeed during his 35 minutes of action and was desperately unlucky not to be awarded a penalty in the 70th minute before being denied the equaliser three minutes later as he sneaked into the six yard box to deflect an Ogbonna strike towards the net before Lung pulled off an amazing reflex save. Soon after, Fletcher earned a Payet-perfect free kick which Enner Valencia send goal bound only to be denied by the invincible Lung.

Thereafter, the frustration set in and it was a merciful release when the referee ended proceedings and West Ham avoided extra time!

SuperSlav was clearly annoyed at the result but one suspects that was partly for the cameras. Your-Ropey League is a dull and tepid excuse for European football and few Premiership sides have really benefitted from participation in the past (remember Fulham!). It's onwards and upwards with Man City at the weekend. Well done Astra - a much better showing than your 5-0 defeat last weekend in the Romanian League!!! having dumped us out of the Europa League for two season's running you are now well and truly West Ham's bogey team.

P.S. No disrespect intended to Scunthorpe United.


Thursday, 25 August 2016

Hammers Select Starting XI of Real Intent for Astra clash

With an hour to kick off the atmosphere is a little confused as many Hammers fans are wondering with the return of the injury curse that progress to the group stages of the Europa League could prove a mixed blessing. Already the 3 games in a week cycle is stretching resources and with Man City waiting at the weekend, the Hammers cant afford to go into that game tired.

Astra meanwhile were buoyed by their late equaliser in Romania. The Europa League should provide a good testing ground for all of our emerging talent but instead is proving an unwanted burden upon an injury-prone first team squad.

With the team sheets in, it's clear that Superslav feels that group participation is desirable and he has underpinned that by selecting the following starting XI : Randolph, Byram, Reid, Ogbonna, Burke, Nordtveit, Tore, Obiang, Kouyate, Antonio, Calleri. (Subs: Adrian, Collins, Oxford, Browne, Diangana, Valencia, Fletcher).

It'll be interesting to see how the midfield lines out with Nordtveit, Obiang and Kouyate. With various rumours about Pedro Obiang's future, tonight is a massive chance for him to shine.

Up front, fans will be hoping that Jonathan Calleri puts his miss at the weekend behind him and gets his hammers haul up and running. The replenished Michail Antonio will be looking to further emphasise his offensive ability with another outing up front. It's a big start also for Reece Burke, who may play at RB with Sam Byram switching to LB (or vica versa!).

Let the games begin! SuperSlav says that the Hammers won't sit back and try to defend the away goal - with our recent defensive mishaps that sounds like a wise stance!

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Hammers Main Man Plays on Despite Injury

Just when you might of thought that things couldn't get much worse on the injury front at West Ham, it emerged today that co-chairman David Sullivan has today undergone heart surgery!

Having previously had a quadruple bypass, Sullivan underwent
a minor procedure and unlike his expensive sicknoters was straight back on the phone wheeling and dealing to bring new signings to the club.

We all wish Mr Sullivan a speedy and full recovery. Top man!

Monday, 22 August 2016

Should Sakho be Brought Back? Have your say...

Happier times during the Noble testimonial

Yesterday's encounter with Bournemouth at the Olympic Stadium highlighted West Ham's current plight - despite enjoying the lion's share of possession, they looked toothless up front and were fortunate to grab a late winner.

Even more disappointing was the late miss by the new big attacking hope in Jonathan Calleri who fluffed a wonderful opportunity when one on one with the keeper in a late breakaway. Enner Valencia was his usual unimposing self, while Ashley Fletcher is still in the developing bracket.

In truth, despite all the efforts to bolster our attack during the Summer we are now worse off than last year! All the while there is a very decent solution (in terms of footballing ability at least!) within the ranks in Diafra Sakho.

The Senegalese hit man set the Premiership alight with six goals in consecutive games when he first arrived but has stuttered since, mainly due to injury. His frustration has boiled over into some petulant behaviour towards the end of last season and also during the preseason but few would deny that he has the edge that West Ham need up front. While not quite a 20-goal a season striker, Sakho has amassed 19 goals in 49 appearances for the club - many as a late substitute or as a left sided attacker rather than central striker.

It remains unclear whether he has rejoined the first team squad but recent tweets from David Gold suggest that the door is open. Should we usher him in? What do you think?  Why not let us know in our poll above (right)?

Sunday, 21 August 2016

West Ham 1-0 Bournemouth: Player Ratings

Premiership life at the Olympic Stadium got off to a winning start today as West Ham managed to find a late winner. however, the game was a rather scrappy affair notable for the many absences in the host's line up. How did our troops fare - here's the VERYWESTHAM verdict:

Adrian: Upbeat, positive, a ray of sunshine. He also managed to maintain his concentration on a quiet day at the office, keeping out two dangerous second half strikes from Josh King with acrobatic saves. 7/10.

Sam Byram: Solid in defence if a little uninspiring coming forward> he merits a starting place in the side and is our only recognised specialist right back. 7/10.

Arthur Masuaku: Excellent throughout. Comfortable on the ball and eager to get forward. Also put in a few decent defensive challenges. He is proving to be a decent replacement for Aaron Cresswell. 8/10.

Winston Reid: Solid as ever. Picked up a silly yellow card for dissent but otherwise unperturbed. 7/10.

James Collins:  Quietly effective but also nearly scored from an unusual set piece play for a  first half corner. ginger Pele almost became our top scorer! 7/10.

Havard Nordtveit: Solid part of a midfield that dominated Bournemouth without managing much on the creative side. 7/10.

Mark Noble: Never gave up even though the game looked to drivelling to a stalemate. Tireless in his efforts to keep the Hammers engine ticking over. 8/10.

Cheik Kouyate: Probably our best player on the day. Not just a physical force at the back but the source of our best attacking moves with his pace on the break , one of which brought the second yellow for Harry Arthur that tilted the game in West Ham's favour. 9/10.

Gokhan Tore: Had a busy day - with mixed results. On the up side he supplied an excellent cross for Michail Antonio's winner but otherwise does not look up to full speed and his set piece delivery was very modest in comparison with the absent Mr Payet. 7/10.

Enner Valencia: Typical performance from the Ecuadorian. He loses possession so often and seems to still be struggling with the physicality of the Premiership. 6/10.

Michail Antonio: Not at his best until he switched from the left to his natural right-sided wide attacking position where he thrived. He deserved the goal for all his loyalty and courage during the right back experiment which hopefully is finally over. 8.5/10.

Subs: Calleri looked lively in a useful 30 minute run out but will be disappointed with failing to net a one on one during injury time. Obiang and Fletcher were not involved for long enough to warrant critique.

Word is that Payet will be available for this week's Europa League second leg but SuperSlav will probably hold him back on the bench unless circumstances warrant his intervention.