Sunday 17 December 2017

Selection Headaches for Moyes as Season finally Takes Off

Suddenly it's all positivity at West ham. It seems that whatever was said or done after the embarrassing implosion at Everton three weeks ago, the message has hit home.

Yesterday's dismantling of Stoke City was reminiscent of the early days of Bilic. With a solid defensive foundation, the Hammers were able to pick an increasingly desperate Stoke off. At the end of the first half Stoke still hadn't managed a shot on target!

Up front we look hungry and organised. Somewhere along the way with SuperSlav we lost our way and stopped working with each other. The Link up play that created the goals, as well as a host of missed chances, was superb.

With Reid back from suspension one wonders whether he will walk straight back into the side! Both Collins and Ogbonna were excellent while Aaron Cresswell looks like his old self. Meanwhile Arthur Masuaku looks well worth his place and deserves the amusing "he's better than Lukaku" chant.

In midfield young Declan Rice is loving his chance to shine and may well be Pedro Obiang's starting partner over the next few games. Kouyate's expected return still seems uncertain and Noble will undergo a scan tomorrow one expects.

As such, Arsenal on Tuesday is not ideal but Wenger likes to play an experimental side in the Caribou Cup. Just what Moyes should do is debatable - with our new found form perhaps we can indulge the cup competition with a strong starting eleven. Conversely, Moyes is usually conservative and may prefer to focus on Premiership points.

Either way, it's great to have choices again.

BTW anybody seen Andy Carroll around?

Electric Arnie Pushes Sparky Closer to the Sack

Marko Arnautovic's return to Stoke was always going to be a charged affair. Add in that both sides are fighting for their lives at the bottom end of the Premiership and that Stoke gaffer Mark Hughes is favourite to be the next Premiership sacking, and the atmosphere became electric - so much so that there was a power failure and kick off had to be postponed for an hour to allow a restoration of power!

Poor Stoke are on a dreadful run, with 4 defeats in their last five games, while Moyes' men are suddenly playing with conviction having rediscovered how to defend. All of which meant that despite our terrible record there, Hammers fans travelled to the Brittania stadium with more than a little hope of getting a result and maybe even a rare away win! 

And so it was - the hammers started well and although the penalty awarded in the 18th minute was a bit 'soft', their lead was fully deserved. Thereafter, Arnautovic spurned two excellent chances to silence the Stoke fans and a less confident player might have let their head drop. Not Arnie - call him resilient or call him arrogant, but the Austrian kept going and was finally rewarded for his determination and courage in the 75th minute with the goal that killed off his ex-employers. 

As he departed he received further abuse from Stoke fans, one of whom threw a scarf at him, while a visibly irritated Mark Hughes appeared to get involved in an unpleasant exchange with the Austrian. But the torture was not yet over, as Sakho added a third and in reality the Hammers could have had 5 or 6.  

Lanzini and Arnautovic were the standout players for West Ham, but James Collins made a massive contribution in a defence that kept a third consecutive clean sheet (Sorry Slav - that was unthinkable before Moyes arrived!) and thus formed the platform from which the Hammers built this crucial win.

Moyes' men are out of the bottom three and looking at a Tuesday night's League cup clash with the Gooners with relish. That is followed by games against Newcastle (H), Bournemouth (A) and the Baggies (H) in which Moyes will be looking to push towards mid table safety and then strengthen his squad in the January window. In all honesty, things look very good just now for the club. With Spuds (A), Huddersfield (A), Bournemouth (H) and Palace (H) to come in January there is a great chance to turn the season around.

In other matters, Noble notched his 300th appearance for the club before limping off in the 35th minute allowing Declan Rice to get some more valuable game time - something he visibly relished!  Andy Carroll was mysteriously absent from the bench, leading to speculation about a January departure, while Manny Lanzini is reckoned to be heading for a ban for simulation that led to yesterday's penalty.  

A cloud has lifted.


Saturday 16 December 2017

Never Mind The Pundits, This One will be a Pre-Christmas Cracker!

So this is Christmas...Moyes-style. Even after a series of season-changing performances, and picking up an unexpected 4 points in the series of games against Man City, Chelsea and Arsenal, the Hammers are still in the relegation zone. As a consequence, their Christmas campaign represents a crucial period for the club with lofty ambitions and an underperforming squad. In response, David Moyes has postponed the Christmas party until the club have achieved Premiership safety - something that is quite likely to run until the end of the season in a congested bottom half of the league!

Today's visit to Stoke will be a real test as the Hammers will be expected to do better than the 30% possession they have averaged in their past three games. Stoke are another side who are happy to let their opponents have the ball and try to catch them on the counter, so it'll be interesting to see who gets the lion's share of possession. While against the odds wins over the likes of Chelsea are very pleasing, it's games against fellow strugglers like Stoke and Newcastle that will decide the club's fate.

The Hammers have an awful record at the Brittania stadium but Stoke are on a dreadful run having lost 4 of their last five games. The absence of Winston Reid is a major concern for Moyes, but with the usually super-reliant James Collins ready to fill in, the Hammers will be hoping to continue their recent run of clean sheets. 

It is widely rumoured that Michail Antonio will be rested thus allowing Chicharito to return to lead the line but Moyes may prefer the physicality of Sakho or Carroll, especially at set pieces. Although the 'new' Stoke have a reputation for more positive and attacking football, they have the highest percentage of goals from set pieces in the Premiership accounting for 7 of their 19 strikes so far this season.

Marko Arnautovic will need to keep a cool head as he will undoubtedly receive a 'warm' welcome from his ex-club, but is on top form and may well silence the boo boys with a game-defining contribution. After letting the side down earlier in the season with a foolish red card, one would expect that he should have learned his lesson - but he isn't nicknamed 'Mad Marko' for nothing!

Mystic Mark Lawrenson predicts a 1-1 draw, Paul Merson reckons  it'll be 1-0 to the Potters, while Michael Owen fancies a 0-1 Hammers smash n grab raid. However, with the two leakiest defences in the league on show (Stoke 36 goals, West Ham 32 goals) we reckon a high scoring game is much more likely!

Rory Nostradamus is opting for a 2-3 scoreline, with the Hammers coming out on top.

Arnie to net the winner, of course!


Wednesday 13 December 2017

Hammers Bemoan Bahramov Absence

After a torrid 90 minutes of chasing an Arsenal side that enjoyed 71% possession, it looked for all the world as if Javier Hernandez was going to snatch an unlikely win for David Moyes' rejuvenated Hammers. As the Arsenal defence dallied, Chicharito found himself through on goal and smashed the ball past a despairing Petr Cech.

The little Mexican even started to run away in celebration as the ball looked net bound until it seemed to be suddenly pulled up onto the underside of the bar and for some unknown reason bounced on the wrong side of the goal line.

And sadly, Tofiq Bahramov was not available to officiate  having inconveniently passed away in 1993 - unlike on that famous day in 1966 when the 'Russian linesman' (from Azerbaijan!) ruled Hursty's shot a goal. This evening, the referee's watch did not vibrate and no goal was awarded.

All the same, a point maintains momentum and 4 points from the three games against Man City, Chelsea and Arsenal was unexpected. Undoubtedly we look fitter and have gotten stronger as games enter the final quarter. Maybe that's the Moyes' magic?


Saturday 9 December 2017


In a season that has become a proper misery-fest, West Ham looked set to rejoice over Crimbo as the most miserable club in the Premiership. With new manager Moyes struggling for results, and still without a win since replacing Slaven Bilic, the visit of Chelsea looked a dead cert opportunity to slide further towards the very top of the bottom of the Premiership.

That is until Marko Arnautovic decided to turn it on with a delightful strike after just six minutes. In a delicious link up with Manny Lanzini, the unpredictable Austrian calm slotted home. Thereafter, Chelsea 'enjoyed' a lot of possession but Moyes' men looked well organised and did not falter. Perhaps after almost a month his emphasis upon improving fitness is starting to kick in?

To be fair to Arnautovic, the lad has come in for heaps of criticism since his costly arrival from Stoke in the Summer, but he is just doing what it says on his particular tin - inconsistent, infuriating, volatile and, on occasion, superb! Today was the latter.

However, with Arsenal next week the Hammers woes are far from over and they remain in the bottom three despite picking up an unexpected three points. Also, with six yellow cards their strength in depth is likely to be tested in coming weeks.

Match referee Anthony Taylor did well for most of the game but will have won few friends in East London after booking Arnautovic for 'excessively' celebrating his first Hammers goal. Grinch award in the post!

But for now, today was the start of the Moyes' era in earnest. Onwards and upwards!

Our Chance to Claim Bottom Spot!

It's looking increasingly likely that the Hammers will occupy the dreaded bottom spot come Christmas time. Today's visit of a resurgent Chelsea will provide a major test for Moyes' men as they try to build on the ultimately fruitless moral victory last week against Man City. Meanwhile, Swansea who are the only club below us welcome West Brom to the Liberty stadium. Come 5PM we may lead the slow bicycle race that this season has become!

Moyes has dropped Declan Rice in favour of the returning Winston Reid, while Joe Hart stays on the bench to allow Adrian a chance to claim the netminding role as his. Although Chelsea look back to their best, the Hammers bench is very strong with any of Carroll, Chicharito or Sakho available to act as supersub, if needed!

In midfield, wise old man Mark Noble replaces the injured Cheik Kouyate and will be hoping to reclaim a starting berth in the side. The bookies give us little chance again but it's a home game and a London derby and our confidence is improving. Hmmmm.

The Hammers have won just two of their last 22 Premier League games against Chelsea (D4 L16) but did come out on top in a League cup clash. Fingers crossed but you'd take a point, gladly! 

Wednesday 6 December 2017

Will-Do Brothers as Hammers and Sporting make peace?

Perhaps the most amusing transfer campaign of the Summer was West Ham's failed bid to attract Portuguese midfielder William Carvalho to the Olympic Stadium. Despite Carvalho expressing a willingness to move, the clubs could not agree terms and the negotiations descended into farce with the Sporting President making a series of unpleasant comments about the Hammers board, including referring to our esteemed Chairmen, Messrs Sullivan and Gold, as the 'Dildo brothers'!

Since then, the Hammers have experienced significant problems on and off the field and manager Slaven Bilic departed last month with the club sliding into the Premiership relegation zone. New manager David Moyes has yet to experience a victory with just a draw out of 4 Premiership games. Despite that, the spirited performance against Premiership leaders Man City away on Sunday will have raised hopes that the underperforming squad can rediscover some decent form.

Central to that will be seeing an improvement in the side's dominance during games as they managed less than 25% possession against City. The injection of new talent into their overrun midfield will be a big target in the January transfer window and it looks like the new found positivity between the clubs could well be the start of facilitating Carvalho's move to the Premiership. As the club's statement revealed "friendly relations between the clubs will resume and there will be no barriers to both clubs negotiating or working together in the future".

As for Carvalho, he has been performing well for Sporting both in the Portuguese League and the Champions League. The latter included an impressive performance against Barcelona that suggests he would be likely to cope well with the pressures of the Premiership. Either way, the Hammers need to move on from moral victories (such as the Man City defeat) to accruing some points!

Sunday 3 December 2017

Moyes is Ready to Rock!

They Say that the bookies rarely get it wrong. With odds as high as 35-1 for a West Ham victory today you'd really have to wonder! Even worse, a 1-0 win is quoted at 90-1, while an 7-0 win for city is just 55-1.

To add further insult, our old mate Paul Once predicts a 5-0 thrashing but revealed he really thinks we could see double figures but doesn't want to be unkind to his old club. Thanks mate!

With Sakho likely to start, it's worth noting that he has been the difference between the sides twice in the past three years - both home and away. A repeat of those 2-1 victories is quoted at 75-1.

While City do look mesmeric of late, it's only 11 vs 11. Moyes has been working on our squad fitness and let's hope it pays off today as we are going to be doing a lot of chasing!

Kick off is 4pm. I've been looking at a Vox A.C. 30 of late. A crisp twenty quid note says Moyes' boys can win it for me!

Let's rock!!!

Saturday 2 December 2017

Bottom at Christmas?....there's still hope!

David Moyes' embattled troops head for Man City away tomorrow without the services of our main offensive weapons in Carroll and Chicharito, along with the likelihood that Winston Reid will also be unavailable. In all honesty, its hard not to feel fearful for our chances of not shipping another painful hiding.

With Chelsea and Arsenal to follow, we are understandably favourites at 4/5 on with BetVictor to be bottom at Crimbo, and frankly, we deserve to be. With an away game at Stoke on the 16th and a home clash with Newcastle on the 23rd, perhaps we can pick up a few points but there may be some hard yards between here and the Stoke game.

The January transfer window offers some hope but in all honesty the problem is not the quality of the squad but the team dynamics and our loss of confidence. We really need a win badly and can kick on from there. For the longer suffering Hammers, we can predict that in typical fashion we will grab a spectacular result against one of the big guns that await in the next three fixtures. If not, maybe we can take a little consolation from the fact that Leicester were bottom in 2014 and we all know what followed!

So, with Antonio back in the mix maybe we can switch Arnautovic to his preferred left sided role and Antonio should provide better cover for Zabaleta. Sakho has downed City before and will surely lead the attack. We are 35-1 against with betfair to win tomorrow.....

35-1 in a two horse race!!!

Must be worth a tenner?


Sunday 19 November 2017

White Walker Downs Hammers in Game of Groans

Hopes were high that a change of management could sort out the mess at West Ham and where better than a visit to a recently misfiring Watford? However, Watford were more than well prepared for anything West Ham had to offer and bossed a first half where Will Hughes opened their account with an ice-cool finish. In truth, the Hornets were unlucky to reach the break only a goal to the good. Apart from a late Kouyate effort, Moyes' men looked pretty clueless and spent large parts of the half chasing Watford.

The second half was a little less one sided and again Kouyate missed a great chance before Watford doubled their lead with a Richarlison strike that Joe Hart may well feel he could have done better with. After that it became a test of mental strength as the Hammers tried to chisel a way back. Lanzini teamed up well with Masuaku and went close, but most Hammers fans knew that if it stayed at 2-0 that would be as good as we could hope for and mercifully the game petered out, albeit with a seemingly endless period of pointless extra time.

Mr Moyes has much to do and after today he will have a sense of the magnitude of the task as we looked shapeless and low in confidence. In fact, lets call it as it really looked - for all intents and purposes we are playing like a relegation side right now. Leicester next at home, followed by away games at Goodison and then Man City....

Winter is coming.

What can we expect from the "Moyes' Method"

The departure of Slaven Bilic was a sad moment for many fans as he offered a clear connection with our past and understood the West Ham way. However, after two seasons that offered much hope, things fell apart and in the end it seemed a mercy to bring things to an end. We wish him well in his next adventure.

So today we get to experience the Moyes' "magic". Undoubtedly a good organiser, firm disciplinarian and with an ability to get more out of his teams than the sum of their parts, he is in many ways the right person to sort out our undoubtedly talented but underperforming squad. However, his preferred style could hardly be considered anything like the West Ham way such that from a strategic perspective this may be a step backwards towards a fancy version of Big Sam.

Currently stuck in the relegation zone and on a downward slide, perhaps this more pugnacious style of football is what we need and, in reality, maybe Moyes is what we most need right now. Today's game will tell a lot about how well the players are responding to his physically demanding methods but will also provide an interesting insight into what he makes of the squad. The absence of Chicharito is a disappointment as it would have been fascinating to see how he will use Carroll, Sakho, Chicharito and maybe even Martinez as an attacking resource.

At the back, the starting XI will tell a lot about what he thinks of the relative merits of our centre backs and also the Cresswell vs Masuaku face off. In midfield, Moyes likes an sensible head (Noble) but will be attracted to the mobility of Obiang and Kouyate. Marko Arnautovic will be wondering where he fits in the grand scheme of things having become the figurehead for the failed season to date and especially after Moyes' adverse  midweek comments. Young Declan Rice will surely be hoping that he can continue his ascent as Moyes has been a good developer of younger talent in the past.

For these reasons, there seems little point in trying to predict a starting XI but we can expect a tighter formation and a lot more metres covered than under Bilic. Moyes himself is under a lot of scrutiny after his mixed experiences since leaving Everton for what most recognise was a poisoned chalice at Old Trafford and then at Sunderland. He did OK in Spain but this is perhaps the first chance since Everton to work with a team that is better than it's billing. We should probably expect a conservative approach, a dull game and a tight scoreline - and probably not just for this game alone!!!


Saturday 4 November 2017

The Bookies Get it Spot On As Hammers Implode...again

The prematch odds for this evenings game at the London Stadium seemed a bit unfair placing West Ham at 4-1 against a win despite playing at home. However, once again the Hammers have looked listless and without a clear game plan. Conceding two poor goals to Liverpool in a first half that they will want to forget. For the first goal Edmilisen Fernandes half-hearted jog back to try to prevent a Liverpool break summed up the spirit in the camp.

Even the most ardent Bilic fans (and I count myself among them) must be starting to wonder if its time for a change. Our squad really isn't performing. Perhaps we over-rate the depth in quality, but Lanzini, Hernandez, Louyate and Reid are surely players that would improve most sides in the Premiership? The season is not beyond saving and if we want to hold on to our better players we need to buck up - and fast. Even worse, we are starting to look like a side that deserves to be caught up in the relegation battle.

As we slide towards another embarrassing defeat Antonio's error last week against Palace may prove a key element in accelerating Bilic's departure. After 75 minutes we are 4-1 down. The atmosphere is very sour indeed. The bookies called it right in terms of the odds of a home win, and had quoted Slaven Bilic as third favourite to be next sacked Premiership manager at 5-1 before tonight's game. You'd have to  wonder what the odds will be now?

Sunday 29 October 2017

Don't Blame Antonio: We Were Lucky to get a Draw

After Slaven Bilic's side threw away a two goal lead to draw 2-2 with lowly Crystal Palce yesterday the blame has focused very firmly on Michail Antonio. With the game deep into injury time Antonio passed up the opportunity to run the game out when he had possession in the opposition's corner and instead gave the ball away softly.

Palace duly took the opportunity and scored an dramatic 97th minute equaliser with the final kick of the game. Apart from the loss of 2 valuable points, the goal took the gloss off of a good week for the club where they put an embarrassing defeat to Brighton behind them with a cracking win away to local enemies Tottenham. The goal may even tilt the balance against Bilic who is struggling to hold onto his job.

However, the ire being directed towards Antonio is distracting from some pretty awful facts about the game. Palace are a poor side yet they totally dominated the second half and deserved at least a point. The Hammers had two shots on target through the whole match compared to Palace's haul of seven. With 43% possession we managed just two corners to their eleven. Joe Hart had a great game - he needed to!

The reality is that we were bosses by a very limited side who are bottom of the league and could not hold out despite having a two goal lead. That's the form that makes for relegation worries. With our current squad that seems unthinkable but we know all about getting relegated with a strong squad as the Cole-Lampard-Defoe-Di Canio etc team proved in the past.


Saturday 28 October 2017

An Ayew statistic that will surprise many Hammers fans!

Am I alone among Hammers fans in sometimes finding myself sighing when Andre Ayew enters the fray? Often the Ghana international looks to be running down blind alleyways with his low centre of gravity and head down combining to make it look like there is an imbalance between effort and guile.

In reality, after his first season many fans were still undecided about the relative merits of Ayew and his £20 million transfer fee seemed to hang like a mill stone around his neck. Some fans feel that we should have held on to Sofiane Feghouli instead of Ayew.

However, Ayew's high energy game is starting to pay dividends as our stunning victory over Spurs in midweek demonstrates. His MOTM award was well deserved for a brace that Chicharito would have been proud of (And needs to start delivering!). But Ayew's recent good form is perhaps more sustained than many fans appreciate as in his 15 months at the club he has been involved in more goals (10 goals and 5 assists) than any other Hammer!!!

As his goal count this season mounts (currently 4), maybe he can join Michail Antonio as a double figures forward? He achieved double figures in 4 of his 5 seasons at Marseille and also with Swansea in the Premiership before joining West Ham. With Marko Arnautovic needing to prove himself and Nathan Holland waiting in the wings, the Hammers are starting to look potent out wide.

Palace today should provide the ideal opportunity to build upon Wednesday night's performance for player and club. With Palace lacking firepower going forward, surely Slaven Bilic will go with an attacking formation?

Kick off is at 3pm.


Thursday 19 October 2017

Hammers Look to Silver Lining...

After his 90 seconds of madness on Saturday, Andy Carroll will be serving a ban when West Ham welcome Brighton to the OS on Friday night. missing out on the three points that we looked destined for against Burnley was hugely disappointing, but for many fans Carroll's loss may be a bonus as it will likely mean that Chicharito will return to his favoured central role.

In truth the Mexican assassin has looked out of sorts since he was displaced from the central striker's position by Carroll's return. Never the less, he is joint top scorer for the club with three goals in eight games - compared with Carroll's zero return from 4 starts.

Perhaps even more interesting will be the opening created for Diafra Sakho - a player that is starting to look like his old abrasive self as he regains hard-won fitness after repeated injury woes. Sakho has delivered 3 goals from 2 starts (and seven substitute appearances) but clearly needs more game time.

With the Hammers at home and under the floodlights, it's surely time to go with two up front - with Arnautovic on the left and Antonio on the right. Add Lanzini in the middle and we have the prospect of goals galore. The one issue is who will fill the holding midfield role - with Kouyate and Obiang neck and neck while poor Mark Noble looks out of the picture.

Whatever else, Friday night will answer some important questions about Bilic's intentions for our forwards and his preferred offensive style. Chicharito and Sakho will no doubt be hoping to seize this excellent opportunity to impress the boss regarding their respective claims for the central striking role.



Typical, just bloody typical! hammers fans will be amazed to hear that Simone Zaza - the guy who couldn't score at West Ham (eleven games and no goals) has won La Liga player of the month for September!

Zaza enjoyed a decent run in the latter half of last season after escaping London for Valencia - netting six goals in 20 appearances, but this season he has been on fire with 7 goals in 8 games, including a recent hat trick against Malaga!

While Hammers fans would never wish anything but the best of fortune to ex-players (with the notable exceptions of Ince and Payet), Zaza's story raises important questions about Messers Sullivan and Gold's transfer 'deals' as Zaza's failure was compounded by contractual issues that prevented him from playing sufficient games to adjust to the unique environment of the Premiership.

Whatever next? Modi Maiga to win African player of the year? Hardly, as the Mali international has endured a torrid time since leaving West Ham and has struggled to settle in the Gulf leagues managing just 9 goals in the past 3 seasons!

Would Zaza have been a success in the Premiership if he had been handled differently by the club?


Saturday 14 October 2017

Bilic Plays Strong Hand in Claret n Blue Cup

Slaven Bilic has fielded probably the strongest attack-minded starting XI available to him for today's clash at Turf Moor with a chance for Hammers fans to see what we can do with all our big guns up front. With Sakho and Ayew on the bench, Bilic really has options to shake things up if they don't go according to plan.


West Ham: Hart; Zabaleta, Reid, Fonte, Cresswell; Antonio, Kouyate, Lanzini, Arnautovic; Carroll, Hernandez. Subs: Adrian, Noble, Masuaku, Ogbonna, Obiang, Ayew, Sakho.

Time to Repay the Bank of Bilic!

As the Hammers return from the International break with an away trip at Burnley, it has emerged that manager Slaven Bilic runs a bizarre credit rating system to support his team selections!

Speaking in an interview this week, he explained how players get credits for performances in training as well as match day performances- with the latter considered most important.

Having splashed the cash on the high profile signings of Chicharito, Arnautovic, Zabaleta and Hart, Bilic must be feeling that his signings are all in major debt to the Bank of Bilic!

Of the four, Chicharito has delivered a few much needed goals but has not yet found a rhythm within  the team. Zabaleta is a great pro but struggles against pacey opposition, Hart hasn't done anything especially wrong but has shipped a lot of goals as our defence has been porous, while Marko Arnautovic has delivered mostly in terms of his dodgy temperament rather than penetrating attacking play.

Arnie is thus the most in debt but after a decent international break in which he scored for Austria, he will be hoping to start today and lead the charge up the table. Let's hope today brings the first evidence of a growing partnership between him and the returning Manny Lanzini as our principal shortcoming so far this season has been the lack of a coherent attacking plan.

The Hammers are 15/8 but have beaten Burnley in their last 4 encounters. Burnley are unbeaten in their last 5, so something will have to give at Turf Moor today.

We reckon 2-1 to the Hammers!


Thursday 12 October 2017

Let the dream begin...

As Slaven Bilic prepares to resume the Hammers campaign after the International break, it's an ideal time to take stock of our season to date.

After a difficult start which found the Hammers bottom of the table after four games, Bilic has weathered the storm with a series of decent rests, albeit underpinned by patchy form during which the team have struggled to discover a convincing rhythm.  In reality, the recent results have been due to good fortune and hard endeavour rather than by virtue of quality play.

Never the less, West Ham are lurching towards mid table boredom and with a full squad of players who are mostly match fit, it's surely time to unleash an attacking five comprising Lanzini, Arnautovic, Antonio, Chicharito and Carroll. With Sakho on form to replace either striker, Mr Bilic has decent options up front.

Moreover, the return of the impressive Pedro Obiang to partner Cheik Kouyate in midfield sure maintain an increasingly tight defensive unit.

Burnley, Brighton and Palace ahead in the league with an exciting opportunity to kibble the Spuds at their temporary Wembley home and suddenly it's time for some positivity.

Who knows, maybe we can push into the top half and let the dreaming begin?

Sunday 1 October 2017

Dream time ahead for Hammers

Ok, so yesterday was a repeat of the Baggies game a fortnight back where two unimaginative sides played out a turgid affair, with one exception, just as in last week's defeat to Spurs, Bilic was able to change the game with his substitutions.

Arthur Masuaku came on with Diafra Sakho and conspired to land a knockout punch just on full time. We are now out of the relegation zone and looking ahead with as close to a full squad as Bilic has ever enjoyed during his time at the club. The next three months will test just how good the Croat really is. 

With Salvo, Carroll and Chicharito all fit it's hard to remember when we last had such potential up front. The return of Manny Lanzini can spark pour creativity while the choice of any two of Antonio, Arnautovic, Ayew and Masuaku is tantalising. Put Kouyate and Obiang in front of a back four and we should be defensively solid.

All we need is a bit of rhythm and confidence and we can push up the table. A run of results and we can think about a top six spot...


Saturday 16 September 2017

Baggies go for Record as Arnie returns

The Hammers will look to build upon Monday night's win over Huddersfield while the Baggies will want to move on from their saggy performance against Brighton last time out. Games between these two can often be dour affairs but last season's OS clash was a humdinger as the Baggies grabbed an injury time equaliser having previously led. The Hammers dominated that day and were entitled to feel hard done by as there were a number of poor refereeing decisions in the lead up to the goal and they will be hoping that Lady Luck favours the Irons on this occasion.

Gareth Barry will become the player with the greatest number of Premiership appearances as he is selected in West Brom's starting line up. Presuming that he doesn't do a Winston on it and get injured in the warm up! Meanwhile, Bilic persists with the Chicarito out wide and Carroll up top that was reasonably successful against Huddersfield with the returning Marko Arnautovic on the bench but surely likely to get some action. Let's hope that Michail Antonio makes that a late option with another barnstorming performance like he provided on Monday night - terrorising the poor Huddersfield defence popping up on both flanks.

You can get 5/2 against a West Ham win which is decent odds, as is Chicharito at 9/4 to score at some point. We are optimistically going for a 2-1 victory as we reckon Bilic has got it right with the three CB formation at the back for West Ham!!!

West Ham United - Hart, Reid, Cresswell, Fonte, Collins, Zabaleta, Kouyate, Antonio, Obiang, Hernandez, Carroll.

Subs - Adrian, Arnautovic, Sakho, Ayew, Ogbonna, Masuaku, Rice.

Monday 11 September 2017

Player Ratings: West Ham vs Huddersfield

So, finally, West Ham picked up some points to get their season going in an entertaining game at the OS. In truth, the scoreline was a fair reflection of the action as the Hammers played all the football until Huddersfield pushed forward for a final ten minute flurry that ultimately fizzled out. Pedro Obiang and Andre Ayew scored the all important goals but overall how did each member of the team rate?

Hart (7/10) Looked confident throughout and was alert to the rare occasions when Huddersfield threatened, including a decent strike from Billing mid way through the game.

Reid (8/10) Solid throughout. He remains our best defender.

Cresswell (8/10) Looked back to his old self - tenacious in defence and pushed up at every opportunity. Not bad as our principal set piece taker.

Fonte (7/10) Quiet game - always a good sign for a centre back!

Zabaleta (8/10) Was determined to push the side forward at every opportunity by leading through example. Had his best game for the club so far.

Collins (7/10) Unlucky not to open the scoring in the first half. Dependable as always.

Kouyate (7/10) Lively, if a bit wasteful at times. Great to have him back as he adds energy in midfield.

Obiang (8/10) Lucky with a deflection for the goal but a real engine in midfield, keeping things flowing and maintaining pressure on Huddersfield.

Carroll (7/10) Brilliant to have him back. Decent performance and he looked hungry for action. 80 minutes - phew!

Hernandez (7/10) Rattled the bar in the first half when he should have scored. A few decent flicks that almost opened the Terriers up. Will be disappointed to have been subbed at the hour mark.

Antonio (9/10) MOTM - all he needed was a goal to get a 10/10. Aggressive, energetic and popped up on both wings - a real nightmare to mark.

Subs - Ayew (grabbed a Chicharito-style goal from a pinballed corner: 8/10), Sakho (lively for ten minutes: 7/10), Rice (only on long enough to touch the ball twice but good to see him in the picture still N/A).

Two goals, a clean sheet and the pressure off Mr Bilic - job done!

Keep your eyes peeled for the 69th minute of action!

All eyes will be focused upon the second half as West Ham try to grab the points against Huddersfield at the OS. One fan's tweet is sure to cause a stampede amongst neutral viewers to keep an eye on the action as he has promised a bizarre pitch invasion in the 69th minute!

So far the Hammers have been in control notching 12 attempts to Huddersfield's single effort. Chicharito hit the bar early on but since then the Hammers have been dominant without opening the terriers up. In truth, Huddersfield have looked compact and so far have dealt effectively with the Andy Carroll threat.

Michail Antonio looks sharp and has roasted the Terrirrs full back on a number of occasions, while Winston Reid has been dominant at the back. An early goal would calm the nerves but Huddersfield will fancy their chances if they get to the final quarter without conceding - that's if events in the 69th don't bring the game to a halt!


Offensive Look to Bilic's Hammers as the Home Season Begins

Hammers fans will be hoping that the season will finally get going as they face newly promoted Huddersfield town at the OS tonight. As expected, Slaven Bilic has responded to all the speculation about his future by coming out fighting and with an attacking formation that includes Carroll and Chicharito up front. Kouyate is back and will partner Pedro Obiang in midfield but it's not clear who will cover the left wing area - perhaps Chicharito playing out wide with Carroll in the middle? Elsewhere, it's three at the back with Aaron Cresswell looking to impress and starting ahead of Masuaku. Young Declan Rice is on the bench but will be hoping for an opportunity to make amends for his costly slip against Newcastle. The visitors have started well to their life in the Premiership and include Tom Ince as their best known player (to Hammers fans at least!).

Rory Nostradamus is going for the Hammers and a 3-1 win (Hammers are evens for a win, Huddersfield 3-1 and the draw is 12-5 with Paddy Poormaker).

West Ham United - Hart, Reid, Cresswell, Fonte, Zabaleta, Collins, Kouyate, Carroll, Obiang, Hernandez, Antonio.

Subs - Adrian, Sakho, Ayew, Ogbonna, Byram, Masuaku, Rice.

Huddersfield Town - Lossl, Smith, Billing, Kachunga, Mooy, Lowe, Van La Parra, Ince, Mounie, Zanka, Schindler.

Subs - Coleman, Malone, Sabiri, Williams, Depoitre, Hadergjonaj, Hefele.


Sunday 3 September 2017

Anyone feeling embarrassed?

During the week I had an enlightening encounter at the leisure centre. As i was packing away my gear into my claret n blue holdall a stranger asked me if it was West ham. The predictably entertaining conversation followed as we discussed all things West ham and I then invited him to join our Derghammers supporters club.

In describing the group I mentioned that we were all 'proper' Hammers - long suffering, passionate fans who enjoy decent football and even if we don't always win!

He then remarked that we sounded old school and not like the fickle new fans who have flooded social media this week with their feelings of anger and outrage - demanding that the board, manager, and various players be gotten rid of!

And all because of three bad results and only acquiring 4 top class signings during the Summer!

Now that is truly embarrassing!

Thursday 31 August 2017

Sak-Go: Time to Let Diafra go if he wants

The Hammers are in a bit of a crisis already this season - bottom of the league after three games and once again leaking goals for fun!

And now Diafra Sakho is up to his old tricks after being left out against Newcastle - pulling off an Odemwingie-style solo effort by organising his own medical at Rennes! Apparently the French outfit are willing to splash out £9million on him - if so, its surely a no brainer?

Sakho has just a year left on his contract and any seasoned observer would question whether he will ever regain full fitness for a sustained period after a series of setbacks over the past two seasons.

The Hammers need attacking players but with Little Pea, Andy Carroll and the ever improving Toni Martinez we are not too badly off, while Michail Antonio is a decent second striker when needed?

Diafra had a great first season but has done little to impress since. He has stated that he wants to leave such that there seems little point in holding on to him and maybe the fee will bridge the gap in the Carvalho campaign?

Sunday 13 August 2017

It's Make or Break Time for this Hammer

Andre Ayew has had mixed fortunes since joining West Ham for a then record-breaking £20 million from Swansea last year. His initial time at the club was spent on the injured list after a nasty thigh injury on his debut, but upon returning in October he has huffed and puffed - scoring 6 goals in 25 Premiership outings.

With the arrival of Marko Arnautovic, along with the imminent return of Michail Antonio, Ayew is under pressure to hold on to a starting berth out wide, while the much predicted arrival of William Carvalho will limit opportunities in a more central role. In short, today would be an ideal moment to find his Swansea form!

Ayew has a scoring record just short of a goal every third game whilst playing in the top flight since 1010. At 27 years of age he is entering what should be the pinnacle of his career and has put down that first bedding in year with the Hammers. His time is now...



Coddled-together Hammers travel in hope rather than expectation

For the unacquainted, Coddle is an Irish (Dublin) dish made up from leftover bacon and sausages that are cooked below boiling point with potatoes and onions. Said to be Dean Swift’s favourite dish, in reality most people find it disgusting!

Because it is made from leftovers it has no specific recipe – and thus gives rise to the term ‘coddled together’ rather like the West Ham team for today’s visit to Ye Olde Trafforde where Slaven Bilic wilkl be without Cheik Kouyate, Manuel Lanzini, Michail Antonio and, of course Andy Sicknote and Diafra Sakho.

Quoted at 11-1 against, it’s hard to see how the Hammers can pull of a win today against a Man United side that is widely tipped to challenge for the title and includes the terrifying prolific (against West Ham anyway!) Romelu Lukaku.

If Man United have a weakness, it is Jose Mourinho’s tendency to play it conservatively against sides who should be there for the taking – hence the difficulty his side had with having so many draws last season.

West Ham will be hoping that they can keep it tight at the back with what is, on paper, an impressive back five. Otherwise, Chicharito will be hoping to mark his return with a goal that, even if he doesn’t celebrate it, West Ham fans certainly will do justice to! However, we expect Bilic to go with a 4-5-1 which would require that Hernandez plays as the lone striker which is his less effective role.

Given the absentees, the main talking points in terms of selection will be around left back (we think Masuaku will get the nod over Cresswell) and centre back (Ogbonna over Fonte/Collins). Will Toni Martinez get a run out for the last 20 minutes? We hope so as he looks ready to make the transition to the first team and we still desperately need striking options.

We refuse to predict a defeat but would gladly take a point at this stage. Bilic tends to spring surprises on opening days, so fingers crossed! At the very least we will get a look at our cool new away kit.

Thursday 10 August 2017

Hammers look to emulate Spurs!?!

The West Ham third kit has apparently been leaked from an Asian source and reveals how the club are again taking a conservative approach to kit management this season. The home kit is almost unchanged from last season, while the Black away kit looks snazzy in a Thames Ironworks kinda way.

The third kit looks like a white polo shirt with Betway printed on it. It seems unlikely to be a fans favourite over time as it is so bland it almost brings Spurs to mind. Yeuch!

Whatever happened to the Bobby Moore sky blue with double claret hooped design for our away kit???...surely the greatest kit of all time?..Anyone interested in starting a petition to have our greatest ever kit reintroduced?


Wednesday 9 August 2017

Chance would be a fine thing...

As the media have gotten themselves all wrapped up in whether Javier Hernandez AKA 'Chicaharito' will celebrate if he scores at Old Trafford on Sunday, they all seem to be missing the point that West Ham with their injury-ravaged squad are unlikely to have the need to ponder such issues as they are likely facing a disappointing start to the season!

With Reid, Antonio, Kouyate and Lanzini all doubtful and the usual suspects stuck in sick bay (Andy Carroll / Diafra Sakho), it will take a truly remarkable performance to beat the odds at Old Trafford.

Punters can get 12-1 against a Hammers win, with a Man United victory quoted at 1/4 by Paddy Poormaker!

You'd take a draw really, I guess, but even that's also considered unlikely at 9/2 against.

Monday 31 July 2017

Two images that will please all West Ham fans

He's Back-ho! Diafra is training again with the first team. Fingers crossed, he's endured a torrid time with injuries. This is his make or break season.

Meanwhile, Winston Reid is preparing to return after his recent shin operation and word is that West Ham have NO interest in selling him to Everton or indeed anyone else!

Toffees Grab Winstone Read

The current speculation regarding the future of West ham's Kiwi defensive sensation Winston 'Wonderful' Reid has understandably angered many Hammers fans who feel that having made the most exciting collection of signings to date in the Premiership that the media should look elsewhere when creating speculative transfer news. Maybe try Spurs, for example, where the North London side have contributed nothing to the transfer circus apart from letting one of their best players go to rivals Man City.

The rumour is that Ronald Koeman wants a West Ham centre back - initially, it was speculated that James Collins might make the move - albeit with no apparent foundation and very much flying against Collins' own recent comments about his future: "I’d love to finish my career here....It’s been a major part of my life – I met my wife here, so my family are from the area, and I’m a very lucky boy to have been at such a good club for so long. And hopefully it can continue"


As such, tabloid interest has now switched to focus upon Winston Reid.

Just exactly why Reid would want to leave London for Liverpool, or switch from a club where he has been the lynchpin around which our continued rise has been driven, makes no sense. With Everton having lost their best player while West Ham have patiently assembled a top class squad, it seems that West Ham rather than Everton are the better bet for a top six invasion next season. Hammers fans will be calmed by the clue as to the veracity of the story highlighted by the suggested fee of £9million. Ahaaaaahaaaaa. Dream on Toffees! Reid is contracted to 2021 and has a £20 million buyout clause - both for good reason!

As the Lukaku-less Toffees try to regroup, perhaps their efforts can indeed be encouraged by a Winstone Read - but they are more likely to get a read of Ray Winstone's compelling biography than a slice of our Kiwi maestro.   

Meanwhile, Winston Reid is preparing himself for the season when his sustained efforts of recent years are rewarded with some silverware!



Hammers Finally Get Dhliwayo!

It really seems like only yesterday when David Gold and Sullivan took over the helm at a sorry West Ham. Trapped by debt, with a demoralised squad and soon to be relegated, we were on the verge of joining the list of big clubs that experienced the horror of freefall - Leeds, Wolves, Forest, Villa, the Sheffields etc.

Wind forward from 2010 to the present and West Ham are the fastest growing club in Europe with a burgeoning fanbase, 20,000 waiting list for season tickets at the most economically efficient stadium in Britain, and are now ranked 15th richest club on the planet.  

Missing from that list of achievements is 'with a squad to match their new found wealth'. However, as a current Sky News poll indicates, the Hammers are now tackling the issue of having a first team squad to compare with other clubs amongst the World elite. With the top ranked astute signing (Javier Hernandez) and three in the top 20 signings of the Summer so far (Hart (7th), Arnautovic (16th), with Zabaleta strangely excluded!), things are looking up. 

In searching for a suitable phrase (we preferred to avoid 'smarter than a shithouse rat') VERYWESTHAM went searching for quotes and encountered the impressive Matshona Dhliwayo's treasure trove of sayings. Dhliwayo has written books such as '100 Lessons Every Great Man Wants you to Know'  and '50 Lessons Every Wise Mother Teaches Her Son'...We reckon he should extend to include '20 rules for running a football club'....check these out:


 “A tree is naked, no matter how big, if it does not have leaves.”  

With the OS and a top class manager, we have the structures - now we are adding the players!


 “Talk less. Do more. Fear less. Achieve more.”

Err, I guess the board have read this one and had a quieter but more effective transfer campaign this Summer!


“The early bird gets the first worm, but the wisest bird gets the fattest one.” 

With Chicaharito ranked as the best signing of the Summer, we look to have followed this wisdom! 


“One bright star is better than a thousand dull moons.” 

No more taking a punt on unproven talent, all four of our signings to date are proven Premiership quality.  

"Keep your friends close, keep your money closer"

For all the disappointments of last season's transfers, the unsuccessful players were mostly on loan deals while Fernandes and Masuaku stand out as decent acquisitions and we are likely to recoup the Feghouli fee.


“The pen is mightier than the sword; it should never run out of ink.”

Great work so far but we could still do with another striker and a midfielder with oodles of pace! If you want to play a front two and Lanzini behind them in midfield, our defensive midfielder really needs to be mobile.


“Whether your glass is half full or half empty, hope can fill it up.”

Good try Mr Dhliwayo, but 'Forever Blowing Bubbles' captures this philosophy much better!


“Don’t strive to be superior to others; strive to be better than you were yesterday.”

Errr...but what about Spurs - it's hard not to smirk at their lack of activity to date - losing Walker to Man City and no arrivals :-)


“We all come into the world rocks, but the enlightened leave it diamonds.”

Bloody hell, our kids are suddenly shining again - hats off to Rice, Holland, Martinez, Burke and Cullen. We simply must give them more opportunities in the first team squad rather than sending them out to endure the unsophisticated brutality of the lower leagues - League Two doesn't make diamonds, just tougher rocks!

But as a final thought, let's not let Mr Dhliwayo hog the thoughtfest - with a truly exciting season to look forward to maybe Carl R White captures our sentiments best just now:

“Belief is a wonderful way to pass the time until the facts come in.”