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.


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!!!


  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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