Thursday 28 April 2022

A Plea to any would be Streakers or other Pitch Invaders

Professor Arnold A. Windybottom, original inventor of the Subbuteo streaker piece, has issued a plea to any would be pitch invaders for tonight's crucial clash with Eintracht Frankfurt- don't be like those clowns who halted the quarter final game against Lyon just as the Hammers looked set to score!

Don't, don't, don't...or you will face the wrath of the 60,000 Hammers fans who will be at the Stadium tonight urging our boys on.

We mean it, don't!

Starting XI: David Moyes is now Officially a Crafty Cockney

Many have presumed that West ham would enter tonight's clash with Frankfurt without Kurt Zouma but in breaking news, Moyes has come up on the inside rails with an unexpected starting XI with Zouma at CB. Moyes has pulled a proper crafty one here!

In fact, you could argue that West ham are as close to full strength as they have been all season with a well rested Antonio and Bowen up front and Fornals and Lanzini buzzing around in front of Rice and Soucek. Johnson and Cresswell at full back are also starting and both look full of energy right now.

Our bench ain't bad either with Benrahma, Yarmo and Vlasic ready to shake it up if needed.

What could possibly go wrong???

West Ham United: Areola, Johnson, Dawson, Zouma, Cresswell, Rice ©, Souček, Lanzini, Bowen, Fornals, Antonio

Subs: Fabiański (GK), Randolph (GK), Coufal, Yarmolenko, Vlašić, Noble, Benrahma, Fredericks, Masuaku, Král, Alese, Chesters

Wednesday 27 April 2022

Gods of Football can make Nobes finale the celebration it should be

As we rapidly approach Mr West ham's retirement from the first team squad, the Hammers interests in Premiership position and the Europa League threaten to impact upon what should be a day of massive celebration at West ham and beyond.

However, with Man City drilling down on the Premiership title and the Hammers potentially needing a result, the game could become very tight and Nobes may find we need to lean on Soucek and Rice right to the end of the game. 

That would be a sad reflection on how business like our efforts have become. 

West Ham's faltering Premiership campaign has reduced the focus upon clawing out points but if Liverpool slip up the game should become less preoccupied upon the final score and more about recognising one of the Premier League's greats. 

Of course, winning the Europa League would render our Premiership finish irrelevant but that won't be decided until after the City clash so let's hope Liverpool drop points before the City machine arrives at the London stadium so we can juggle the side to allow Nobes a substantial involvement in his final home game.

C'mon Gods of Footy - make it happen!

Kurt to Zoom back into action?

David Moyes appears to have let the cat out of the bag ahead of West ham's crucial Europa League semi-final against Eintracht Frankfurt tomorrow night. The Scot is usually tight-lipped but revealed "Kurt Zouma is back doing some light work. He is ahead of schedule which is really good."

We asked our top psychobabbleologist, Prof Hans Von Wafflewanger, to analyse the statement for clues as to Zouma's likely availability for tomorrow night and he has concluded that Moyes really meant to say "Kurt Zouma is back… ahead of schedule which is really good."

All of which raises the possibility that the Hammers could put out their strongest starting XI, also well rested after Sunday's practice kick about with Chelsea, who are already out of all the main competitions and left to play around with dead rubbers until the mass exodus that inevitably will follow this Summer.

Despite all the worrying developments of recent weeks, the Hammers are in decent shape to seize their chance and push towards the next level. Moyes is a master at dampening any overexcitement but will be getting his troops fully focussed on Frankfurt. We have repeatedly seen how European defences struggle against the physicality and directness of our offensive play. Adding Zouma would be a fantastic boost. 

Let's hope that Prof Von Wafflewanger's interpretation is on the money!

Monday 25 April 2022

It really is Europa or bust now

It's been an exhilarating season at West ham with a good Premiership campaign and thrilling Europa League run. But European football is new territory for the Hammers and the demands of so much midweek activity are really starting to show as a depleted squad stumbles to the finish line.

Each game seems to bring another cut to the squad torse as we have lost Zouma, then Diop and now Dawson, who will be out for the next three Premiership games. Moyes remains tight lipped about the schedule for Zouma's return but it's going to take a gell of an effort to overcome Eintracht Franfurt in the semi final. 

Frankfurt are 10th in the Bundesliga, so just like West ham the Europa league is their best chance of securing European action for next season. Dawson will be available for the two ties, while the hope is that Zouma, who is back in training, can make the second leg.

Moyes opted to start with a diminished side yesterday and almost pulled off an unlikely result but in the dying moments Lukaku changed the game provoking Dawson's dismissal. Even though Fabianski saved the penalty, Chelsea seized the numerical advantage and scored in the last minute.

Realistically, the loss of a valuable point, along with Dawson's three match ban scuppers any hope of a top six finish as we have tough games against Man City and Arsenal to come.

It would be a massive disappointment if the season stuttered to a halt with no European reward but as it has always been, winning the Europa remains the biggest prize on offer for the Hammers and would deliver that elusive Champions League action the club craves.

If not, it's back to the drawing board to build a squad capable of a top four finish. The margins are very tight at the top level!

Sunday 24 April 2022

WOW! Moyes opts for Queen's sacrifice!

We have been wondering what David Moyes would do to manage the centre back crisis in the squad but he has blindsided us all by resting his three best players ahead of next week's Europa league semi-final.

No Rice, Antonio or Bowen! Yarmo get's a crack at Chelski and King Arthur starts!

Starting XI: Fabianski, Coufal, Dawson, Cresswell, Johnson, Soucek, Noble, Masuaku, Fornals, Benrahma, Yarmolenko

Subs: Areola, Alese, Fredericks, Kral, Rice, Bowen, Lanzini, Vlasic, Antonio

Moyes' Tactical Nous Under Scrutiny as Hammers Face Wounded Chelsea

West ham fans are not used to end of season fixture congestion but with their club's successes in the Europa league are learning quickly about the merits of squad depth. Sadly, their threadbare troops cross London today with severely depleted resources and will be travelling in hope rather than expectation.

But for David Moyes the headache is even greater as he needs to find a formation that can carry them through the next four games with only one experienced centre half. Essentially he has three options, none of which are ideal.

The simplest option is to make a direct swap and promote U23 captain Alese to fill the Diop/Zouma/Ogbonna position. Alese has excelled in his role for the U23s this season but only has limited first team experience in a dead rubber in the Europa League. In short, it's a big step up to face the current European Champions on their home turf!

A second option is to move Declan Rice back to centre back and bring in Mark Noble to midfield. Rice began his Hammers career at centre back but would be much missed in midfield and Noble would almost certainly struggle against the high octane Chelsea midfield.

Finally, he could go for a back five with Coufal and Cresswell tucking in and Johnson/Fredericks taking the full back roles. This formation has multiple variations but would challenge the sides adaptability!

Bearing in mind that whatever he selects it would need to work on Thursday night's crucial game against Eintracht Frankfurt, it's a big ask for Noble to play two games in such a short period. Our guess is that he will go with a back five!

All will soon be revealed as the Team news is imminent! Moyes has never won at Stamford Bridge and Chelsea will be wounded after the Arsenal thumping in midweek. West ham have won 3 of their last five games with Chelsea and, of course, have the secret Masuaku weapon at their disposal if needed. Hmmm.

Wednesday 20 April 2022

The truth about Jesse Lingard and West Ham

It's become more than a tad tiresome how the media likes to suggest that West Ham fans are hanging on every little sign that Jesse Lingard might be leaning towards signing for the Hammers when his current Man Utd contract expires in the Summer. In reality, most fans aren't too bothered either way. 

He certainly enjoyed a fantastic spell during his 6 month loan last season but his return to Old Trafford was baffling at the time and as the season has progressed it has looked an increasingly foolish and misguided call. 

In reality, Lingard has never performed as well before or since his six months at West Ham. A simple comparison of his scoring rate (9 goals in 16 games (0.56 per game) at West ham vs 20 in 147 (0.15) at Man Utd) highlights the difference. In effect, almost one third of his Premier league career goals were scored during his West Ham stay!

In addition, Lingard has been awarded the Premiership player of month (once) and Premiership goal of month (once) with both occuring during a Hammers spell that also saw him briefly elevated back into the England squad. 

However, for whatever reason, Jesse couldn't be persuaded to stay and returned to a dysfunctional Manchester United, at that time led by a manager who clearly saw him as surplus to requirements. 

Lingard's return to Man Utd has been befuddling with him in and out of the side and his 27 appearances (15 starts) delivering just two goals (albeit one a super strike vs West Ham!). 

But still the media keep rattling on about how West Ham fans hopes will be raised by snippets of news that he might be thinking about signing for the club again. However, although his loan period at West ham last season was undoubtedly the stuff of fairytales, it is perhaps best left at that. 

For many, it is apparent  that he lacks the commitment to the club and ambition for his career that David Moyes will demand from any new signings this Summer. Add to that the reality that he will be 30 in December, time is not on his side - something that makes the strange decision to return to Old Trafford even harder to fathom!

Frankly, at this stage, most of us who are focused upon West ham's continued rise have moved on from the Lingard saga. 

Sunday 17 April 2022

Moyes Spins the Wheel!

Err? In a bizarre move totally out of character, David Moyes has engaged insome good old fashioned squad rotation!

Usually, Hammers fans find themselves screaming at their super-conservative manager to use his subs bench, but going for three unforced changes is a massive departure!

Meanwhile, managerless Burnley come desperately seeking points as they try to haul themselves aside Everton. They will fight for every ball bit have been damned by Mystic Mark's prediction that they will get a result - making a West ham win almost certain to even the most sceptical of doubters.

West Ham United: Fabiański, Johnson, Dawson, Diop, Cresswell, Rice ©, Souček, Vlašić, Lanzini, Bowen, Antonio

Subs: Areola (GK), Coufal, Fredericks, Masuaku, Noble, Král, Fornals, Benrahma, Yarmolenko

Saturday 16 April 2022

Just How Good are Eintracht Frankfurt?

No German side has ever won the Europa League but with RB Leipzig and Eintracht Frankfurt both in the semi finals this year that may change. For Frankfurt, this is their second Europa semi-final in three years, having taken Chelsea to a penalty shootout in 2018-19.

The term 'Eintracht' is equivalent to United in English with the club nicknamed the 'Eagles'. Frankfurt lie in 10th in the Bundesliga after an inconsistent campaign, and are thus well off the pace needed (7 points at present) to qualify for Europe next year and will see the Europa League as their best means of returning to European action next year. But in addition to their gutsy performances in overcoming Barca, they have beaten Bayern Munich this year and drawn in their two games with potential final opponents RB Leipzig.

More recently, Hammers and Frankfurt fans clashed earlier in the competition as the Hammers took on Sevilla and Frankfurt played Real Betiswho also play in Seville. The Eagles have a passionate fan base underlined by the 30,000 who somehow wangled their way into the Nou Camp for Thursday night's famous win over Barcelona - who had been unbeaten in their previous 16 matches!

Central to that victory was the wizardry of Filip Kostic, who scored a brace, and Colombian striker, Rafael Borre, who netted a stunning second goal on the night. In addition, Martin Hinteregger provides the defensive rock from which the team build. While Kostic creates from the left wing, 22 year old Danish star Jesper Lindstrom is a potent force down the right. The Hammers will be hoping that both Cresswell and Coufal are available for the games to suffocate Frankfurt's wide threat.

Frankfurt are a tall side and potent from set pieces where, just like West ham, they have amassed 12 goals this season to date. They have conceded one less from set pieces with 6 to West Ham's 7 goals. The Hammers have a better scoring rate at 1.6 goals per game versus Frankfurt's 1.4. All told, the teams look closely matched. 

Eintracht Frankfurt and West Ham previously met in the 1976 Cup Winners cup semi-final. West ham progressing to the final after a hard fought battle over two legs where a cracking Graham Paddon goal in Frankfurt kept them in the tie with a 2-1 loss before a brace from Trevor Brooking (one a well taken header!) and a Keith Robson thunderbolt gave the Upton Park faithful a night to remember with a 3-1 win in the second leg. 

We can expect a similarly close fought battle when the teams square up in ten days time! 

Thursday 14 April 2022

Kings of Lyon: Hammers book semi final clash

Wow! This team have guts. Backs against the wall going down to ten men after some sleazy dark arts in the first leg, the Hammers had to soak up Lyons spikey start to the game tonight but then after half an hour we got a corner and the Moyes' machine clicked into action. 1-0. Dawson.

The French side were rocked, and as they wobbled we slapped in a second. Rice, baby. 2-0. 

As a fan of Munster rugby, what followed was familiar, French heads dropped and we swooned. Bowen's on fire....3-0. 

Game over. Some fans messaged that they were still anxious but this is a Moyes team. The game was over.

No Dembele winks tonight....justice for Cressy.

Special mention for Issa Diop and Ben Johnson - classy stuff and shame on any who doubted your ability to fill in for Zouma and Cressy (errr....honestly we never did!).

No yellow for Decky Rice either so we face Frankfurt ready to fully rock. 


No Barca, but maybe that's a good thing because West Ham are all over this tournament now...


Here We Go! Moyes men ready to make history

Here we go, its a massive moment in the Hammers season as Moyes' men take on Lyon for a semi-final spot. No Cresswell or Zouma gives Lyon the advantage but Moyes will be hoping that Diop maintains his focus and that Ben Johnson can adapt to the left back slot once again.

Up front, Lanzini starts while Benrahma will have to wait for his chance from the bench.let's hope Declan Rice's composure allows him to avoid a yellow card as that would keep him out of the first leg if they reach the semi-final.

This team has a granite core, so anything is possible!


Starting XI: Areola, Coufal, Diop, Dawson, Johnson, Soucek, Rice(c), Fornals, Lanzini, Bowen, Antonio.

Subs: Fabianski, Randolph, Yarmolenko, Vlasic, Noble, Benrahma, Fredericks, Masuaku, Kral, Alese, Chesters, Perkins

Sunday 10 April 2022

Moyes Shakes it up with Strong Starting XI

David Moyes may well have an eye on Thursday with his selection for today's clash with Brentford. In comes Fab, Coufal and Lanzini with Areola, Fredericks and Benrahma making way.

A win would keep the Hammers well in the mix for the top six places but Brentford have looked bright of late and are benefitting from the addition of Christian Eriksen.

It'll be intriguing as Moyes tries to keep a lid on Brentford's lively forward line.

Anyone for 2-2?

West Ham United: Fabiański, Coufal, Dawson, Zouma, Cresswell, Rice ©, Souček, Bowen, Lanzini, Fornals, Antonio

Subs: Areola (GK), Fredericks, Diop, Masuaku, Noble, Král, Vlašić, Benrahma, Yarmolenko

Moyes to Wreck Brentford's Buzz!

After Thursday night's heroics the Hammers have the short trip across London to take on Brentford today. Lying in sixth with Man Utd and Arsenal suffering the wobbles, today's clash presents a great opportunity to assert their European credentials.

However, having played all of the second half down to ten men, and with Moyes refusing to break his conservative approach to substitutions, fatigue may be a factor today.

Moreover, the Bees are buzzing just now having won three of their last four, including a 4-1 thrashing of Chelsea last weekend. Brentford are a momentum side and with the freedom of mid-table safety will play with abandon.

Hammers fans always knew that a thin squad would take it's toll, and will hope that they can dink a win today without busting their guts in the lead up to the trip to Lyon next Thursday.

So, Brentford will want to dance while the Hammers will look to keep it tight. Moyes selections at full back will be interesting as he may want to trial Fredericks or Johnson at left back ahead of Lyon where Cresswell will be absent, while Vlad Coufal is needed at right back and really needs some game time!

In good news for the Hammers, Mark Lawrenson predicts a 2-1 win for Brentford, so given his usual inaccuracy about all things West Ham, we shoukd get at least a point!


Friday 8 April 2022

West Ham 1-1 Lyon Match Review, Player Ratings and Opinion Regarding Second Leg

It was a tough night at the London Stadium, made all the more difficult by a referee who lacked competence and seemed to repeatedly favour visiting Lyon such that David Moyes refused to comment in any way on the referee's performance! That said, it was a gutsy performance from the Hammers having been reduced to ten men by some sly gamesmanship from Dembele that hoodwinked a jumpy referee into a harsh red card decision. Off Cresswell went after the slightest of touches (not even a tug) brought Dembele tumbling outside the box. The referee decided that Dembele was through on goal (more like on his way out to the corner flag!) and still with the formidable Zouma to beat, but the referee saw it differently and Dembele and Co rejoiced, even treating the media to a crafty wink after the incident.

But Moyes boys are hardy troops and out they came for the somecond half and resolutely defended against a buoyant Lyon. Then, against the run of play, Jarrod Bowen conjured a goal! The place erupted!!! Sadly, the Hammers couldn't quite hold on as Spurs loanee NDombele grabbed an equaliser with 20 minutes to go. The Hammers almost scored a second as Antonio somehow missed the ball (and the keepers head!) With the goal at his mercy after more good work from Bowen. Lyon huffed and puffed but it stayed at 1-1 to set up an intriguing second leg next Thursday.

Hammers may appeal the red card.

Special mention to the pitch invaders - if you are going to run onto the pitch at least get your togs off as without nakedness it's dull and uninspiring idiocy. Proper streakers condemn your paltry efforts. Also, DO NOT do it ( and stop the game) when West ham look like they are about to score - that deserves life ban you bozo :-(

Here's Bobby Bubbles player ratings for last night:

Areola: looked sharp and had to stay focused as Lyon pushed us hard in the second half. Might have done better for the goal but decent stuff. 7/10

Fredericks: Had a good game defensively but he lacks the precision needed to add to the attack and does not create a big platform for Bowen to exploit down the right. 7/10

Cresswell: Harsh sending off for which you cant really blame him. Quiet night before that as the teams spent most of the first half feeling eachother out. 6/10

Zouma: Superb stuff in defence. He really is a rock and dug in with Dawson to kill Lyon's efforts in the second half. Always in the way! 8/10.

Dawson: Tremendous performance defensively snd his long passing is at times sensational - with the ball to Benrahma in the first half Pirlo-esque in precision. 8.5/10.

Rice: Not quite his usual massive presence as Lyon were adept in midfield and we were on the back foot in the second half. Avoided getting a second yellow so he can horse into the Lyon players next week - and you know that he will! 7/10

Soucek: As always, he glides around breaking things up and keeping the opposition at arms length. He is missing Coufal with whom he has a telepathic understanding. 7.5/10

Benrahma: So much potential but he is still struggling for end product - which is the reason he was subbed when we went down to ten men to allow a new left back to come on. That said, he almost changed the game when he was unlucky to see a shot come back off the inside of the post midway through the first half. I can see him getting us a penalty in Lyon! 6/10

Bowen: What a player! He has evolved from the keen kid who frequently lost possession, to a crafty customer who mskes the opposition tremble whenever he gets the ball. More of it last night  including a morale boosting goal from almost nothing just when we needed it. Almost set up Antonio for a second as well with a precise pass. 9/10

Fornals: He has been in good form of late and was again intelligent in both defensive and attacking duties, contributing importantly to Bowen's precious strike! 8/10

Antonio: Led the line well and kept us in the game as an attacking threat when we could have been overwhelmed by Lyon with their extra man (or even two given the refs performance). Maybe should have walloped a winner when put through by Bowen in the last quarter but once again he worked his socks off. 8/10

Subs: Once again Moyes was very conservative with subs - surprisingly so given the importance of fresh legs when a team down to ten men has to chase the ball. Johnson performed well at left back in the second half. 

They say football evens out over games - if so, the Hammers have every chance of succeeding next week in what will be a massive challenge. Playing a counter attacking style may suit Moyes as the pressure will be on Lyon to make things happen…and hopefully without an extra man next week. Cresswell's absence will be a sore loss but this team has guts!

P.S. For anyone following VWH's transport woes getting to the game, YES we made it just on time!


Thursday 7 April 2022

It's Squeaky bum time as Moyes plays it straight

Here we go. It's squeaky bum time at planet Verywestham on the airport express trying to (just) make kick off. Fingers crossed!

Meanwhile, Favid Moyes has gone for a predictable starting XI with Areola's inclusion the only change from Sunday's starting XI.

No Lanzini due to his yellow card vs Sevilla. Otherwise we look sweet with Yarmo and Vlasic on the bench if we need to shake it up. 

The clubs have never previously met. Hammers are evens for the win, Lyon 3/1 with the draw 5/2. 

We wish we were reporting the prematch stadium atmosphere but stuck on the bus its stressy sombre head time. 

Dec and the boys will hopefully change all that in 40 minutes time.


West Ham: Areola, Fredericks, Dawson, Zouma, Cresswell, Soucek, Rice, Fornals, Bowen, Benrahma, Antonio.

Subs: Fabianski, Randolph, Alese, Diop, Coufal, Masuaku, Johnson, Kral, Noble, Vlasic, Yarmolenko, Perkins.

West Ham vs Lyon: Friends in Foe

It's hard to believe it but we are approaching the 19th anniversary of the passing of ex-Hammer Marc Vivien Foe! The big man died in 2003 at the age of 28 after suffering a cardiac event whilst playing a confederations Cup Semi Final clash for Cameroon against Colombia. In tragic scenes, Foe collapsed near the centre circle and could not be revived as players and the watching world looked on in horror. 

The Cameroon international joined the Hammers in 1999 from Lens for £4 million and starred in a season that saw Harry Redknapp's side win the InterToto cup. He played 38 games, scoring just once but was a key stabilising element in  a star studded side that included St Paolo Di Canio!

Foe then returned to France to Olympique Lyon in 2000 for £6 million, later popping up for Man City in 2003 in a loan spell during which time he passed.  He subsequently enjoyed a loan spell at Man City where he was under contract when he passed.

A likeable and hugely talented giant of a man, he is remembered fondly by both sets of fans tonight. A minutes silence would surely be in order?

Rest in Peace big fella and enjoys tonight's game!

Anyone Feeling Nervous? This News Won't Help!

Stuck in Shannon airport waiting on a delayed Ryanair flight, the tension is rising ahead of tonight's clash with Olympique Lyon. 

On the surface, Lyon are having a poor domestic season and languish in 9th in Le Ligue, totally adrift of a Champions League place. This is principally due to some chaotic defending and a collection of talented but underperforming players.

But make no mistake, as Porto discovered, when it comes to the Europa League Lyon find defensive focus and their star players strut their stuff. 

With Dembele and Aouar up front, Lyon can punish any slack defending and the newly arrived Tete, escaping from Shaktar Donetsk, has quickly demonstrated his abity scoring within two minutes of his weekend debut!

How Moyes handles the right back situation will be key as Ryan Fredericks looked clumsy against Everton and Vlad Coufal lacks game fitness. Fortunately, Lyon are not particularly dangerous down the wings which will allay some concerns about the right back issue.

That said, Bowen is back and looking sharp. Antonio was on form against Everton and will fancy himself physically against an ageing and underperforming Boateng. 

But whatever happens this tie will not be decided tonight. Moyes' men are resilient and determined. They will be unlikely to be intimidated by the trip to Lyon and, if anything, will see it as an opportunity to add pressure to their French opponents.

As for that flight, it's just been put back another 20 minutes so i am really sweating on making it on time....