Saturday, 7 March 2020

Julien's Faux Pas #16: Hammers Consolidate VAR League Position

Grrrrrrr. A mighty display again today by the Hapless Hammers rewarded with three more points in the VAR league that puts the Hammers miles ahead at the top of the hard done by decision ratings. Having created the lion's share of chances, the Hammers fell to another borderline decision that did not go their way. It's starting to feel a bit hoodoo at this stage. Maybe its time to bring in the Witch Doctors to try to change our luck?

Anyhoo, here's the latest in the JFP series. 

Team News - Moyes Opts For Offensive Starting XI

The atmosphere is hotting up as we prepare for the Hammers visit to Arsenal. David Moyes was left with lots to ponder on as Tomas Soucek made an unexpectedly fast recovery from the injury he sustained at Anfield, tempting Moyes to shuffle the pack and play a tighter midfield. However, Moyes has decided to go for broke by keeping the starting eleven who impressed in last weeks victory over Southampton. Don't be surprised if we see Soucek before the end though!

Martin Atkinson is match referee.

West Ham United: Fabianski; Ngakia, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Rice, Noble (c), Fornals, Bowen, Antonio, Haller.
Subs: Randolph, Zabaleta, Balbuena, Soucek, Snodgrass, Lanzini, Anderson.


Tough Call for Moyes as Hammers Midfield is Suddenly Overcrowded!

Can you believe it - West Ham's midfield no longer picks itself! As the Hmmers head to the Emirates looking for precious points to ease their relegation fears, David Moyes has been boosted by the news that Tomas Soucek has made a speedier recovery than expected and is available for today's clash.

However, Moyes has discovered that his best formation seems to include two up top and with the arrival of Jarrod Bowen coupled with the major improvement in Pablo Fornals form, it's hard to know what Moyes will do today.

Messing with a winning team is generally discouraged, so he may start with the team that trounced Southampton and look to Soucek at the hour mark if needed. Equally, Moyes more conservative side may take over and he may drop Bowen and start with Rice-Noble-Soucek in midfield and pulling Antonio to the right wing in an effort to dampen Arsenal efforts to control the game. 

That said, West Ham are doing much better with limited possession as their physicality up top with the twin battering rams of Antonio and Haller are creating chances and maybe they can afford to let midfield slide. In addition, having more pace on the counter can help to keep the Gooners back four back in their own half. 

Some fans think Moyes should go for it as this is a game that West Ham might not expect to get anything from. But this is an Arsenal side that can be rattled and even dominated. A point would be a decent return but a win is possible if the Hammers maintain the form of the past two weeks. Moreover, with all the VAR nonsense so far this year perhaps its time that West Ham got a bit of good luck for a change?

And don't forget that Moyes has Lanzini and Anderson on the bench...


Here's Why West Ham Will Take Down the Gooners Today!

Yes it is true that West ham have played Arsenal 20 times since 2010 and managed just two wins and two draws (and 16 defeats). For sure, the Gooners are back on a run of good form and have won three of their last four home games while we have lost our last five on the trot. And indeed it is undoubtedly true that the bookies are rarely wrong and that Arsenal are 4/7 on for the win with the Hammers at a generous 9/2.

However, this is no usual Arsenal - 10th in the league and despite our troubles, the Gooners have only won one more game than us and have a similar strike rate. factor in the VAR and dodgy keeper nonsense and essentially West Ham have performed as well as our North London neighbours. 

Add to that the fact that Moyes has discovered upon a formation that works and now has some pace in the side and the Hammers look a different proposition to the toothless lot that stumbled through December to February and into the drop zone. With Antonio fully fit and developing a decent relationship with the rejuvenated Haller, along with Jarrod Bowen providing some bite from midfield, and the Hammers suddenly look capable of springing a surprise. 

Mystic Mark reckons it'll be 1-1, while Chaz Nicholas predicts a Gooners win. More importantly, the eerily accurate Rory Nostradamus has gone for a 2-1 Hammers win!


Saturday, 29 February 2020

Player Ratings: West Ham 3 Southampton 1

A big, big win for the Hammers today lifts them out of the bottom three and delivers upon their better form of late. More crucial game time for Ngakia and Bowen and no injuries. Happy days!

Here's how Bobby Bubbles rated the players individually:

Fabianski: Back to business as usual. Solid, good distribution. Helped by an excellent defence in front of him as we bossed the set pieces all day long! 8/10.

Ngakia: This lad looks like an experienced pro already. tenacious in defence, never out-paced and not bad with those longer clearances out of defence! 8.5/10. 

Ogbonna: Our best defender again. Solid and almost grabbed a goal towards the end! 9/10.

Diop: Looking more like his best. Solid throughout. 8/10.

Cresswell: Solid. Took an important yellow for the team with 20 minutes remaining. 8/10.

Rice: Provides a crucial presence in front of the defence and did that with excellent discipline all day. 8/10.

Noble: Typical Nobes. Grabbing free kicks at just the right time to frustrate the opposition. And he kept it up to the final whistle. 8/10.

Fornals: Has matured into a proper Premiership player. Starting to justify his transfer fee. 8/10.

Bowen: Brilliant performance. Great goal. Maybe needs to get to know the players around him as he could have done better with some decent breaks if he had laid the ball off more often. Keen,. Game-changing defensive intervention just before the hour to keep us ahead. 8.5/10.

Antonio: Looked superlively all day and took his goal well. MOTM. 9/10.

Haller: Looked happier with Antonio alongside and won heaps of aerial duels. Great skill for the goal. Slowly edging towards double figures in goals this season. 8.5/10. 


Snoddy: Usual committed self.  
Anderson: 60 seconds of a contribution. 

Ha-Ha-Haller! 2-1 to the Cockney boys!!!

Blimey, the goalkeeperitis that has characterised West Hm's season to date has started to infect their opponents as Seb Haller has hassled Southampton's Alex McCarthy into a dreadful error and restored the Hammers lead! In fairness, Haller showed fantastic skill to turn the ball in from an acute angle but the chance was caused by limp goalkeeping from McCarthy.

It's a real ding-dong battle out there with the Hammers creating plenty of chances despite having just 36% possession. The key to all of this has been the 4-4-2 formation and having players with speed. Jarrod Bowen has looked lively and opened his account with a nicely taken strike in the 15th minute.

Defensively, we look solid so far and have outmuscled Southampton at set pieces. Issa Diop missed with a free header from a corner in the 37th minute. SuperFab looks calm and confident and could do nothing to stop Michael Obafemi's strike for Southampton.

Othewise, Antonio has been a handful and, perhaps crucially, Jack Stephens is on a yellow and will have to be careful as he squares up to Michail in the second half.

Elsewhere, both Brighton and Bournemouth are losing.


B-B-B-Bowen!!!! 1-0 to West Ham

Yesss! The Hammers look hungry with intensity and bite and that's been rewarded with the opening goal in the crunch clash at the London Stadium against Southampton.

That's his 18th of the season, as he continues the fine form he had been enjoying at Hull.

We want more

We want more

We want more!!!