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.