Sunday 28 May 2023

Hammers Ready to be the Executioners!!

David Moyes has made a host of changes for the visit to relegation notwannabees Leicester City bringing in Kehrer, Aguerd, Cresswell, Benrahma and Antonio, with Flynn Downes also starting ahead of Tomas Soucek.

Declan Rice will make his 204th (and possibly last for some time*) appearance in the Premier League for the Hammers. 

Leicester have to go for broke so it'll be a cup final atmosphere which should be good rehearsal time for the upcoming Europa Conference final in 10 days time. 

Let's pray for no injuries. A win and a Chelsea loss with a 3 goal swing will see us pass out the expensive West London squad with a final 12th place position possible. 

For Leicester, they must win and hope Everton slip up at home to Bournemouth. How times have changed since they won the Premiership!


Starting XI: Fabiański, Coufal, Kehrer, Aguerd, Cresswell, Rice ©, Downes, Paquetá, Fornals, Benrahma, Antonio

Substitures: Areola (GK), Emerson, Zouma, Ogbonna, Lanzini, Souček, Bowen, Cornet, Ings

*No doubt whatever happens he'll be back at some point!

Sunday 21 May 2023

Hodor the Hero but questions remain about UEFA and Dutch security

Thursday evening's clash of West Ham and AZ Alkmaar was a tense and exciting affair eventually settled by Pablo Fornal's injury time stunner.

But the tie was marred by truly remarkable scenes in which over a hundred Alkmaar 'Ultras' dressed in black and hooded attacked the family and friends section of the ground. 

It's hard to see how such embarrassing cowardly behaviour could resonate with any wannabe thug and even more embarrassingly the thugs were beaten off by a 58 year old post- hip operation Hammers fan who bravely blocked the stairwell where the thugs attempted to gain entry. 

You'd have to wonder what's next on the agenda for these terrifyingly dumb hoodlums - maybe lay seige to a creche or a nursing home? 

But as the dust settles it is apparent that the Dutch authorities mismanaged the incident - failing to make any arrests at the stadium and now reversing into watching video footage of the heavily hooded thugs. 

The security was so amateurish that Hammers players felt compelled to do the security's job for them! And now, rumours emerge that UEFA are investigating the West ham players for their role in the incident. How bizarre can thus get?

In reality, UEFA have a duty of care to all teams and their supporters who participate in their events. Perhaps its time for West ham to take a considerably more assertive stance on the matter?

Or do we just let the cowardly thugs walk away and lazily blame the victims. It's farcical. 

Thursday 18 May 2023

Moyes Turns Down Opportunity of a Lifetime!

Here's what he could have taken home

It's a big night of European footy as the Hammers push for the first major trophy in 40 years!

Manager David Moyes is looking to nail down his place in West Ham history by progressing past AZ Alkmaar tonight and then either Basel or Fiorentina in the final.

But this evening presents a tough test - Moyes is the only man to have ever steered an English side to victory aainst the Dutch side, beating Louis van Gaal's side with Everton 20 years ago!

Asked at the prematch press conference if he might follow Jose Mourinho's lead by getting a tattoo to mark the occasion he made it clear he prefers to stay ink free, whatever the outcome!

But if his side can prevail there will be no ducking from the squad's demands for him to dance to 'Cotton eye Joe"

Here's what he said at the press conference:

Q: Jose Mourinho got a tattoo of the Europa Conference League trophy when he won it with Roma. Will you do the same if you win it?

Moyes: "I don’t think I’ll have a tattoo, but I’ll look forward to trying to get the final. That’s the only thing I can consider at the moment"

Kick off is 8pm


Moyes faces massive dilemma against AZ Alkmaar


Here we go, the second leg of the Europa Conference semi final awaits David Moyes and his men tonight at the home of the 'Cheeseheads'. AZ Alkmaar will feel they are very much in this tie as they seek to overturn a 1-2 deficit from the first leg. 

AZ played a canny game at the London Stadium last week and as the Dutch media have been keen to point out, West ham have an underwhelming away record this season. However, that has most definitely not been the case in Europe where the Hammers remain unbeaten away from home, with five wins and a draw.

Alkmaar engaged in a fair amount of shithousery during last week's game, aided by a series of unfathomable refereeing decisions that pushed Rice and Co. to the limits of their patience. But the Hammers demonstrated that they had learned from last years dramas with Eintracht Frankfurt and this time around they kept their cool, just.

And so to tonight. Alkmaar proved that they could ping the ball around with ease but the vast majority of that activity was restricted to their own half which merely ate up time without creating any real opportunity. This week Alkmaar will have their left back and left wing regulars returning to duty which should add some bite to their attack. In truth, they were fortunate with their goal last week as Paqueta was fouled in the build up and Areola uncharacteristically lame in goal.

But while last week revealed little of West Ham's vulnerabilities, Alkmaar were clearly shaky at the back as their CBs got away with a lot of heavy treatment of Antonio, who will feel he has their beating tonight. Benrahma tormented their right flank and once the Hammers decided to go for it they repeatedly opened up the Alkmaar defence.

And therein lies the dilemma for Moyes - start offensively and look to outclass the Dutch or play it tight and counter? Tomas Soucek has suggested in the prematch talk that the Hammers are here to attack but we shall see.. 

But tonight's game will almost certainly bring out the conservative tactician in Moyes, with a blanket defence looking for turnover ball and fast counterattack. The first goal will be absolutely crucial but if the Hammers fall behind you'd expect the gloves to come off and (hopefully) a repeat of the final half hour of last week.

Alkmaar are a much younger side, which almost certainly was the driving force behind Moyes decision to omit nine regular starters from his line up against Brentford at the weekend. AZ meanwhile, fielded a strong side in the Eredivisie and delivered a 5-1 thrashing in their hunt to catch Ajax for third place in the league.

The match referee looks like a sensible bloke and it appears Antonio will be fit to start. You've got to feel that this is a big chance for the Hammers - their quality, squad depth and experience will be huge assets tonight. And, of course, there's the issue of Declan Rice's desire to go out by gifting a trophy to the fans.

It's gonna be a massive night!

Sunday 14 May 2023

Bench time for Bees

Suddenly its all happening at West ham - a delicious win over Man Utd followed by a hard fought victory in midweek over AZ Alkmaar and a drab season has kicked into gear!

Reports this morning suggest that David Moyes will continue as manager for next season amidst the Hammers recent success - a decision that seems more than justified when you consider how he has constructed a squad that is finally starting to deliver.

There's possibly still a little bit of work to be done in the Premiership, with another point possibly needed in our remaining games but in reality all eyes are on Alkmaar next Thursday.

Hammers News have predicted a major change to our starting XI for Brentford today and we are inclined to agree. The Hammers looked a tad sluggish in the first half on Thursday before kicking into gear for the final 30 mins but will need to preserve as much energy as possible for the Dutch trip.

Which brings us to the interesting observation that our squad has decent depth such that we can rest Antonio, Rice, Paqueta et al and still field a decent starting XI.

Brentford have become a bit of a bogey team so perhaps playing an unusual side might buck the trend of defeats over recent seasons!

Predicted Starting XI: Fabianski, Johnson, Aguerd, Ogbonna, Emerson, Soucek, Downes, Lanzini, Fornals, Cornet, Ings.

Kick off is 2pm.


Friday 12 May 2023

Job half done: Match review and Player ratings Hammers 2-1Alkmaar

After a dramatic evening at the London stadium, Hammers fans wait with hope but some trepidation for the second leg of their tie with AZ Alkmaar.

David Moyes would have preferred to put greater distance between the sides as essentially his strongest starting XI struggled to get to grips with the slippery eel that Alkmaar presented.

The Dutch side were slick on the floor and passing out from defence and frustrated Moyes' men through a frustrating first half punctuated by almost endless time wasting by Aussie Matthew Ryan in the Alkmaar goal.

And then, seemingly out of nowhere, the Dutch went ahead with a hopeful strike from outside the box which bobbled up over Areola's flailling arms. Suddenly the Hammers were in trouble.

Infairness, the match referee seemed allergic to giving anything to Michail Sntonio who, despite having the clear beating of the Alkmaar CBs was subjected to serious foul play which the ref decided to perceive as play acting!

Moreover, Paqueta was clearly fouled in the dis-possession leading up to the Alkmaar goal. The Irons were hot! Worryibgly,Moyes' men lost their composure for a bit and half time was a mercy.

Things continued in that vein for the opening ten minutes of the second half and then the Hammers clicked into gear. Alkmaar looked rattled as a series of decent chances fell the Hammers way as the Alkmaar right flank wilted.

Then the panto villain, Alkmaar keeper Ryan, clattered into Jarrod Bowen and despite over three minutes of Dutch shithousery, Benrahma buried the penalty. Game well and truly on! Hilariously, in the lead up to the cross in to Bowen, the referee impeded an Alkmaar midfielder from getting across to block the cross - perhaps justice for the series of bizarre decisions prior to that!

Suddenly the Hammers could smell blood and bombarded the Dutch goal.....and it came as some cool-headed play from Rice nicked the ball into the six yard box and in the ensuing melee Antonio forced home a crucial winner.

Moyes was left with a conundrum - settle for the one goal advantage or go for the jugular. He chose the former. Despite that, the Hammers reslly shoukd have converted any of three good chances before the end that they may yet regret.

Alkmaar have at least two key returnees for next week. This tie is far from  settled!

Here’s how we rated David Moyes’ men: 

Alphonse Areola 5

Not asked to do much - coped well with everyting apart from the Alkmaar goal which had shades of De Gea.

Thilo Kehrer 7

Decent performance as he was strong and aggressive both with and without the ball throughout. Cut back nicely for a decent shot half way through the second half but blasted it over the bar.

Kurt Zouma 8

Usual calm self. Can be a little clunky moving out of defence but does the important things well. No sign of any recurrence of his injury - a relief as we will need his defensive prowess next week!

Nayef Aguerd 8

Once again great decision making and excellent in possession. Enjoyed joining Benny, Paqueta and Cressy for a full scale assault down the left flank for the final 20 minutes.

Aaron Cresswell 8

No real problems defensively and linked well with Benrahma all night.

Tomas Soucek 7

Moyes has realised that Tomas is not really a 'baller' and is using him better as a real nuisance for the opposition. He could be criticised for not getting out quickly enough to block the Alkmaar goal but he is back to decent form.

Declan Rice 9

Stayed just the right side of the line with a really annoying referee. Ultimately, brushed aside a gamey Alkmaar midfield for that sustained assault of the final 20-25 minutes.

Lucas Paqueta 8.5

The sorcerer took a while to get going but almost ran riot in the end. Due warning was served to the Alkmaar defence that he can create great openings in the tightest of space. One flick towards the end of the second half was worth the admission price alone!

Jarrod Bowen 7.5

We had hoped that he would figure more as Alkmaar were missing their usual LB but Jarrod had to be patient. Alkmaar made sure to keep pushing him outside to prevent his trademark cut back inside. Made the most of Ryan's 'punch' for the penalty but the Aussie had it coming!

Said Benrahma 9

Wow, he was at times almost unmarkable! Created chance after chance and unlucky not to open the scoring mid-way through the first halk with an exquisite curling shot that Ryan just about pushed past the post. Mr Cool for the pressure penalty. Alkmaar have lots to ponder if they are to contain him for the return leg.

Michail Antonio 9

Victim of a series of harsh refereeing calls but kept at it as he knew the Alkmaar CBs couldn't handle him. Hopefully recovers from his post match limp and with a more rational referee next week can look forward to terrorising the Alkmaar defence again. Oh, and he scored the winner!

Thursday 11 May 2023

Tough talking Cheeseheads here to fight

AZ Alkmaar arrive at the London stadium brimming with confidence ahead of the first leg of tonight's Europa Conference semi-final. 

Head coach Pacal Jensen was talking Johnny big balls ahead of the clash after waching the Hammers brush aside Man Utd on Sunday.

Jensen, following a long tradition of Dutch football arrogance, dismissed the Hammers' win as based upon Man Utd's 'poor' performance.

He suggested that his youthful side will outrun the Hammers warning that Moyes' men cannot 'hide' from one on one duels all night!

As the bard once noted "thou doth protest too much methinks"! With 5 key absentees for the Dutch side, Moyes will surely take an aggressive stance and go for it tonight. 

Hammers fans will note that Premiership flop Seb Haller left West ham and became an instant sensation in the challenging climes of the Eredivisie! Hmmmm. One suspects that the likes of Bowen and Antonio would enjoy similar success against Dutch defences?

So yes, you'd be inclined to agree with Mr Jensen that the one on one's will decide the clash - and no doubt Bowen vs their stand in LB, Antonio vs their Greek CB and Rice/Soucek/Paqueta vs their midfield will be key battles tonight.

With Kerkez, Martins-Indi and de Wit all out, the backbone of his side is compromised. It'll be interesting to see how well Alkmaar handle our ageing stars at the first set piece - the cheese might end up as a big slice of Stinking Bishop!


Tuesday 9 May 2023

The Kits out of the bag as new Hammers kit revealed

It's that time of year again where talk turns to the next kit to adorn your clubs side for next season. 

The Hammers have decided upon their kit for next season and reports from a secret shooting indicate that its classic Hammers stuff with a major nod to the 2001-3 'Di Canio' era. Umbro are the suppliers.

That should please many fans but its also of note that despite plenty of exciting football, there was much heartache in that period culminating in a bizarre relegation of possibly the best ever squad to go down!

That said, wouldn't it be marvellous to have Dr Martens as sponsors again as no doubt much of the lure of that kit was the cool sponsors name - from an era before betting sites took control of sponsorship. Fans hoping for some bovver boot panache will have to settle for Betway as the sponsors.

We'll have pics of the actual kit once they are released.

Monday 8 May 2023

Revealed: the key to beating Alkmaar

Thursday night presents an exciting evening at the London stadium as West ham receive AZ Alkmaar in the first leg of the Europa conference semi final.

The Hammers will want to go a step further than last year when they were undone by a canny Eintracht Frankfurt side. On that occasion, the Hammers conceded an esrly goal and never quite got fully back into the tie.

This time around they will want to get a decent start against a young and energetic Alkmaar side - the mean age of the Alkmaar squad is just 23 and the 'Cheesemakers' are in decent form of late having drawn against Ajax away at the weekend. 

But David Moyes will note that the Dutch side will be without suspended Hungarian star Milos Kerkez. The left back has played 48 games for Alkmaar this srason and will be sorely missed!

All of which points to a Jarrod Bowen friendly night. With Thilo Kehrer seemingly first choice at right back in the absence of Vlad Coufal, Kehrer is in form and links well with Bowen down the right wing. Add on a marauding Paqueta and we've got a good thing going on!

Keep an eye on Bowen on Thursday as undoubtedly he will fancy his chances against a rejigged Alkmaar defence!


Sunday 7 May 2023

The image which sums up tonight's Hammers victory

Well, that should be Premiership safety nailed down for another year!

And what a pleasing way to do it - beating our old foes Manchester united in a cauldron like early evening atmosphere at the London stadium.

With plenty of players hitting top form at just the right time, Hammers fans can look forward to Alkmaar's visit on Thursday with confidence.

There is plenty to play for in the remaining games of the season but even better, David Moyes can shuffle his squad to ensure that we have everybody at peak fitness and energy levels for the two legs of the Europa Conference Semi final. 

That said, Alkmaar will be a tough opponent, with a vibrant young side. The Hammers will need to use their experience to manage the two legs. It's hard to know what best to aim for on Thursday but in reality any lead will be a good result as Moyes men are well organised defensively which will be an asset for the trip to Holland.

But tonight its Premiership safety and MOTM to Declan Rice!


Magic night for Moyes as Devils are Downed

West Ham can turn their attentions to Europe after a thoroughly deserved win against a lacklustre Manchester United who were well and truly East-ended. 

The London stadium was rocking and although the Reds started better, David de Gea handed the Hammers a crucial opener with a goalkeeping howler as he failed to keep a soft shot from Said Benrahma from rolling into the net.

Hammers fans braced themselves for a Man Utd onslaught but in truth it never materialised. Denied a clear penalty just before half time, the Hammers then had a goal disallowed under dubious circumstances.

But their tails were up and they tortured Man Utd down the left flank creating chance after chance. In midfield, the ageing legs of Casemiro et al couldn't keep up with Rice and Paqueta and despite 10 minutes of injury time the Hammers romped home, all but ensuring Premiership safety!

Here’s how we rated David Moyes’ men: 

Lukasz Fabianski 7

Calm throughout and did all the simple things well. 

Thilo Kehrer 9

Probably his best Hammers performance as he was strong and aggressive both with and without the ball throughout. Rashford got little joy all night.

Angelo Ogbonna 8

Soooo calm. Brilliant back up for the absent Zouma. Lots of important clearances and he clearly likes playing alongside the stylish and pacey Aguerd.

Nayef Aguerd 8

This lad is class - great defender, good decision making and excellent in possession. 

Aaron Cresswell 7

Struggled with Anthony in the first 30 mins but thereafter suffocated the left flank. 

Tomas Soucek 8

He's a 100 percenter and back on the form of previous seasons. Almost scored a cracking volley which rattled off the post. 

Declan Rice 9

Quite simply, he did everything right this evening and almost pitched in with a goal. Best player on show by a long stretch!

Lucas Paqueta 8

His sorcery is key to how this team clicks. Had a few almost moments but his ingenuity keeps opponents on edge. Next season will be stunning!

Jarrod Bowen 7

A constant thorn and put in an important defensive shift today.

Said Benrahma 8

One of his 'on' games. Buzzed up and down the wing and, of course, got the all important goal.

Michail Antonio 8

Could sense Man Utd's unease in defence and got stuck into them. Made a few stunning runs and held the ball up excellently throughout.

David Moyes 10

The gaffer will have enjoyed his first league win in a decade over his former employers. In fairness, he made all the right moves with team selection and held off on substitutions while the Hammers had such good flow.

Wednesday 3 May 2023

Rocky Mountain Yellow Spotted Fever amongst the possible explanations as morbid Hammers visit Etihad

Tonight's clash with a truly ebullient Man City was never going to an easy game for the Hammers but their quest for Premiership points has been frustrated by a mystery virus in the camp!

With Kurt Zouma still injured, the dreadful news is that Rice, Aguerd and Soucek have been sent home due to viral symptoms.

While the exact cause has yet to be identified, our in house Football microbiologist Prof Lars Windybottom has speculated that the cause of the mystery symptoms could be Rocky Mountain Yellow Spotted Fever.

Although the condition is rare outside of the Americas, it is knock to be more common in areas with high populations of Ticks, which again raises the problematic issue of residing in close proximity to Tottenham Hotspurs.

Either way, tonight has become  an even more terrifying prospect, with Erling Haaland only too happy to dispose of the mounting bodies amongst the sick and infirmed ranks of West ham. 

Let's hope Rice and Co make a speedy recovery.

David Moyes is rumoured to be considering settling for just a draw. 

West Ham United: Fabiański, Coufal, Kehrer, Ogbonna, Cresswell ©, Emerson, Bowen, Downes, Paquetá, Fornals, Antonio

Subs: Areola (GK), Anang (GK), Johnson, Lanzini, Cornet, Benrahma, Ings