Tag Archives: Jussi Jaaskelainen

And now, the end is near…

After last week’s miserable performance against Everton, we go into the final game of the season against Reading on Sunday expecting a much improved performance and maybe a little entertainment along the way. Maybe the occasion got to the players last week, but they were simply woeful, apart from James Collins and Jussi Jaaskelainen who prevented the score getting into double figures. With the last game being at home, I’m sure that Big Sam will get the lads juiced up for this one, and a home win is confidently expected. I had expected Sam to change things around a bit last week with Diame having a rest and Noble and Joe Cole starting, but he stuck with the same team as the week before. I think that was a mistake and I feel that at times he needs to use his whole squad more to keep people fresh.

As we drift over the finishing line, most peoples’ thoughts are with the impending and unending transfer sagas that will fill the summer months. It is clear that the manager and chairmen need to resolve the Andy Carroll issue one way or the other as early as possible, and at the same time try to tie down Mo Diame too, as I feel both signings will be vital. After that it will be all hands to the pumps to try to strengthen the side from the very long list of potential signings in Sam’s little black book. One interesting development is a news item that West Ham are interested in AC Milan’s Massimo Ambrosini. The 35 year old midfielder is the type of player that Big Sam likes to buy, as was evident back in his Bolton days when the likes of Jay-Jay Okocha, Nicolas Anelka, Ivan Campo and Youri Djorkaeff graced the pitch. Whether it will come off remains to be seen, but you can guarantee that over the next few months we will be linked with just about every player under the sun. It’s going to be a very long summer!

COYI

jussi jaaskelainen

Jussi – he’s a keeper!

Now West Ham are mathematically safe from the drop it’s time to turn one’s attention to next season, and the incessant transfer “rumours” that pervade the media from now onwards.

Of course, there is the Andy Carrol situation, and it is no secret that West Ham want him to stay. The obstacles, naturally, are the price on his head and his wage demands. I can just about see Liverpool slashing his price enough to make him worth buying, but the bigger stumbling block are his high wages. Although he seems to be happy at Upton Park, Carroll seems to be his own man, as Joe Cole recently pointed out. Whether he will follow the money, or go for a club that offers guaranteed European football, or stick with his mates remains to be seen.

One recent rumour in the media currently is news that West Ham are very interested in taking on Brad Guzan, Aston Villa’s keeper, with £5 million being bandied about. Now I find this one to be a tad strange. Villa are now safe from relegation, and Paul Lambert has a decent young side in the making. Guznan is now firmly established as the number one keeper at Villa after being given his chance by Lambert. I just cannot see why he would want to leave to join the Hammers. Sure, if Man Utd came along it might turn his head, but West Ham are not currently in a position to offer him a big step up from where he is now. Hopefully in a few years that will be different of course! Also, Jussi Jaaskelainen has had a storming season and is very high in most peoples’ Hammer of the Year list. True, he is getting on a bit, but now is not the time to replace him. Now is the time to maybe get a good young keeper with potential as his number two. So keep your 5 mill in your pocket Sam, or use it for the Andy Carroll fund. Because there is still life in old man Jussi yet, and long may it remain so.

westham-newcastle

West Ham vs Newcastle: Match Preview

Newcastle travel to Upton Park today in an intriguing encounter which could have a big say in this year’s relegation dog-fight. A win for West Ham would mean they are mathematically safe, while Newcastle are only 5 points ahead of Wigan having played a game more, and will be desperate for the points.

It is also intriguing for the number of sub-plots underpinning today’s game. Big Sam returns to the club that sacked him, a fact that clearly still rankles with the big man. Likewise Alan Pardew returns to his old club where he has many fond memories, but also where it all went horribly wrong. Add to all that both Kevin Nolan and Andy Carroll returning home, and you have a match that is not to be missed.

After Newcastle’s 6-0 drubbing by Liverpool last week, the Magpies are in serious trouble and their confidence is going to be shot. Pardew is sure to change the team around a bit, and Fabricio Coloccini may return to the centre of defence after injury. West Ham have no further injury problems with only James Tomkins and George McCartney on the treatment table.

Andy Carroll should have a large physical presence in the game today, and I fancy him to continue his good scoring run, although he is sure to have mixed feelings returning to his boyhood club. I thought that Big Sam would change the midfield around a bit last week, either bringing in Mark Noble or Joe Cole, but he persisted with the Vaz Te and Mo Diame combination. I can see Vaz Te dropping to the bench this week with Joe Cole starting, but Diame may continue in the middle if Sam doesn’t want to change things around. The defence is picking itself with Tomkins out, and the same can be said up front.

I can’t see any other result today other than a West Ham win with form so good at home. I reckon Jussi Jaaskelainen will provide another clean sheet today too, so I’ll plump for a 2-0 win with Carroll and Collins getting the goals.

If the Hammers do get the win, the club should announce a new contract for Mr Allardyce shortly after, and it is a contract much deserved after achieving the target of Premiership survival in a relatively comfortable manner. It should be an interesting summer too, with the necessity to improve from here and plenty of activity due in the transfer market.

COYI

mancity-westham

Man City 2 – 1 West Ham : Post match thoughts

West Ham’s 5 game unbeaten run came to an end against Manchester City on Saturday, when goals from Aguero and Yaya Toure were enough to seal the points, despite a late consolation goal from Andy Carroll.

It was another one of West Ham’s typical “away” performances, where solid defence was the priority and attacking options were limited. In truth, Manchester City could have had 5 or 6 were it not for some bad luck and some great saves from Jussi Jaaskelainen, who continued his fine run of form. City were by far the better attacking side, and maybe the best that can be said of West Ham is that they again proved hard to beat.

Carroll was again the Hammers best outlet, and if they fail to land his signature in the summer then they would be wise to have an alternative lined up as it is hard to see goals coming from anywhere else. Vitesse Arnhem’s Wilfried Bony would be a good choice, but now all sundry are after his services it is hard to see West Ham being his destination of choice.

At least it seems that there will be no sentiment getting in the way of hard-nosed business decisions, as Sam Allardyce was quoted today as saying that “To improve we just need to add better players, it’s a simple as that. If we get better players then we improve. If we can do that then we get better and we become an established Barclays Premier League side.” So hopefully there will be a sufficient transfer kitty available in the summer for Big Sam to get the players he needs. The Carroll situation will apparently be dealt with first, but things are looking a bit less optimistic on that front after reports in the Mirror that the striker has recently bought a house in Southport. It would be a shame to see him go as he has done a great job and is a firm favourite with the fans.

Finally, now the season is drawing to a close and survival is relatively assured, a lot people’s minds are focussing on the Hammer of the Year award. It’s going to be tough this year as there is no stand-out contender, but Diame, Reid, Collins, and Jaaskelainen have got to be contenders. In a year dominated by the defence, my two are Reid and Jaaskelainen, and at the moment I can’t decide between them. Both have been consistently outstanding, and I think I’ll have to flip a coin in the end! Please let me know who your HOTY is and why  🙂