Wednesday, 14 November 2018

It's Like McFadden's Cold War at West Ham



Order restored I hear you say! Indeed you are correct - after a 'season changing' win over Burnley and facing a series of ten very winnable games........the Hammers headed for lowly Huddersfield and well, you know the rest!

But our tradition was under threat in other ways - there's the growing sense that we might be developing a decent squad that can genuinely challenge with the best - with one of the best forwards in the league, a midfield that looks incisive, a classy and maturing CB partnership and an amazing keeper it had all started to look pretty positive...

So then we make a sloppy effort to bring in Samir Nasri, one of football's less likeable characters, followed by the revelation that Arnie is thinking about leaving the circus that is West Ham behind for better climes. Hmmm.

"a furious absurdism" - no, not West Ham, but the Guardian's recent description McFadden's Cold War - that could just as easily apply to all things Hammers. Surreal and absurd - perhaps the single greatest components of the 'West Ham way'. If you haven't checked out @Coldwar_Steve it's time you took a peek. Through the illogical disarray, things will suddenly all make perfect sense!

In honour of the week that has been, we have mashed up one's of Coldwar_Steve's mashups for your perusal. Hopefully it will clarify what is going on at the Hammers right now for you.

Fortune's always hiding....always.

Monday, 12 November 2018

Five Players To Solve West Ham's Midfield Troubles



Manuel Pellegrini has turned the corner with his West Ham side as they have gradually pulled themselves up the Premiership table and are currently sitting in 13th and looking upwards with a series of games ahead against bottom half clubs.

However, as yesterday's stuttering performance against Huddersfield demonstrated, the Hammers are already suffering from squad depletion with a host of casualties that includes Andriy Yarmolenko, Jack Wilshere, Carlos Sanchez and Manuel Lanzini. Mark Noble's foolish red card against Leicester cost the Hammers two points on the day and watching yesterday it was clear that the Hammers were missing his experience in midfield to kickstart their misfiring engine room.

Pellegrini will surely be looking at potential recruits in the January transfer window as both Yarmolenko and Sanchez are out for the rest of the season, while Wilshire's past history suggests that his availability is generally a bonus rather than something to expect.

Aaron Ramsey - Ramsey has a lot of mileage on the clock for a 27 year old with many feeling that he needs a fresh start away from Arsenal to rekindle his fire. as his relationship with Unai Henry has dwindled, a host of European clubs have been watching with Roma the latest would be suitors. His clever movement and close control would make him an ideal recruit for the Pellegrini way and with his contract soon coming to an end he will be an attractive option and the opportunity to lead a new era at London's fastest growing club would likely be attractive to the Welsh talisman. 

Danny Drinkwater - Drinkwater's £35 million move to Chelsea has been a disaster for him. Having won the Premiership with Leicester and broken into the England team with a MOTM debut, he has fallen almost entirely off the radar under Maurizio Sarri. At 28years old he should be in his footballing prime but is wasting away in the Chelsea reserves! Although he has over 3 years to run on his current contract, Clearly it is time to move on but the signing fee is likely to be substantial. Moreover, his 100k per week wages are a major concern, especially since it has never been fully clear to what extent his brilliance during the Leicester season was linked to his partner in midfield, N'Golo Kante!

Mousa Dembele - Dembele at his best is exactly the kind of energetic ball controlling midfielder that the Hammers need just now. He has slipped down the pecking order at Chelsea and has only a matter of months to run on his current contract with rumours of a high profile switch to Italy or perhaps a luctrative move to the Chinese Super League in the offing. However, since 2016 Dembele has been dogged by injury troubles and has had to fly out to Qatar to receive treatment for his latest ankle injury picked up at the weekend. In reality, the Hammers are likely to pass on an aging and injury-prone player like Dembele.

Ruben Loftus Cheek - Loftus Cheek looked all set to push for the heights after the World Cup but things have gone quiet at Chelsea where he has only three appearances this season. At 22 years old and with the versatility to play in midfield or further forward, Loftus Cheek is a real prospect. A host of Premiership rivals are said to be watching his situation closely, including Crystal Palace where he enjoyed an impressive loan period last year. Loftus Cheek's contract runs until 2021 but none the less January looks set to bring new pastures - either on loan again or as a permanent transfer. With Andriy Yarmolenko out until next season and Michail Antonio misfiring, you can readily see how Loftus Cheek could slot into the right side of West Ham's midfield where he can compete with young Grady Diangana for game time!

As we write it looks like Samir Nasri may be joining his old boss at West Ham which represents a major gamble for the club as Nasri is returning from a foolish doping ban and at 31 years old may struggle to show the same athleticism that made him such a force for Arsenal and Man City in the past.  

 


 

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Anyone Missing Noble?


In classic West ham fashion, we are allowing a very modest Huddersfield side dictate matters in a game where we look disorganised and lacking in bite. Huddersfield are carrying our defence and have very successfully prevented our ability to play the ball out from the back - plan B shoukd be to go throgh midfield but our lack of adequate presence in the middle has left us looking clueless.

This is exactly the sort of game where Captain Claret is needed to put some order on proceedings. Rice and Obiang are doing their best but we need a third midfielder to create some rhythm. Hmmm. To all the Noble knockers you'd have to say that we are missing our leader!

30 minutes to go and you'd have to favour a second Huddersfield goal rather than a Hammers breakthrough right now as the second half is turning out just as fragmented as the first.

COYI!!!

Pelle to Spring Major Surprise

In the aftermath of the Hammers impressive victory over a pretty hapless Burnley side last weekend there has been the usual outpouring of positivity and an expectation that the side will follow up with another win today away to Huddersfield.

Wishful thinking perhaps, especially given our history of failing to capitalise upon momentum in the past. Moreover, Huddersfield looked impressive in their deserved win over Fulham on Monday night and have every right to look towards a home win today to build upon that result.

Despite the bookies and pundits opting for a Hammers win (West ham 5/4 for the win, Huddersfield 5/2), the verdict from West ham fan sites is that Pellegrini's side are more likely to lose than win!

However, there is much to suggest that Hammers fans should be more optimistic about their chances today - Huddersfield are undoubtedly light up front with just 5 goals in their 11 games. Even in winning on Monday night they needed an own goal to overcome Fulham who, now bottom of the table, have conceded just short of three goals per game so far this campaign!

The Hammers, meanwhile are looking potent up top with goals coming from right across the frontline. In Arnautovic, the Hammers have a charismatic striker who is relentless in his joyful tormenting of opposition defences - as Burnley's James Tarkowski discovered to his cost last week! With growing confidence in midfield and defence, it looks like Pelle's troops have finally adapted to his quite demanding and dynamic system. Even better, they look to be enjoying absolutely it.

Perhaps most compelling of all, the Hammers have a strong bench where Chicharito or Antonio can shake things up if needed. All said and done, it looks like Pellegrini can surprise the pessimists and get our first back to back wins of the season. With a series of ten very winnable fixtures between now and the New Year, the Hammers could be ready to really push on in 2019!

Our money is on Pelle to pull off a major surprise for those doubting fans with a 2-0 victory!

Finally, while we are feeling optimistic how about Grady Diangana to open his Premiership account today?

Starting XI: Fabianski, Cresswell, Zabaleta, Diop, Balbuena, Rice, Obiang, Snodgrass, Diangana, Anderson, Arnautovic

Subs: Adrian, Fredericks, Masuaku, Hernandez, Antonio, Perez.

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Hammers Boss Burnley in First Leg of Claret n Blue Cup



The Hammers picked up a confidence-boosting win yesterday against an out of sorts Burnley side at the London Stadium. After a host of changes to the side during the Summer, Manuel Pellegrini's players are starting to look like a decent unit. Things are really looking up as the Hammers face into a series of fixtures against lower half sides in the Premiership. Here's our player ratings from what was a thrilling 4-2 victory:
 


Lukasz Fabianski: 7
Pulled off one crucial save. Couldn’t do much about either goal. He exudes confidence.

Pablo Zabaleta: 8
Captain for the day and boy did he lead the side through example. Poor Ryan Fredericks will just have to wait as understudy to the Argentinian ace who is enjoying an extension to his fine career.

Issa Diop: 6
Once again a solid performance but will be annoyed to have conceded two goals to such basic tactics as Burnley employed.  

Fabian Balbuena: 6
Similar to Diop, solid but caught out for the first goal. At £3.5 million Is he the bargain of the season?

Aaron Cresswell: 6
Did nothing wrong but would like to have shone a bit more on a day when the team were so dominant.

Declan Rice: 8
Starting to strut as he grows in confidence. A real presence in midfield these days and is now probably the first midfielder on the team list?

Pedro Obiang: 6
Reasonably quiet day until his injury forced an early exit. His is the thankless enabling role in midfield.

Robert Snodgrass: 6
Is repaying Pellegrini’s faith in him with better and better performances each week. He is now playing like the prospect we received from Hull City a few seasons back and had a major impact upon the pace of the game yesterday.

Grady Diangana: 9
A real crowdpleaser – pacey, skillful, cheeky. Maybe needs to try a little less but along with his individual skill is now linking better and better with team mates. Denied a definite penalty and also forced a challenge that could have drawn a red card in the build up to Anderson’s first goal.

Felipe Anderson: 9
Probably shades the Man of the Match award with two goals and a host of important interventions over the 90 minutes. When he is on form he is superb. Consistency will be the key but aren’t you just salivating at the prospect of teaming him up with Lanzini in a few weeks time?

Marko Arnautovic: 8
An endless irritation for opposition defences with his pace and aggression. Had fun teaching Tarkowski a lesson after falling victim to a nasty early challenge. Always involved and it cannot be overstated how much he drives the team forwards.

 
Substitutes
Javier Hernandez: 7
Scored one and was unlucky with another. That’s his job and he did it!
Michail Antonio: 6

Delightful chest down for Chicharito’s goal and looked happier in a hammers shirt than he has done in a long time.
Angelo Ogbonna: 5
Took his time entering the fray in a stoppage time wasting substitution!

Happy Days Ahead As Hammers Adopt the Pelle Way


It's been growing and growing - after a dreadful start, Manuel Pellegrini's side are finally adapting to his system and what a pleasure it is to watch. Our last home tussle with Burnley was an unpleasant affair as we imploded on and off the pitch. Yesterday may well have been partly the result of fan's expressing their feelings so forcefully, but either way we are a different club now.

Yesterday we were treated to a proper game of footy, with the Hammers dominating with flowing and positive football. Even without Noble, Yarmolenko, Lanzini, Reid and Carroll, we won easily and were in no way flattered by the 4-2 scoreline. With 63% possession, 80% pass accuracy and 20 shots, 10 on target - there is no way we could have put on a performance like that under Allardyce or Moyes (ED: or Bilic, tbh).  

Up front, Anderson had his best outing yet and with good options out wide (Snoddy, Diangana, Yarmo, Antonio) we can afford to have a wide player who is a bit inconsistent. Diangana reminds me of Kylian Mbappe with his almost unmarkable performance that should have delivered a penalty as well as a sending off. The lad has mayhem making ability in bucketloads. As always, Arnie brings belief and 100% commitment. I will say it again - what were Stoke doing playing him out wide?  It was also good to see Chicharito taking his chance with a cool finish just when we looked capable of throwing away a well deserved win.

As we push towards mid table, it's time to look to where we are heading - between now and the 2nd January we have ten Premiership games, 8 of which are against bottom half clubs, with Man City and high flying Watford visiting the vibrant fortress that the London Stadium is becoming.  Who knows where this will bring us to, but we will be really hoping to be safely nestled in the top half of the table come 2019!

After the Summer, we were disappointed to miss out on Portuguese midfield dynamo William Carvalho, but with the rise of Declan Rice is anybody still wishing that we had persuaded the reluctant Carvalho to join us? Similarly, many of us were worried about the departure of Ginge Collins, but after a rather harsh introduction to Premiership life at Anfield, Diop and Balbuena have been excellent. Yesterday, we shipped two soft goals which shows there is still room for improvement but in all honesty Winston Reid will have a real job getting game time when he returns! 

Finally, on this positive weekend - perhaps the most exciting aspect of the Pellegrini era is his confidence in playing youngsters. Grady Diangana has added to the Declan Rice feel good factor and you get the sense that Pelle isn't done yet! If you were a young talent looking to break through the ranks, West Ham is a club that you can believe in to give you a chance to show what you are capable of. 

Happy days!

COYI!!! 


 

Monday, 29 October 2018

We Live But on a Knife Edge


Captain Claret captured all of our thoughts in his comments that at times like this we realise that there are bigger things than football. One moment fans were feeling despondent at conceding a late deflected goal / blessed by grabbing a jammy late equaliser and tgen such emotions were soon small fry for all as the horror of the helicopter crash set in. 

The phrase 'legend' is thrown about lightly these days but no matter how high you set the bar, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was a true hero who not only shared the Foxes fans' dreams, he made them happen. His death is truly tragic. RIP. 

Leicester City confirmed his passing with the following statement:

In Khun Vichai, the world has lost a great man. A man of kindness, of generosity and a man whose life was defined by the love he devoted to his family and those he so successfully led. Leicester City was a family under his leadership. It is as a family that we will grieve his passing and maintain the pursuit of a vision for the Club that is now his legacy.

"Everyone at the Club has been truly touched by the remarkable response of the football family, whose thoughtful messages of support and solidarity have been deeply appreciated at this difficult time."

Saturday, 27 October 2018

Here comes the battle of the toothless tigers


The excitement is building ahead of the Hammers evening clash away to Leicester. If the teams were using the odd shaped ball then Leicester without Jamie Vardy would surely be dubbed the toothless tigers, while the,late withdrawal of Marko Arnautovic leaves the Hammers pretty light up front. Manuel Pellegrini's troops will look to halt a disappointing run of close defeats, and have Chicharito and Grady Diangana leading the charge in place of Arnie and Yarmo. The Hammers are 3-1 against for a win, while the Foxes are evens. With the lack of firepower leading both sides the draw at 5-2 looks the best value. Kick off is at 5.30.

COYI!!!

West Ham United: Fabianski, Zabaleta, Balbuena, Diop, Masuaku, Rice, Noble, Snodgrass, Diangana, Felipe Anderson, Chicharito.
Subs: Adrian, Fredericks, Cresswell, Ogbonna, Coventry, Powell, Antonio

Leicester City: Schmeichel, Amartey, Soyuncu, Maguire, Chilwell, Iborra, Ndidi, Maddison, Albrighton, Ghezzal, Iheanacho.
Subs: Ward, Evans, Mendy, Pereira, Gray, Vardy, Okazaki

Sunday, 21 October 2018

Back to the Drawing Board for Pelle


The Pellegrini era has brought the full range of emotions, from the concern that we might be heading on an Avram Grant style disaster adventure all the way to the naughty ecstasy of playing keep ball against a thoroughly outplayed Man United! However, almost one quarter of the way through the season and languishing just above the relegation zone with just 7 points from 9 games, there is lots to think about in terms of how we can improve our fortunes!

First up, it needs to be recognised that we are playing more attractive football. We are getting much more of the possession and playing the ball on the carpet. Fans are happier and the London Stadium has a better atmosphere.

Secondly, we look like we know what we are trying to do. An initially shaky back four seems to be finding its feet after a pretty terrible start against Liverpool! Diop and Balbuena have developed a good understanding, but we still look uncertain at full back. The Cresswell/ Masuaku debate goes on and on, while Pablo Zabaleta has been very solid on the right. If we can get a few results on the board then we can take a few chances experimenting with different combinations, including Ryan Fredericks as a more penetrating option.

Thirdly, the emergence of Rice and now Diangana is a cause for great delight at a club that prides itself on producing home talent. The fact that Pellegrini is brave enough to give these inexperienced young talents a run in the Premiership is really reassuring. The man has style and confidence - it takes balls to risk youth in such a competitive league where managers are treated as highly disposable commodities.

However, we need more goals! Far too much of our attacking activity is based upon the Austrian. Although Arnie is the kind of guy who seems to relish the responsibility, it does get a bit predictable for the opposition to deal with. Chicharito has never really done it for the Hammers while Perez looks the least impressive of our Summer acquisitions. Beyond that, its sadly back to the familiar position of waiting on Andy C again, hmmm!

Also, our set pieces need to improve. Today against Tottenham we were building momentum on a number of occasions in the first half but our efforts were deflated by poor corners as Felipe Anderson had a bit of a howler. Eventually Mark Noble had to take over but at this stage of his career we know that Noble has limitations in this regard. Lanzini's return can, of course, help hugely with these issues.

With Burnley up next in the Premiership, we face a big fixture that we need to win to get momentum going again. If we lose, then we are slipping back into the worry zone and can expect the media to start putting pressure on Pellegrini again.  

Saturday, 20 October 2018

West Ham vs Spurs: Reaction and Player Ratings



After all the positivity of the Man United game, things feel a bit deflated with defeats to Brighton (away) and our arch enemy Spurs at the London Stadium today. In truth, we deserved a lot more from the Brighton game, while we can feel very disappointed not to have got at least a point after a decent performance today that included 4 or more clear cut chances to level things in the second half. 

On a positive note, we are playing reasonably fluid football and, at the back, look pretty assured (ask Harry Kane who was well policed by our CBs today). Young Diangana looks a real piece of work, while Declan Rice continues to confirm our hopes that he can be  the new Billy Bonds. 

However, a defeat to the Spuds is always disappointing. Here are our individual player ratings:

Fabianski: Another assured performance and could do nought about their goal. Perhaps needs to work on distribution as Spurs successfully hampered our passing out from the back. 7/10.

Zabaleta: Solid without anything truly inspiring. Seemed to be building an understanding with Grady Diangana that almost brought a goal.  Pablo continues to justify his starting berth. 7/10.

Cresswell: Mostly solid but along with Anderson might have done better for the Tottenham goal. A more natural defender than Masuaku, their duel over the LB berth will run and run. 7/10.

Diop: Our best player and probably the overall MOTM despite being on the losing side. Put in a series of perfectly timed challenges on Mr Kane and friends. Physically imposing but also pretty nifty around the pitch and made a few decent forays forward. 9/10.

Balbuena: Also looked solid and after a slow start in Preseason has responded excellently to the challenge of the Premiership. The bargain signing of the season at 3.5 million! 8/10.

Rice: We are gettting used to his assured presence in midfield. He seems to have that special ability to know the right thing to do. Very busy protecting the front of the defence today, which he did to great effect. 7/10.

Snodgrass: Has done really well to turn around a Hammers career that looked all but over. Clearly has impressed Pellegrini and had a decent day today in a more central role than he is used to as he was asked to fill the gap caused by Pedro Obiang's late withdrawal. Active but without doing anything outstanding. 7/10.

Noble: Put himself about throughout the 75 minutes he played. Nobes particularly enjoys getting stuck into the Spuds. Sadly, all that effort came up short today. Still a massive presence for us in midfield! 8/10.

Anderson: Felipe had a day to forget. Poor corner taking, repeated loss of possession and light in defence for the lead up to their goal. Will need to regain his form if he wants to competecwith Lanzini for a role in front of the midfield. Ouch! 4/10.

Yarmolenko: Was doing well until his unfortunate injury that looks like a possible Achilles issue. Fingers crossed that it is nothing too serious but his immediate reaction and stretchers exit did not bode well. 6/10. 

Arnautovic: Always a threat and busy busy busy. Things didn't quite click for him today but once again he led the line with pace and power. Forced Lloris into two fine saves in the second half. Looked excited by the opportunity to link in with Diangana. What were Stoke doing playing him out wide? 8/10.

Subs: Antonio looked more lively than in recent times but unspectacular, Chicharito helped pile on more pressure without quite clicking up front while Grady Diangana was a delight to watch with his tricky and pacey play. Was that a penalty when he was tripped in the box - front the Bobby Moore stand it looked very giveable! There's plenty more to come from this young man!!!



2 comments:

  1. No problems when Lanzini returns-Anderson is given his roving role across the width of the pitch, while I'd like to see Lanzini revert back to a central attacking play-makers role. Imagine what lanzini could add to the present front trio of Anderson, Arnautovic, and Yarmalenko!!
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Saturday, 29 September 2018

Player Ratings vs Man Utd: guess who gets MOTM?



The last time that things felt so good in the crazy world of West Ham was when we beat Manchester United for the last time at the Boleyn! In today's game we were equally as fired up and really from the very start West Ham's intensity seemed too much for a fractured Man United.

After top performances away to Everton and hosting Chelsea last week, this was a step even further upwards as Pellegrini's side pinged the ball around, for once enjoying the open space of the London Stadium.

Picking out a MOTM is a real challenge as this was a team that were totally on fire. The contrast with the Wolves performance of a few weeks ago was simply remarkable! This was a courageous front-footed assault that reaped dividends.

Here are our individual player ratings:

Fabianski: Calm, assured, good under crosses and an outstanding shot stopper, Lucas put in another tremendous performance and pulled off a stunning save to frustrate Fellaini towards the end. 8/10.

Zabaleta: Wow, just like last week, Pablo put in a young man's shift and even added an assist for Anderson's goal. Young Fredericks looked great in midweek but Pablo just keeps on justifying his starting berth! 8/10.

Masuaku: Still keeping Dressy on the bench and rightly so as he again looked tasty going forward and (reasonably) solid defensively. Kept Ashley Young under wraps in a feisty battle down the left flank! 8/10.

Diop: Tremendous stuff! What a signing and with Fabian Balbuena seems to have found their frequency. Physically imposing but also pretty nifty around the pitch and made a few decent forays forward. A tremendous find - as the Special One was keen to point out in his post match analysis! 9/10.

Balbuena: While Diop has been catching everybody's eye as one of the most promising talents in the league, Balbuena has been quietly putting in some truly assured performances and passed the dreaded Lukaku test today with flying colours! 8/10.

Rice: This young man is growing by the game and once again was everywhere today. Declan's positional sense is tremendous fir somebody of his age and he has the pleasing ability to move the ball quickly. If Perez is worth 50k per week surely this man is worth something similar? 9/10.

Obiang: Quietly putting in the yards and part of a dominant midfield, Pedro has been unlucky with injuries in the past but is still only approaching his peak age and now finding excellent form. At one point he looked all set to repeat his Spurs strike, but almost hit the corner flag instead! A real dynamo. 8/10.

Noble: The biggest cheer during last week's Chelsea tussle was for Captain Claret when he departed at 85 minutes. Again today he looked like a man possessed - simply everywhere and constantly nicking the ball and driving us forwards. This was one of his greatest Hammers performances!!! 10/10 (MOTM).

Anderson: Felipe has that x-factor that every team needs and is filling the massive void left by Manu Lanzini's absence. It was great to see him open his goalscoring account with a cheeky heal flick for the opening goal. Not shy about tracking back either, the question now is how we can accommodate both he and Lanzini when they are both available! 8/10.

Yarmolenko: Although Andriy is quite one footed, his penetration is such that he keeps defenders guessing. The relationship with Pablo is growing nicely and, of course, he is scoring. Today's strike looked headed for the top left corner until it deflected to the top right, but having a winger who can shoot keeps the opposition nervous and opens up all manner of possibilities! 8/10.

Arnautovic: A constant thorn in the Mancs side, Referee Michael Oliver really should have given him more protection today and one hopes that he wasn't injured too badly as the challenges became more and more fierce as they went unpunished. Marko had the last laugh though, as he put Man U to the sword from Noble's super through ball with a quarter of an hour left. What were Stoke doing with him out on the wing all that time? 9/10.
just before the end. Could do nothing about Rashford's goal. Thoughtful distribution from kick outs.  8/10.

Subs: Antonio had limited impact and perhaps could have looked more energetic. Snodgrass kept things ticking over while Diangana didn't have time to show his stuff.



Manchester United 'embarrassed' as Hammers showboat!



Rio Ferdinand didn't mince his words with his post match comments on BT Sport after West Ham coasted past an out of sorts Man United at the London Stadium.

West ham have absorbed the Pellegrini way and simply outplayed the visitors for long periods in the match, with Mark Noble in absolutely stunning form as he bossed  the midfield and totally eclipsed Paul Pogba!

Felipe Anderson opened the scoring with a cheeky flick from Zabaleta's cross. Just before half time Andriy Yarmolenko's shot deflected wickedly into the net to widen the gap. 

Although Marcus Rashford pulled one back against the run of play, 3 minutes later Mark Noble raced forward and slotted Arnautovic through for an inevitable clincher.

Ferdinand was obviously impressed with a passage of play that followed soon after wherein the Hammers played keep ball for almost 30 passes as Man United were forced to chase after the ball.

Speaking after the game, Rio commented "The way they (West ham)  played, the personality, in the end they were showboating and for Manchester United fans it was embarrassing".

Onwards and upwards - With Spurs as the next visitors to the London Stadium things are pretty positive right now! For Jose Mourinho this may be the final straw that forces an Old Trafford exit!

High Scoring Draw in Game of Give and Take: Here are West Man Utd!

There's plenty of history between the Hammers and Manchester United, with some dramatic season finales standing out in the memory of moments when West Ham have frequently come out on top! With both sides enjoying mixed fortunes so far this season it looks like anything is possible today!

As the excitement levels rise before the 12.30 kick off, we took some time to consider
the best team comprised of players who have played for both clubs making up the impressive ‘West Man United XI’.  

Ultimately, will these performers be considered Hammers or Devils?





At Man United he failed to inspire confidence - epitomised by ‘the goal that never was’. Joined West Ham in 2005 after falling out over a lack of first team opportunities. Had a good initial season but sustained a back injury in Jan 2006 and slipped into a variety of difficulties that ultimately earned him a place in the ‘Troubled Bubbles XI’! Verdict Neither.

Hammers debut at the tender age of 17, Rio soon forced his way into the regular first team squad where he continued to impress until Leeds paid a record 18 million for him in November 2000. Quickly moved to Man United where he has been a fantastic servant for a decade and was key to the many successes of the past decade.Verdict Devil.

8 appearances for Man United where he was never really given a chance. A bargain signing for 500K for West ham that led to a five year career and over 100 appearances . Versatile defender who had his finest hour when scoring twice in a 4-0 victory over Man United in 2010. Ran out of road as the Hammers regrouped after relegation and moved to Birmingham City. Verdict: Hammer.

Top man. Signed from Cork Athletic in 1952. Noel enjoyed a fruitful 8 years at West Ham with 250 appearances. Captained the Hammers to promotion back to the top flight for the first time in almost 30 years in 1958 . Sold to man Utd for almost 30K in 1960 where he captained a cup winning side and was part of two league winning teams. Verdict Hammer.

Hmmm. One that got away having impressed at youth level but nicked by Man United. He might have fared so much better had he stuck with the Hammers and gotten a better shot at first team football. Many observers would say that he has never lived up to his potential in a promising career ultimately fizzled out. Verdict Neither.

Industrious and gamey, the 'Guvnor'  was never found wanting in the Hammers shirt after replacing Billy Bonds in 1987. He didn’t handle his Hammers departure very well being photographed in a Man United shirt well before the deal was confirmed. Probably did not deserve the  criticisms thrown his way by Fergie and after 6 years and over 200 appearances Verdict: Devil.

Another one thrown in as a teenager at 17 into the Hammers first team. Skilful but perhaps a little ‘ghosty’ at times. Happy to do the unglamorous work and stayed loyal after relegation in 2003 before losing patience and moving to Spurs for 3.5 Million and then Man United where he was a solid performer for ten seasons. Verdict Devil.

Trouble with a capital T during his time at Man United, Fergie tired of his disciplinary problems and Big Sam obliged for a mere 650K. Initially 'Raveldo' looked like an astute piece of business but  disciplinary and personal issues re-emerged and after 18 games for the Hammers he was moved on. Currently AWOL from our attentions! Verdict Hammer.

Arrived at Man United late in his career but proved another astute Fergie signing and achieved legendary status in stoppage time of the 1999 Champions League final. Came to the Hammers not far short of pension age but still had plenty to offer by virtue of his excellent footballing brain. Returned as forwards coach to great effect in the 2014-5 season. Verdict Devil. 

Played in a different era when United were not quite the same powerhouse they are now but picked up a cup winners medal, scoring in the 1977 final against lovely Liverpool. 
Moved to the Hammers in 1979 after a nasty knee injury but still managed to play a major part in the 1980 Cup final victory over Arsenal, teeing up Trevor Brooking’s ‘stunning’ header! Verdict Both.

Arrived at the Boleyn in a bizarre deal in 2006. Bemused Hammers faithful endured two-thirds of a season of Carlos trying to inspire a lacklustre side and then it all clicked into gear for the final 10 games where he couldn’t stop scoring, including a final day win at Old Trafford to keep the Hammers up! The Apache had some classy moments in the United shirt but got sidetracked by his own ego needs. Ultimately moving to City was the final straw.Verdict Hammer.

Substitutes: Luke Chadwick, Les Sealey, David Bellion, Ashley Fletcher.

So, final score 4-4. The odds of that being the score in today's game are 350-1!!!