Saturday 30 December 2023

Has Moyes finally ditched the 'boring' tag?

It has certainly been an emotional December at West ham! Kicking off with a dull and disappointing draw at home to Palace, followed by an amusing win away to Spurs, Motes men headed to Craven cottage in expectation. The 5-0 horror show was unexpected but in part due to a viral illness running through the squad. 

But Moyes' sides never lie down and bounced vack with impressive wins over Wolves and Freiberg, the latter booking a Europa quarter final place and ensuring further European frolics well into the New year.

A Carabao cup quarter final came up next - Moyes was left with a tough dilemma as although the other 3 semi finalists were hardly terrifying, his overstretched squad looked tired. He decided to give tge fringe players their chance and they fluffed it with an embarrassing 5-1 thumping. Disappointing to concede so many, but the performance was simply appauling.

Suddenly Moyes was under pressure - the doubters felt that a European trophy and top half football was not adequate to justify a new contract. Moyes needed his troops to rally around hime and they truly delivered with back to back victories over Man Utd and, remarkably, a super-rare win away to the Gooners!

The latter result was all the more impressive given the absences of Zouma and Aguerd, with Paqueta only making it through the first quarter before limping off. Put simply, the system worked despite reduced personnel.

If the pattern continues we can expect a mauling by Brighton but who knows what the Hammers will throw up next? 

It's certainly not boring!

Saturday 23 December 2023

Reckoning time for Moyes the Gambler!

There's barely a dull moment at West ham these days as results vary from emrrassing (0-5 vs Fulham, 1-5 vs Liverpool) to impressive (3-0 vs Wolves and a comfortable 2-0 vs Freiberg).

As a result, more temperamental fans have swung from 'he's a genius' to 'please rid us of this outdated management', with barely a pause for any middle ground.

Perhaps Moyes has become infected by the thrill of uncertainty, because in surrendering a semi-final place in a very winnable Carabao cup, he planted all his eggs in the basket labelled 'beat Man united'!

Failure to get a result today will push many observers over the edge and add to the questions around Moyes tactics and overall game management.

But a cold analysis of Hammers recent form must include two key observations; (1) Wolves and Freiberg were home games, while Liverpool and Fulham were both away, and (2) against Fulham we had players out or below par with a squad virus and against Liverpool we omitted the central axis of our side by not starting Zouma, Aguerd, Paqueta and Ward Prowse.

So cheer up Hammers fans, we can expect a committed performance from our best XI today, against a faltering Man Utd.

Anything less will tip a lot of fans towards a new set up.


Wednesday 20 December 2023

Moyes has eyes on Saturday as weakened team starts at Anfield

As the teamsheets have been revealed it's clear that David Moyes views Saturdays clash with Man Utd as the 'big un' of this week.

With Zouma, Ward-Prowse and Paqueta all benched, it's clear he feels a win at the weekend is the priority.

That said, Fornals and Benrahma will relish the start and have lots to prove as clubs are perched ahead of the January transfer window - with one rumour that Barcelona are looking at the Spaniard.

A CB pairing of Ogbonna and Mavropanos doesn't instill total confidence but with Soucek and Alvarez in front of them that will hopefully add some solidity.

Otherwise, it's pretty clear that Moyes is planning a smash n grab raid with a small but pacy front line. Let's pray to the Gods of Football for turnover ball!

Thilo Kehrer will be disappointed to start from the bench. 

Liverpool start without Salah, Alexander-Arnold and Diaz. 



West Ham United: Areola, Coufal, Mavropanos, Ogbonna ©, Johnson, Álvarez, Souček, Fornals, Kudus, Benrahma, Bowen 

Subs: Fabiański (GK), Zouma, Kehrer, Cresswell, Emerson, Ward-Prowse, Paquetá, Ings, Mubama

Cat and Mouse as Liverpool await Hammers

Tonight's Carabou cup quarter final clash is truly intriguing as Liverpool and West ham seek a semi-final spot whilst both are looking towards huge games at the weekend.

Liverpool will face Arsenal in their ost important Premirship game so far this season but will be needing to be careful in team selection against a tricky Hammers side who taught Arsenal a lesson when the Gooners arrived with a less than full strength side in the last round.

However, David Moyes will want to keep as much back as possible for the visit of Man Utd on Saturday as ultimately those two sides look very likely to be in a dogfight for the 6th place spot when the seasons reaches its climax.

All of which makes for much speculation about the potential starting XIs for tonight. West ham have an abysmal record at Anfield but never the less pine for domestic cup success. 

Speaking with a Liverpool supporting friend i told him that Moyes intentions will be clear once we know if he is starting Zouma, Paqueta, Bowen and Kudus. If all four start then he means proper business. 

However, a big criticism of Moyes is his stubborn tactic of playing negatively against the top six - usually with disappointing results! If this Liverpool side has an achilles heal it is defensively. As such, it makes sense to play with an aggressive stance. 

One big positive is that whatever happens there will be no extra time as it is straight to penalties if the sides are level at full time. 

The worst case scenario for Moyes would be to field his strongest starting XI and lose on penalties.

The lineups ill be announced shortly.


Sunday 17 December 2023

Both Craft and Grit behind Hammers Success

What a difference a week makes. After a dreadful 5-0 drubbing of our virus-ridden side by Fulham last weekend, Moyes' men bounced back with an impressive (and important) 2-0 win over Freiberg on Thursday followed by a clinical 3-0 thumping of Wolves this afternoon. We are 8th and looking nicely perched as we move into the Christmas fixturefest.

Wolves simply couldn't match the swashbuckling style of our front line, as Kudus was almost un-markable (and really hard to dispossess once he gets his feet on the ball). Paqueta is a magician - constantly dreaming up exotic ways to hurt the opposition, while throwing himself around midfield. Bowen is an incisive presence, with stunning accuracy both inside and outside the box!

While the floating front line of Bowen, Paqueta and Kudus has really found it's rhythm, there is also plenty of grit at the back as Zouma, Aguerd and Coufal are in top form. The recovery of form by Coufal has made a huge difference in both defence and attack. The Czech dynamo probably drifted into Julian Dicks territory at times today but you've got to admire the passion.

Meanwhile, Kudus and Paqueta are running a circus tricks sideshow to keep fans entertained, as Alvarez, Ward-Prowse and Soucek look after the housekeeping in front of the defence.

It would be wrong to overlook Lucasz Fabianski's excellent form, having come in to shore things up in Areola's absence - he made a number of key saves today that stopped Wolves gaining momentum.

Liverpool in midweek will be a tough encounter, with the prize a semi-final spot in the League cup. Man United come calling next Saturday and no doubt Moyes will fancy our chances against his former employer. 

Even Roy Keane reckons West ham can bag a European slot this year.....

It's a veritable smorgasmoboard of entertainment just now!


Thursday 14 December 2023

Exciting clash awaits humbled Hammers

It's another night of European action at the London stadium as in-form Freiberg come looking to topple the Hammers off the top of their Europa League group table.

The game is certainly no dead-rubber as the winners will avoid a tricky play off against one of the sides dropping into the Europa League from the Champions League.

That would certainly add to what is already a congested fixture programme - but with the likes of AC Milan, Benfica, Galatassaray and Feyenoord in the draw, getting a result is a priority.

The Hammers only need a draw as they overcame Frieberg in Germany, but after a 5-0 humbling at Fulham at the weekend, they need to up their game against a Freiberg side that are on a three game winning streak. 

Sitting in 8th in the Bundesligo, with the Hammers mid-table in the Premiershio, both sides will want to maintain their challenge in Europe.

It's a strong starting XI, with just Zouma missing from Moyes' best starting XI. 

West Ham United: Fabiański, Coufal, Mavropanos, Aguerd, Emerson, Álvarez, Ward-Prowse, Souček, Kudus, Paquetá, Bowen

Subs: Areola (GK), Johnson, Kehrer, Cresswell, Zouma, Ogbonna, Coventry, Fornals, Benrahma, Cornet, Mubama, Ings