Saturday, 12 September 2020

Here We Go: Its Circus Time Again!

It may be the weirdest period in living memory but at least there are some constants that we can anchor ourselves to and down at the London Stadium at least it's business as usual! With the club in a state of confusion, player unrest and uncertainty as to our ability to deliver a coherent game plan it's all too familiar. 

But maybe it'd be better to call it no business as usual as we have failed to address the shortcomings in our squad and haven't managed a single noteworthy signing! When Messrs Sullivan and Gold argued for the move away from Upton Park for the older heads we accepted that the payback would be that we would stop selling off our best players. Grady Diangana was a great prospect but he is no Declan Rice, so maybe that part of the deal is true but no additions to a squad that lacks a decent striker (no Antonio is NOT a striker!) and that sorely needs back up in central midfield and across the defence is really worrying. 

Our visitors for tonight's SKY TV featured clash have been canny in the transfer window and picked up decent additions in Jeff Hendricks and Callum Wilson. They took 4 points off us last season and wil fancy their chances of a flying start at the London stadium tonight. 

However, the Toon are struggling at left back which may provide an opportunity for Jarrod Bowen to strut some. Also Tomas Soucek is available to pair up with Declan Rice in midfield. We have lost our opening games for the past four seasons, so avoiding a defeat has to be the first priority, but a win would be a real boost right now and with a torrid looking fixture list next month we need a decent start in September!

As for our final league standing prediction, it really looks bottom half unless we bolster a saggy looking squad. At least our new kit looks smart!


Predicted Starting XI: Fabianski, Fredericks, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Rice, Noble, Soucek, Bowen, Fornals, Antonio.

Saturday, 20 June 2020

Wow! Moyes picks surprising starting XI!

If the starting XI is anything to go by then Mr Moyes has certainly been switching it about in the lost three month period!

Declan Rice slips to centre back, with Soucek and Noble in midfield, while there's no place for Seb Haller.

Up front its Antonio with Fornals, Bowen and Anderson in behind in what seems to be a 4-2-3-1 formation!

It's not what was predicted but certainly raises the interest with what looks to be a whole new set up under Moyes!

West Ham United: Fabianski; Ngakia, Rice, Diop, Cresswell, Soucek, Noble (c), Bowen, Fornals, Felipe Anderson, Antonio

Substitutes: Randolph, Fredericks, Balbuena, Johnson, Yarmolenko, Lanzini, Wilshere, Xande Silva, Ajeti

Here we go! Hammers look to kickstart survival campaign

We're back! After three months of fear, sadness and frustration, today marks the start of truly recovering some sense of normality since the COVID-19 catastrophe began.

Hovering close to relegation (currently in 17th place on goal difference!) we certainly won't be bored from now to the end of the season. With our opponents today looking towards a possible top four finish we will be hoping that all the positive vibes from the training ground will translate into fully fit and motivated players. On a positive note, Moyes' teams rarely want for effort or fitness, so we can expect them to look sharp.

As for the starting XI it's impossible to know what Moyes will do - we look better with two up front but caution calls for three in central midfield, hmmmm. If we do go for a midfield pairing who would you select from Rice, Noble and Soucek - especially now the Czech has had plenty of time to settle in. 

And that's not to mention the circus going on at right back! With Traore seemingly fit again we will need pace at the full back berths. That said, the Ngakia situation is very disappointing all round and is starting to reach the point where he could join the list of ex-players that shall not ever be mentioned!

Just how the absence of a crowd will impact upon things is also intriguing - although the new stadium is no Upton Park in terms of atmosphere, it has improved on the fortress stakes and does provide a degree of home advantage that will be seriously diluted today.

We reckon Moyes will play it cagey and it'll be a low scoring affair. With nine games to go, 38 points (i.e an average of one per game) would likely suffice and we do have a relatively attractive run in. 

If you are watching with mates don't forget to maintain social distancing, even WHEN we score :-)


Saturday, 7 March 2020

Julien's Faux Pas #16: Hammers Consolidate VAR League Position

Grrrrrrr. A mighty display again today by the Hapless Hammers rewarded with three more points in the VAR league that puts the Hammers miles ahead at the top of the hard done by decision ratings. Having created the lion's share of chances, the Hammers fell to another borderline decision that did not go their way. It's starting to feel a bit hoodoo at this stage. Maybe its time to bring in the Witch Doctors to try to change our luck?

Anyhoo, here's the latest in the JFP series. 

Team News - Moyes Opts For Offensive Starting XI

The atmosphere is hotting up as we prepare for the Hammers visit to Arsenal. David Moyes was left with lots to ponder on as Tomas Soucek made an unexpectedly fast recovery from the injury he sustained at Anfield, tempting Moyes to shuffle the pack and play a tighter midfield. However, Moyes has decided to go for broke by keeping the starting eleven who impressed in last weeks victory over Southampton. Don't be surprised if we see Soucek before the end though!

Martin Atkinson is match referee.

West Ham United: Fabianski; Ngakia, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Rice, Noble (c), Fornals, Bowen, Antonio, Haller.
Subs: Randolph, Zabaleta, Balbuena, Soucek, Snodgrass, Lanzini, Anderson.


Tough Call for Moyes as Hammers Midfield is Suddenly Overcrowded!

Can you believe it - West Ham's midfield no longer picks itself! As the Hmmers head to the Emirates looking for precious points to ease their relegation fears, David Moyes has been boosted by the news that Tomas Soucek has made a speedier recovery than expected and is available for today's clash.

However, Moyes has discovered that his best formation seems to include two up top and with the arrival of Jarrod Bowen coupled with the major improvement in Pablo Fornals form, it's hard to know what Moyes will do today.

Messing with a winning team is generally discouraged, so he may start with the team that trounced Southampton and look to Soucek at the hour mark if needed. Equally, Moyes more conservative side may take over and he may drop Bowen and start with Rice-Noble-Soucek in midfield and pulling Antonio to the right wing in an effort to dampen Arsenal efforts to control the game. 

That said, West Ham are doing much better with limited possession as their physicality up top with the twin battering rams of Antonio and Haller are creating chances and maybe they can afford to let midfield slide. In addition, having more pace on the counter can help to keep the Gooners back four back in their own half. 

Some fans think Moyes should go for it as this is a game that West Ham might not expect to get anything from. But this is an Arsenal side that can be rattled and even dominated. A point would be a decent return but a win is possible if the Hammers maintain the form of the past two weeks. Moreover, with all the VAR nonsense so far this year perhaps its time that West Ham got a bit of good luck for a change?

And don't forget that Moyes has Lanzini and Anderson on the bench...


Here's Why West Ham Will Take Down the Gooners Today!

Yes it is true that West ham have played Arsenal 20 times since 2010 and managed just two wins and two draws (and 16 defeats). For sure, the Gooners are back on a run of good form and have won three of their last four home games while we have lost our last five on the trot. And indeed it is undoubtedly true that the bookies are rarely wrong and that Arsenal are 4/7 on for the win with the Hammers at a generous 9/2.

However, this is no usual Arsenal - 10th in the league and despite our troubles, the Gooners have only won one more game than us and have a similar strike rate. factor in the VAR and dodgy keeper nonsense and essentially West Ham have performed as well as our North London neighbours. 

Add to that the fact that Moyes has discovered upon a formation that works and now has some pace in the side and the Hammers look a different proposition to the toothless lot that stumbled through December to February and into the drop zone. With Antonio fully fit and developing a decent relationship with the rejuvenated Haller, along with Jarrod Bowen providing some bite from midfield, and the Hammers suddenly look capable of springing a surprise. 

Mystic Mark reckons it'll be 1-1, while Chaz Nicholas predicts a Gooners win. More importantly, the eerily accurate Rory Nostradamus has gone for a 2-1 Hammers win!


Saturday, 29 February 2020

Player Ratings: West Ham 3 Southampton 1

A big, big win for the Hammers today lifts them out of the bottom three and delivers upon their better form of late. More crucial game time for Ngakia and Bowen and no injuries. Happy days!

Here's how Bobby Bubbles rated the players individually:

Fabianski: Back to business as usual. Solid, good distribution. Helped by an excellent defence in front of him as we bossed the set pieces all day long! 8/10.

Ngakia: This lad looks like an experienced pro already. tenacious in defence, never out-paced and not bad with those longer clearances out of defence! 8.5/10. 

Ogbonna: Our best defender again. Solid and almost grabbed a goal towards the end! 9/10.

Diop: Looking more like his best. Solid throughout. 8/10.

Cresswell: Solid. Took an important yellow for the team with 20 minutes remaining. 8/10.

Rice: Provides a crucial presence in front of the defence and did that with excellent discipline all day. 8/10.

Noble: Typical Nobes. Grabbing free kicks at just the right time to frustrate the opposition. And he kept it up to the final whistle. 8/10.

Fornals: Has matured into a proper Premiership player. Starting to justify his transfer fee. 8/10.

Bowen: Brilliant performance. Great goal. Maybe needs to get to know the players around him as he could have done better with some decent breaks if he had laid the ball off more often. Keen,. Game-changing defensive intervention just before the hour to keep us ahead. 8.5/10.

Antonio: Looked superlively all day and took his goal well. MOTM. 9/10.

Haller: Looked happier with Antonio alongside and won heaps of aerial duels. Great skill for the goal. Slowly edging towards double figures in goals this season. 8.5/10. 


Snoddy: Usual committed self.  
Anderson: 60 seconds of a contribution. 

Ha-Ha-Haller! 2-1 to the Cockney boys!!!

Blimey, the goalkeeperitis that has characterised West Hm's season to date has started to infect their opponents as Seb Haller has hassled Southampton's Alex McCarthy into a dreadful error and restored the Hammers lead! In fairness, Haller showed fantastic skill to turn the ball in from an acute angle but the chance was caused by limp goalkeeping from McCarthy.

It's a real ding-dong battle out there with the Hammers creating plenty of chances despite having just 36% possession. The key to all of this has been the 4-4-2 formation and having players with speed. Jarrod Bowen has looked lively and opened his account with a nicely taken strike in the 15th minute.

Defensively, we look solid so far and have outmuscled Southampton at set pieces. Issa Diop missed with a free header from a corner in the 37th minute. SuperFab looks calm and confident and could do nothing to stop Michael Obafemi's strike for Southampton.

Othewise, Antonio has been a handful and, perhaps crucially, Jack Stephens is on a yellow and will have to be careful as he squares up to Michail in the second half.

Elsewhere, both Brighton and Bournemouth are losing.


B-B-B-Bowen!!!! 1-0 to West Ham

Yesss! The Hammers look hungry with intensity and bite and that's been rewarded with the opening goal in the crunch clash at the London Stadium against Southampton.

That's his 18th of the season, as he continues the fine form he had been enjoying at Hull.

We want more

We want more

We want more!!!


Moyes Gambles with Offensive Starting XI: Ngakia and Bowen start!

Feeling tense? If not, you should be! Remember when we whinged that mid table obscurity under Big Sam was too boring? Well, here's the alternative - a nasty, scary, ugly relegation dog fight to get our teeth into!
David Moyes has opted for a pretty aggressive starting XI with Antonio and Haller up top, Jeremy Ngakia speeding (hopefully) up and down the right wing and a first start for Jarrod Bowen. SuperFab will be hoping to avoid another howler while Oggy and Diop need to get their antennae working to avoid any Brighton-like muck ups. Pablo Fornals has gotten the nod over Anderson and Lanzini but they pose useful options to spring from the bench if we need to shake it up after an hour or so. Similarly, Snoddy will be ready to get stuck in if needed.

As expected, the impressive Tomas Soucek is out due to injury. 
One thing for sure is that compared with a few weeks back we now have plenty of pace in the side. West ham are 6/4, Southampton 13/8, and the draw is 5/2. Rory Nostradamus reckons it'll be a 3-0 triumph for Moyes men!!!

 West Ham XI: Fabianski, Ngakia, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Noble(C), Rice, Bowen, Fornals, Antonio, Haller
Subs: Masuaku, Randolph, Balbuena, Zabaleta, Anderson, Lanzini, Snodgrass, 

Storm Sabotages Hammers Revival Efforts

Ever since we moved to the London Stadium there has been much talk about so-called 'real' West Ham fans. Whatever way you cut it, dedication to the cause has to be a major determinant and for the VWH team, we make the arduous trip from the West of Ireland to our season ticket seats in the BM stand. It's an exciting adventure every fortnight but one that sometimes goes pear-shaped. 

Like Today. Storm Jorge has wrecked our efforts to get to Stratford for the game as he red alerts our skies and alas there will be three vacant seats in the BM today. Even worse, efforts to watch the game through a dodgy online stream are also sabotaged by poor internet as the storm moves across Ireland. Grrr.

So we will be reduced to going old school and listening to the radio. Although much less sophisticated, the radio has a way of really driving up your nervous system as you try to picture what's going on and gauge from the background crowd noise whether the action is meaningful. It's hard not to notice that radio commentators are much less adept in the modern era at communicating the action and often times you aren't even sure which half the ball is in!

as for the game, maybe it's time we introduced the concept of a relegation seven pointer! This is truly massive as we have a series of four tricky games after this and then that fascinating run in of six games that are all winnable. As fans we really need to be up for this one and we will be roaring the boys on as loud as we can. It's up to those fans who do make it to the ground to make up for the unlucky absentees - give it an additional roar for us boyz!

BTW congrats to Decky Rice on reaching a century of appearances for the club. 


Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Hammers v Liverpool: is trans-fandom a thing?

After the stunning success of his last piece as a guest contributor, VERYWESTHAM have granted Mr Pool another slot to celebrate the West Ham vs Liverpool clash....Here goes

Match of the Day 2 from last Sunday night featured the highlights of Liverpool hosting Manchester United at Anfield. The BBC build-up included a clever montage of cultural and technological events and developments from the past three decades, since Liverpool’s last title win all the way back in 1990.
As a cautious, pessimistic and long suffering Liverpool fan, our current very healthy 16 point lead means that even I am now starting to feel comfortable with the term ‘champions elect’. However, the Match of the Day 2 montage was not pleasant viewing for me, as it highlighted just how long our title drought has been and how the world has changed since 1990, not to mention how Manchester United have prospered during our prolonged doldrums period. Interspersed with clips of The Spice Girls, Britney Spears, the evolution of mobile phone technology and the arrival of Facebook was the near constant clicking by of the title numbers for Manchester United, from 7 in 1990 steadily through to the current 20, while Liverpool’s total remained stubbornly stuck at their 1990 total of 18. At least the producers had the good grace to show Liverpool’s 18 turning irresistibly in the direction of 19 at the very end.
The long list of technological and cultural changes also got me thinking of more subtle and at times controversial societal changes of the past thirty years, which brings me to the issue of gender identity (strangely enough for a football related blog, but bear with me). Back in 1990, it was generally assumed (using a binary way of thinking) that people were almost invariably what we now term cis-gendered, i.e. having the gender that matched their biological sex. But over the past 30 years (and especially the past decade) we have seen a change in how we view gender identity, both scientifically and culturally.
A quick internet search reveals that, along with well established terms such as transsexual and transgender, there is now a long list of increasingly novel (and largely post 1990) concepts and terms to describe one’s gender, such as non-binary, genderfluid, agender, polygender, gender apathetic, demigender and intersex. To make it even more complex, you can add in sexual orientation (or lack thereof) into the mix. The bottom line is, you can’t simply assume (as you might have back in 1990) that everyone is (to use the modern lingo) a cis-gendered heterosexual. And so it seems that the traditional ‘binary’ view of gender has become a very 20th century and somewhat outdated kind of idea. The acronyms used to describe the different types of people who are not cis-gendered or heterosexual have also expanded gradually over the years, to now super-acronymic levels such as LGBTQIA, or even longer.   
And that (finally) brings me on to the topic of football and team fandom. Despite the fluid and spectrumal ways in which our society now views gender and sexuality, fandom of football clubs is pretty categorical and unchanging. The term ‘binary’ can still be accurately applied to football fandom, in that e.g. Liverpool fans are Liverpool fans only and can NEVER also be Manchester United or Everton fans, just as West Ham fans can NEVER also be fans of Millwall, Spurs or (especially) Sheffield United.
But I wonder if maybe we should start trying to apply 21st Century ideas on gender identity and sexuality to football fandom? Maybe we shouldn’t be so categorical and binary in how we define our most cherished (and most hated) clubs? And maybe we should ask ourselves if it is possible to identify as a fan of more than just one club. To put it simply: is it possible to be a trans-fan?
The upcoming visit of Liverpool to the London Stadium next week has got me thinking of my one brief and inadvertent flirtation with trans-fandom, from the corresponding fixture in February of last year. Again, Liverpool were on top of the Premier League at that stage, but only by two points, and there was a nagging sense that the White Walkers of Manchester City were trudging grimly and steadily through the snow and ice to destroy our title dreams again.
My trans-fandom experience started off innocently enough. Travelling to the game with another Irish Liverpool fan and with Mr. Verywestham himself (who was our very kind and generous host and guide), the trans-fandom began with the seemingly innocent gift of a half-and-half scarf from him. I gladly accepted the scarf, not fully realising that such a scarf is surely the ultimate symbol of trans-fandom. But I didn’t give it much thought. In fact, I was somewhat trans-fan-curious.
I then considered eating a pre-match Eastend pie of some sort, with congealed gravy. However, I resisted this delicacy and went for a burger instead. Inside the stadium, I sat among the home supporters and, closeting my red-hot Liverpool fandom, sat on my hands with an expressionless face when Sadio Mané banged in the 22nd minute (admittedly offside) opener for Liverpool. I found it difficult and strange, but I managed to observe the Premier League protocol of keeping your mouth shut when your team scores and you’re in with the opposition fans. I fantasized briefly about being in the Anfield Kop at such a moment and getting carried away in uninhibited celebration.
The early goal, the plush surrounds of the London Stadium and the great company of Mr. Verywestham and the other Liverpool fan (also uncomfortably concealing his true identity) meant that I was really enjoying the experience. I almost joined in with a brief rendition of ‘I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles’. I felt a tug towards trans-fandom, and I have to admit that it felt alright. Besides, it was easy to have warm feelings towards the Hammers when we had just taken the lead and extended our ‘as it stands’ Premier League lead over Manchester City to 5 points.
But then, just six minutes after that Mané opener, I had the ultimate test of my emerging trans-fandom. In what would prove to be a season defining moment, Michail Antonio scored the Hammers’ equaliser after 28 minutes. Again, I kept the same expressionless posture and dememanour as I had after Mané’s goal. But inside I was crying. The enforced neutral expression made the pain even harder to deal with. And not a single fibre in my body could feel any joy at Antonio’s goal. Knowing deep down that the White Walkers were now going to get us and that this season was yet another false dawn, I texted a fellow long suffering Liverpool fan back in Ireland with the fatalistic words: ‘It’s happening again’. Unfortunately, I was to be proven right ultimately. Antonio’s goal away back in February was to be the difference between Liverpool winning and losing the 2018-2019 title.
So maybe trans-fandom is possible for some, but it certainly isn’t my cup of tea. I’m a binary Liverpool only fan. Ultimately, my brief experience of trans-fandom just felt strange. If I was truly a trans-fan, I could have cheered even a little for Antonio’s equaliser, instead of crying inside. And I could have done a bit of singing at the London Stadium or at least had a nibble of that gravy covered pie.
But if I was going to become a trans-fan, surely West Ham are an ideal other team to identify with, considering my friendship with the Verywestham team, the great football heritage of their club, the many players who have played for both Liverpool and West Ham over the years and (apart from the 2006 FA Cup Final) the fact that the two clubs have never really crossed swords in anger or in any way controversially. As a Liverpool/West Ham trans-fan, I could even take on a 21st Century acronymic descriptor combining the battle hymns of the two clubs, identifying as ‘YNWA-COYI’.
All that being said, while I could never be a trans-fan (and maybe the whole concept of trans-fandom is just crazy), you can always have a second favourite club, and West Ham is mine.
So I will end my pre-match musings with another dip back in to 1990s popular culture and the 1993 Tarantino classic film ‘True Romance’, by paraphrasing Clarence (played masterfully by Christian Slater) in that bar-room scene:
‘I ain’t no trans-fan…but if I had to identify with a second club…it would be West Ham’.
Henry 'Rushie' O'Connell

Saturday, 1 February 2020

Bilderberg Group Behind VAR Conspiracy as Hammers Slump into Relegation Mire

Over the years Hammers fans have felt hard done by with dodgy refereeing decisions that have robbed us of the massive success that we undoubtedly deserve.

As such, the arrival of VAR was seen as the saviour. At last, a reliable and fair system to protect clubs from the injustice of refereeing bowlers.

But no, VAR has been a disaster. While pundits enjoy the opportunity to waffle on about VAR as it creates a distraction from having to actually tactically analyse games, fans who attend games have copped that VAR has ruined the joy of scoring (nothing is a goal until VAR says so), added an American football type stop start feel to proceedings, and still keeps getting it wrong.

Glenn Murray's goal today was a prime example of how VAR is ruining footy. Not only did it cause a 5-6 stoppage while the VAR folk stumbled to a decision, but even then it was wrong as the ball clearly touched off the strikers arm before settling nicely for him to bag an unlikely equaliser at the London Stadium! Compared to Declan Rice's intervention at Sheffield united, Murray's was a stone cold handball.

Which leads us to only one possible explanation- there is s conspiracy afoot to relegate West Ham from the Premiership, probably overseen by the Bilderberg group who control other important World affairs.

Clearly the 12 foot high aliens have taken a dislike to West Ham and want us removed from top flight football. Seizing control of VAR has allowed these repulsive reptilian overlords to orchestrate the destruction of East London's finest club.

Murray's goal condemned the Hammers to the relegation zone and with Liverpool and Man City (both away) to come the aliens will have their evil way. At this stage it is abundantly clear that all resistance is useless and we can only pray that the monsters will be satisfied with forcing us into the Chumpionship as, with their infinitesimal power, this could end in League one purgatory.

In the words of John Lydon as he brought the greatest ever rock n roll band to a conclusion "Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?"

Strong Hammers Starting XI as Soucek Starts

It's a debut start for new signing Tomas Soucek as David Moyes is able to field a strong starting XI against the visiting Seagulls. There's a tense atmosphere at the London Stadium and Dexy's Geno is on the stadium sound system as the teams are announced..."I could use some inspiration...". Indeed!

The Hammers have a bit of pace (for a change) and Soucek's aerial presence will hopefully help at set pieces. The bench has some genuine options if things don't go according to plan and perhaps Manny Lanzini can spring from the bench and back to his previous form, while Fornals and Masuaku can add a bit of spice. Ajeti willie hoping to get a chance to build on his recent efforts as a substitute. 

Either way, we can win this!


West Ham United: Fabianski, Fredericks, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Snodgrass, Rice, Soucek, Noble (c), Antonio, Haller.
Substitutes: Balbuena, Zabaleta, Lanzini, Fornals, Masuaku, Ajeti, Randolph.

Double Trouble: Bad News for Hammers Ahead of Brighton Bash!

After three straight defeats on the road you would think that Brighton would be no hopes with the bookies but such is the malaise at the London Stadium that they are quoted at 7/4, just slight outsiders compared with the hosts who are 6/4 against the win.

West ham have never beaten Brighton in the Premiership despite 5 previous meetings. That hasn't stopped Charlie Nicholas from predicting a 2-1 home win, but the news that will worry West Ham fans is that Mystic Mark Lawrenson also reckons the Hammers will prevail, in his case by a 1-0 scoreline. Given Lawros remarkable talent for calling it wrong when it's anything Hammers, his hunch points to a disappointing draw or, even worse, what would be a totally shattering defeat.

In even worse news, match referee is the awful Michael Oliver. Oliver has presided over three Hammers games so far this season - all defeats. Tottenham, Palace and worst of all the VAR farce at Sheffield United.

The omens are doubly bad but...


Can You Feel It?

Whooah! Here we go. The battle for survival starts in earnest today with a must win clash with Brighton. Losing to Leicester and Liverpool was of no real consequence, but anything less than a win today and we are truly slipping towards the dreaded Chumpionship.

In fairness to Messrs Gold and Sullivsn, they have brought in what we appeared to need in a goalie, physical midfielder and a forward which should raise hopes of a revival but, as always, new players will take time to settle in.

The signing of Tomas Soucek looks really exciting as he is the stand out player in the Czech league as a big midfield presence and captain of mighty Slavia. His performance for the Czechs in their recent win over England suggests that he will adjust quickly and you've really got to be excited at the potential partnership with Declan Rice.

Wednesday was disappointing in terms of the result but you'd have to be encouraged by a decent and disciplined performance where, with a modicum of luck, we could have stolen a point. Just now, luck isn't bouncing in our favour but if we can keep up morale the final six games are all very winnable.

Brighton are a bit out of sorts of late. This is a great opportunity to grab 3 points. Their tippy tappy style will suit Moyes men as they look to assert dominance. As fans, we REALLY need to get behind the team today.

Special mention for young Ngakia - what a baptism of fire on Wednesday and he handled it very well. With a steady head and lots of pace he can team up with newbie Jared Bowen and restore a counterattacking dimension that has been sorely missing and that allows teams to push up against us. 

Antonio is fit. Soucek should come off the bench. Let's do this!

Thursday, 23 January 2020

The Image That Sums Up West Ham's Survival Battle!

At the start of the season nobody expected West Ham to be in the trouble that they now find themselves! With an experienced and erudite top tier manager, a reasonable amount of cash to splash, and in Fabianski, Diop and Rice a decent spine to add flair players that could push the club to the next level. It all seemed ready for the great leap forwards.

But wind forward to late January and a real dogfight awaits the Hammers. Do we have enough spine to survive the battle? We looked at our current squad and asked the simple question? On a tough game trying to get something away at Man City or Liverpool  or scrapping it out against Watford or Burnley what names do you want on your starting XI - who can we call lovers and who are our fighters?

For sure, a bit of class can ultimately separate things when teams go toe to toe, but in order to survive you need a healthy supply of fighters to create a platform for the lovers to do their thing!

Here's VWH's verdict - Pellegrini brought in plenty of lovers, many quite injury-prone, but do we have enough warriors in the ranks?

What do you think of our ratings? Can Moyes bring out the inner fighter in some of our fancy Dans?


Hammers Remain Uber Cautious As Transfer Window Starts to Close

West Ham fans are becoming increasingly anxious as they watch their team nosedive down the Premiership towards the dreaded Chumpionship, apparently with nothing to stop the rot! While it is patently clear that the squad needs to be strengthened if they are to have any chance of survival, to date the club have only managed to bring in Darren Randolph and extend Conor Coventry's contract, neither of which seems likely to massively change their survival prospects.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the club have been linked with a variety of possible signings, many of which seem more than a little far fetched; Gabigol, South American Player of the Year on a loan deal? hardly; Gedson Fernandes from Benfica? errr? 

But perhaps the most outlandish to date has been that Supertraitor Dimitri Payet might return on loan from Olympique Marseille!!! Apart from the absence of any footballing logic to such a move, what on earth would make anybody think that Mr Payet would want to rejoin his 'friends' at the London Stadium? 

Payet has continued his form since his escape from London and maintained the impressive scoring rate he managed at West Ham of a goal every 4 games, notching 29 goals in 121 appearances for Marseille since returning. 

However, now 32 years old, the lad has filled out a bit and to add insult to injury Marseille are sponsored by no other than Uber Eat!!! Hammers fans took time out from the misery of their relegation battle to poke some friendly fun at the increasingly portly French gentleman. 

The best on twitter is shown above but in all honesty when you look at developments at West Ham since Payet departed you have to wonder was his decision quite as ill-advised as it seemed at the time?  

Lets hope West Ham don't get a special delivery of humble pie when (yet another) disastrous season draws to a close - now that would be uber-annoying!!!

Hammers in Dramatic Double Veteran Swoop!

WARNING: This is a sarcastic and ironic piece. If you are one of those inexperienced West Ham fans who gets overly earnest and uptight when we get into relegation threatened mode then perhaps this skit may not amuse. Otherwise, for the veteran circus-watching fans in the absence of any news here we go...

An Artists impression of how the hybrid signing might look
You could feel the sense of panic rising last night as West Ham crashed to a depressing 4-1 defeat to the Foxes of Leicester! David Moyes rose admirably to the challenge of capturing the depth of dysphoria by labelling the performance the worst under his reign at the club. Even the normally self-aggrandising Brendan Rodgers could hardly find superlatives that were magnificent enough to praise his troops, and by extension, himself!

No wonder then fans are calling, nay, screaming out loud for reinforcements as the current crew look out of ideas and frighteningly lacking in either pace or creativity across the squad. But fear not! for help appears to be at hand with reports in the Daily Mail that West Ham are in the market to swoop for a double solution in their chase for Ronaldo Vieira!

In what will be the first of a new wave of hybrid cut n shut players, the Hammers have opted to combine the ace goalscoring abilities of Cristiano Ronaldo with the box to box physicality of Patrick Vieira, probably. 

With the Hammers board finding it hard to bring in new recruits, this novel approach of combining two players into one is the ideal solution. However, with a combined age of 77 years, the Hammers face possible criticism for elder abuse. Given the ongoing torture of average fans by the circus-like management, that will hardly raise any new concerns for the club who remain stoic and focused in the face of external and internal criticism.

Other fans have expressed concern as to how the club might transport the double player to matches given his considerable physique? However, our resident sports transport technician, Alfie Windybottom, has reassured those with short memory that the Benni McCarthy seat is still available on the team coach having been specially constructed to accomodate the striking ace when he arrived to ease similar January window woes in 2010. 

Meanwhile, in other news, Sampdoria have understandably rejected a paltry £12 million bid from an English club for their Star Midfield dynamo Ronaldo Augusto Vieira Nan who at 21 years of age is now a regular in their squad, spearheading their campaign to avoid the drop from Serie A as they are currently 16th and just 4 points above the relegation zone. The lad has excelled since joining the club for £6 million from Leeds United in 2018 and is one of the rising stars of Italian football having played in every game for Sampdoria so far this season.

One Sampdoria fan chuckled "Sampdoria selling Vieira right now would be conceding to the inevitability of relegation - it would a madness akin to West Ham not bringing in new players when they are in a state of freefall or, even worse, selling Declan Rice!"  

Meanwhile, with Michail Antonio back from injury, West Ham can heave a sigh of relief as the sometimes striker, sometimes right winger has also been a massive success in the past filling in at right back  were West Ham also, once again, need reinforcements.

All in all, things are looking good for the Hammers and this superb move will surely end the foolish carping about a perceived need for new signings. The club did not get to its lofty position as the 16th richest club on the planet by squandering cash during the annual January histrionics!


Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Rodgers and the Jammie Dodgers

It's more hope than expectation tonight as David Moyes troops head for the King Power stadium in search of much needed points against high flying Leicester. The Hammers lost 2-1 in laste December to the Foxes, with Manuel Pellegrini departing 2 hours later as they wre just a point above the drop zone, but in reality, they are now only separated from Bournemouth in 18th position by goal difference.

The Hammers were easily beaten in December by an under strength Leicester that did not have the services of Jamie Vardy on the night but still coasted home, even missing a penalty along the way! Brendan Rodgers is not everybody's cup of tea, but it's hard not to be impressed by his achievements at Leicester who are looking good for a Champions League spot and still represent the model for other clubs trying to progress from second tier Premiership status.

Moyes' men will need to show a lot of grit to get a result tonight but Leicester have been stuttering of late, while West Ham look hungrier and more disciplined. However, without Felipe Anderson and Andriy Yarmolenko, the Hammers look a bit soft up front and really need Manny Lanzini to rediscover his form if they are to create enough to get a result. Sadly, it looks like Michail Antonio is not quite ready to bring his abrasive style to the mix, so Seb Haller will need to lead the line with minimal support up top. 

Having said all of that, it is West Ham, and this is the kind of low-hope fixture that they have a knack for springing surprise results from. Mystic Mark Lawrenson reckons Leicester will prevail 2-1, which raises hopes that the Hammers might nick a point but Reggie the realist feels that that's an unlikely scenario. West ham are 6/1 against, with Leicester at 1/2 and the draw at 7/2. 

Let's hope for some much needed luck - after the Sheffield United debacle Moyes and Co will feel that they deserve a Jammie Dodger or two!

Sunday, 19 January 2020

Experts Predict West Ham Survival Chances - and it makes for worrying reading!

There are just 16 games to go in this season's Premiership and West Ham are in a real relegation dog fight! Will the Hammers avoid the dreaded drop? We asked our resident experts for their take on our likely points tally from each remaining game and came up with some worrying predictions!

Our current Position is 16th with 23 points from 22 games. Olly the Optimist sees us finishing on a healthy 55 points! Pete the Pessimist reckons we will crash out of the Premiership with a mere 32 points, while Reggie the Realist sees us scraping home on the last day with a win at Villa (possibly to relegate them instead of us!) and finishing on 40 points (with a total of 10 wins).

One thing is for certain, it's not going to be boring!!!


The Truth About Yesterday's Performance

VWH's Youth Reporting Team Enjoy the build up to Yesterday
Another point gained as we crawl tortoise-like towards 40 point. In truth, this is how it was last time under David Moyes - tight, patient, tactical and conservative. Everton looked there for the taking but Moyes had few options with a desperately depleted squad where the starting XI essentially self selected. Right from the start you could see that we were going to have to play it tight with a starting XI that had no real pace, lacked height across the team for set pieces, and relied upon Noble and Rice putting in a busy and physically demanding shift with no real support available from the bench if either tired or got injured.

Despite these major impediments, we looked determined and passed the ball really well, building attacks slowly - mostly because we had no pace to do otherwise! A point will therefore suffice but with some very tough fixtures ahead, it's hard to see us not slipping into the relegation zone again over the coming 4-6 weeks. At least with Moyes we won't panic!

Yesterday also highlighted how thin our squad is right now. We need reinforcements. Imagine if any of Haller, Rice or Noble got injured??? Zabaleta was superb yesterday, as was Noble but they cannot be relied upon to keep that up week in and week out. You really have to wonder why Diangana has not been recalled from West Brom - he would have been a real addition to our bench yesterday as we lacked a game changer to bring on and at 70 minutes the game was there to be taken if either side had a decent impact player to introduce. Neither did!

Here are our player ratings in what was a solid overall performance.

Randolph: Great to have him back! Quiet day but handled everything well and decent distribution with kick outs.No chance with the goal. 7/10.

Zabaleta: Tremendously mature performance. Gave not an inch at the back and was decent going forward. Neither he nor Snoddy rely on pace to get down the wing and seem to work well for each other as a result! 7.5/10.

Cresswell: Decent performance all round. Linked well with both Fornals and then Masuaku. Set pieces not so good. 7/10. 

Diop: Very reassuring to have him back to his best. Solid and confident in defence and chipped in with a brilliantly headed goal. 8.5/10

Ogbonna: Solid, Solid, Solid. It's really hard to decide who he prefers alongside him - Diop or Balbuena but he looked comfortable with Issa yesterday. First CB on the team list fully justified again. 8/10. 

Noble: Worked unbelievably hard to keep us on top of the visitors. Everywhere for 60 minutes but then faltered a bit. We desperately need reinforcements. In a side with no pace he managed our passing game plan to perfection. 8.5/10.

Rice: A big presence in midfield and a major part of why we look more solid defensively. Possibly prefers the Moyes method to Pellegrini's more open game? 7.5/10.

Snodgrass: In the thick of everything good that we did offensively. Nice free kick for Diop's goal. Linked well with Zabba and Noble to control the right flank. 8/10.

Fornals: Has settled into the Premiership and looks comfortable in the team. Strange early sobbing as he looked much more likely than the rather flat Lanzini. 7/10.

Lanzini: In and out but still not back to his old self. The only player with real pace on our side yesterday but was caught alone when we tried to break. Also, does he like playing with Haller? There is very little evidence that they are linking well to date? 6/10.

Haller: Hmmm. Lacks pace and his languid style creates an air of disinterest. Has physical presence and at last we are starting to get some crosses in to him. Very average performance for a £50M striker. 6/10. 


Masuaku: Lovely on the eye with his twinkle-toed style. Playing further forward suits him but Arthur lacks the killer touch and is no real substitute for Felipe Anderson. 7/10.

Ajeti: The best that we've seen from him so far - maybe there's hope that he can be more than just emergency cover for Fornals. Bristled for the few minutes that he was on. 6/10. 

MOTM: Issa Diop.

Saturday, 18 January 2020

Dazzler and Diop Return As Moyes Looks for Solidity

The excitement is gathering at the LS as David Moyes looks to ease the tension on a relegation- threatened West Ham. The gaffer has gone for an attack minded side with Lanzini, Fornals and Snoddy supporting Haller up top. At the back, Issa Diop gets s big chance to demonstrate his undoubted ability as he comes in for Balbuena. 

No Antonio or Anderson though and a bench that once again includes a number of untried youngsters. Masuaku is our most offensive (!) Substitute so the starting XI will need to deliver if we are to realistically hope for a much needed win!


Hammers: Randolph, Zabaleta, Ogbonna, Diop, Cresswell, Rice, Noble, Fornals, Lanzini, Snodgrass, Haller

Substitutes: Martin, Reid, Balbuena, Cardoso, Masuaku, Ajeti, Ngakia

Friday, 17 January 2020

Disturbing News For Hammers Fans

West ham welcome Everton to the London Stadium today hoping to recover after the disappointment of losing under controversial circumstances at Sheffield United last weekend. David Moyes is talking tough suggesting that his side can develop upon their superb 3-0 crushing on Everton in one of his final games during his successful previous stint as club manager.

Indeed, the Hammers have looked much more organised both offensively and, inevitably at the back, since his arrival. However, Everton have also formed up under new boss Carlo Ancellotti and have risen up the table to 11th. With  series of super tough fixtures coming up, the Hammers simply need some points on the board so they will be inclined to play it tight and tough.

Dazzler Randolph looks set to walk back into the side after boomeranging back from a successful period at Middlesboro and Moyes has hinted that he is likely to start. Otherwise, Antonio could he back while Anderson is a doubt.

Paddy Poor- Maker has Everton as favourites at 7/5, the Hammers at 15/8 and the draw 12/5. Worryingly, Mystic Mark Lawrenson reckons the Hammers will prevail 2-1....but he's usually wrong with most things to do with West Ham!



At Last, Some Movement...

It's already more than half way through January with very little transfer action at relegation-threatened West Ham. Darren Randolph has returned to steady our dodgy defence, while exciting youngster Conor Coventry has signed a new contract, but otherwise there has been precious little for Hammers fans to celebrate.

Most meaningful January action happens in the final few days, so it's too early to panic. In addition to bringing in a defender and a box to box midfielder, West ham need to clear out some deadwood. To that end it has been confirmed that Roberto will be heading on loan back to Spain to Alaves, probably early next week.

The Spaniard has endured a torrid time at the club during which his contributions have been highlighted as major factors in the Hammers lowly position in the Premiership table, and ultimately the departure of Manuel Pellegrini.

Maybe Carlos Sanchez might be next?


Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Barcelona Hitman Perfect Fit for West Ham in Relegation Charge

How Andy Suarez might look at the Hammers Treatment Room

It's been repeatedly rumoured that West Ham might take a punt on South American striker Gabriel Barbosa or 'Gabigol' as he is known. The Hammers certainly need goals to support their efforts to avoid relegation in a season that has gone pear shaped.

However, in bad news for Messrs Gold and Sullivan, the hopes for capturing Gabigol look to be fading with reports that indicate Barcelona are considering bringing the striker to the Nou Camp to replace Luis Suarez as the Uruguayan hitman recently sustained a season ending knee injury.

With ever closing door another one opens, they say, and for the Hammers the Barca situation represents an ideal opportunity to bring in a top forward at a bargain price. Suarez would surely now be available on loan until the end of the season and could really add energy to our medical room. 

In reality, the medical team have been starved of opportunities to work their magic since the departure of 'Big' Andy Carroll. It's been rumoured that some staff keep a picture of Andy in the medical bay just for old times' sake to remind them of the days where the hopes and dreams of Hammers fans rested upon their belief that the medical team could get their top player back in time to change our fortunes. Replacing the persistently injured Carroll with a quality striker the likes of Suarez could be just the filip West Ham need!

Meanwhile, as some Hammers fans lament how unlucky the club is with injury, its worth noting that according to current figures West Ham are merely mid-table in terms of numbers out injured (six players at present) which makes the need to select three unknown kids for the bench at Sheffield United all the more concerning as our squad is clearly small and threadbare!

All of which raises the issue of incoming transfers who need to meet simple criteria (1) Be of Premiership standard (unlike Ajeti, Sanchez, Roberto), (2) Have a good history of avoiding injury (unlike Wilshere), and (3) Be capable of getting stuck in at the messy end of a messy season.

We are half way through the transfer window and apart from a new Conor Coventry contract, there's been no incoming...