Saturday 9 August 2014

Young Hammers pull off 'Italian Job'

Reece Burke: West Ham's hero of the day

West Ham's pre-season form has been pretty dismal to date but they left it until their final tussle - with Italian visitors Sampdoria - to finally show what they are capable of in respect of the all-new attacking ethos. Lining up as a 3-5-2 the Hammers had the better of the early exchanges with Cheikhou Kouyate particualrly impressive until the Italians hit on the break and took a 1-0 lead on 16 minutes as Eder slotted through a pass for ex-Cottager Stefan Okaka who held off the attentions of James Collins to open the scoring. 

The Hammers came back at Sampdoria but it was the introduction of Dan Potts as a replacement for Aaron Cresswell (who seemed to pick up a knock) that made the difference. Potts used his pace to get into the Sampdoria box whereupon he was tumbled over. As usual, Noble made no mistake from the penalty spot. Half time 1-1.

After the break, RVT came on for Mauro Zarate as West Ham reverted to the 4-4-1-1 formation we are well familiar with. The game zipped along until Sampdoria again took the lead with a similar strike to their first with Eder doing the finishing honours on this occasion. 

Kouyate - excellent!
Meanwhile, Momo Diame came on as replacement for the impressive Kouyate and it was he who tilted the tie back in West Ham's favour with a super strike after 77 minutes. The final phase was dominated by the Hammers as RVT, Potts and Downing all came close before Elliott Lee raced clear in the dying seconds and squared the ball for 17 year old Reece Burke - a veteran of the awful Notts Forest 'encounter' last season - to slot the ball in and complete the Hammers rehabilitation!

This was by far and away the best performance of the pre-season and West ham were the deserved winners.  Although it is somewhat worrying that we do not seem to have the same solidity at the back as we have become used to under the traditional Allardycian set-up, the side look like they are finding a rhythm that might suit the promised more attractive style for 2014 and beyond...

In the end, today was one to savour for Elliot Lee, Dan Potts and especially for young Reece Burke. we'll take the same result against Tottenham next week thankyou!

In rather upsetting news, Verywestham regret to announce that  fans will be denied the opportunity to 'enjoy' the skills of Cheating Chico Flores next season as he has left Swansea to ply his trade with Michael Laudrup in Qatar. Hammers fans have been quick to offer eachother condolences as a whole festival of appreciation had been planned for the player who became famous for his extraordinary squealing antics on the pitch. It is expected that he will prefer the considerably more oily state of affairs out there.

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