Tag Archives: Premier League


Everton v West Ham : Time to blood the youngsters?

West Ham visit Goodison Park today aware that the main focus of the match will be the farewell and celebration of David Moyes in his last home game before his move to Manchester United.

Whether the occasion will affect Everton’s performance on the pitch remains to be seen, but it is clear that Big Sam wants to finish as high in the table as he can, given that he’ll need all the cash his chairmen can muster for the impending transfer window. With a sizeable fortune available for every place higher up in the Premiership trable, it is unlikely that Big Sam will use the fact that West Ham are now safe from relegation as an opportunity to blood some of the youngsters. It is a shame, but understandable, so we can therefore look forward to another largely unchanged side, playing the usual “away” tactics that we have seen all season. The team should therefore play in a defensive frame of mind with Carroll up front on his own. Everton will want to give Moyes a nice going away present, although their position in the table is unlikely to change now before the end of the season. They should have lion’s share of possession, and West Ham will try to strike on the counter attack. Although it is easy to criticise Mr Allardyce for employing such tactics, it is worth bearing in mind that without them, West Ham would surely not be safe right now, so not too many complaints from me.

As for the scoreline, I feel that Everton are going to nick this one by the odd goal, so I am going to go for 2-1 win to them. Here’s hoping I am wrong!


LINE-UPS – West Ham v Newcastle (1500 BST)

No changes for West Ham as Noble and Joe Cole have to make do with a starting position on the bench. Coloccini returns for Newcastle.

West Ham: Jaaskelainen, Demel, Collins, Reid, O’Brien, Diame, O’Neil, Vaz Te, Nolan, Jarvis, Carroll. Subs: Henderson, Carlton Cole, Collison, Taylor, Noble, Pogatetz, Joe Cole.

Newcastle: Elliot, Simpson, Steven Taylor, Coloccini, Yanga-Mbiwa, Ben Arfa, Cabaye, Tiote, Gouffran, Gutierrez, Cisse. Subs: Harper, Williamson, Anita, Perch, Gosling, Ameobi, Campbell.

Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire)


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.



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  🙂


Manchester City v West Ham – Match preview

West Ham travel to Manchester City on Saturday in the hope of obtaining the points needed to make them mathematically safe from relegation. It would take a miracle for anyone to catch them now, however, so the team should be relaxed and confident. Manchester City have little to play for now that Manchester United have sealed the Premiership title, and it remains to be seen how the City players will respond to this relatively meaningless fixture. For Man City, James Milner, Sergio Agüero and David Silva are fit again and come into the reckoning, and for West Ham everyone is fit bar Tomkins and McCartney. In midfield, Big Sam may be tempted to rest either Diame or O’Neill with Mark Noble pressing for a recall. Up front Joe Cole could replace Vaz Te. The defence should remain unchanged.

If Manchester City were still vying for the title, I would have gone for a home win here, but the mercenary nature of the City squad and the greater team spirit and work ethic of the Hammers gives me hope that they could pull off a shock here and take all 3 points back to London. There is no doubting the quality of the Man City squad, but Sam Allardyce has got the defence very organised and solid, and I take them to repel the City front line that could include old boy Carlos Tevez who, if he plays, is sure to receive a adoring welcome from the away support. Andy Carroll should continue his fine form and is fancied to score again, and Winston Reid is also due another goal in what has been an outstanding season from him.

Look out for a round of applause tomorrow in memory of Marc-Vivien Foe who played for both Man City and West Ham, and who tragically died in 2003 playing for Cameroon. His shirt number for Man City was 23, and they retired the shirt after his death. The tribute to him is due to start on 23 minutes.

In other news, Barry Hearn has been defeated in his attempt to seek yet another judicial review of the process to award the Olympic Stadium to West Ham. If true to his word, he should finally give up his battle to share the stadium with the Hammers. Despite his claims that he was fighting for the survival of his club Leyton Orient, his actions smack of those of an opportunist riding coattails on the back of the West Ham bid, hoping for a ride on the OS gravy train. The ironic thing is, because of his actions, West Ham now have to pay far less for the Olympic Stadium than they would have had to originally.


Wigan, Nolan and Carroll

West Ham continued their recent run of good results with a 2-0 victory over Wigan on Saturday. After the exertions of the 2-2 draw the Wednesday before with Manchester United, the performance itself was relatively poor. Wigan had about 60% possession in the match and had a number of chances to secure the game, but Jussi Jaaskelainen was in fantastic form again and kept the Hammers in it. A largely defensive display by West Ham was punctuated with the occasional counter attack, and Wigan were to rue their number of missed chances when goals from Matt Jarvis and Kevin Nolan completed an unlikely victory. In seasons past West Ham would have lost games like this, and it says a lot about the quality and organisation that Big Sam has brought to the side that they were able to smash and grab the points here.

The goal from Kevin Nolan was the hundredth of his career, and now he has crossed that psychological barrier I expect him to get at least a couple more by the end of the season. Andy Carroll was instrumental in setting up his good friend’s goal, and now that the end of the seaon is approaching, the West Ham PR machine is in full flow with regard to his possible permanent transfer from Liverpool.

Big Sam has spoken about how the Hammers simply cannot afford to buy Carroll when the Financial Fair Play rules come into force next season, and all and sundry are saying how vital it is that West Ham manage to keep Carroll next season. Of course it all comes down to money. Will Liverpool drop their asking price low enough? After shelling out £35 million on Carroll they will want to recoup as much as possible, but their current asking price of £17 million will surely not be met by anyone. Brendan Rodgers has also made it clear that if Carroll stays with Liverpool he will likely be a bit-part player, coming off the bench as an impact sub. Although Carroll knows he still has a point to prove at Liverpool, I cannot see him forgoing a regular starting spot, and the likelihood is that he would want to move on. Newcastle have also announced their ambition in Carroll’s direction, but they are in a similar position to West Ham who hold all the cards in the shape of Big Sam, best buddy Nolan, a style of football that is tailor-made for him, and the fact that Carroll is supposedly very happy where he is right now. Carroll’s wages are an obvious stumbling block, so it remains to seen how that will be resolved, but my feeling is that he will take a cut to stay where he is. Big Sam knows that that would be the best move for West Ham and has intimated that it would be the best move for Carroll too. Let’s hope that he does stay. Hero status is just around the corner.

West Ham v Wigan

West Ham v Wigan 20 April 2013: Match preview

West Ham go in today’s match against struggling Wigan with plenty of confidence after the exhilarating draw against Manchester United last Wednesday. Joe Cole is a surprise addition to the squad after recovering from a hamstring injury and is likely to start on the bench. Mark Noble made an appearance from the bench against Man Utd and looked in good form, so I expect him to replace Gary O’Neill who deserves a rest after his sterling performances recently. Mo Diame should make his second appearance against his former club. He was also in the side that lost 2-1 at Wigan last October.

Wigan are in desperate need of the points and they usually come good at this time of the season. They were unlucky to lose at Manchester City last Wednesday, and should be a stern test fro the Hammers today.

After the heroics on Wednesday I expect the Hammers to be a bit jaded, unless Sam Allardyce freshens things up with some new faces. I would not be surprised therefore if Jack Collison started with Noble and Diame had a rest on the bench. Carroll is on a roll, so he should start again.

Wigan are definitely one of West Ham’s bogey teams, so it wouldn’t surpise me if we lost today. Wigan are in a dogfight and are scrapping for every point, and it’s my opinion that they will be slightly more up for it than the Hammers.

West Ham have a reputation of playing well against the big teams and then losing against the poorer ones, so it will be a test of how far they have come under Sam Allardyce in the match today. If he can get the players in the right frame of mind and sufficiently refreshed, then I can see us winning 1-0. If the old West Ham turn up I fear us losing by the same margin. Time will tell.


West Ham v Man Utd

West Ham 2-2 Manchester United: Match Report

An eventful evening at Upton Park saw West Ham draw 2-2 with Manchester United, although the Hammers could easily have come away with all 3 points.

West Ham were out of the blocks early, in contrast to Man Utd who were slow to get into their stride as predicted. Andy Carroll was industrious in front of the watching Roy Hodgson, and Matt Jarvis was buzzing down the left hand side putting in some good crosses. In the 17th minute Jarvis turned Rio Ferdinand inside out, and his cross was headed back across goal for Ricardo Vaz Te to nod in West Ham’s opening goal. It was good to see Vaz Te on the scoresheet again after quite a while, He is very much a confidemce player and this performance will have done him the world of good.

After twenty minutes or so Man Utd started to get their game going, and James Collins made a few great tackles to thwart some dangerous attacks. In the 31st minute however, a slick passing move down the left and a cross from Van Persie enabled Kagawa to slip in Valencia to tap in from a couple of yards. It was a fine goal and showed that despite not playing at their best, Man Utd are always dangerous.

Carroll was certainly putting himself about, and Lee Probert, the referee, had to intervene when a spat with Wayne Rooney developed in the Man Utd box while they were awaiting a West Ham free kick. Carroll seemed to kick out at Rooney at one point, although he later claimed that it “just a bit of banter” with the Man Utd forward. Further controvery ensued when the free kick was taken as Carroll chased the aerial ball and collided heavily with de Gea in the Man Utd goal. Alex Ferguson was furious
with the challenge, and later claimed that Carroll should have been sent off. In his defence, Sam Allardyce said that Carroll simply could not stop his momentum and should have received a yellow at worst, even though no card was actually shown.

Carroll was again in the thick of the action later when another aerial tussle with de Gea led to a yellow card for the forward, although it looked like Carroll had done nothing wrong and it was just a case Probert making amends for earlier leniency. Carroll responded some minutes later with a rasping long shot that missed narrowly, and West Ham were giving as good as they got.

In the 55th minute, after some good interchange play down West Ham’s right between Vaz Te and Demel, Mo Diame picked up the ball outside the box and sent a fabulous curling shot around Kevin Nolan and into the corner of the net. Diame has certainly proved his worth this year and is now an integral part of this West Ham side, and Big Sam will do well to hang on to him in the summer.

Man Utd again looked to threaten, and Van Persie’s corner was thumped towards the net by Rooney, only for Gary O’Neil to clear off the line. Van Persie came close shortly after when his bullet header was acrobatically tipped over the bar by Jussi Jaaskelainen.

It looked like the Hammers were going to hang on for a famous win, but another Man Utd attack saw Kagawa’s deflected shot rebound off the post into the path of Van Persie, who finished with aplomb. This was hard to bear for West Ham as replays showed that Van Persie was indeed offside by a yard when Kagawa took his shot, and the goal should not have stood. Allardyce was apopleptic afterwards, although his verbal barrage against the officials stopped short of any disciplinary action being taken against him.

All in all, it was a great night for the Hammers. The defence looked rock solid, and Demel contributed well to the attack on many occasions. Gary O’Neil put in another good performance in the middle of the park together with Diame, and up front Vaz Te, Jarvis and Carroll were threat all evening.

Despite the disappointment of conceding the late goal, Allardyce was proud of the whole team, and it showed that on the night and in the right frame of mind, the Hammers are a match for anyone. If the home form can be replicated to the away matches, then a bright future lies ahead for the team.

Winston Reid and Mark Noble

Reid and Noble passed fit for Manchester United visit

David Gold confirmed today that Winston Reid and Mark Noble have both been passed fit for the visit of Man Utd on Wednesday night. James Tomkins is unfortunately still injured, so the expected changes to the team will be Reid in for Tomkins and Noble in for O’Neil, with Pogatetz back on the bench.

Southampton Preview

West Ham visit St Marys tomorrow knowing that another 3 points will virtually guarantee Premiership survival. It will be no easy task though against a rejuvenated Southampton side who have surprised many under new manager Mauricio Pochettino. It was a shock to many when Nigel Adkins got the boot and Pochettino was installed, but Southampton have confounded their critics and entered a run of form that has seen them beat Man City, Liverpool and Chelsea and pull clear of the drop zone.

For Southampton, former West Ham target Ricky Lambert should start, and along with Lallana, Rodriguez and Ramirez their attacking options are fearsome.

West Ham should make one change from the team that started against Liverpool, with Andy Carrol replacing Carlton Cole who had a rare start last week.  Although Allardyce stated that he was pleased with Cole’s performance against Liverpool, the more potent Carroll should hold sway now he is available for selection again. Tomkins seems to have recovered from the knock he picked up last week and retains his place as Winston Reid is still out with a thigh injury.

It will be a tough game for the Hammers although they triumphed 4-1 in the home tie last October. Southampton are a different proposition now though and I fancy Lambert to get on the score sheet once again. Carroll has also hit a vein of form though, so I’ll go for a 1-1 draw although my head says that Southampton will nick it.

In other news, Hammers goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen has had his contract extended by another year after triggering a clause based on appearances. Despite his age and losing his place in the side with his previous club Bolton, he has had a good year so far for West Ham, and his match winning performances of late have proved that although he might not be the force he once was, he can still cut the mustard in the Premier League.