Sunday 29 October 2023

Drab Dychian affair as Hammers unable to find opening

It's been a tricky first half for West ham as Everton have imposed their combatative, if limited, game on proceedings. 

Paqueta and Kudus have looked lively, while Everton have remained disciplined, if unadventurous. Dyche will feel his side are better suited to the scrappy fare as Everton look to gring out a much needed result.

Kudus picked up a bizarre yellow card after a nasty challenge from James Tarkowski, in which the Ecerton centre back seemed to leave a bt in for Kudus. Jordan Pickford then stood over the floored Kudus roaring into his face. Pickford also collected a yellow which will hopefully quieten his timewasting antics as the game progresses.

West ham need a goal to draw Everton out to play. They certainly haven't looked close to finding the key in the first half.

Moyes Shakes it up for Toffees Visit

West ham have enjoyed a pretty positive start to the season but after a run of poor results really need to get back to winning ways today. Lowly Everton come to the London stadium looking to push away from the relegation zone and will hope to beat West ham at their own counterattacking game.

Moyes will relish the opportunity to get one over on his old club and has unsurprisingly gone for his strongest starting XI. The big talking points are the return of Aaron Cresswell for Emerson who is on a ban, while Moyes intentions are clear with the switch of Soucek to the bench and a rare start for Kudus. 

How Bowen and Kudus line out is less clear as both prefer the right wing, but either can slip more centrally to slot in behind Antonio. Alternatively, Moyes might push Antonio to the left and push either Bowen or Kudus to the centre.

Either way, Moyes clearly plans to attack an Everton defence that looks vulnerable. 

There's plenty on the bench if needed but disappointingly no spot for Divin Mubama who must be starting to wonder what he can do to get a chance in this strong squad?

Rory Nostradamus predicts a 3-1 win for Moyes' men. 



West Ham United: Areola, Coufal, Zouma(c), Aguerd, Cresswell, Alvarez, Ward-Prowse, Paqueta, Kudus, Bowen, Antonio. 

Subs: Fabianski, Soucek, Fornals, Mavropanos, Cornet, Ings, Ogbonna, Benrahma, Kehrer.

Friday 27 October 2023

Hammers in one hell of a mess

David Moyes' men left Athens last night with their tails between their legs after a sound thumping from Olympiacos. In truth, the 2-1 scoreline did little justice to the Greek's dominance in a game where the Hammers didn't show up until the final fifteen minutes.

Moyes opted for a starting lineup consisting mainly of fringe players, presumably hoping that the hunger of those on the margins would translate into an energetic performance. It didn't!

The Hammers looked lacklustre and disorganised. Without Bowen, Paqueta and Antonio we lacked any cutting edge up front, while defensively we struggled with Olympiacos' width and then descended into circus antics in front of goal. 

Olympiacos' first goal resulted from a stunning failure to close down a meandering run along the 18 yard box and a cruel deflection off Mavropanos. Instead of hitting back, we then conceded an embarrassingly sloppy second on the cusp of half time as Ogbonna and Areola miscommunicated and a seemingly benign cross scuttled into the net. 

It was easy to blame our defence for the 0-2 scoreline at half-time but in reality our top half had totally misfired. It was hard to choose between Fornals, Ings and Benrahma as to who was the most unimpressive (or disinterested) as we seemed to feel entitled to get another European win by only showing up! Olympiacos, in comparison were full of energy and commitment, constantly coming out on top in 50-50 collisions.

Mercifully, half time came but instead of a second half revival, the next 30 minutes were dominated by the Greeks who truly had the bit between their teeth. Spurred on by their fans giant banner that read "Tonight you dine in hell" they hunted in packs and should have gone further ahead.

Moyes brought on the bomb squad, but they too stuttered and it wasn't until too late that Paqueta scored a majestic goal to open the door on an unlikely comeback. Along the way, Danny Ings missed a massive chance (again). Worryingly, once again we created almost nothing of note from a string of Ward-Prowse corners, getting lost in bully-boy antics in the six yard box.

Last night was the first time you could really sense the absence of Declan Rice's leadership and energy. 

So, it's back to the drawing board. Everton at home on Sunday is a big chance to get going again, while Olympiacos' visit in a fortnight gives us a chance for some revenge.


Sunday 8 October 2023

Hammers set to rock the toon

It's fifteen minutes to kick off and the teamsheets are in. The Hammers starting XI is pretty much as predicted, with Kudus, Kehrer, Benrahma and Fornals on the bench. 

Mavropanos is missing today. 

Jarrod Bowen has never scored against Newcastle but will fancy his chances against Dan Burn at right back for the Toon.

Newcastle have Callum Wilson on the bench hoping to add to his dozen previous goals against the Irons. 

Let's do this!

West Ham United: Areola, Coufal, Zouma ©, Aguerd, Emerson, Álvarez, Souček, Ward-Prowse, Paquetá, Bowen, Antonio

Subs: Fabiański (GK), Kehrer, Ogbonna, Fornals, Kudus, Cornet, Benrahma, Ings, Mubama

Newcastle United: Pope, Trippier, Schär, Lascelles ©, Burn, Tonali, Longstaff, Guimarāes, Almirón, Anderson, Isak

Subs: Dúbravka (GK), Dummett, Targett, Livramento, Hall, Manquillo, Murphy, Ritchie, Wilson

Match preview: Here come the Toon

This afternoon sees a buoyant Newcastle United side visit the Olympic Stadium to do battle with David Moyes' men. The game is particularly signifiant as both sides fancy a top-six finish and come the run in the division of points in this clash will be an important decider of places in the top half of the league.

Newcastle have looked swashbuckling at times, including an eight goal demolition of the tragic Blades, but with losses to Man city, Liverpool and Brighton, rest just below the Hammers. 

Newcastle have traditionally been poor away from home, but the counterattacking capacity of their current squad has changed all of that. Boosted by Saudi cash, Eddie Howe has invested wisely and on their day his side can be ruthlessly effective. Their 4-1 thumping of PSG in midweek serving due warning to Moyes as to how formidable they can be if you go toe to toe with them.

But Moyes rarely gets dragged into a slugfest and one expects will try to frustrate the Toon and look to catch them on the break or at the marvellous James Ward-Prowse's set pieces. 

The Hammers have enough squad depth to have rested Zouma and Antonio in the midweek win away to Freiberg, but their were long shifts for Bowen, Paqueta and Ward-Prowse.

Newcastle have significant injury problems just now with Barnes, Willock and Botman ruled out, while Joelinton and Hammers bogeyman Callum Wilson doubts. Anthony Gordon is suspended.

Kick off is 2pm. Rory Nostradamus s calling a 2-2 draw.