Monday, 20 March 2023

A detailed analysis of the relegation run in - its going to be stressy!

Right, it's business time in the Premiership season and for West Ham currently lying in 18th it's quite clearly going to be a relegation scrap for the final twelve games. 

Most fans have believed that it was only a matter of time before Moyes' men put together a run of results to put any relegation worries to bed but, quite simply, that has not happened and despite a slight improvement in form, the results of teams around us has dragged us slowly deeper into the relegation mire.

Usually, we apply a 10 wins or 40 points as a target to ensure Premiership survival but this year it's the most compressed bottom half of the table ever with any of 9 teams still in the thick of it. At present, just 4 points separate Palace in 12th and Southampton at the bottom.

A current AI based computer reckons we will finish in 14th apot with a whopping 39 points, with relegation cut off at 35/6 points, this dooming Southampton, Bournemouth and Forest to the drop. 

However, with our currwnt yaul at 24 pts from 26 games, we look on track to stutter home with 35 points - right on the cusp of relegation. With just 12 remaining games, it reckons we will grab 15 points - but looking at our fixtures that seems ambitious!

Our six remaining home games are tough - Southampton, Newcastle, Arsenal, Liverpool, Man Utd and Leeds. only two are in the relegation mix while the other 4 will be seeking points to aid their European charge. In reality, 7 to 8 points would be a fair haul, leaving us to look to away fixtures for the other 7-8 points.

Our away fixtures are mostly easier with Man City, Fulham, Leicester, Brentford, Palace and Bournemouth - 4 of these are in the relegation mix but we are second bottom in the away portion of league with a single win in 13 games! Again, we need to really up our results to get the necessary points.

There are additional considerations such as our relatively good goal difference compared with  other sides down the lower end (-10). We also have a relatively full squad and can hopefully call on a sustained Zouma and Aguerd partnership for the first time, with options in midfield and three strikers who can score at this level. However, our 

Europa Conference League distractions may prove a problem.

In short, we are in serious dooh-dah. Buckle up, this is going to get choppy as we try to chisel out the necessary results!

Thursday, 16 March 2023

Hammers in hat for Today's Quarter Final Draw

It's another big day in West ham's Eurooean adventure as after last night's 4-0 win over AEK Larnaca they go into the hat for today's 1pm draw for the quarter finals of the Conference league.

With ten wins fron ten, the Hammers European form has contrasted with their in and out Premiership campaign. 

Nevertheless, Moyes and Co will fancy their chances against any of the remaining clubs in the draw which includes Anderlecht, AZ Alkmaar, FC Basel, Gent, Lech Poznan, Fiorentina and Nice.

The quarter-finals ties will be played on the 13th and 20th of April. If West ham get to the semis the ties are scheduled for May 11th and 18th. The final is in Prague on June 7th.

The draw is televised live on BT Sport at 1pm today.


Time to impress for fringe playes as Moyes shuffles the pack

David Moyes has shuffled the pack for tonight's second leg vs Larnacca. It's still a strong starting XI and gives a big chance to Scamacca, Fornals and Ben Johnson to impress. 

There's heaps of talent on the bench if it gets tricky but from the evidence of the first leg the Hammers are in pole position and should play with a sense of freedom away from their relegation woes. 

Antonio and Fabianski are still out with injury but otherwise its a full squad.

Hopefully as the game unfolds there will be game time for Divin Mubama and the other kids.

KO is 8pm.


West Ham United: Areola, Johnson, Zouma, Ogbonna ©, Cresswell, Souček, Paquetá, Lanzini, Bowen, Fornals, Scamacca

Subs: Hegyi (GK), Anang (GK), Aguerd, Benrahma, Cornet, Ings, Kehrer, Emerson, Rice, Laing, Mubama, Potts

Sunday, 12 March 2023

Moyes Goes For Offensive Starting XI

Make no mistake, today's clash with Aston Villa is a big game. With the backdrop of a serious European adventure, the Hammers need to keep on top of their stuttering Premiership campaign. 

Having slipped into the bottom three with just 13 games to go, Moyes will know that a win today is vital to allow adequate attentions on Europe.

Bearing in mind the paucity of trophies amassed over our history, maintaining Premiership along with a win or runners up position in Europe would represent a reasonable season and probably keep David Moyes job as manager.

Just why West ham find themselves in this situation is complicated - the current squad has quality and depth in most positions but a combination of injuries and failure to gel has resulted in a poor league position. 

Many sides have worked out how to play against the Moyes' method and the Hammers have lacked a potent plan B when keeping it tight and breaking from turnover ball hasn't worked. 

The good news is that Moyes has a lot of quality players coming back from injury and apart from Fab, Antonio and Coufal, pretty much has a full squad to pick from.

Today's line up looks sharp up front and with Soucek, Rice, Zouma and Aguerd, should be defensively tight through the middle. Moyes' men look more vulnerable down the flanks but if Bowen and Benrahma put in good shifts we should be ok. 

If it doesn't go according to plan we have quality on the bench with Scamacca, Fornals, Cornet etc to shake things up. 

Let's do this.


West Ham United: Areola, Kehrer, Aguerd, Zouma, Emerson, Rice ©, Souček, Paquetá, Bowen, Benrahma, Ings

Substitutes: Anang, Johnson, Ogbonna, Downes, Cornet, Cresswell, Fornals, Lanzini, Scamacca

What is Really Ailing Scamacca?

One of the (many) disappointments at West ham this season has been the limited impact from our big money Summer signings. 

While Nayef Aguerd has been brilliant since returning from the injury that delayed his participation in the side, Lucas Pacqueta, Thilo Kehrer and most of all, Gianluca Scamacca have underwhelmed.

Kehrer looks sleak in possession but too often lacks the defensive sharpness that the Premiership demands. Pacqueta is clearly going through first season syndrome and only recently has David Moyes realised his best midfield position is playing deeper than he did for the early part of the season.

And then there's Scamacca. The 24 year old Italian looks to have it all - tall, physical and with a shitwhistling shot in the arsenal. However, he has stuttered through the season, grabbing just seven goals - mostly in Europe - and failing to displace the ageing Antonio from the starting berth up front....but why?

Rumours of personal issues, fall outs with his agency, tensions with Moyes and homesickness are all pretty shallow explanations. In reality, he has had a niggling injury and like all strikers needs momentum to be at his best. 

Scamacca can score from both inside and outside the box, and his link play is decent, but he isn't the high octane pressurizing forward Moyes prefers. He has only had a handful of opportunities to play alongside Paqueta who is his supplier-in-chief but hopefully the season's run in will see that pairibg more frequently. 

Ideally, Scamacca would have a striking partner, but that's unlikely under the cautious 'one up top' system that Moyes prefers 

In short - the principal problem with Scamacca is a lack of game time to build relationships with his attacking colleagues. The Italian media is having fun dropping all sorts of hints about unrest, adding to the possibility of a cut price return to Serie A, but in reality if he gets a bit of good fortune Gianluca has what it takes to thrive at West ham.

Saturday, 11 March 2023

Five Key Talking Points Ahead of the Villa Clash

This really is a strange season in the Premiership. As we approach the run in the bottom half of the table is more compressed than it has ever been in living memory, in part because of a series of unexpected results that lay evidence to the fact that even the smaller clubs all have squads that can get results - especially when at home.

And so yesterday's win for Bournemouth's over Liverpool along with Everton's victory over Brentford has shunted Moyes' men back into the bottom three, adding pressure for today's clash with Villa. 

The Hammers have a decent record over recent times against our claret n blue rivals from the Midlands, but Unai Emery has done a great job since taking over and in reality 12th placed Villa look safe with 34 points on the board. Today will reveal whether Villa lack hunger or play better when under less pressure to get results. 

Here are five key pressure points for the Hammers ahead of the game:

1. Zouma is back and we have missed him. Finally, Moyes can play his preferred pairing of Zouma and Aguerd. The game time in midweek against Larnacca will also have helped the pair gel. 

2. Antonio is scoring again. With a brace in midweek under his belt, Hammers fans will recognise that Michail is a mood player and prone to goal droughts with scoring binges. Expect him to start today.

3. Danny Ings is the clsssic ex-player who pops up to haunt old clubs and will be looking to punish Villa today - probably from a substitute role.

4. Benrahma is in great form and Bowen is close to the zone, giving Moyes men a decent threat from the wide attacking positions up. Villa can be a bit clunky out wide so hopefully we can get our full backs forward to add to the pressure.

5. Apart from the Brighton implosion, our form of late has been decent, especially at home. 

Rory Nostradamus is predicting a 2-1 home win. 


Saturday, 4 March 2023

Time to Down the Seagulls

These are uncertain times at West ham as Moyes' men try to combine their hunt for European glory with what has become a tricky league campaign. Lying just 2 points above the drop zone, the Hammers have stuttered through an underwhelming season. 

That said, recent form has been better and at times it looks like Moyes' men are ready to push on. Last week they huffed and puffed before finally rolling over a lacklustre Notts Forest, running out 4-0 winners.

Against Man utd in midweek they went toe to toe and could easily have won - but perhaps the added distraction of the FA cup was a step too far and a good performance was more important?

However, the panicky defending of the final 15 minutes on Wednesday was a definite cause for concern. The return of Kurt Zouma is a big positive and we can expect that he will get some game time today.

Up front, Danny Ings starts with Scamacca ready to add fire if needed. 

The Seagulls are a major bogey side for West ham but 'needs must' and we can hope for a big effort to finally break our Premiership duck today. The secret against Brighton is to pressure them and disrupt their tippy tappy style. Hard graft will be needed!


West Ham United: Areola, Johnson, Aguerd, Ogbonna, Emerson, Rice ©, Souček, Paquetá, Bowen, Ings, Benrahma

Subs: Anang (GK), Hegyi (GK), Downes, Cresswell, Fornals, Zouma, Lanzini, Scamacca

Saturday, 25 February 2023

The end of an era beckons

Well, well, well! Not many would have predicted that David Moyes and West ham would be in serious relegation doohdah at this stage of the season but here we are. Nottingham Forest arrive to the London stadium as one of the surprises of the season and just below mid-table after an impressive 1-1 draw with Man City last week. In comparison, the Hammers have stuttered all season long and currently sit in 18th spot.

Worryingly, Moyes men tried to shut up shop at Spurs last week and after an hour of huffing and puffing with a flooded midfield, Moyes' men were pushed aside and ran out 2-0 losers having hardly thrown a punch in anger throughout the game.

Although there is some good news on the injury front with Zouma, Paqueta and Cornet all back in training, their recoveries are likely to come too late for today's clash - one that has been billed as a must-win for Moyes with no end of rumours around potential replacements if he gets shown the door in the coming weeks (days?).

Even more alarming is the fact that the pundits seem to think the Hammers will suddenly find that missing cohesion and overcome Forest! Paul Merson, Mark Lawrenson and Stan Collymore have all opted for a Hammers win, while Chris Sutton has predicted a draw.

Only a win will do. Failure to ease the relegation threat will necessitate that we ditch European and FA aspirations and put the head down to avoid the drop. In reality, if that has to happen Moyes will surely be gone by the time next season starts. As such, this really is a big game!


Sunday, 19 February 2023

Good news on the squad but is Moyes Going for Dirgeball?

The Hammers really need some points today as they travel to Spurs and lie in 18th place in the Premiership. Although Moyes has stopped the sequence of losses that characterised the Hammers form upon resumption of the league after the World Cup, the problem is that this is one of the tightest leagues in living memory!

In reality, any of 9-10 sides are in serious danger of relegation and yesterday's results served to highlight how the gap in quality through the league has narrowed such that any side on its day can give the league leaders a run for their money.

That said, David Moyes has gone for a conservative starting XI, with Rice, Soucek and Downes in midfield, suggesting that he plans to create a stalemate in midfield. At the back, the good news is that Aguerd is fit to start alongside Ogbonna and Kehrer. Up front it'll be a lonely afternoon for Antonio with Bowen in support but both Benrahma and Fornals are left on the bench.

If it gets sticky out there, Moyes has either Ings or Scamacca to bolster the attack. 

In reality, a draw would be a decent result but as things are going maybe Moyes needs to go for all three points?

West Ham United: Fabiański, Coufal, Kehrer, Ogbonna, Aguerd, Emerson, Rice ©, Souček, Downes, Bowen, Antonio

Subs: Areola (GK), Johnson, Cresswell, Scamacca, Fornals, Ings, Benrahma, Casey

Saturday, 4 February 2023

Evens Stevens at the Break as Paqueta Strikes

It's been a decent game of football at St James' Park in the evenong Kick off. West ham have looked lively and but for a dreadful defensive lapse in the opening minutes could and should be ahead.

Lucas Paqueta scored his first goal from play for the Hammers, seizing on the broken ball after a delicious Declan Rice corner. 

The celebration that followed was spectacular with a somersault followed by joyous blessings!

In reality, Paqueta has been the best player on the pitch and looks to be finally finding his feet in the Premiership.

Newcastle have looked a bit cocky and conceded a lot of space to West ham who really should have another goal. Eddie Howe will surely want to change it around for what is set up to be a cracking second half!

So, it's 1-1 at the break.


Tuesday, 31 January 2023

All quiet on the West Ham front...or is it?

With just a few hours remaing before the January transfer window closes it looks increasingly unlikely that the Hammers will add to the signings of Danny Ings and Brazilian youth, Luizao.

In reality, the end of January is like the final hours on holiday when suddenly useless overpriced holiday momentos seem weirdly attractive as those remaining dollars start to burn a hole in your pocket. 

Very few problems are solved by panic buying in the notoriously dodgy January window....think Benny McCarthy et al. In fact, bringing in washed out and unwanted squad players often just serves to destabilise the existing squad.

Then again, there was Hartson and Kitson!

So far there has been little of note to digest as both Conor Gallagher and Kalvin Philips are very unlikely to leave their current clubs, even on loan. 

Moreover, you might ask what it is West ham really need - certaily in central midfield we have Rice, Paqueta, Soucek and Downes....Lanzini is another option so perhaps David Moyes would be better to focus upon helping these undoubted talents to find their true form?

Up front, we now have three strikers to compete for a single spot and although Scamacca and Ings have injuries, they are reported as short term and shouldn't prevent their being available for the final 12-15 games.

Out wide we have Bowen and Benrahma, with Fornal and (hopefully) Cornet to support. Meanwhile, Oggy, Aguerd, Kehrer and Zouma can cover centre back without causing too much concern about Dawson's departure. 

However, the usually downbeat Moyes used the "maybe" word when asked if there would be activity today, which for him represents a strong 'yes'.

Keep your eyes peeled!

Monday, 30 January 2023

Antonio Heads Hammers Two Nil Up

Michail Antonio has put some decent light between the sides by heading the Hammers two up in the opening minutes of the second half against Derby.

A third would allow Moyes to play with his side and rest his big players for Newcastle at the weekend but plucky Derby are still giving it a go and have just had a decent shout for a penalty denied.

Mikey certainly needed a goal but is the kind of player who goes on scoring runs so hopefully this will ignite his season.

Derby have just made four substitutions which tells its own story - they've got mighty Morecombe at the weekend!


Collymore Predicts Hammer Horror

It's no surprise to Hammers fans to hear that Stan Collywobbles has seized tonights FA cup match to again demonstrate his animosity towards the club.

He has predicted a victory for the League one outfit against a Hammers side that has been faltering and has low morale at present.

Perhaps big Stan has some justification as he points out that Derby are unbeaten in 15 games and have that positivity to get a result. 

Right now, it's 1-0 to the Premiership side but if Derby could get an equaliser the Hammers might wobble!

However, with Rice and Paqueta on the bench Moyes has decent options.


Hammers Stutter to Half Time

After a bright start, West ham have reverted to recent poor form in their 4th round clash with Derby. 

Their early rhythm has given way to sloppy passing and a general lack of incisiveness when in possession.

Derby can smell blood and Conor Hourihane has started to put together some neat passes.

More worrying though is that Derby's right winger, Laing, looks to have the beating of Emerson and has glided past him with ease on a number of occasions just before the break. 

Derby's left back is on a yellow so expect Benrahma to go for the jugular if he gets called into action as the game progresses.

Otherwise, a cup upset is still very much on the cards!

We may need Rice and Paqueta yet. 

Bowen Puts Hammers One Up!

It's ten minutes in and after a few half chances Jarrod Bowen has broken the deadlock against Derby. 

In truth, Derby look a bit light in Midfield and Flynn Downes is bossing proceedings at present.


Time for Divin intervention: Hammers take on Rams

David Moyes has gone for a strong starting line up to face the Rams in tonight's fourth round FA cup clash. It looks like three at the back with Oggy, Kehrer and Aguerd, while Emerson and Johnson will patrol the wing back berths. 

Flynn Downes gets to partner Soucek in midfield, while up front it's Fornals, Bowen and Antonio. Rice, Benny and Paqueta wait in the wings if needed.

Hammers fans will be hoping to get another look at young striking starlet Divin Mubama who is on the bench.

It's just about kick off....Rory Nostradamus reckons it'll be a 2-1 win with the subs making the difference.


West Ham United: Areola (GK), Johnson, Fornals, Antonio, Downes, Bowen, Ogbonna (C), Kehrer, Aguerd, Soucek, Emerson

Substitutes: Fabianski (GK), Cresswell, Coufal, Lanzini, Paqueta, Benrahma, Rice, Laing, Mubama

Man Utd (away) awaits tonight's winner

The fifth round draw has been made and whichever side prevails tonight at Derby will face the Red Devils in the next round. That should add to the excitement as the Hammers look to build upon recent results and keep their cup dream alive.

With a tough series of fixtures ahead in the Premiership, David Moyes will probably look to give his broader squad some game time, and hopefully an opportunity for some of our impressive youngsters.

Derby are no pushovers and are looking to gain automatic promotion from League One having endured a torrid time with financial implosion but look to be pushing on from all of that and will enjoy having a crack at a wobbling Premiership club!

Kick off is 7.45 and its on ITV4.