Monday, December 31, 2007

Arsenal vs West Ham - Predictions

Nolberto Solano, Scott Parker and Freddie Ljungberg all face late fitness tests for West Ham and Curbishley may struggle to name eleven players and a full bench.

Arsenal will be without the suspended Bendtner and will rest Bacary Sagna. Eboue, rested on Saturday, will probably return and Theo Walcott may be available for the Gunners again.

Despite being impressed with West Ham's win against Man Yoo Mark Lawrenson has still learnt nothing and is predicting a 'comfortable' win for Arsenal tomorrow. He says the score will be 2-0.

Setanta think West Ham's injury problems will prove too much and also predict a 2-0 loss.

Sky Sports note that West Ham are the only side to have beaten Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium in the Premier League. However they think West Ham will lose 2-1.

West Ham Transfer Window Part 2

Sky Sports have today reported their club-by-club likely transfer movement. Their ideas about West Ham's January targets are different than mine and because they have more resources and contacts than me it should be more accurate.

They believe Bent is unlikely to become a first choice striker at his present club and is a player Curbishley would be prepared to spend big on (for my thoughts read the post below).

They also say West Ham are in the market for a defensive midfielder (a position I would argue that we are actually strongest in). They say that Mohamed Sissoko, who has been displaced by Mascherano, is a player West Ham would welcome.

The only other player Sky mention is Barnes for whom they say the rumours 'refuse to go away.'

West Ham's Transfer Window

After the excitement of last January and the action over the summer I have a feeling West Ham are not going to see much transfer action in the next month. I also suspect the club may see more departures in this window than arrivals as Curbishley is forced to reduce the squad and wage bill.

Lets start with


Pantsil, Davenport and Quashie seem to have little first team opportunity at West Ham and may well be on the way out. Of the first team players Bobby Zamora seems to be the player most linked with other clubs.

Zamora's injury has kept him out of the first team and led journalists to speculate that he is unhappy at the club or not valued by Curbishley. I would be very surprised if he did move on. Pantsil and Quashie could well be sold, however Curbishley may wait until later in the month and the return from injury of other players.


Matt Derbyshire, Giles Barnes, Nicky Shorey, Darren Bent are all being linked with West Ham. Bent I think we can dismiss as a non-starter. Barnes and Shorey have long term contracts and despite being previous West Ham targets I don't think West Ham will be desperate to break the bank in order to provide offers too tempting to resist.

Matt Derbyshire is an interesting prospect. He seems to have taken a step back this year at Blackburn and has featured far less in their first team than last season. If Curbishley is desperate to sign another forward I think Derbyshire is just the kind of player he would target. He may even be affordable even with the limited transfer funds Curbishley is likely to have available

Sunday, December 30, 2007

West Ham Goals

West Ham in the Sundays

According to The Mirror Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp is ready to rescue West Ham striker Bobby Zamora from his West Ham misery by taking the striker on loan until the end of the season.

Zamora when fit has been West Ham's first choice striker for quite a while so presumably The Mirror are talking about Zamora's injury misery and Harry's well known mystical healing abilities.

The People say that West Ham are ready to offer £5million for Newcastle United defender Steven Taylor and hope to tempt Sp~@s with a £12million bid for Darren Bent.

The Star and The Mirror say that fuming West Ham fans have set up an online petition in a bid to stop a proposed groundshare with Sp~@s.

Faint Praise for West Ham

The Express say West Ham mounted 'a stirring fight-back' to beat Man Utd. If that strikes you as faint praise for West Ham's performance yesterday then you will be shocked by the reactions of most of the other papers.

The Mail as always are begrudging in their praise of West Ham and thought Man Utd were 'below their best'. Although the paper is nice enough to quote Alex Ferguson admitting "We were beaten by the better team."

The Guardian has probably the least flattering account of the match. In fact they obviously saw a different game from everybody else when they claim that Man Utd 'should not have lost this match.' and were 'in control for much of it.' The Guardian must also not have seen any of the statistics from yesterday's game which show West Ham controlled possession, territory and restricted Man Utd to very few shots.

The Guardian ignore West Ham's greater possession, corners and number of shots and say 'West Ham were fighting for scraps and long balls.'

Despite West Ham's poor performance the paper shockingly gives their Man of the Match to Mark Noble. They say he can 'cross a ball and at the end of an afternoon of enervating running between the lines he twice played his centre-backs in for goal.'

The Independent also seem unsure how West Ham won. They felt Curbishley's 4-5-1 formation was 'undermined when a glorious chance was missed early on and the visitors scored instead.' They then seem shocked that Curbishley put on two substitutes before finally bringing on Ashton. I suppose you do have to question a manager's tactics after he beats the league champions and leaders.

The Times however give praise where it is due, saying "West Ham, who played with five in midfield and the excellent Carlton Cole as a lone striker, played the neater and more industrious football." In fact The Times felt that Carlton Cole was the Man of the Match and claim that 'Cole has been a revelation this season.'

The Telegraph are perhaps the most fulsome in their praise of the winning West Ham team. They thought West Ham 'were too good for ... United'. They say West Ham 'could ... have put the game out of United's reach in the first half.' Noting that West Ham have been criticised for their lack of creativity this season they say "there was nothing wrong with their invention yesterday. Their finishing, maybe."

The Telegraph in naming Mark Noble as Man of the Match say he won 100% of his tackles, set up West Ham's two goals and completed 84 per cent of his passes.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

West Ham 2 Man Utd 1

Matthew Upson
West Ham started the game well with some early pressure and a shot from Lucas Neil inside the first minute missing by a matter of yards. In the eighth minute West Ham should have taken the lead when Mullins was put through. His shot from the right of the six yard box hit the post and bounced out to Noble. Noble had a more or less open goal in front of him but his five yard shot flew over the bar.

Having missed a sitter it was almost inevitable that Man Utd would score from about their only shot of the half. In the 14th minute Giggs crossed into the box from the left and Ronaldo headed home from 6 yards to give Man Utd the lead.

West Ham finished the half the stronger of the two sides and managed to carve out a few opportunities to level the game. Solano came close when he spotted Kuszczak off his line, but his 25 yard shot was just tipped over the bar by a back-pedalling keeper. In the 41st minute a Noble cross was headed over by Cole from 6 yards.

West Ham started the second half the better team and had a chance early on with a Solano free-kick in the 47th minute. Solano from 25 yards put the ball wide of the left hand post but in the process seemed to pull a muscle.

Solano had to be replaced with Pantsil. Eight minutes later West Ham's luck deteriorated even further when Curbishley was forced to bring on Ferdinand for Parker.

Having lost probably their best two players at the start of the second half it looked like a win would be beyond West Ham. The win looked impossible in the 66th minute when Spector handled the ball in his own area and the referee gave Man Utd a penalty. Ronaldo smashed the penalty low to the left of the goal and missed by a whisker.

From then on it was all West Ham. In the 77th minute West Ham won two corners in succession. Noble took the second from the right wing and Ferdinand rose and headed the ball down and past the diving Kuszczak from four yards. In the 82nd minute Noble crossed a free kick from wide on the right wing into the box. An onrushing Upson jumped the highest and headed the ball home from 7 yards.

Man Utd finally came alive for the last few minutes but never truly troubled Green.


West Ham vs Man Utd Live

We are spoilt for choice today for West Ham streams. However a lot of the streams seem to be for delayed coverage.

FSi have TrueSport 1 links for SopCast and TVAnts stating at 3pm.

LiveFooty have links for TVAnts and SopCast (so presumably for TrueSports).

Most other streaming formats are available for the delayed coverage. FSi have links.

Radio commentary is on Radio Five Live online (UK only).

Baby Bolshoi Not Baby Bentley

Anton Ferdinand has generated some positive publicity through an interview with The Guardian. The paper highlights the work Ferdinand does for West Ham's community schemes and the fact that he is one of the more proactive campaigners for Kick Racism Out of Football.

The interview is obviously geared towards refocusing Ferdinand's image away from being a member of the Baby Bentley Brigade and more towards a hard working player who hasn't forgotten his roots. The paper make much of Ferdinand's visits to his home in Peckham and his desire to join his brother in the England team.

However I'm not sure Rio will forgive him for outing his childhood ballet lessons.

West Ham vs Man Utd

Curbishley has very little scope to change the team around after the poor showing against Reading. Lee Bowyer (groin), Kieron Dyer (broken leg), Julien Faubert (Achilles), Matthew Etherington (groin), Bobby Zamora (knee), Craig Bellamy (stomach), James Collins, Daniel Gabbidon and Calum Davenport are all still out with injuries. Luis Boa Morte has been struggling with a thigh complaint and will face a late fitness test.

It is therefore no surprise that most of the pundits are predicting a bad day for West Ham tomorrow at The Boleyn.

Mark Lawrenson of the BBC thinks that Tevez will be 'too much for the Hammers to handle.' He predicts a 0-2 loss.

Sky Sports agree with the BBC and predict a 0-2 loss for West Ham.

Setanta seem to think West Ham will give Ronaldo some 'rough stuff' and predict a 1-3 loss for West Ham.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Tevez's Return

Matthew Upson believes Tevez will be given a hero's return tomorrow at The Boleyn,

"Carlos will get a fantastic reception. All our fans respect him for what he did and he will be welcomed back for the rest of his life, to be honest," said the West Ham defender.

Interestingly Tevez's return highlights all that was missing in the West Ham team that turned up against Reading. Tevez does not just possess the individual skill and creativity that West Ham are missing this season but also shows the passion and determination to win football games that was so woefully absent on Boxing Day.

Bent for West Ham

The Daily Star and Daily Mail have today resurrected the rumour linking Darren Bent with West Ham. I thought the rumour had been scotched just four days ago when Sp@~s said he was not for sale. I still can't see them taking a huge loss on the player six months after buying him.

Monday, December 24, 2007

West Ham To Sign Barnes?

The Daily Mail say West Ham are not interested in signing Darren Bent. Alan Curbishley is looking to bring a striker in on loan but 'the club are unenthusiastic about doing any major business.'

The Sun disagrees that West Ham are not interested in making any signings and say that West Ham have agreed a deal to sign Derby winger Giles Barnes for £5 million. They say the deal has been sanctioned by West Ham chairman Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson and that Derby manager Paul Jewell has agreed the move to raise cash for his own signings.

A number of websites are reporting this as a done deal. I'm always a bit sceptical about stories emanating from The Sun. I guess we only have a week to wait for the truth.

This blog is now taking a break for two days and will be back on the 27th December.

Have a Happy Christmas one and all!

West Ham Goals

From the Lizard VidLog, who seem to manage to avoid having their videos deleted by the EPL.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

West Ham in the Papers

The People have caught up with the rest of the world in reporting that Eidur Gudjohnsen is staying at Barcelona dashing West Ham's hopes of signing him.

The People also say that Bobby Zamora is on West Ham manager Alan Curbishley's hit list of players he wants out of Upton Park in January.

Zamora, Callum Davenport, Nigel Quashie and Pantsil will all be sold as he looks to trim his 33 man squad and cut down on the club's massive wage bill. Axeing that quartet will save the club close to £500,000 a month and will also raise around £2 million in case Curbishley decides to buy (strange maths - Zamora has got to be worth at least £5 million on his own).

The News of the World names the same four players. They say owner Gudmundsson has insisted Curbishley must cut down on the senior squad so that the club can afford a new stadium.

However if Curbs sells he may be able to buy. Bent and Shorey are top of Curbishley's wanted list and the Hammers would also be interested in luring Eidur Gudjohnson.

What the Papers Saw

The Mail thought Ashton responded 'perfectly to taunts about his expanding waistline' by scoring West Ham's first. Noticing this was West Ham's 'fifth away victory of the season' the paper were left pondering why we can't win at home.

The Guardian call West Ham one of the 'Premier League's less glamorous outfits and remained unimpressed by West Ham's win. "Rarely can the visitors have put in such a mediocre performance on the road yet come away with maximum points." The paper however did grudgingly give their man of the match to Ashton.

The Mail on the other hand were impressed by Parker who "danced around Wheater with ease and then buried a composed shot beyond Mark Schwarzer". The Mail also had praise for Solano who they felt was 'prominent'.

The Times feel that 'on their travels Curbishley’s side have been among the best in the division.' They feel that a 'resilience (has) developed under Curbishley'. Scott Parker, the player who has shown the most resilience for West Ham in the last few games, was named their man of the match.

The Telegraph concentrate on Boro's weaknesses but believe 'West Ham appear upwardly mobile.'

The Telegraph also has a long interview with West Ham legend Clyde Best who is now working for the prison service in his native Bermuda.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Middlesbrough 1 West Ham 2

A dour game, with neither side able to create many goal scoring opportunities, seemed to be heading towards half time without any real goal mouth action. Then in the 38th minute a Downing cross was headed on by Aliadiere and David Wheater shot home from six yards.

Immediately after the goal Boro pushed on looking for a second but after five minutes of soaking up the pressure and a minute before the break West Ham broke up field, Camara passed to Ashton and from 20 yards he drilled the ball into the bottom left of the goal.

The second half was a bit more entertaining than the first but again there were very few goal scoring opportunities. West Ham had a reasonable chance six minutes into the half when West Ham were awarded a free kick 35 yards out. Solano's drilled shot forced Schwarzer to rise and tip the ball over the bar.

With the game seemingly strolling to a draw in the 90th minute Parker picked up the ball in the Boro penalty area. He shifted the ball onto his right foot and fired the ball home from 12 yards.

Come on you Irons!!

West Ham's Poor Home Form

Alan Curbishley says he is not unduly worried about West Ham's home form, especially as three of the losses were against Arsenal, and the in form Man City and Everton,

"I think at home you are set a different set of problems to try and deal with and for us in them three games just mentioned - they have gone in the lead - which gives you another situation to deal with. In a lot of games away from home, we have gone in the lead," said the West Ham manager.

"I would like a few more points - the players that have been playing have done fantastically well. I can't ask for much more in terms of effort, the commitment of the players but in the home games you are asked one or two more questions. Perhaps that's what we have to think about."

Boro vs West Ham

Live Footy has two streams for the game. You will need either TVUPlayer and Sopcast now seems to have just the one TVAnts stream (streams don't work in Firefox so use IE).

MyP2P has a link for TVAnts

The Worst Tackles Ever

Inspired by a topic on the KUMB forum I've put together a mini compilation of the worst football tackles.

The winner is:

In Second Place: Keane's "tackle" on Haaland

Third Place: Kevin Ball for Burnley against Blackburn

Fourth Place: Scumacher on Patrick Battiston, 1982 World Cup

Honourable Mention: Zidane (lthough not the dirtiest it is certainly the funniest)
Zidane's Headbut on Materazzi

Friday, December 21, 2007

West Ham vs Boro

Lawro true to form has decided to ignore West Ham's good away record and Boro's average home record and predicts a 2-0 loss for West Ham.

Sky have noticed that West Ham 'travel well' but are impressed by Boro's last two games so predict 1-1 score draw.

Setanta think that West Ham's record of 18 out of a possible 22 points against teams in the bottom half of the table gives the Irons the advantage. They predict a 1-2 away win to West Ham.

Tomkins Makes West Ham Squad

The Daily Mail say that teenage defender James Tomkins will be named in West Ham's squad for tomorrow's game. Injuries to Ferdinand, Gabbidon and Collins (doubtful) means Tomkins will be named in the first team squad for the first time.

The Mail also says that Lee Bowyer, Craig Bellamy (both abdominal), Matthew Etherington (groin) and Luis Boa Morte are all out of contention for tomorrow's game.

Hopefully The Mail is being a little premature as the official site says that Curbishley will leave it as late as possible before deciding on the fitness of Boa Morte and Collins.

West Ham in for Bent

According to The Sun West Ham are ready to launch a £10 million bid for Darren Bent.

The paper says that Sp@#s chief Juande Ramos needs to sell to raise transfer funds and that Darren Bent has told Curbishley that it is untrue he didn't want to play for him.

However it seems unlikely that Sp@#s, having signed Bent in the summer, will be prepared to take a £6.5 million loss in just six months.

More West Ham Good News

Following on from the good news that Craig Bellamy will not need a second operation West Ham have released positive updates on the injuries to Dyer and Faubert.

Alan Curbishley says,

"Faubert has been given the all-clear to start next week and Kieron Dyer has been given the all-clear to step up and to do some light jogging."

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Bellamy Avoids Op

West Ham have revealed that Craig Bellamy does not require an operation to cure his stomach problems. The club had feared that the player would need an operation to solve the problem that has kept him out of the squad since October.

"It has now been decided that the op was a last resort," said Curbishley.

"The surgeons have agreed it's not what was needed and that just a lot of hard work was required, which is what he is doing now. We've locked him away with the physiotherapist and the fitness coach to work as hard as he can and to try and recover.

He has got to do this for a couple of weeks as well as all the core fitness work to build up his groin and stomach muscles."

West Ham Monitor Canadian International

According to The Daily Telegraph West Ham are monitoring FC Copenhagen player Atiba Hutchinson.

Hutchinson is an international for Canada. In his career he has played as a central midfielder, a winger and sometimes even as a striker. West Ham were said by the player's agent to have shown interest in Hutchinson in the summer.

West Ham Injury Update

Freddie Ljungberg has made light of the fuss made over his migraine headaches,

“I normally get it once a year, unfortunately, hopefully I am done and dusted with it. It is always annoying, it is not the easiest thing and I feel now that I am fit.”

Ljungberg also said that he felt 'very good' now that he has two full games under his belt.

The other piece of good news is the continuing recovery of Faubert who says he thinks he will start his West Ham playing career in January,

"It's great to be back with my team-mates,” said Faubert. “It was important to recover in the right environment and it was a shame to pick up the injury so soon into my West Ham career. I am now focusing on getting back to full fitness."

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

West Ham Players in Fancy Dress

The West Ham Xmas party involved the players dressing up in fancy dress. The Sun put together this slide show of the various efforts.

James Collins' outfit wins the most frightening prize!

Hot Air Holds Up West Ham's New Stadium

According to today's Sun the gasometers in the interactive map below are set to explode West Ham's dreams of a new 70,000 seater stadium. The paper claims that these gasometers are now protected buildings and therefore can't be demolished.

The Parcelforce site is the area to the right and then running along the tube line to the south. I have no idea if the area with the gasometers is the planned area of the new stadium. The area to the north of the canal, around the West Ham Pumping Station, is quite nice for walking (currently partly closed off because of development work for the Olympics) and the gasometers are a real blot on the landscape so I certainly hope they aren't protected.

Coincidently if you scroll the map a little eastwards the Memorial Park (at the other end of Memorial Ave from West Ham tube station) is where West Ham played at the turn of the 20th century.

View Larger Map

West Ham Transfer Rumours

Despite Alan Curbishley saying West Ham are not looking to increase their squad in January the fact that Eidur Gudjohnsen has stated very clearly that he is happy at Barcelona and will not be leaving the club has persuaded the media that West Ham are to launch another bid for the striker.

However some of Curbishley's recent comments suggest that the latest injury crisis have helped to change his mind,

"I've got players with no date to come back and players with a date to start training. One or two more have taken an injury today, so we need to assess it as it goes along," revealed Curbishley.

"The squad is strong enough, but I've got to get them fit. If they are not, then we may have to do something in the January transfer window, but, as I found out last year, it's very difficult."

I think West Ham feel that they were to held to ransom in some of the panic buying last January and are sending out a clear message this year that they won't pay over the odds in either transfer funds or wages.

West Ham - Missing Eggy Already

eggy and Gudmundsson
The replacement of Eggert Magnusson as chairman of West Ham by Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson, means we are now effectively run not by a football man but by a businessman. Admittedly, being one of the richest men in the world Gudmundsson is presumably a very good businessman. However with Eggy the West Ham fans saw a man who didn't just know about football but had a passion for it at as well.

Eggy quickly became a favourite at The Boleyn because the fans could see that he cared for the team emotionally. OK, so Eggy never quite signed the big name players that he promised but you could tell that he tried and that he wanted to see them playing at West Ham. Gudmundsson on the overhand for the moment seems to want to invest not so much in the playing staff but in the infrastructure.

Don't get me wrong. Having a man at the helm who has the long term future of the club at heart and who has the financial wealth to see it through is a wonderful thing to behold. You only have to think back fourteen months and to the mess that Brown left the club in to realise how bright the future now looks.

However I can't help thinking that Gudmundsson has got his plans arse about face. I'd like to see a side that can challenge for Europe built before a shiny new stadium. I'd like to see a new striker and a creative midfielder bought in January.

I'd like to see my Eggy back.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Noble to Fight For Place

West Ham's Mark Noble is pleased to have recovered from his injury problems and is keen to return to the first team,

"I have come back from my hernia operation and Hayden and Scotty have been playing well. Hopefully I will get my chance soon and get my place back and crack on and play as well as I can do."

Noble also thinks there is no reason to panic after recent defeats,

"We have got enough players, we have got enough ability to be beating the likes of Everton at home. Obviously the fans will stick by us and we will always get a good travelling away support. We just need to pick up our points at home and then I am sure we will be all right."

Curbs England Fears

Alan Curbishley has been widely quoted today as saying that an Englishman may never be appointed to the post of England manager,

"Steve McClaren sheltering under his umbrella as England lost to Croatia last month may well be the last image we have of a national manager from this country," said the West Ham manager.

"That's it, I don't believe we will ever give the job to anybody from England again.

"The FA have made the position redundant as far as an English manager is concerned. A proud tradition may well have come to an end."

Monday, December 17, 2007

Cheer Up Monday

To take your mind off the last two games here are a few links to websites that might divert you for a while:

Streetview Gallery
Night Sky Video Map
Google Moon Video Map

Disclaimer: these pages are my own work, developed for my Virtual Tourism blog. The night sky video map and the Google Moon video map were knocked up over the weekend so are work in progress.

West Ham Forced to Spend in January

According to The Daily Mail Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson is ready to make emergency funds available to manager Alan Curbishley in time for next month's transfer window.

The paper claims that Bellamy is set to undergo an operation that will keep him out of the team long-term and that Zamora is 'out for almost four months' ( although I am hoping they are including the time he has been out already in that assessment).

To make matters worse Henri Camara is off to the African Nations Cup next month so West Ham are in desperate need of more forward options.

Green - We Have Got to Win

Robert Green says that after two poor results West Ham have got to win against Boro,

"We have got to put it right," said Green. "It is two poor defeats. If the game was over two legs, we lost it 4-1 and it is really disappointing."

"The game next Saturday is going to be pretty hard - they have had two great wins and they will be coming all guns blazing against us. We are going to need to do a job and it is probably not going to be pretty but it is a game where we have got to win and create a bit more daylight between us and the teams below and hopefully catch up with the people above."

Room for One Up Front

With Cole suspended and Zamora and Bellamy both out until at least mid-January it looks like West Ham's poor goal scoring record could continue at Boro. Ashton and Boa Morte will presumably play up front. The only other option seems to be Camara who has looked out of his depth in his very limited appearances.

At the moment Ashton still looks short of match fitness. He has received a fair bit of criticism for Saturday's performance but he was up against one of the better defences in the league. Middlesbrough are a different proposition. Despite being managed by Southgate and having both Woodgate and Huth in their side they have let in 28 goals in the league this season.

With Parker looking more and more commanding with each game and with our better away form we may actually get the ball in the back of the net this weekend. Curbishley should also have the services of Etherington and Bowyer, who are our top goal scorers in the league this season.

It is vital that West Ham pick up some points in the next two games against Boro and Reading. The five games after that include Arsenal, Man Utd, Liverpool and Man City away. If we don't get some points in the next two games we might be looking at a very different league position by the end of January.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

West Ham in the Sundays

The Sunday Mirror pick up on the rumour that Eggy was sacked because of the wages he agreed with Ljungberg and Neill.

The Sunday Mirror also claim that West Ham are ready to make an offer for Newcastle's Stephen Carr.

The People disagree and say Alan Curbishley will not be making any signings in January. Although their own story that West Ham want to sign Korean striker Cho Jae Jin seems to contradict that.

The People also quote Eggert Magnusson as saying he was having nightmares about the Carlos Tevez affair, "I was waking up in the middle of the night afraid that something was going to happen that i had no control over.".

A Game of Two Halves

The Times were thoroughly unimpressed with West Ham yesterday. They say that West Ham lost "with the sort of performance reminiscent of the darkest days of last season." They also thought Ashton and Camara "were less on different wavelengths, more on different planets."

The Telegraph however actually thought that West Ham were the better side in the first half. West Ham 'missed a series of excellent chances' and 'Everton had seemed fortunate to be going into the break level' before they scored just before the break.

The Observer agreed that the game "could have been West Ham's in the first half." In fact The Observer say 'West Ham were buzzing' in the first half with "a pleasing variety to the ... approach play, their multiplicity of options leaving Everton stretched and stressed."

However in the second half the "fizz and pizzazz that had characterised their first 45 minutes evaporated."

The Mail saw the game in a similar vein, with Everton "largely outplayed by a spirited West Ham side throughout the first 45 minutes." West Ham however wasted a series of chances and in the second half Everton 'seized midfield and began to command the crucial areas of the game.'

Saturday, December 15, 2007

West Ham 0 Everton 2

West Ham looked in control for most of the first half with Parker at the centre of everything.

The Irons had three excellent opportunities to take the lead. In the fourteenth minute a deflected ball off the Everton defence put Ljungberg clean through but from nine yards out the Swede shot tamely at the keeper when it looked easier to score.

In the 21st minute Parker bravely won the ball in midfield with a diving header stealing the ball off Cahill's feet. Solano pumped a long ball forward over the defence. Ashton ran into the box, watched the ball arrive over his right shoulder and tried a delicate lob over Howard from nine yards but put the ball just wide of the right hand post.

In the 36th minute the ball fell to Collins unmarked in the five yard box from a corner. Collins tried to volley the ball but his effort ended up flying off in completely the wrong direction.

Everton had been restricted to hardly any scoring opportunities but just before the half time whistle West Ham failed to clear their lines and Cahill was able to head a deep cross into the six yard area where Yakubu had an easy header from two yards to give Everton the lead.

In the second half Everton sat back and defended deep and West Ham, despite having most of the possession, had neither the composure nor the creativity to break the Toffee's down. In fact when Curbishley took off Solano it was difficult to see where West Ham were going to conjure a goal from.

With West Ham increasingly committing men forward as the half continued it was Everton who looked the more likely to score on the break. The goal did come for Everton in the dying seconds as a pumped clearance was misheaded by Upson and Johnson had a free run at the West ham goal. Green came out and Johnson lifted the ball over the keeper to wrap up the game for the visitors.

West Ham vs Everton Live

There seem to be Sopcast and TVAnts streams of today's game here and here.

Radio Commentary is on Radio London Dab and Sky channel 0152.

West Ham's Home Game Blues

West Ham have won just two games at home this season in the league whilst winning twice as many on the road. Robert Green blames the results on West Ham's style of play,

“At the moment, our style of play suits us away from home. We have the players to exploit the space and hit teams on the counter attack," said the West Ham keeper.

"At home, you can’t do that. We have found we need that much more quality on the ball."

Matthew Upson on the other hand seems to think West Ham's home form is due to the players being too tense,

"We haven't played consistently well enough for 90 minutes at home all season. We need to relax a bit more - we've been talking about this since the first three or four games - and play with kind of freedom that we play with away from home.

"We play quite open, attacking football. We're not afraid to get it down and pass it. At home, maybe we clam up a little bit, especially after we go a goal up. The only thing I can think of is that it's a more mental and psychological thing than anything else."

West Ham should be aided in looking for only their third home win in the league by the fitness of striker Carlton Cole. On the official site Alan Curbishley has some positive news regarding Cole's injury,

"Carlton Cole has been training the last couple of days so he has recovered fine from the slight problem he had after the match."

West Ham vs Everton - The Sequel

West Ham will be looking to even the score after Wednesday's result but the pundits don't see West Ham getting the home win today.

Sky Sports have the game down as a 1-1 draw. Mark Lawrenson whilst agreeing that "West Ham will be desperate to avoid defeat after losing to Everton in midweek" also has the game down as a 1-1 score draw.

Setanta believe that Everton's 'rich vein of league form' will be enough for them to repeat Wednesday's scoreline and predict a 1-2 final score.

Friday, December 14, 2007

West Ham Trial Hungarian

Hungarian eighteen year old Zsolt Korcsmar has started a two week trial with West Ham. Korcsmar has excited interest from a number of clubs in Spain and Holland.

The midfielder's trial ends on 21st December and if West Ham are impressed with the youngster they will then open talks with his current club Ujpest.

West Ham Wait on Cole

West Ham are waiting on Carlton Cole and Boa Morte who were both injured on Wednesday. If Cole does not recover in time then Dean Ashton will presumably start on his own up front as Zamora and Bellamy are also both out of contention. Curbishley does have the sservices of Camara again as he and Solano return after being cup-tied on Wednesday.

Matthew Etherington is doubtful as he is battling to overcome groin problems.

Everton are without Leighton Baines. It is expected that Joleon Lescott will again fill in at left-back, while Tony Hibbert and Nuno Valente are fit.

West Ham Howler

I couldn't find West Ham's goal from Wednesday night but I did find the defensive cock-up that lost us the game:

Deja Vu for West Ham

The Times say that Sheffield Utd last night launched a £50 million compensation claim against West Ham and that the dispute will be considered by a three-man panel appointed by the FA.

This seems to be the same claim that Sheffield Utd launched two months ago and then again last month. The last I heard the FA said the panel would sit next summer.

West Ham have responded to this 'new' claim by informing Sheffield Utd that they are thick northern monkeys who seem to think they are living in a parallel universe - or words to that affect.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Extra Money Not for Players

It seems that the extra £30.5 million pumped into West Ham today will not be available for buying new players. According to The Guardian the money is being used to 'bolster the financial base' of the club. Which the paper interprets as paying off some short-term borrowing that was undertaken to fund the £45 million spent on players in the last year.

The Guardian also claim that Eggert Magnusson's departure from the club may have been partly due to a thawing of relations between him and the owner Gudmundsson. It appears that Gudmundsson was alarmed at "a number of decisions he took as chairman, most particularly in player-wage negotiations".

West Ham USA

I found this video on YouTube today. It seems to be made by West Ham and I assume it is used to sell the West Ham Academy in the USA.

£30.5 million Investment in West Ham

Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson has today invested a further £30.5 million in West Ham. The new chairman made much today of West Ham's proposed new stadium so it is unclear how much or any of this £30.5 million will be available to Alan Curbishley to invest in new players.

Capello & the West Ham Connection

Fabio Capello, who will be appointed the new England today, is thought to be keen on appointing Franco Baldini in his backroom team. The BBC say that the FA are yet to be convinced about Baldini.

The BBC claim Capello wants Baldidi to help watch England players and to scout opposition teams. The FA are believed to be concerned that the role could overlap with Sir Trevor Brooking's responsibilities, who is director of football.

However, according to The Guardian, Franco Baldini is understood to be considering an offer to become director of football at a Premier League club. Baldini has been in talks with West Ham, so for Premier League club read West Ham.

Spurs Squatting at West Ham

Kumb have two interesting tidbits on their site today:

They report that the new board are ready to agree plans to ground share with London neighbours Tottenham.

They also say Sheffield United have "launched a multi-million pound compensation bid against West Ham as a result of their relegation last season." I am assuming this is now a bid to drag West Ham through the courts and separate from their proposed FA action.

Eggy's Thanks West Ham Fans

Eggert Magnusson paid tribute to the West Ham fans on leaving the club today,

"I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here at West Ham. From the moment that Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson and I formed the consortium to bid for the Club, it has been an honour to be involved. Now that I have sold my financial stake in the Club and I need to focus a little more on my interests overseas, I think it is the right time to stand down as Chairman.

"The last twelve months have not been without their challenges but I feel that we have emerged stronger and fitter as a Club. Bjorgolfur has always supported me as Chairman and I am pleased that he has decided to take over the role to help the Club move on to the next level.

"I would like also to pay a special tribute to the West Ham fans who, I believe, have shown themselves over many years to be the best in the country. My thanks to everybody who has worked with me in my time here and I wish the Club every success for the future. I will still be cheering on the team whenever time permits."

New West Ham Board

West Ham today announced the make-up of the new board. As publicised Eggert Magnusson has sold his shares to Gudmundsson and left the club. Owner of West Ham, Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson praised Eggy's contribution to the club,

"Eggert Magnusson has done a tremendous job as chairman, often in difficult circumstances, since our consortium bought the Club 12 months ago. Eggert has decided to move on to new pastures and to pursue his other interests. We wish him well for the future and express our thanks for all that he has done for West Ham."

The new board is:

Chairman: Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson (owner of West Ham)
Vice-Chairman: Asgeir Fridgeirsson (spokesperson and aide to Gudmundsson)
Directors: Thor Kristjansson; Mike Lee (former UEFA director and the former Director of Communications and Public Affairs for the London 2012 Olympic bid.); Gudmundur Oddsson
Executive Directors: Scott Duxbury (CEO); Nick Igoe (Finance Director).

Eggy Sells His Shares in West Ham

According to The Daily Mail, as well as standing down as chairman, Eggert Magnusson has sold his five per cent share in the club. Gudmundsson, the 799th richest man in the world, is now the sole owner of the Hammers and will be the new chairman.

Egger Magnusson is reported today to be pursuing "other business interests".

West Ham Give Win to Everton

The Scotsman believed West Ham 'started brightly' and at times played with 'confidence'. However in the end they 'gifted' Everton the win. The Times were a bit more personal in naming Green as the villain of the piece saying that he was "fortunate that Fabio Capello did not choose to stick around in London last night and watch this game. It would not have boosted the goalkeeper’s international ambitions."

The Mail felt that Gabbidon was more to blame for the late goal when he 'fluffed his clearing header.' Although gifted the winner The Mail felt however that Everton's win was 'deserved'.

For some reason The Scotsman felt that 'Freddie Ljungberg (was) particularly effective down the right flank'. However The Independent were nearer the mark in saying Ljungberg 'had the kind of forgettable match that will make West Ham wince at his eye-watering wages.'

After getting the opening goal The Independent say West Ham 'should have pushed on but did not, another indictment of Curbishley's conservatism.' The Mail also said that "West Ham only had themselves to blame for resting on their laurels after Cole had given them the perfect start."

The criticisms of Curbishley don't end just with his caution as The Guardian say that 'Curbishley's gripes (his post match complaints about the referee) did him no credit.".

It didn't take long after Sunday's win for the media to push Curbs off the pedestal they erected on Monday.

Happy Anniversary!!

Eggy Ousted

According to The Independent Eggert Magnusson will step down as chairman today and be replaced by owner Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson.

The Independent see this as a sign of Gudmundsson's ambitions for the club. They say he may also appoint his right-hand-man Asgier Fridgeirsson to the board, probably as vice-chairman. Gudmundsson is happy for a mid-table finish this year and there are no plans for major spending in January but there is money available for transfers in the summer and he wants the club to be challenging for a Champions League place soon.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

West Ham 1 Everton 2

West Ham took an early lead in the 12th minute when a long ball from Neil put Cole clean through and Cole bundled the ball past Howard in goal and slotted the ball home right footed from 12 yards. After the goal Everton had the better of possession but West ham soaked up the pressure well for twenty minutes and looked the more dangerous on the break.

However with ten minutes to go in the half Everton started to peg West Ham back in the home side's penalty area. In the 36th minute Pienaar seemed to be partly dragged back in the box by Neil but no penalty was given. The ball eventually worked itself back to Pienaar whose shot was saved by Green. Four minutes later Pienaar found Leon Osman in the penalty area and his left-footed shot beat Green from 18 yards.

A fairly even second half saw Everton again have a little more of the possession but West Ham again looking dangerous at times on the break. Curbishley brought on Kyle Reid and Paintsil for Boa Morte and Ljungberg.

With ninety seconds until the end of ninety minutes and the game looking like it was heading towards extra time Everton got the winner. A long ball forward looked fairly easy for the West Ham defence but Gabbidon failed to clear the ball allowing Yakubu to sneak in and put the ball past Green.

Everton: Blue
West Ham: Claret

West Ham vs Everton Live

A couple of sites are currently showing links for tonight's West Ham game:

LiveFooty (TVAnts - link doesn't work in Firefox so use Internet Explorer)

FSi (requires registration) link now gone

Full radio commentary: BBC London 94.9FM, DAB digital radio and Sky Channel 0152

Wright or Green?

It is being widely predicted that West Ham will play Richard Wright in goal for tonight's quarter final clash. Alan Curbishley however is keeping his cards close to his chest,

"I have got to make a decision," admitted Curbishley. "I have got a couple of things to think about and that's one of them. We really rate Richard. We think he is a top keeper and are delighted to have him here. Greeny has been playing so well but you need to keep him on his toes.

"Richard needs to be involved as much as he can but I'll have to see. I have no hesitation putting Richard in the team if we have to for whatever reason. He has come into the club and really been a success in the way he has attacked it."

Curbs Not Sexy Enough

Alan Curbishley believes that he hasn't received enough credit for the way West Ham avoided relegation last year,

"I didn't really get a lot of credit," he said. "Perhaps my way of managing is not sexy or obnoxious enough. I think about how we managed to stay up sometimes and what credit I got from it?

I came into a tricky situation but I was just relieved as soon as we had won at Manchester United. As soon as the full-time whistle went I was already thinking about next season.

To win seven out of nine is a fantastic achievement and it will probably never be repeated - you can never legislate for going to Old Trafford and needing a win to stay up."

The Semi-Final Awaits

West Ham manager Alan Curbishley and skipper Lucas Neill are both confident ahead of tonight's quarter final clash. Lucas Neill seems to sense this could be his best chance to win something before his career ends,

"We can see an opportunity to be in a cup final, in front of 80,00 people at Wembley. You play the game to get into a position to experience that kind of thing."

"You want to have cup finals, to give yourself the chance to win medals. I have had three or four semi-finals in my career and lost them all. Everton will be very tough but a slight edge we might have is that we are at home and I know Tim Cahill very well. Maybe I'll try and poison him!"

Alan Curbishley is also up for the challenge,

"We got a great start to the week at Blackburn. We feel the Carling Cup is a competition we should attack. A Premier League side will win the Carling Cup and we thought 'why not us?'

"Certainly here at West Ham we enjoy a good cup run and it keeps everything bubbling along. It will be an interesting night tomorrow. The crowd are up for it, we are up for it and Everton are going well. Something has got to give."

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

West Ham still Undecided Over Bellamy

Alan Curbishley said last week that West Ham would decide over the weekend whether Craig Bellamy would need to undergo a second operation. Well it seems that West Ham are yet to make up their mind. Curbishley now says the decision will be made this week.

"We have to decide this week where we are going to go with Craig." said the West Ham boss. "We have to decide whether to continue with the route we are going down which, if it is successful, will result in a shorter route.

We may have to go down the surgery route which will be a longer one. If that is the case I can't put a time-frame on it."

Wright or Green

The Daily Mail for one seem to think that because Alan Curbishley has played Richard Wright in goal for all of West Ham's Carling Cup ties this season he will do so again tomorrow.

However Curbishley has targeted the Carling Cup as the club's best route into Europe and at the quarter final stage he may well decide to go with the in form Green. The Mail also say Ljungberg will be in for the cup-tied Solano.

West Ham vs Everton

Nobby Solano is cup-tied (as is Henri Camara) so Lee Bowyer may well make a return to the team and the right wing. Carlton Cole is eligible to play despite picking up a fifth yellow card on Saturday, he is banned for the Boro game on the 22nd.

For Everton Leighton Baines is out after picking up a hamstring injury at the weekend and will probably be replaced by Joleon Lescott. Everton are in superb form at the moment and are on a ten game unbeaten run since losing to Liverpool in the league.

However Lucas Neill in his Captain's Blog thinks that having the home advantage just might swing the game West Ham's way.

"I am hoping for an intimidating atmosphere and a genuine opportunity to win a game that will get us into a cup semi-final. Thank you in advance for the proverbial 12th-man support we are going to need against Everton on Wednesday."

A win to take us through to the semi-final would be a good way for Alan Curbishley to round of his first season in charge at West Ham.

Premier League Record

Legend: Blue = Everton, Claret = West Ham

Monday, December 10, 2007

The West Ham Male Model Academy

Sky are reporting that Korean striker Cho Jae Jin is in talks with a Premier League club, thought to be either Fulham or West Ham.

Jae Jin was one of the stars of the last World Cup in Germany. After the tournament David Pleat named him as one of the six players 'made for the Premier League'. Torres and Mascherano are the only two of Pleat's list who have moved to the EPL so far.

Cho Jae Jin currently plays for Japanese side Shimizu S-Pulse. He is a tall striker who is very good in the air as well as on the ground. Another attraction that the player may have for English clubs is his popularity in Asia where he already has a number of contracts with clothing companies

The new owners of West Ham have been keen to extend the commercial arm of West Ham, so despite his footballing talents, you can't help wondering if he might be bought to partner Freddie Ljungberg in the new West Ham Male Modelling Academy.

West Ham's Green - Best Keeper in League

West Ham's Robert Green is the Premier League's best goalkeeper. Well he is this week according to Opta. Green made six saves and kept a clean sheet which was enough to give him the top goalkeeping spot.

The worst goalkeeper of the week was the current England No.1 Scott Carson who managed one save but let in three goals.

No Rift at West Ham

Apparently some of the media have read Dean Ashton's muted celebration of his goal in West Ham''s game yesterday as a rift between him and Alan Curbishley and say he is upset at being left out of the starting eleven.

The media seem to be applying the same logic as that went into last week's story about Bobby Zamora - he has been injured for a long time therefore there must be a problem between him and the manager.

Anyway Curbishley has been quick to deny any rumours about a problem between him and Ashton,

"I had a little chat with Dean about the situation," Curbishley said. "I have to do what's best for the team, not the individual. He's been out for five weeks and in that time has had one practice and one reserve match.

There's no rift between us, despite what people might say. We have to see whether or not Dean can last 90 minutes."

Sunday, December 09, 2007

West Ham Win - What the Papers Say

The Times says "expect West Ham to climb towards the top six, then lose their grip in the spring because they are morphing into a higher-budget version of Charlton Athletic under Alan Curbishley. Difficult to beat, solid, sensible, predictable." they also felt West Ham "looked more dangerous after Ashton’s arrival after half-time."

The Telegraph weren't impressed by either team in the first half. However they believe that "if Ashton continues to show the single-mindedness that characterised yesterday's cameo, they could yet join the cluster of clubs pushing for Uefa Cup places."

For The Express it was "one of those cliched games of two halves as the first was instantly forgettable, followed by a barnstorming second." They were particularly impressed with Green's 'superb save' from Tugay late on.

The Mirror say that Curbishley after a year in charge has "steadied the ship, revamped the squad and coped with the customary clutch of injuries."

Blackburn 0 West Ham 1

Dean Ashton
In a fairly even first half West Ham had the better of the possession but neither side showed much threat going forward.

Blackburn had a couple of long range efforts early on, Tugay and Dunn both coming close with 30 yard efforts. Parker also had a chance from long range, for West Ham, in the 33rd minute but his 25 yard shot flew just wide of the left hand post.

As seems to be the way lately West Ham's best chance of the half fell to Solano inside the box but he shot over the bar. Blackburn immediately broke up field and Blackburn's best chance fell to Perdersen 6 yards out wide left of the goal. His shot was saved low down by Green.

Curbishley brought on Ashton for Etherington in the second half and his substitution was almost immediately rewarded. In the 51st minute Boa Morte robbed the ball from a Blackburn defender, drove into the box and won a corner. From the corner McCartney's shot from 7 yards was blocked. The ball found its way out to Solano who passed the ball down the left wing to McCartney again. McCartney fired the ball low across the six yard box to Ashton who thumped the ball home into an almost empty net.

After that Blackburn applied a bit more pressure going forward and had three good chances to equalise, two falling to Santa Cruz. The first came from a Pedersen cross that Santa Cruz headed wide from five yards. The second came when he was fed clean through, but an out rushing Green did enough to put Santa Cruz off who blasted the ball over from 7 yards.

The third fell to Tugay from a Blackburn corner. Tugay rocketed the ball goalwards from 20 yards through a crowded penalty area but Green, diving to his right, pulled off one of the saves of the season.

West Ham themselves continued to create chances on the break and Ashton probably should have got his second when Ooijer pulled up with a hamstring and Cole fed Aston one on one with the goalie but Ashton fired over from eight yards.

Blackburn vs West Ham

FSI has links for Sopcast, TVAnts and TVU streaming players.

Radio Five has live commentary of the second half of today's game.

Come On You Irons

Blackburn Rovers are one of those clubs it is kind of hard to muster any passion for. To be honest I think I was mildly pleased that West Ham won the league for them in 1995.

When West Ham denied Man Utd in the last game of that season I would have been delighted if I hadn't already formed a rational hatred for the walking tranquilliser that is Alan Shearer. But any pleasure I felt at the result had more to do with denying Man Utd another title than any interest in Blackburn.

However I now feel that West Ham have to come away from Ewok Park with a victory of Derby County proportions. It is not just that the players and Mark Hughes have spent the last week talking about nothing else apart from exacting revenge on West Ham. Just as Sp@~rs moaned last season about revenge for their defeat the year before Blackburn seem to think that West Ham did something immoral in beating them, when in fact trying to win the game is the whole f@~king point.

It is not even the fact that Blackburn and their fans are still harping on about Lucas Neill joining West Ham (to be honest West Ham fans have not yet forgiven a few ex-Irons for deciding to leave The Boleyn).

No, what has really got my goat this week is this article by ex-Blackburn player and jail bird Simon Garner. Garner, who was once sentenced to nine months in jail for contempt of court, believes that West Ham have tarnished the game of football.

His ill-conceived and patently ludicrous article tries to dredge up the Tevez affair yet again with all the same ridiculous lies and misunderstandings. For example, according to Garner, West Ham would have been relegated if it wasn't for Tevez's goal at Old Trafford in the last game of the season (a goal that actually made no difference to the final league placings).

In his short article he also manages to have a go at Neill, talk about revenge for losing last year and claim that West Ham are "one of the most despised (clubs) in the country."

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Blackburn vs West Ham - And the Result Will Be ...

Mark Lawrenson at the BBC says West Ham are very good away from home therefore he predicts we will be beaten 2-0.

Sky Sports think the suspension of David Bentley could affect Blackburn but still predict a 2-1 loss for West Ham. It is a result backed up by Andy Gray, who thinks Blackburn will get all three points. Jeff Stelling agrees with the result but goes for a 3-2 loss for West Ham.

Setanta seem to be the only ones who hold out any hope for West Ham this Sunday and think we will earn a 2-2 draw.

Anton - the Penny Drops

West Ham manager Alan Curbishley believes that Anton Ferdinand has learned to be more disciplined off the pitch and is now focusing on his football.

“I think the penny dropped in the summer that football needed to be his number one priority and that everything else didn’t count for too much,” Curbishley said.

“Everyone knew the consequences if the verdict went against him. I think he’s hoping now to have a clean slate and a clear run at it. If that’s the case, I hope that football does become his number one priority because he has got so much ability that it could take him wherever he wants to go.”

Friday, December 07, 2007

Zamora & Curbs Staying at West Ham

Alan Curbishley has rubbished plans that Bobby Zamora will be leaving West Ham and also committed his own future to West Ham.

"Bobby started the season alongside Craig (Bellamy) and he is very much in my plans. He just hasn't been fit", said the West Ham manager. "The problem is his knee keeps swelling up.

We've had an operation and done all sorts and it's only now that he's working and it's not swelling. We're hopeful he gets through the next week or so and then he could manage to be back in full training."

Alan Curbishley also dismissed the rumours linking him with the England job,

"I don't know why this has come out, I don't know how much substance is in it, if any. But it is the topic everyone wants to talk about at the moment. Every day there is speculation.

I am happy and committed to West Ham. We have a massive week coming up and as far as I am concerned nothing will get in the way of that."

West Ham Statistics

I've been trying to learn Google's new charting/graph service today. The obvious choice was to try and chart some West Ham Statistics.

I therefore put together a few charts on West Ham's last six Premier League seasons (I left out our seasons in the fizzy pop).

I'm sure someone somewhere will find it interesting. For instance did you know we got one point less last year than we did in our last relegation season?

Bellamy May Need Another Op

West Ham manager Alan Curbishley says that Craig Bellamy may need another operation. Bellamy is suffering from persistent abdominal pain and has been out of action for six weeks.

"His hernia op hasn't solved the problem, and now he has had one injection followed by a second," said Curbishley. "Another operation may be the only option."

Curbishley says a decision will be made this weekend on whether Bellamy needs the operation.

Brooking Wants Curbishley for England

According to The Daily Mail Trevor Brooking and Brian Barwick are at loggerheads over the next England manager. According to the paper Brooking wants Curbishley but Barwick want a 'world class' manager.

The Mail say Brooking wanted Curbishley when McClaren was appointed and his advice will be ignored again as Barwick tries to salvage his reputation by appointing a foreign coach.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

West Ham Keeper for England

Mervyn Day, in an interview on the official West Ham site, had added his voice to those calling for Green to be England's No.1,

"I can't believe Robert hasn't got in the England squad. He has been consistently excellent for the last nine or ten months. In the run-in to last season he won us two or three games on his own.

"Robert is very calm and unflappable. He is confident in his own ability. He works his socks off, he is always in the gym doing his weights but he has got that ability to shut things out. If things go wrong for him, he doesn't dwell on it. He gets on with what he has got to do next."

Fat Frank Should Have Been Dismissed

Matty Etherington says that not only should Mikel have been sent off in West Ham's last game but Frank Lampard as well,

"Without a shadow of a doubt, they should definitely have had two red cards - we've all said that," Etherington said. The Mikel challenge - he's come off the ground with two feet and at any other ground that would be a straight red.

Frank Lampard also kicked out at Luis in the second half and if it was anyone else, they would have been sent off."

Future Not Good for Zamora

The future doesn't look bright for Bobby Zamora. The Daily Mail today repeat yesterday's claim by The Independent that Zamora's days are numbered at West Ham.

The Mail say that Fulham are leading the chase for Zamora, whom West Ham value at £5 million. However the west London club face competition from Derby, Sunderland and Reading.

The Mail think Zamora is behind Cole, Ashton and Bellamy at West Ham and has little first team opportunities at the club.

No West Ham News

No West Ham players have been involved in night club brawls, West Ham are not being linked with any January transfers and Alan Curbishley has not started to upset Blackburn or Mark Hughes yet.

Anton Ferdinand is touting around his 'threat of jail has given me focus' story (while Danny Gabbidon just quietly cements his place in the first team).

The Daily Mail has the world exclusive on an ex-West Ham Academy player now plying his trade for Team Bath (do not be tempted, no really, listen to me, do not click on that link, you will not find it interesting).

The South Africa Times is all het up about Mikel's tackle on Parker and his subsequent hounding of the referee. It reminded them of the 'infantile, ugly and mean-spirited' John Terry.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Bellamy Nowhere Near to Coming Back

According to Alan Curbishley West Ham striker Craig Bellamy is some way from returning to the first team,

"Freddie Ljungberg's back and Scott Parker came through 70 minutes, but Craig Bellamy and some of the others are nowhere near to coming back."

The good news for Alan Curbishley is that defender Anton Ferdinand should be back in contention in a fortnight,

"I'm running again and my hamstring's getting stronger, so I'm just hungry to play football," Ferdinand said. "I'm about another two weeks away, or maybe a little bit longer to be on the safe side.

"I'm targeting the Everton league game, but with hamstrings you never know. It's not about speed of recovery, it's about making sure everything's right and then I'll be ready to go."

West Ham Want Leonardo

According to The Daily Mirror West Ham have interviewed Brazilian World Cup winner Leonardo for the post of Director of Football.

With Eggert Magnusson looking to take a more back seat role West Ham are keen to appoint a director of football to oversee transfers, negotiations and scouting. According to The Mirror Leonardo's contacts in South America is one of his big attractions for West Ham.

Zamora, Quashie and Pantsil Out

The Independent has a very detailed article today about West Ham's January transfer plans. The paper says West Ham are prepared to sell Bobby Zamora for £5 million, with Fulham and West Bromwich Albion showing the most interest and Reading, Derby County and Sunderland also monitoring developments.

The Independent claims that West Ham are looking to trim their large squad, with Calum Davenport, Nigel Quashie and John Pantsil all in the shop window for potential buyers.

The paper says West Ham recently have already turned down an offer of Milan Baros by the French champions and have also ruled out moves for their summer targets of Eidur Gudjohnsen and Adriano.

West Ham Opta Analysis

According to Opta West Ham look like a team that is good in defence, lacks some midfield creativity, often plays with a lone striker and has an excellent goalkeeper.

There are no surprises that the West Ham fans' choice for England goalkeeper is high up in the Opta statistics. In fact Robert Green lies only behind ex-West Ham keeper David James in the saves-to-shots ratio.

Robert Green obviously plays a large part in West Ham's excellent defensive record. Only four teams have let in fewer goals than West Ham, who have only let in one more than league leaders Arsenal.

It is going forward however that West Ham have room for improvement. West Ham lie eleventh in the table of shots made this season. A large reason for this is presumably the injury problems that West Ham have had with their strikers and the fact they have often been forced to play Cole up front on his own.

More worrying is the fact that West Ham also lie in eleventh place in the number of successful passes made. This seems to confirm the 'cautiously' jibe sometimes aimed at Alan Curbishley and helps justify the calls by some West Ham fans for the club to buy a creative midfielder in January.

All in all the Opta statistics confirm West Ham's reasonable form this year, placing us mid-table in many categories, mirroring our place in the Premier League. The only real surprise for me in the statistics is that Carlton Cole comes third in the 'bad boys' list, with only Alan Smith and Reo-Coker ahead of him on disciplinary points.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

West Ham Transfer Runours

January is approaching and the transfer rumours are starting to come thick and fast.

Nicky Shorey is again being linked with West Ham. Steve Coppell says he only wants players at Reading who want to be at the club. This is being seen by some as an indication that he is prepared to sell West Ham targets Shorey and Leroy Lita

However according to The Times Shorey is set to reject West Ham again as Man Utd are keen on the player. Man Utd are not prepared to meet his £5 million valuation so Shorey may wait until he is a free agent in the summer.

The Daily Star say Sunderland are set to bid £2 million for West Ham's Bobby Zamora. Zamora's continued absence from the West Ham side seems to have sparked a number of rumours about the player leaving the club.

West Ham are also said to be preparing a bid for Newcastle's Stephen Carr. Carr is believed to want a move back to London and Curbishley has been keen on signing both experienced Premier League players (coming to the end of their career) and the barcode's cast-offs.

Dailly to Leave West Ham

The Daily Mail say that Christian Dailly is set to leave West Ham in January, joining Southampton on a permanent deal. The Mail mentions no fee and Southampton were unable to extend Dailly's loan recently because they could not afford the player so he may well be being released for free by West Ham.

Upson Defends West Ham Defence

Matthew Upson has hit back at Avram Grant's criticism of West Ham's style of play on Saturday,

"I don't think we purposefully came out to defend," he said. "If you come to Chelsea you have to do a lot of defending.

A few people have said [the goal] was tight, so it is very difficult. It is just a disappointing goal to give away given how solid we were as a team. We defended well from the front, we worked hard and limited them to very few chances really - so it was a disappointing goal to give away."

Upson also said that the West Ham defence is the key to the team's success,

"The back five including Greeny have been really solid the last five or six games. It is an important foundation that the team needs to be built on and I think it is doing well at the moment. We have just got to carry that on and keep the stability, and look forward to the next game."

West Ham Stars of the Future

The Daily Mail has an interesting article today about the youth set up at West Ham. You just have to look at the current England team to see that West Ham probably produce more home grown talent than any other English club.

The Mail spoke to West Ham's academy director Tony Carr to find out why West Ham are so good at producing skilful players.

Some of the main points are:
  • West Ham's juniors play small-sided games on smaller pitches with smaller goals up until the age of 12. Most other kids their age play on full-sized pitches.
  • Carr and his team cajole their charges to express their talent, only steering them towards positions and tactics when technical proficiency is a given.
  • Individuality is encouraged and the kids are allowed to express themselves in their play rather than coach it out of them.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Scotland Yard Hunt for West Ham Fan

Didier Drogba in flames
Apparently the Met Police are dropping all their other cases to search for a West Ham fan that Didier Drogba claims shone a torch in his general direction.

This may seem like a ridiculous waste of police time but Drogba suffers from a rare disorder that causes him to collapse on the floor writhing in pain even if he is just brushed in passing. It is therefore believed that he is liable to spontaneously combust if he is overexposed to torchlight.

Eriksson Response to West Ham Draw

Sven Goran Eriksson is disappointed at drawing West Ham in the third round of the FA Cup,

"It could have been easier. It is a difficult tie as they are a good team. In this case you are selfish. You are looking for an easy draw.

We have beaten them once this season so we will try to do so again as we want to progress in the FA Cup."

Parker Shocked by Mikel Tackle

Scott Parker has revealed that he was in shock after Mikel's dirty tackle from behind on Saturday,

"There were a few tackles flying about and that one was certainly a bit naughty. When it happened I was in shock for a bit, because I wasn't expecting anyone to come in from there.

I don't know if he deserved to go off because I didn't see what he did, only felt it. Everyone else said it was a bad one but the referee saw it and gave a yellow card so I suppose I'll have to stick by that.

The most important thing was coming through the game with no repercussions. I took a few challenges but finished the game relatively unscathed and that is the important thing."

Uriah Rennie Leads the Way for Referees

Uriah Rennie
After complaining about referees for the last two weeks because of their dodgy penalty decisions and their awarding of goals that are clearly offside, today it was nice to see a referee get it right for once.

I thought Mr Uriah Rennie gave a master class today on the role of the fourth official. Watching Match of the Day you could clearly see the ref in the Sp#r's game holding his earpiece and mouthing the words,

"I'm sorry Uriah did you say 'Gone on, send the Irish to$$er off?'"

Sunday, December 02, 2007

West Ham Draw Man City in Cup

West Ham have been drawn at home to Manchester City in the third round of the FA Cup.

Other all Premier League draws are Aston Villa vs Manchester United, Sp*rs vs Reading and Sunderland vs Wigan.

The games will be played on 5/6th January.

West Ham in the Sunday Papers

In The Mirror Matthew Upson compares Robert Green to David Seaman and believes he is unlucky not to be in the England squad.

The Sunday People say West Ham are plotting an £8million double bid for reading duo Leroy Lita and Nicky Shorey in January. Steve Coppell has a frosty relationship with Lita and wants rid of the player. The striker was ruled out for a month after claiming he injured a leg stretching a leg in bed.

However West Ham will face competition from Portsmouth for the player rated at £4million pounds.

Shorey like Lita has 18 months to run on his existing contract but has snubbed a new contract offer.

The News of of the World say West Ham are hoping to lure Stephen Carr away from Newcastle. The Republic of Ireland rightback would welcome a transfer window return to London.

West Ham's Performance According to Fleet St.

Drogba in Gabbidon's pocket
For the Daily Mail Chelsea were "distinctly unattractive" and "scarcely deserved this latest victory". West Ham "worked hard enough to find tangible reward."

The Mail also thought Mikel was lucky to remain on the pitch. "A straight red ... was the only appropriate decision" for Mikel's challenge on Parker, for which he earned a yellow card.

The Telegraph were also incensed by Mikel's challenge on Parker,

"Webb was responsible for the most appalling miscarriage of justice when John Obi Mikel stayed on the field in the 37th minute despite having scissor-tackled Scott Parker from behind. A double red card it merited."

Begrudgingly the Telegraph also say that "West Ham did defend very well."

The Guardian noticed the fat one's typical lack of dignity as "Frank Lampard (gave) a clenched-fist salute to the noisy West Ham fans at the end." You really would have thought that after such a crap performance he would have held his head in shame.

The Guardian agreed with the Chelsea manager's view that West Ham only came to defend and Carlton Cole "never managed directly to threaten the Chelsea goal."

The Independent also claim that West Ham were too defensive and didn't create enough chances.

Maybe I was watching another game but I thought West Ham created as many chances as the team that were supposedly playing at home today. In fact I think I did watch a different game. I have been told (although I can't confirm as I haven't seen either) that both Sky and Match of the Day say Didier Drogba was man of the match today. I didn't even realise he was on the pitch until Gabbidon took him out of his pocket after the final whistle.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Grant Criticises West Ham for Chelsea Failings

Avram Grant has criticised West Ham for being too aggressive in today's game. Unfortunately for Grant Chelsea were by far the dirtier side. Grant said,

"West Ham were lucky they got only one yellow card in the first 20 to 25 minutes. They were very aggressive."

However there were five Chelsea bookings today and three for West Ham. And whilst at least two of West Ham's bookings seemed to come from Chelsea dives at least three of Chelsea's bookings came from cynical and dangerous fouls. Mikel for one was lucky to not be sent off. When he fouled Ashton on the edge of the box in the second half he was already on a yellow card but the ref inexplicably booked Terry instead.

So Avram whilst West Ham might have been aggressive your side were actually dirty and dangerous.

Chelsea 1 West Ham 0

In the first half West Ham were incredible in the tackle, winning about 80% of the challenges. They restricted the Blues to only two shots from open play, a Mikel long shot that flew high and wide and a Drogba shot from the left hand corner of the penalty area.

West Ham had two efforts on goal themselves both by Solano. His first effort was a lob that Cudicini just got back in time to tip over the bar and his second being a long drive from a Cole knock back that flew over the bar from 25 yards.

The game continued in the same vein in the second half, with West Ham breaking up the play well. However in the 75th minute Kalou won a header that split Upson and Gabbidon and found Cole in an offside position. The linesman decided to ignore the offside and Cole ran into the box, rounded the out rushing Green and scored from six yards.

Curbishley threw on Ashton but the only real disappointment in West Ham's performance today was that they couldn't muster any real attempts in the dying minutes to draw the game.

I think Curbishley got his pre-match comments right for this game; Chelsea are as boring as ever and it was the ref that won it.

West Ham vs Chelsea Live

The game is on live on Sky today which means there should be a number of live feeds available for overseas Hammers.

If you have Explorer and SopCast this stream seems to be working well.

Otherwise FSI have a number of links for different streaming software.

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