Tuesday, 19 January 2021

Trump Pardons Ex-Hammers as Irons consider swoop for Mount

The final day of the US presidency is traditionally punctuated by a raft of pardons decreed by the outgoing premier. Despite the unconventional nature of much of his presidency, Donny 'Big balls' Trump has stuck with tradition and pardoned a host of vagabonds and scoundrels.

All of which is great news for Dimitri Payet, Jermain Defoe and Marko Arnautovic who will no longer need to spend every waking moment fearing the wrath of the Hammers faithful. Meanwhile, Paul Ince has been deemed to have served his time and therefore no longer warrants a pardon.

However, there was no such joy for Frank Lampard who has been cruelly overlooked by Mr Trump. Lamps will have to serve out his time in the shambolic hell that is Stamford Bridge and even worse has recently been assigned a new cellmate in Avram Grant. 

The pair of callous perpetrators were forced to endure the harsh punishment of watching Chelsea being hopelessly outclassed by Leicester tonight, prompting some Hammers fans to call for leniency by  the reinstatement of the death penalty as a one off measure for the tormented pair.

Meanwhile, rumours abound that the Hammers have launched an audacious bid for Mason Mount to join his best mate Declan Rice at the London Stadium with sEx-Employee revealing " the lads want Champions League action next season and let's face it that's a lot more likely with West Ham than Chelsea right now"


Some of the key battles exposed as Hammers face Baggies

It'll be an intriguing battle tonight as Sam Allardyce returns to West ham with his West Brom side looking to topple David Moyes 'new' Hammers. The Baggies will be buoyed by their weekend win against Wolves which underlined how Big Sam can change also rans into survivalists. Suddenly West Brom have hope and that can be a powerful energy in football. 

However, David Moyes is one manager who has what it takes to manage the Allardyce method as he also subscribes to the keep it tight and take your chances when they come school of tactics. Moyes has an impressive record against Big Sam over the tears and will be well prepared for the Baggies.

The Baggies have been leaky at the back with the worst goals conceded (41) and negative goal difference (-27) in the league. The Hammers meanwhile, have discovered how to defend in a sequence of games dating back over January where the Irons have learned to keep clean sheets in a way that would make Big Sam proud!

Having lost just two of their last nine games - both unluckily against Man Utd and Chelsea, the Hammers have not conceded in their last 5 games, which must be close to a record for the club! Central to the recent shut out at the back has been the arrival of Craig Dawson. Many Hammers fans raised an eyebrow when the ex-Baggie arrived but he has been no Roger Johnson as a string of excellent performances has Issa Diop and Fabien Balbuena wondering how they can get back ibto the frame for a starting berth at centre back!

A key tussle will be in midfield where the Rice-Soucek partnership will expect to dominate. Out wide, the Baggies will hope that ex-Hammers Diangana and Snodgrass can outperform Bowen and Benrahma. The expensive Hammers wide men have underperformed with Benrahma yet to score for his new club, while Bowen was the subject of much criticism after his 17 possession turnovers against Burnley on Saturday. Tonight represents a big opportunity to underline that they are an upgrade from Snoddy and Diangana!

In truth, the Baggies were very fortunate in getting two soft penalties against Wolves to grab only their secobd win of the season, while West ham could and should have beaten Burnley by more than a single goal. As Antonio gets closer to full fitness they will make more of their chances but he may find another game coming just 3 days after a full 90 minutes against Burnley a challenge.

Which serves to highlight the lack of attacking depth in Moyes squad as the Hammers are still searching for a replacement for Seb Haller. Moyes has been talking up the prospects of young Irish talent Adamipo Odubeko and who's to say he could star tonite.

The bookies have the Hammers at 5/8 and West Brom at 7-2. Mystic Mark Lawrenson reckons the Hammers will prevail 2-0. One wonders if SuperSlav will be watching on in interest?

Kick off is at 6pm, an unusual time so make note!


Monday, 11 January 2021

It's Dowie Time!

Fred Perry, Martin Fry, Jason Manford and errr... that Iain Dowie own goal from 1996. That's what Stockport brings up in our house!

Sadly, County have slipped out of the league but tonight provides an opportunity to swoon in the limelight and go for a major giant killing coup against Premiership comfortables West Ham.

David Moyes must have sensed trouble or perhaps he is feeling that the Hammers midtable safety and squad depth allow for a decent run at the FA cup as he has chosen a strong starting XI that is mostly comprised of first tier players. 

Michail Antonio leads the line while Said Benrahma will be looking to open his Hammers account. It's more valuable game time for Ben Johnson while the bench has plenty of kids and some big impact subs in case County get a foothold. 

Let's hope we get a chance to see Irish talent Mipo Odubeko get a run. Anybody who has seen his performances since returnibg from injury will be salivating at the prospect of seeing him bring his abrasive skills to the first team

Hopefully some astute channel will have Iain Dowie giving his perspective and maybe some further clarity as to what he was thinking with that infamous bullet header! Personally, i'm convinced he momentarily forgot that he was on the defending team!

Wayne Rooney's younger brother is playing for County who are managed by Jim Gannon who played on that infamous night in 1996!

Don't ya just love the cup!


West Ham United: Randolph, Coufal, Dawson, Ogbonna, Johnson, Noble (c), Rice, Yarmolenko, Lanzini, Benrahma, Antonio

Subs: Trott, Cresswell, Alves, Baptiste, Soucek, Fornals, Holland, Bowen, Odubeko

Friday, 1 January 2021

Moyes Ready to put it up to Toffees

Thank goodness 2020 is done! All in all it was not a bad year for the Hammers as we have developed on and off the pitch. David Motes has instilled some much needed grit and more than a little craft into his side and with Bowen, Benrahma, Soucek snd Coufal our squad is looking much stronger. 

Sitting comfortably in mid-table, today is one of those games that we wouldn't normally be hopeful about capturing a decent result but even though Everton are flying high, David Moyes' troops arrive with some degree of expectation as we have demonstrated that we have worked out how to get results from the likes of Everton, Wolves, Leicester etc. 

And so Moyes has picked a pretty attack-minded starting XI as Seb Haller has Bowen, Benrahma and Fornals in support. In addition, the bench has lots of good options in a recovering Antonio, Lanzini and Yarmolenko.

Kevin Friend is the match referee. Everton have lost only 3 of their last 24 efforts in this fixture and are evens for a win  while the Hammers look a decent bet at 3-1.


West Ham United: Fabiański, Coufal, Dawson, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Rice (c), Souček, Bowen, Benrahma, Fornals, Haller

Subs: Randolph (GK), Antonio, Johnson, Balbuena, Diop, Noble, Snodgrass, Lanzini, Yarmolenko

Everton: Pickford, Coleman (c), Holgate, Mina, Godfrey, Doucoure, Davies, Bernard, Sigurdsson, Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin
Subs: Olsen, Lossl, Nkounkou, Keane, Branthwaite, Gomes, Gordon, Rodriguez, Tosun

Sunday, 27 December 2020

Make or break time for Hammers

On the pitch West ham have stuttered over recent games with unlucky defeats to Chelsea and Man United and a frustrating draw with ten man Palace.

As a result, the Hammers face towards the new year in mid table mediocrity but with such a tight league a few decent results can push them towards top six again.

Having been forced to postpone the successful back 5 formation due to Masuaku's injury, the Hammers looked light in midfield against Palce and then dominated Chelsea when they opted for the triad of Rice, Soucek and Noble. That said, the lack of penetration up front was a major factor in the Hammers being on the end of a 3-0 scoreline despite being on top for extended periods.

And so to Brighton who have been shuffling along just above the drop zone with intermittent shows of brilliance interspersed with some ineffectual showings. Put simply, if West ham want to push on to the next level and hold on to Rice and Soucek then games like today are must win affairs.

The media have Rice all but sold to Chelsea but the discerning head recognises that the lad would do better to stay at the London stadium and get experience as an established captain. Joining a crammed Chelsea squad could easily result in bench warming duties which a player at his stage must avoid. A glance at the list of emerging talents that have had career ending moves to Man City serves as a lesson in the perils of moving to a big club too soon.

As for today, Moyes has gone for Ben Johnson instead of Fornals in what is hard to predict in terms of formation. The absence of Benrahma will disappoint as the lad looks on the verge of clicking into top gear.


West Ham United: Fabianski, Balbuena, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Coufal, Johnson, Soucek, Rice, Noble (c), Bowen, Haller

Subs: Randolph, Benrahma, Fredericks, Dawson, Diop, Snodgrass, Fornals, Lanzini, Yarmolenko

Wednesday, 16 December 2020

Bobby Bubbles Reveals: Who Were the Big Heroes at Elland Road?

So, the Hammers march on with an impressive performance where the 2-1 scoreline did not do their superiority justice against a limp Leeds side. Interestingly, the Hammers had only a third of the possession but the lion's share of good scoring opportunities and seemed unphased by the disastrous start!

Fabianski: Robbed with the penalty retake. The rule is nonsense and should be scrapped. At most he moved 2 inches from his line! Assured, as always, after that with a few important saves. Starting to challenge Phil Parkes and Ludo for top spot in Hammers keeper hall of fame? 7.5/10

Coufal: another solid performance. This man knows his skillset and uses a good footballing brain to full effect. Less prominent going forward but tenacious in defence and calm in possession. 7.5/10.

Ogbonna: Caught out for Bamford's penalty and once again in the second half, but otherwise imperious with a cracker of a headed goal to seal the win! 8.5/10.

Balbuena: Well and truly in from the cold now and looking like a 'general' once again. Almost topped off a fine performance with a goal twice in the latter stages. You gotta feel sorry for Issa Diop!  8/10.

Cresswell: Handled the changed formation well. Definitely rejuvenated! 7/10.

Benrahma: This lad really looks like he's going to set the team alight. Very skillful on the ball and carved out six shooting chances. Leeds were forced to mark him much more closely in the second half which in turn opened up space elsewhere. His first goal looks imminent!. 8/10. 

Rice: A towering presence as along with Soucek dominated midfield. Leeds had no answer. 8/10.

Soucek: Looked back to full energy and topped of a tremendous performance with a goal. 8.5/10.

Fornals: Busy night in the rejigged formation. Did well to offer support all over the field. Unlucky with a decent goal effort that went agonisingly wide. He is great at getting into positions but needs to fine tune his finishing skill! 7/10.

Bowen: Drifted a bit after a busy start. Great back tracking and clearly likes working with Coufal down the right. It would be nice to see him linking in more with Benrahma - quite a prospect!


Haller: He has improved but should've got a hat trick with the chances he had. He is doing a freat job of maitaining the legacy of enigmatic French forwards we have had at the club. Needs to rediscover his first touch and turn with the ball more! Opponents have spotted that he holds it up by going backwards. 7/10.


Good to see young Johnson getting more game time and he handled it well. Nobes calmed things but should he really accept the Captain's arm band when arriving so late? Snoddy looked game but its hard to see where he might get back in with a starting position!

This is What West Ham Need to do to Hold on to Rice and Soucek

As the vultures assemble ahead of the January transfer window, already rumours abound regarding the likely departure of West hams impressive midfield pairing with Chelsea seeking Declan Rice, while Bayern apparently are looking at Soucek.

When fans made the commitment to leave Upton Park for the London Stadium the clincher for many was the promise that we would no longer sell our best players to "bigger" clubs as we would be on a financial par with them. 

In fairness, D&G have taken a debt-ridden Championship club with a tired squad to being a top half side with a fancy stadium* (terms and conditions still apply) and a strong squad. The club is currently ranked the 17th richest in world football and that standing can only improve when the club finally takes full ownership of the stadium - something that seems ultimately inevitable. Grady Diangana apart, West ham have held on to our most important players except where the relationship has become untenable as was the case with Payet and Arnautovic.

But this time the pressure is really on as both Rice and Soucek are extremely exciting and young players. Losing Rice in particular would have major symbolism as he is seen as 'one of ours' havibg been through the academy. This is a move that could seriously undermine an already fraught relationship between many fans and the current board.

But ultimately football is a business and if West ham are to keep these talents they MUST push on. With a decent start to the season that has the Hammers loitering around the top six while other big clubs are faltering looks to be the perfect opportunity to finally break through into European football.  

Looking at the current squad the answer to West ham's situation seems clear - we need a top quality (i.e. 15-20 goals per season) striker. Imagine what the current team could achieve with a Cottee or a Defoe in their prime?

But that kind of player is increasingly rare in modern football - a true 'striker'. Said Benrahma looks like a great capture but he is not an out and out striker - the clue is in the description of forwards as "can also play out wide". A 'real' striker plays centrally and around the box. Chicarito was that kind of player but just not at the standard and past his prime. 

Otherwise, West ham look reasonably healthy and Friday nights back four realignment demonstrated that we can adapt our formation as needed and according to player availability. In addition to Rice and Soucek, with Fab, Oggy, Coufal, Bowen, Benrahma and Antonio we look a decent side. Lanzini is also getting back to speed. 

We just need a top striker and we can graduate to the higher tier - everything else is in place now. 

If we miss this moment we will surely regret it as we have constant reminders as Rice turns out for Chelsea or Man Utd etc while Soucek captains Bayern and the Czech republic.

It's time to splask the cash.