Tuesday 31 December 2019

Hammers Ready to Make Key Signing

Rumours are that David Moyes will start the West Ham rebuild by bringing back Darren Randolph from Middlesboro. While Lucasz Fabianski is back and looking sharp as ever, the reality is that West Ham do not feel confident in either Roberto or David Martin as back up for a position that has cost them dearly so far this season during Fab's 3 month absence.

Dazzler left West Ham for £5 million in Summer 2017 after a successful spell but found himself short on first team opportunities. He has shined during his time at Boro and continues to impress for the Republic of Ireland at international level. He would undoubtedly be a popular solution to the Hammers goalkeeping problem. 

Boro are stuck in mid table obscurity in the Championship and look unlikely to make a run for a play off position or slip into relegation trouble. Whether Randolph will want to warm the bench remains to be seen but with West Ham in boomerang-mode at present a return looks very much on the cards!

Master Moyes is Back at the Helm!

Moyes is back and already has highlighted indiscipline as an issue that he will focus on with the faltering Hammers squad. It's hard to disagree with him given our frustrating recent pattern of conceding silly goals. Fabianski's return will undoubtedly help reverse that trend, but we also need to improve our performance in midfield where we lack pace and seem too easily over run. There have been calls to play two up front to compensate for Haller's lack of pace, but with the two man midfield of Rice and Noble we have been struggling to compete. It will be fascinating to see how Moyes addresses this obvious shortcoming in our set up but don't be surprised to see a more pact midfielder join the ranks in the January transfer window.

Here are Moyes comments from his first interview:

"Discipline, I'd have said, was probably one of the biggest jobs I had when I came in last time. I had to make sure there was zero tolerance".
"But I feel I might have to go back to the start and say 'we're back to here', and I'd have liked to have come in with a new message."
"I actually thought that I had got rid of some of those things and we'd got to a bit where there was quite a bit of non-negotiable 'you're doing the work."

It'll be fascinating to see what starting XI he picks for the Bournemouth clash! One suspects that he may have been keeping an eye on our performances for some time as he almost certainly would have been canvassed about his availability and willingness to return to the helm if Pellegrini failed to turn it around.

Monday 30 December 2019

Computer Says No...especially to West Ham!

Just as many Hammers fans have suspected for some time, everyone and everything is against us. When VAR was introduced we all thought that the bias against certain clubs would end. Sadly, we have seen how even with video analysis as an aid, the VAR guys often get it wrong, a8nd in a particular direction!

An analysis of VAR results this season show that the Hammers are not getting the bounce of the ball either on or off the pitch, including in the VAR booth. Considering all of the VAR decisions so far this season shows how West Ham are the second most decided-against club!

With only three routine checks going their way, a whopping six close calls have gone against the Hammers! This includes three overturned goals (vs Tottenham, Chelsea and Southampton) with two disputed goals against them awarded (vs Brighton and Bournemouth) and Man City being allowed to retake a penalty due to encroachment.

On the up side, the only team who have had less luck with VAR are Sheffield United, boo-hoo!

Let's hope 2020 sees better luck for the Hammers, both on and off the field of play!

Sunday 29 December 2019

Relegation Battle Will Be Touch And Go With Moyes

ZZzzzzzz. So, as widely speculated, it's Moyes to replace Pellegrini. Many Hammers fans feel that the return of a man who is often described as dour will improve our chances of survival but, in reality, his record suggests that we will struggle to make the magic figure of 40 points that usually (!?!) ensures survival. 

Moyes has commented in his opening press conference that he is inheriting a better squad than he did from Slaven Bilic, and hopefully after the spending of last Summer that will turn out to be true. However, his points ratio in his previous 27 game tenure was 1.03 per game. If he repeats that performance then we can expect to finish on 38 points.

On the plus side, he knows the club and will hopefully settle in quickly. On the minus side, many of our flair players will feel its time to look to a club that plays football more suited to their strengths. With an 18 month contract, if he is successful in keeping us up, we can expect a clear our in the Summer as he will likely stay.

If we don't manage to stay up, we can expect an even bigger clear out.


Rice Shows His Class as Hammers Look to Rebuild

It's rebuild time at West Ham as they seek to stabilise the club in the aftermath of Manuel Pellegrini's departure. With only two wins in the last 13 games and four consecutive home defeats, it all looks pretty negative at the East London club. It's time to pull up the socks and get stuck in as the new manager will want warriors as they seek to avoid relegation.

All of which does not auger well for many of Pellegrini's favoured players -  Carlos Sanchez, Haller and Anderson are all players who did not bargain upon having to slug it out at the foot of Europe's most aggressive league and it will be interesting to see if they are up for the challenge?

Meanwhile, on the plus side it should be remembered that West Ham have some undoubted talent in the ranks - Issa Diop will relish a chance to rediscover his fabulous early form at the club, while Manuel Lanzini is finally match fit again and will want to shine. Fabianski is back which will certainly improve things at the back and Michail Antonio is our MVP at the moment. Grady Diangana is surely set to return from his very successful loan period at West Brom while Yarmolenko is soon to return after a niggly injury. 

But most importantly, we need to get Declan Rice firing again - his athleticism and grit will be key to maintaining Premiership status and then building a new team around him. Hammers fans will be pleased to see him demonstrating his professionalism as he tweeted thank you and farewell to Mr Pellegrini. No doubt the past 3 months have been a harsh lesson in the realities of life at the top level but he will be all the stronger for it as we look ahead.

In an era when top stars are often hard to like as people, its great to see that we can still turn out players who are classy and dignified. Bobby Moore, Billy Bonds and a host of other previous Hammers captains would be proud of him.


Pelle Replacement Battle Hots Up as Dyer, Di Canio and Redknapp Emerge as Candidates

Premiership management is one of the last bastions of ruthlessness on the planet, where failure to produce the goods has inevitable and harsh consequences. And so it is that despite his massive pedigree, extensive knowledge of football and erudite manner, Manuel Pellegrini got the boot as his underperforming squad slipped ever closer to Chumpionship status.

Listening to the vitriolic outpourings of many that led up to the sacking you really have to wonder if some of these folk are really West Ham fans? In my 55 years of fandom we have always been a circus and quite frankly that's how we like it! Its a game of entertainment where you have to take lots of pain for the occasional joyous success. Like it or not, that's the deal with our beloved Hammers.

While the pundits have David Moyes as firm favourite for the role at 1/25 odds, many see him as having had his best years many moons ago. Eddie Howe (10/1), Rafa Benitez (14/1), Tony Pulis (20/1) and Chris Hughton (20/1) trail well behind in the bookies estimation but the real action is surely with Harry Redknapp (20/1), Sam Allardyce (33/1) and Paolo Di Canio (22/1).

Interestingly, odds for either Alan Pardew or Slaven Bilic are not even quoted!

If you want a proper knees up to go with your circus experience then why not go for Danny Dyer (500/1)?

The boys at Julien's Faux Pas have done a piece to 'celebrate' the latest madness...Enjoy, and keep on laughing!!!

Saturday 28 December 2019

There's a taste in my mouth....Pelle goes for bust!!!

As the Joy Division classic goes...."There's a taste in my mouth, as desperation takes hold". A sentiment that rings loudly as Manuel Pellegrini has announced a radically reshaped Hammers for this evening's clash with the Vardy-less Foxes.

OUT go Roberto, Zabba, Noble, Oggy, Snoddy and Antonio (along with the suspended Cresswell).

IN come Frederick's, Fab, Diop, Masuaku, Anderson, Lanzini and....Sanchez!!!

We really are in a mess right now. It feels like the last throw of the dice for the beleaguered boss. Even without Vardy, a disciplined and organised Leicester will undoubtedly be licking their lips!

Fingers crossed...


West Ham United: Fabianski, Fredericks, Balbuena, Diop, Masuaku, Sanchez, Rice ©, Fornals, Lanzini, Felipe Anderson, Haller

Subs: Roberto (GK), Zabaleta, Reid, Noble, Snodgrass, Antonio, Ajeti

Its Been Since Late September And We Really Need You Back in Goal...

Lukasz Fabianski looks set to return in goal today after over three months absence as West Ham face a crunch ties against Leicester City in the evening kick off. The Hammers goal-stopper has been out of action since late September when he sustained a hip muscle injury in a 2-2 draw with Bournemouth.
The Hammers form has nosedived since his injury with just two wins in twelve, as number two keeper Roberto has had a torrid and error-strewn time that required promotion of number three keeper David Martin to the starting berth until he too experienced an injury!
A simple review of our stats with and without Fab tell the story of a declining season as the Hammers have slid down the table after a promising start when the Polish Ace was fit and between the sticks!
As Rod Stewart might sing to his classic track ‘Maggie May’:
‘Wake up Fabby, I think we’ve got something to say to you
It’s been since late September and you really should be back in goal!
Roberto keeps us amused 
but we seem to always loose
Oh Fabby we really have cried as they’ve scored’
Let’s hope he’s back today and we get a much-needed win!

Chaos and Uncertainty as Hammers Face Foxes

The Selhurst Park Noble-Ogbonna spat summed up West Ham's plight just now - chaotic and pointing to a deep unrest at the club. With just 2 wins in twelve, Pellegrini's troops are in freefall and cant seem to get a bounce of the ball right now!

Meanwhile, Leicester have been one of the big positive stories of the season and are well deserving of their second place berth in the league, having regained the tactically disciplined style of their Premiership-winning season in 2016. 

However, West Ham's poor form has corresponded with the absence of Fabianski in goals and he may well return today, while Leicester have not won in three and were well outplayed by Liverpool in a 4-0 thrashing on Boxing day.

No wonder the pundits are lacking in consistency in their predictions as Robbie Savage reckons on a Leicester 2-1 win, Charlie Nicholas has gone for a hammers 2-1 victory, while Mystic Mark Lawro reckons on a 1-1 draw. The bookies are more definite in quoting the Foxes at 10/11 and West ham at 11/4.

More worrying is that West Ham's odds on relegation have shrunk to 11/4 - the 4th most likely club to take the drop - an amazing stat given the Summer investment!

Rory Nostradamus is going for a 2-2 draw.


Thursday 26 December 2019

Bobby Bubbles' Ratings as Hammers Slip up in the Dying Moments

Roberto: Surprised many with a solid performance. Almost stopped Kouyate's goal and could do little about Ayew's strike. Also pulled off a tremendous save from Wickham when through one-on-one 7/10.

Zabaleta: Did well against a pacey Palace left flank, with decent support from Snoddy. 6/10. 

Ogbonna: Our best defender on the day. Will be furious about the late concession. 6/10.

Balbuena: Solid but missed out for Ayew's late winner. It's surely time for Diop to get a run again? 5/10.

Cresswell: Not his best performance. Has been decent of late but looked out of sorts today. Very little going forward. 5/10.

Rice: Decent but we look slow in Midfield. Brings very little in creativity. 6/10.

Noble: Is the Rice-Noble partnership (a) lacking in pace and (b) not creative enough? 6/10.

Fornals: Has looked better of late and seems to be getting the gist of Premiership football but he has yet to justify his transfer fee. 6/10.

Snodgrass: Our best player today. Great goal and really unlucky not to get a second. Also good defensive contribution. 8/10.

Antonio: Looked lively all day and great ball for Snoddy's goal. 7/10.

Haller: Looks unhappy and sluggish. Better with Antonio as a partner but again, nowhere near justifying his fee. 5/10. 


Lanzini: Little impact but we will need his creativity and pace to get those vital 5-6 wins that will keep us up. 
Anderson: Needs to rediscover his mojo. 

Errrr... Pelle Selection Surprises Bode Badly For Crunch Game

Manuel Pellegrini has gambled with his team selection for Today's trip to Selhurst Park, bringing Roberto back in goal despite a series of horror performances a few weeks back! With David Martin out injured, that was perhaps an enforced call, but Hammers fans will be equally concerned at Zabaleta's selection in a position that will see him square up with the pace of Zaha! Otherwise, it's a brave selection with (probably) Antonio and Haller up front, while for once the Hammers have game changers on the bench with the returning Anderson and Lanzini ready to join the action if needed. 

All in all, Rory Nostradamus is thinking that a draw would be a good result!

West HamRoberto, Zabaleta, Balbuena, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Snodgrass, Rice, Noble (c), Fornals, Antonio, Haller.

Subs: Anang, Diop, Masuaku, Sanchez, Lanzini, Anderson, Ajeti

Clash of the Lamborghini Lads: Antonio vs Sakho

As the Hammers prepare for a key clash with Crystal Palace today, fans will be hoping that MVP Michail Antonio is fit after a midweek smash in his Lamborghini. Former favourite Diafro Sakho had a similar accident in 2016 as he smashed up his £200,000 Lamborghini under mysterious circumstances!

Since departing for Rennes in 2018, Sakho's career has nosedived as he has struggled for form at Rennes and was part of the relegated Bursaspor side while on loan last season. In total he has only scored five times since leaving West Ham for £4.5M!

However, Hammers fans will recall how the Senegalese striker enjoyed an impressive scoring rate during his time at the club. In truth, Antonio and Sakho are similar in style - fast, aggressive and single-minded. Both have been played out wide and centrally and pose a high aerial threat. But how do they square up in terms of strike rate?

Its perhaps something of a surprise that Sakho had a significantly greater strike rate at more than a goal every three games compared with just more than one every five for Antonio!!!

Let's hope Michail can keep up his impressive recent form today as since returning from a niggly injury he has recovered that crucial pace and abrasiveness that underpins his best play.


Sunday 24 November 2019

Julien's Faux Pas #15

Or should it be Roberto's Faux Pas? After another torrid day at the London Stadium we are left almost speechless - only art can capture the madness of the current circus antics! Above all else, the sentiment of the day was come back Fabianski.

In our series of Coldwar Steve-style mock ups we give you Julien's Faux Pas number 15...

Saturday 23 November 2019

Reveal: Crucial Information for Hammers Fans

Ok, so we made a gallant comeback which will undoubtedly provoke calls of 'why do we have to go 3 down to start playing?' But in reality, West ham looked lacking in confidence and bereft of ideas for the first hour of Today's game. Noble and Rice were trying to get us going with some passionate tackling, but the rest of the team looked strangely sedate for what is our big derby game of the season.

And then there was the Alan McKnightmare-esque performance of Roberto. Enough said.

We are without a win in 8 games and sliding down the table....you might even say we are in freefall.

One fellow fan joked as we were leaving the stadium today that at least we won't have a boring run in this year. He's sadly right - we are almost certainly going to be at least up to our waist in relegation troubles.

And with that in mind, many fans are already nervously checking our run in - the good news is that  it looks relatively 'kind':

Newcastle (away) 11/04
Burnley (home) 18/04
Norwich (away) 25/04
Watford (home) 02/05
Man Utd (away) 09/05
Aston Villa (home) 17/ 05

It's hard to see us turning things around until January opens the door to new recruits as we have Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, along with Palace and Wolves away, such that the Southampton game looks like a relegation six pointer already!!!

Top Marks to the bloke giving it socks with Karaoke to lift the spirits as we left the ground. Right now we are truly singing the Claret n Blues...


Friday 22 November 2019

Hope and Expectation...This Will Be A Special One!

If ever there was a game that was hard to call then Today's clash with our nearest rivals is just that! Two squads who have been hopelessly underperforming face into a derby that will surely throw the form book in the bin. Add to that the Mourinho factor and not even Nostradamus could predict this one. 

Right now there seems to be a civil war playing out at Tottenham and, whatever else, Mourinho is hardly the peacemaking type they sorely need right now. With a squad who in many cases seem to be looking to move on, Mourinho's arrival may well accelerate that process but just how that impacts upon the team performance remains to be seen. One thing is for sure, any player lacking full commitment will struggle today in what will be a cauldron-like atmosphere!

As for us, in terms of what has gone wrong - quite simply (1) we are missing Fabianski both as a shot stopper but also as a defensive captain, (2) the defensive half of our midfield is not protecting the centre backs enough and, yes, I am saying that Declan Rice needs to step up! (3) we look feeble at set pieces. With two small full backs, Anderson, Noble, Lanzini and Fornals is it any wonder we look fragile when the ball is floated into our box? Thankfully, Antonio's return will surely add presence for those corners and free kicks that we have been struggling at (4) as a result of the above we keep falling behind. In the current Premiership most teams are more than capable of punishing a team that is chasing a game. Hence the recent drubbings to modest opposition.

My head and my heart both tell me this will be a cracker!!! However, its hard to call who will be happier come the final whistle - Warren Mitchell (quietly a Spurs fan) or his TV character the infamous Alf Garnett? Mystic Mark Lawrenson reckons it'll be a draw so we can exclude that as a possibility. Meanwhile, the considerably more accurate Rory Nostradamus sadly can' t make it today but reckons it'll be 3-2 to the Hammers, with Antonio coming on as a super sub to grab the winner!


Monday 11 November 2019

What is actually wrong with West Ham?

By guest journo James Meagher.
Many a West Ham fan must be puzzled by our failure to win in the last 6 games, especially after a bright start to the season ( ignoring a drubbing by the defending champions). Now all hope seems lost after a horrendous result against Burnley where we were barely in the game and created little of note. Many are screaming and shouting about tactics and the personnel on the pitch (yes, you - Roberto). While these are valid complaints there is a much longer standing issue that the club has had that we have been concealing for some time before it reared it’s filthy head. 
West Ham have had defensive frailties for a while now with very brief periods of competency, all while having decent if not down right sensational personnel at time. As an individual, Issa Diop is an man mountain of a defender while Fabian Balbuena has had a difficult season - he was sensational last year as the 'Generalx of our defence. In the past we’ve been blessed with Winston Reid and Ginger Pele (James Collins). While they haven’t been world beaters, they have certainly been above average centre backs. Cresswell’s form may have been up and down but there is no doubting the defensive quality the man has demonstrated over his tenure at the club. The right back position is a hot debate in my household so we shall not go there other then to say that we are fans of Ryan Fredericks and believe that the Michail Antonio experiment there should have ended before it started. 
So why have we conceded so many goals?? Last season we conceded 55 goals, the season before 68, and in the 16/17 season 64. In all bar last season we conceded more than teams that were relegated. So why?

We’ve all seen the ads on TV that tell you driving too fast will cause accidents and deaths on the road. What is left out is that driving too slow is even more dangerous as it infuriates drivers around you and causes rash decision making. Here lies our problem. West ham have a slow team. To start with the less-problematic positions - Haller and Yarmolenko are not the quickest duo, especially for a front man and winger. Many people here will point to Zabaleta starting against Newcastle and the horror that ensued but, this is only the most recent case. Where out beloved hammers have really lacked pace is in the defensive midfielder role. Long has Noble patrolled this region for the Irons with Declan Rice more recently taking the role, neither of which have pace to burn. The last time we had any pace in the middle of the park was Cheikhou Kouyate who was ousted from the club due to long periods of poor form. 
If we look at this position popularised by Makelele it requires a tactical awareness second to none on the pitch. While certainly Noble has this is spades and Rice is developing, there is a pace required to mitigate any mistake made. Think N’golo Kante. He’s like a rash. He’s everywhere and reads the game like most read a children’s book however, he also is quick across the pitch to cover any mistakes that may have occurred. This ability is a large part of the reason he won the premier league with Leicester City and then Chelsea in back to back years. This combination is rare but it can be found. Liverpool have players like Fabinho and Wijnaldum who may not be sprinters but are no slouches either. Man City have Fernandinho and now Rodri. Ndidi at Leicester. Man united have sought a player for this position for years, hence signing Nemanja Matic in the hopes he could replicate his previous form. There are few players who can play this role without pace. Sergio Busquets and Xabi Alonso to name a few but they are both players far beyond what West Ham currently have in our midfield. This lack of pace and ability to cover ground means our defence is left exposed and the goals fly in. Then as all teams do chasing a game, we push up to try and create pressure and chances but this further exposes our defence, especially to counter attack. This cycle continues and is evident in so many game we lose. The games we win we usually score first and dominate the ball because we don’t have to pile men forward seeking an equaliser.
I fear that until we solve this pace issue in the middle of the park we are destined to forever be on a rollercoaster with our beloved club. We can sit and debate the tactics and why is no one close to Haller (does he smell funny) but until we solve the fact we regularly get overrun in midfield not due to a lack of commitment or passion from the men who fill this roles but due to a lack of pace and quickness.
The January transfer window requires us to acquire something better than Carlos Sanchez!

Monday 23 September 2019

The View From the Bobby Moore Stand

It never ceases to amaze me how frequently you are discussing a game with a fellow fan who has a totally (often opposing) take on proceedings! After last season's win over Man United I got chatting with another Hammer flying home through Stansted who reckoned Felipe Anderson was still unconvincing and not tracking back for defensive duties!!!

These variances also happen within your own mind - on Monday, watching on TV I thought Haller looked off the pace, clumsy and disconnected from the team's flow. On Sunday, in the flesh, he was the fulcrum of our efforts, holding the ball up over a dozen times when any of our other recent strikers would have lost possession (yes, Arnie as well as Chicharito!). Moreiver, his link play was calm and assured - it's a pity we didn't flash a few crosses in as he looked well able for Harry Maguire.

Reading a report tonight, one pundit reckoned Maguire had bossed Haller while from my vantage point Sebastien demonstrated why England need to be careful before over-relying on the not so nimble defender who will struggle against top strikers.

From the upper zones of the Bobby Moore stand we got to see how much Yarmolenko and Anderson moved to unnerve the Man Utd defence, switching wings 4 times in the first 20 minutes! We also got to see how dominant Issa Diop was and that the pace of the man is astounding! Add to that how well Anderson holds the ball when we want to clear out from defence and we are starting to feel excited about our chances of pushing on from our current lofty position in the Premiership!

Add to all of that the sense of certainty that Cressy would bury his (second) free kick. Having seen the first slide just over the bar, it was clear that he was going to get it spot on as he stepped up in the 84th minute......yesssssss!


Sunday 22 September 2019

Bobby Bubbles' Player Ratings as the Hammers Squash Man United

There were joyous scenes again at the London Stadium today as West Ham beat off the rather meek challenge of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Red Devils. A super goal just before half time set the scene and, in truth, there only ever looked like there could be one winner. Aaron Cresswell's sublime free kick essentially ended the game and there was even time for the Hammers to indulge in another bout of keep ball against the once Premiership heavyweights! We are now up to 4th and looking good.  Bobby Bubbles gives his verdict on the days proceedings:

Fabianski:  Calm and assured as always. Surprisingly quiet day between the sticks but still pulled off two important blocks that could have changed the game. 8/10

Fredericks Having a good season and looking like the player we hoped when he arrived just over a year ago. Great pace and getting more confident going forward and building a good understanding with Yarmo.  8/10.

Ogbonna: Looked solid but picked up a foolish early yellow card that on another day might have been costly. 7/10.

Diop:  A colossus at the back. Huge presence, great timing and reading of the game Nd has the pace to match almost any forward. Had few difficulties with Rashford today. 8.5/10.

Cresswell: Possibly our man of the match as he was as good if not better than the lively Yarmolenko. Served a warning with a close free kick early in the 2nd half before nailing the second opportunity. Excellent in defence and attack. 9/10.

Rice: Solid throughout and saved our bacon with a trademark 'oh no you fon't' interception in the first half. A big presence as we have come to expect. 8/10.

Noble: Captain Claret was tremendous once again. Soooo competitive and he really leads by example. He loves beating Man U as well!. 8/10.

Fornals:  Looked a bit like the newbie and seemed a tad cautious given his Lanzini- style roving role. Will benefit from the game time. 7/10.

Anderson: Always looks capable of opening things up and tormented down the right all day. Also has a handy k ack of dispossessing opponents when in defence. 8/10.

Haller: Excellent stuff. Absolutely bossed Maguire and was sensational at holding the ball up all day long. Great link play. You with our wide men would whip a few crosses in for hom as he looks tremendous in the air! 8.5/10.

Yarmolenko: Looked really up for it from the off. Had a classy flick to bring us out of a tight defensive position and built from there. Great skill for the goal but also made a crucial defensive interception when Man U looked set to steal an equaliser! He'll be smiling tonite!!! 9/10.


Wilshere, Zabaletta and Snodgras all slipped into gear seamlessly and kept Man Utd quiet to the end.

MOTM: We reckon it should be shared by Cresswell and Yarmolenko!

Saturday 21 September 2019

Beware of that Icarus Effect!

There's a hugely positive vibe around the London Stadium right now. Quietly, Hammers fans feel confident that we can overcome Manchester United tomorrow and genuinely demonstrate our top six credentials. With a spine of Fabianski, Diop, Rice and Haller, complemented by the creativity of Lanzini, Anderson and Yarmolenko, the current West ham team can cause most teams major problems. Add to that the assured and astute leadership of Mark Noble on the field and Manuel Pellegrini as manager, the club is in good shape.

When the Hammers first moved to the expanses of the London Stadium the space proved to be a disadvantage as the team had been used to pummeling visitors in the tight confines of the cauldronous Upton Park. Pellegrini has adapted our style, added pace and an ability to use the space to torment the opposition and accordingly our home form has soared. Pellegrini insists on going toe to toe with all comers and on occasion that can backfire - like the 5-0 drubbing by Champions Man City on opening day.

However, top six sides take the game to their opponents and the modern West Ham have no qualms about using attack as their best winning strategy. Our possession and completed pass percentages have gone up dramatically and, let's be honest, our games are much more entertaining to watch - even if we do concede more goals than we would sometimes like to.

Monday night could be seen as a missed opportunity to go level 2nd in the Premiership but for now it may be better to lurk around the margins of the top six and hopefully visiting teams won't adopt too cagey an approach because open free flowing games suit this side. With our deficit of attacking replacements we do not want visiting sides arriving with the intention of kicking out a draw and hoping to catch us on the break. Let's avoid flying too close to the sun for now and keep a steady momentum.

Tomorrow's encounter looks to be a mouth watering prospect as Man United will come looking to play and that will likely suit Mr Pellegrini's musketeers. Expect a high scoring game!

Rory Nostradamus is predicting a 3-2 win.


It's the 'Barry McGuigan' but there's no sign of Lanzini?

West ham 'welcome' Manchester United to the London stadium tomorrow looking to further their push for top six status. After a decent point away to Villa on Monday, despite playing the final quarter with only ten men, spirits are high in the camp. However, key man Manuel Lanzini is a doubt and sat out training today. With Fornals pushing for a starting spot West ham should still hope to reproduce last season's enjoyable 3-1 victory.

Of note, West ham have only beaten Man United twice in their last 21 Premiership meetings (W2 D5 L14) and in terms of their top six aspirations need to improve on their poor record against top six teams which stands at only three wins in their last 20 matches (W3 D6 L11)!

The visitors are running hot and cold so far this season and will be without both Pogba and Martial which will place a lot of responsibility on Marcus Rashford to lead the line. The clash between Sebastien Haller and Harry Maguire will be fascinating and will be a major factor in deciding the result.

Aaron Cresswell comes in for the suspended Arthur Masuaku but otherwise West ham will hope to start unchanged if Lanzini can make the cut.

Anthony Taylor is the match referee and will hopefully do a better job than the dreadful Mike Dean did on Monday night.

The Hammers are rated as outsiders by the bookies and look a decent bet for the win at 9/4. Man united are 6/5 while the draw is 5/2. Mystic Mark Lawrenson has tipped the Hammers to win, which may be a mixed blessing! Similarly, Charlie Nicholas reckons the Hammers will prevail while Michael Owen is sitting on the fence by predicting a draw.

Fans should note that the club are running an exhibit of memorabilia from the 1980 FA cup victory which includes Alvin Martin's medal - surely worth a visit!

Thursday 19 September 2019

The sobering reality of West ham's visit to Villa Park

While many fans were happy after a taking a draw on Monday  at Aston Villa despite being reduced to 10 men by the truly awful Mike Dean, In reality the performance highlighted a whole host of shortcomings in our current squad.

Although the team rallied well after Arthur Masuaka's harsh dismissal with more than 20 minutes of the game remaining, the fact is that prior to that West ham had been well outplayed by the recently promoted villains.

Reviewing the highlights shows just how well Fabianski played to keep Aston Villa goal-less. It would be harsh to single out any of our defence as having had a poor game, we still conceded half a dozen very good chances that most premiership teams would have expected to convert at least 2 or 3 into goals.

Even worse upfront we looked sluggish and disorganised. Felipe Anderson in particular looked tired and almost disinterested as he  spurned a number of decent opportunities to make his trademark runs at goal. When he was substituted to reconfigure our defence after Masuaku's  dismissal he looked exhausted. 

On the other wing, Andriy Yarmolenko was off the pace and in reality has not yet regained his match sharpness since returning from his awful Achilles tendon injury last year. 

Manuel Lanzini was kept disappointingly quiet for most of the 1st half but thankfully did up his game when needed in the latter stages of the game. 

As for Sebastien Haller, although he has managed a decent haul of goals so far, it is also evident that he is not particularly pacey and for much of the time looked awkward in possession. The fact that we lack a decent replacement up top is a real worry as we face some season defining games. The possibility that he might get injured in the time until the January transfer window is a terrifying thought!

On the plus side, Issa Diop had an excellent game, while once again Captain  Claret Mark Noble provided the engine that kept our team taking over and his footballing brain was a major part of our handling those difficult last 25 minutes when we were a man down.

Fornal's performance was also a bright point as he looked sharp and surely has earned the right to have a chance with a starting berth in the coming series of games?

Declan Rice had a solid performance but in the battle of the 'plastic paddies' Young Grealish came out on top as the best player on show.  In fairness, Rice is a different kind of midfielder to Grealish, but it is clear that he is not yet by any means the finished article.

And so we move on to Man United at the London stadium on Sunday. They still look lacking in cohesiveness and tonight stumbled home with a 1-0 win against Kazakhstani giants Astani FC at Ye Olde Trafforde. Sunday's game provides a great opportunity to lay down a marker in our push for a top 6 position. 

Let's hope we can get our attacking game in order - can anyone forget that wonderful 120 seconds of keepball when we were 3-1 up against them last season?

Sunday 25 August 2019

Bobby Bubbles Player Ratings in the Win at Watford

Watford are one of our least popular opponents but Saturday demonstrated how we have started to get to grips with the Hornets. Building from our 4-1 thrashing of them at the end of last season. after a close first half yesterday Pellegrini's troops pushed on for a deserved 3-1 win that has really kick started our season. Bobby Bubbles gives his verdict:

Pellegrini: Bringing on Antonio early in the second half was the master stroke that changed the game. However, we still look disorganised and jumpy at the back! 8/10.

Fabianski:  Calm and assured despite a shaky defence in front of him. No blame for the goal. 8/10

Fredericks:  Solid if unremarkable stuff. Needs to bring more to our attack but still getting game time with Yarmo and Antonio. 7/10.

Ogbonna: More assured after the poor performance at Brighton where all the transfer talk clearly unsettled him. 7/10.

Diop:  You sense that he prefers playing alongside Balbuena. Solid performance, albeit with the odd bit of chaos but Watford are a hard side to defend against as they have a very fluid attack. 7/10

Masuaku: Not right enough for the goal but in fairness our midfield was too casual getting back and left us horribly exposed. Otherwise, another decent performance and he is decent going forward7/10.

Rice: Solid throughout without any remarkable moments. 7/10.

Noble: Captain Claret is back! A trademark cool penalty and usual strong leadership throughout. His return was undoubtedly a major factor in our getting the win. 8/10.

Lanzini:  Looks right back to his old self and back on the pace. Excellent play leading up to the penalty. Tricky throughout. 8/10.

Anderson: Always looks capable of opening things up and did so for the crucial second goal. 8/10.

Haller: Excellent stuff. Looks the real deal - pacy, skilful, two-footed and knows where the net is as he demonstrated twice. The 2nd goal was a delight. The first of many MOTMs we hope! 9/10.

Yarmolenko: Still finding his feet again but had some good moments before a surprisingly early substitution. 7/10.


Antonio: A real game changer with his physicality and movement. Almost scored twice with the second effort responsible for our third goal. It's hard to know whether he should start or provide a super sub function??? 8/10.

Fornals: No major impact 5/10.

Next up Norwich and the chance to get into the top half. This time last year we were pointless...

Saturday 17 August 2019

Wholesale Changes as Hammers Look to Kickstart Season

After a humiliating 5-0 home defeat to Man City, West ham now look to an away trip to Brighton to get their season started in earnest. The absence of seb Haller and Felipe Anderson is a big loss for the Hammers. Moreover, Brighton won 3-0 away to Watford last week and may expect to get a good result today but Pellegrini has shaken things up and has interesting options on the bench with Yarmolenko, Antonio and Ajeti. 

The awarding of the captains armband to incoming Angelo Ogbonna speaks volumes as to how close the call is for centre back berths at present. 

Rory Nostradamus predicts a 2-2 draw.

Starting XI: Fabianski, Fredericks, Ogbonna, Diop, Masuaku, Rice, Wilshere, Lanzini, Snodgrass, Fornals, Hernandez

Substitutes: Roberto, Zabaleta, Balbuena, Sanchez, Antonio, Yarmolenko, Ajeti

Saturday 10 August 2019

Here We Go

The Hammers may have a snazzy new kit but there may not be a lot else to celebrate about  opener against the irrepressible Man City. Our recent record gives little cause for optimism as we have continued to leak goals at a hefty rate in preseason and our results against City themselves have been conclusively disappointing in recent times, including another 4 goal concession at the Asia trophy in July. 

However, it's a new start and West Ham have some new blood who can hopefully make a difference. Declan Rice is a year older and will look to make a bigger impact in midfield compared with the total concession of recent encounters. It's also worth noting that although the Hammers were thumped 0-4 in the equivalent fixture last November, we matched City in chances created! Sadly, we learned how clinical they can be. Equally, at City in February, they stumbled home 1-0 courtesy of a VERY dodgy penalty decision. 

Up front, newbie Seb Haller has been forthright in his assessment of the game!  In a Daily Mirror piece he revealed "What a sh*t game to start with!.....There are better games to build your confidence. Hopefully I will touch the ball!"

Pellegrini doesn't do park the bus tactics so we can expect a high scoring thriller! We reckon City will be too strong but are opting for a 2-2 draw with Haller and one other pitching in for the Hammers.

Wednesday 10 July 2019

The image that Hammers Fans most want to see right now!

With our last post recalling the Incegate fiasco where the Guvnor had his picture released in his new clubs colours before the deal was official, switch forward to 2019 and such misleading imagery is so much easier to put out there!

So, as Italian press reveals that Sebastien Haller is on his way to the London stadium for E40m from Eintract Frankfurt the Hammers are looking forward to welcoming a player often referred to as the new David Trezeguet. Fast and powerful, he looks well suited to the Premier League and notched 19 goals last year in the Bundesliga along with a hoist of valuable assists- stats that outperform Mr Maxi Gomes!

Fingers crossed, here is how he will look in the handsome new kit!

Traitor-Rator: Who is West Ham's biggest Ever Judas?

After all of the positivity of last season when after a poor start the squad found its mojo and delivered a host of good results playing attractive football, once again we now face falling back to where we started. 

With Marko Arnautovic's departure, the club are struggling to identify a forward who can provide the regular supply of goals that would allow the club to push to the next level and maybe even European football. 

With the Maxi Gomez deal all but dead, its hard to see who might come in. As a much needed distraction, let's focus our fury on Arnie and ask - is he the worst ever Judas to play for the club?

To add a little objectivity, we have rated our top four traitors according to the following characteristics; 
1. How two faced was the departure?
2. How self serving was he in making it happen?
3. How much damage did it do to the club at the time?
4. How unpleasant was he after the 'escape'?
5. Looking back, can there be any forgiveness?

Let's start with that 'Big time Charlie', Paul Ince. A childhood Hammer, Ince was one of the few positives to emerge in the Post-Billy Bonds era and despite decent personal performances was part of the relegated side in 1989 which saw John lyall depart after 15 years at the helm. Ince aws photographed in a Manchester United shirt to save him having to come back from holidays for a new signing photograph for the press, the deal was postponed as he failed the initial medical. However, the tabloids still published the picture and all hell broke out! Ince escaped after a second medical and one game into the 1989-1990 season. The departure was badly managed but Ince has cited that at 21 years old he was naive. In truth, the club was in a mess and had a yoyo period for the following 4 seasons getting relegated and promoted twice and Ince was a wanted player at a selling club. He enjoyed playing the panto villain in matches between Man utd and the Hammers but has not spoken negatively of the club over the years.
1. How two faced was the departure? 2/5
2. How self serving was he in making it happen? 2/5
3. How much damage did it do to the club at the time? 3/5
4. How unpleasant was he after the 'escape'? 2/5
5. Looking back, can there be any forgiveness? 2/5
Total score 11/25.

Next up is Jermain Defoe. Also 21 years old, he was a bright young star of an amazing Hammers squad who somehow managed to get relegated in 2004 with a squad teeming with stars but low on luck! While the Hammers can claim the greatest ever escae from relegation in 2007, 2004 was surely the stupidest relegation from the Premiership? Defoe reacted badly to the relegation and within 24 hours made a written request for a transfer. Distressed fans focused their annoyance on his insensitivity and he was turned down by the club. He stareted the following season at West Ham but refused to sign a new contract and had an obviously poor attitude, picking up three red cards in 22 appearances before the club lost patience and sold him to Spurs. Over the years he has repeatedly  apologised to supporters for mishandling the move due to his young age and often expressed a desire to return to make amends. 
1. How two faced was the departure? 2/5
2. How self serving was he in making it happen? 4/5
3. How much damage did it do to the club at the time? 3/5
4. How unpleasant was he after the 'escape'? 1/5
5. Looking back, can there be any forgiveness? 1/5
Total score 11/25.

Et maintenant, c'est Dimitri Payet. Surely the most naturally gifted Hammer of recent times. Payet arrived in June 2015 and quickly established himself as a fans favourite with a series of impressive performances that woshortlisted him for PFA player of the year while he received the Hammer of the year award. A lucrative new contract arrived then suddenly in January 2017 (aged 29) he refused to play for the club stating that he wanted to return to Olympic Marseille. After much huffing and puffing he left for a modest fee. He later stated that he felt the club lacked ambition and that he was 'bored'.
1. How two faced was the departure? 2/5
2. How self serving was he in making it happen? 5/5
3. How much damage did it do to the club at the time? 4/5
4. How unpleasant was he after the 'escape'? 4/5
5. Looking back, can there be any forgiveness? 4/5
Total score 19/25.

So finally, Mad Marko Arnautovic. We cant say that we weren't warned by Stoke fans after he smahed his way out of their club to join the Hammers. He arrived in Summer 2017 and after a poor start switched to a new central attacking role that proved a piece of David Moyes genius. 11 goals and Hammer of the year award followed. On to this season and he started getting restless before Christmas as rumours of Chinese interest surfaced. After much stealth, using his agent brother Danijel to voice the Mr Hyde half of his persona, he seemed placated by a big new deal. He denied ever wanting to leave but then submiited a transfer request in mid Summer and forced a bargain purchase for Shanghai SPG where he will presumably see out his career being paid huge money in a pointless league. As yet there have been no noises from Marko about his departure but the series of incredibly two-faced statements in his final six months will surely annoy fans for a long time! The difficulty replacing him is currently hurting the club but Manuel Pellegrini has a talent for bringing in top players so we wait in hope!

1. How two faced was the departure? 5/5
2. How self serving was he in making it happen? 5/5
3. How much damage did it do to the club at the time? 3/5
4. How unpleasant was he after the 'escape'? 1/5
5. Looking back, can there be any forgiveness? 5/5
Total score 19/25.

Wow!!! A draw between Marko and Dimi!!! Arnie will be furious as he loves to hog the limelight. It's interesting how our old skool traitors are lightweight compared with the two-faced mercenaries of the modern era!