Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Cup Final on Sunday

Gianfranco is calling West Ham's match against Fulham on Sunday a 'cup final'. Fulham themselves have had a shaky start to the season after last year's excellent performance and the losers of this game will see themselves in the relegation positions come Sunday night.

Zola is definitely trying to gee up his squad for the game,

"Everybody will be producing the best thunder they can give, including myself," said the Italian.

"We have one week to prepare and starting on Sunday, we will be different.

"I am angry with myself, my team and with everybody right now. Not everyone, including myself, is doing what he is capable of. It's as simple as that."

Monday, September 28, 2009

Man City 3 West Ham 1

City had enough chances in the first half to put the game beyond West Ham but in the end had to rely on some ludicrous refereeing decisions.

In the first 15 minutes Tevez on his own could have had a hat-trick but only managed to convert one of his chances. In the fourth minute some awful West Ham defending left Petrov free on the left wing to bomb forward and cross for Tevez, who was also left completely unmarked, to knock the ball in from six yards.

In the 23rd minute West Ham won a free-kick on the left wing. Diaminti knocked the ball into the box. The ball was cleared to Kovac on the edge of the area. He shot hard and low, the ball was flying wide but Cole was able to sweetly flick the ball in from four yards.

West Ham then began to see a bit more of the ball and looked to be well in the game. However in the 30th minute Jimenez won the ball just outside the West Ham area. The ref however deemed he had fouled in winning the ball. Petrov struck the free-kick low and wide of the wall and beat Green low down as he was diving to his right.

In the 40th minute West Ham equalised again. Cole won the ball off Lescott just outside the City area, he crossed for Parker who shot home. Only for the linesman to deem Cole had forced his shirt into Lescott's hand and incredibly the ref denied the goal.

West Ham started the second half brightly and dominated the opening ten minutes without creating any clear chances. In the 60th minute however Faubert gave a free-kick away on the right, about 35 yards out. The ball was knocked into the box and the smallest man on the pitch was able to head home unchallenged from 5 yards. It was Tevez's second goal.

In the 65th minute Noble shot from 25 yards but straight at Given. A minute later and Diamanti shot just wide from the edge of the area. The ref gave a corner. Diamanti took the corner short, got the ball back and fired a curling shot from the right edge of the area, forcing Given to tip the ball over the bar.

In the 73rd minute West Ham won a corner. From the corner Tomkins had a good chance to score form 6 yards but managed to head sideways, rather than at goal. In the 84th minute Cole headed wide from seven yards from another Diamanti free-kick. In the 87th minute Santa Cruz shot wide from 8 yards out. A minute later and Petrov blasted over from nine yards, when he should have scored.

If it wasn't for some awful refereeing decisions this game could have had a different scoreline. However West Ham were at fault defensively for two of City's goals (why was Collins sold?) and Green will be disappointed to have been beaten from a free-kick that wasn't put too far wide of his starting position. In terms of attacking play West Ham could learn a lot from City about attacking with pace, forwards moving off the ball and how to use the wings.

West Ham Charged by the FA

The FA have charged West Ham for the trouble at the home game against Millwall. The club face four charges, that they failed to ensure their supporters:

• Refrained from violent, threatening, obscene and provocative behaviour.

• Did not throw missiles, harmful or dangerous objects on to the pitch.

• Refrained from racist behaviour.

• Did not enter the field of play.

Millwall have also been charged with the first three offences. Both teams have 14 days to respond to the charges.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Rags vs Riches - The Previews

In the summer Man City spent over £100 million on new players, whereas West Ham's employees had to dip into their own pockets to pick up an ageing striker on a free. In the current situation West Ham couldn't even afford Robinho's boot laces.

Money isn't everything though, right? What counts is what happens on the pitch.

Man City have won 11 of the last 12 league games at Eastlands. West Ham have lost three out of the last four league games.

Do you see where I'm going with this? It's hard to predict anything but another loss for West Ham tomorrow evening, and it looks like the 'experts' agree:

Lawro says that West Ham have not suddenly become a bad team but that City, with returning players will be too strong for West Ham.

Lawro predicts a 2-0 West Ham loss

Sky haven't even bothered to do a prediction for this game. Presumably they think it is a foregone prediction.

Zola said on Friday, that "Upson may train with us on Saturday so it is good news." The game could hinge on Upson's availability. Without Upson I can't see anything but a hefty loss for West Ham, with him we might scrape a draw.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Campbell Not Coming to West Ham

Many of the players are reporting today that Zola wants to bring Sol Campbell to West Ham. This is wildly stretching what Zola actually said.

Zola was asked by a journalist if he thought that Campbell could still cut it in the Premier League. This is a great double edged question to ask a Premier League manager. Either Zola says 'no' and the paper reports that Zola says Campbell is a washed up has been. Or Zola says 'yes' and the reporter can say Zola thinks Campbell is a great Premier League player and wants him at West Ham.

Friday, September 25, 2009

West Ham Staff Fund Franco Transfer

Today's Evening Standard claim that chief executive Scott Duxbury and technical director Gianluca Nani helped fund the deal that brought Mexican striker Guillermo Franco to the club.

Although Franco was available on a free transfer The Standard claim that the club's owners were unwilling to pay the player and his agent. Therefore Duxbury and Nani are said to have both taken "a hit on their annual salary" to ensure the striker's signing.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Green Blasts West Ham

Robert Green has told the Evening Standard that the West Ham players have an inflated idea of their quality,

"We didn't play any football in the second half and I think we're getting above ourselves, thinking we're better then we are at the moment.

"We're in a position where we have to get results. Like Saturday, we didn't defend well for 90 minutes and didn't take our chances. We were sloppy at both ends and you know when you come to Bolton you're going to concede free-kicks and corners and so it proved.

"I think they scored off their 16th corner and with five minutes to go you have to defend properly. We didn't and it cost us. We didn't play well enough before or after our goal to kill the game off."

It is clear West Ham's major problems lie up front. The failure to score goals when the team is in control of the game is becoming very worrying.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Bolton vs West Ham

West Ham could give a first game to new arrival Guillermo Franco. Valon Behrami and Matthew Upson must be doubts for the game after both being injured on Saturday.

Both West Ham and Bolton have had uncertain starts to their Premier League campaigns. West Ham have an awful record at Bolton (we haven't won there in the last nine meetings). However West Ham's performance against Liverpool at the weekend, despite the loss, showed promise.

Hines, in particular, looked
bright. I'm backing Hines to get on the score sheet tonight.

Early indications suggest that it might be difficult to get a live stream of this game.

Looks like the best bet is radio commentary, which is on:

BBC London 94.9 FM, DAB & BBC London online

Monday, September 21, 2009

More Injury News

It seems that Junior Stanislas and Luis Jimenez could both back in contention for the Bolton game. Matthew Upson is reporting no further problems from his injury on Saturday.

Valon Behrami however will undergo further tests this week on his injury.

In other news, Alessandro Diamanti has rejected claims that he touched the ball twice during his penalty kick against Liverpool. If you listened to most of the commentators on the game you would think that it was impossible to lift a ball off the ground without kicking it twice.

"I slipped but I don't believe I touched it twice," said Diamanti. "I was trying to hit it down the middle and that is what happened.

"I am just sorry we lost because we played well as a team."

Sunday, September 20, 2009

West Ham Injury Update

Gianfranco Zola, speaking after today's game, seems to think that the injuries to Upson and Behrami aren't too serious,

"It shouldn't be too bad. For Upson, the muscle got very tight so he had to come off before breaking it. Regarding Behrami, because he had been working a lot in the last few weeks I think he had a little problem with the sciatic nerve so he shouldn't be too bad."

In other news, The News of the World say that Arsenal are going to make a bid in January for Jack Collison and Matthew Upson. They say West Ham will demand £15 million for Upson but "the Boleyn board need to be more realistic".

Why the NoW think the West Ham board should be more realistic is not explained. Presumably they think that Arsenal should just name a price and West Ham should bend over and accept it.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

West Ham 2 Liverpool 2

Diamanti made his first start for West Ham. Behrami and Illunga were back in the starting line-up and Hines also kept his place.

The first half was all about Hines and Torres. Hines in particular made mugs of the Liverpool defence and, as the half progressed, Liverpool resorted to just hacking him down every time he got the ball. As early as the second minute Hines stole the ball off Carragher's toe just outside the area, he ran into the box and tried to curl the ball around the out-rushing keeper, only to see his shot rebound back off the post.

However it was Torres who got the opening goal. In the 19th minute he received the ball to the left of the West Ham area about twenty five yards out and dribbled past Tomkins before beating Green inside his near post from 6 yards. Even worse Upson was injured trying to block the shot and had to be replaced by Gabbidon.

Six minutes later and Behrami was also forced off to be replaced by Kovac. In the 28th minute, in an almost carbon copy of the Torres run before he scored, Hines received the ball on the left wing, dribbled into the box and was pushed over by Carragher. The ref gave the penalty and Diamanti scored, despite falling over just as he struck the ball.

In the 41st minute Gerrard rose to meet a corner with his head, eight yards out. His header was poked home by Kuyt at the far post from two yards. West Ham only took three minutes to respond. A Diamanti freekick was deflected off the wall for a corner. Cole headed home the corner at the near post six yards out.

The second half saw mainly Liverpool possession for the first thirty minutes. Despite the possession Liverpool didn't look particularly threatening until Babel received the ball on the right wing and crossed into the box. Torres rose between Tomkins and Faubert to head home from 8 yards.

West Ham almost responded immediately when Cole headed a cross from wide left of the goal back across the six yard box and Kovac's flicked header was saved by Reina. From the corner Tomkins rose and headed just wide from 10 yards.

That, however, was about it as West Ham were unable to craft any more chances in the remaining minutes.

Friday, September 18, 2009

West Ham vs Liverpool - The Previews

West Ham are without Ilunga but Behrami and Collison are back in contention. Jimenez is still a doubt but Diamanti could be given his first start. For Liverpool, Mascherano is back, and after coming off the bench midweek, should start tomorrow.

I nearly had a heart attack over this one. Lawro actually doesn't think his beloved Liverpool will beat West Ham. Lawro says West Ham are good at home and under Zola have a level of consistency.

Lawro predicts a 1-1 draw

Sky Sports think the form is all with Liverpool. They say Liverpool have won their last two Premier League and that West Ham have not won since the opening day of the season.

Sky Sports predict a 0-2 West Ham loss

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Franco Signs

West Ham have finally confirmed the signing of Mexican striker Guillermo Franco, who was out of contract since leaving Villarreal CF. The official West Ham website says that it is not yet certain if he will be involved against Liverpool this weekend.

Franco said, on joining West Ham,

"I am really happy to sign for West Ham. It was my dream to come to the Premier League and I am proud to play for a club that has so much history. This is a very important stage in my career and I hope to score lots of goals for the club this season and then play at the World Cup.

"This is an important team with great players and a great manager. I know that the club are very ambitious and want to do well. I want to do my best to make that happen and I am excited about the challenge.

"The main motivation was to play in the Premier League. I love English football and I love the Premier League. I had the possibility of joining Estudiantes and two Spanish clubs, but it was the Premier League that drew me here. I can fulfil my desire with West Ham and I am very happy to be here."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The News in Brief

The Sun say that West Ham are going to open an academy in Minna, Nigeria.

The reserves drew 0-0 against Wolves last night.

Grays chairman John Moncur has appointed Julian Dicks manager of the Blue Square Premier club.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Zola One Year On

Today is the first anniversary of Gianfranco Zola as West Ham manager. I have to admit I was initially a little wary of the appointment of such an inexperienced manager. However the appointment of Steve Clarke as his assistant and the improvements made on the pitch soon won me around.

Although Zola didn't have an immediate impact in terms of results, from his first game in charge he stamped his mark on the way he wanted West Ham to play. Under Zola West Ham have become a team that like to keep possession and play an attractive passing game. It is much more fun watching West Ham now than it was under Curbishley (who I still think is one of the best English managers).

Zola has had to cope with having very little money to buy the players he wants and has had to sell players in order to buy. If the club can get to the position where they can actually start funding the purchase of the players he wants I think Zola will really take the club forward.

Conversely, a couple of more seasons of not having any transfer funds and I can see Zola becoming frustrated and looking to move on. However, for now, it sounds like Zola is happy. Here's what he has had to say about being in charge at West Ham for one year,

"It's been very good and is an achievement, but I want to share it with the club.

"Gianluca Nani and Scott Duxbury have been brilliant. They believed in the project and never gave up on the idea of keeping the best players and actually trying to improve the team.

"That has been really good and I appreciate that. I was lucky because I had fantastic people on my side. Steve Clarke has been massive in this way, and also Kevin Keen and Antonio Pintus. They helped me a lot and we have built up a fantastic management team."

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Wigan 1 West Ham 0

West Ham started with Kovac in for Collison, Gabbidon in for Spector and Hines in for Jimenz. The forced changes seemed to unsettle West Ham a little and Wigan started the brighter. In the first 15 minutes Gomez forced Green to save low down to his left and Diame shot just wide left of the goal after a good break from the back.

In the 17th minute Cole forced a save from Kirkland and after that West Ham started to assert themselves a little more. In the 26th minute Stanislas had a shot bundled behind by Kirkland and from the corner a Cole flicked header was saved by the keeper. In the 32nd minute Hines floated past Boyce and shot at goal, forcing a save from Kirkland.

In the 36th minute Hines charged down a Kirland kick and the keeper was lucky to see the ball bounce off the West Ham player for a goal kick. In the 40th minute Rodallega forced Green to make a good save, and gained a corner for his efforts. From the corner Bramble headed wide.

Seconds after the ref blew for half time Cole nodded the ball over Kirkland and into the net. Life is all about timing!

The first significant action of the second half was unfortunately a Wigan goal. In the 55th minute Green did really well to initially save from Koumas at close range but he could only parry the ball back to Rodallega who then had an easy open goal.

West Ham responded quite well to the goal, forcing a succession of corners. From one of the corners Tomkins missed a sitter with his head from only 6 yrds out. In the 63rd minute Diamanti and Behrami were brought on for Stanislas and Kovac.

Diamanti almost had an immediate impact on the game. His first real involvement was in the 70th minute when his 30 yrd free-kick shot just wide of the post with Kirkland nowhere near. In the 78th minute Diamanti came close again. Diamanti turned a defender, and curled a beautiful shot from outside the area against the far post from a tight angle.

In the 86th minute it was Diamanti again. This time he combined with Cole before crossing for Parker. Parker's flicked header flew just wide of the far post. However despite all Diamanti's efforts West Ham couldn't find the equaliser.

Diamanti definitely a looks find. However I feel West Ham really needed to pick up three points today with two very tough games coming up.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Zola on Franco

The official West Ham website has yet to confirm the signing of Guillermo Franco. However in the interview below Zola confirms that Guille is about to sign for the club.

Wigan vs West Ham - The Preview

For Wigan Olivier Kapo is not expected to be match fit. Jason Koumas however is expected to return.

West Ham's new signings Manuel Da Costa and Alessandro Diamanti and fit again Behrami should all be included in West Ham's squad.

Lawro notes that Wigan have had an up and down start to the season. So of course he expects them to beat West Ham.

Lawro predicts a 2-1 West Ham loss

Sky note that Wigan have lost four games out of five in all competitions since upsetting Aston Villa on the opening day of the season.

Sky predicts a 1-1 draw

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Guille Says He Has Signed For West Ham

The Daily Mail has this quote from Mexico striker Guillermo Franco, which seems to suggest this is more-or-less a done deal.

"Everything is sorted out, I fixed it this morning and I am going to West Ham,' Franco said.

'I am very happy. I am going to the Premier League, which was one of my wishes, and I am glad it has been finalised.'

West Ham to Sign Mexican Striker

Picture of Guillermo Franco According to West Ham Till I Die West Ham are about to sign Mexican striker Guillermo Franco.

Franco is 32 years old and has been playing for Monterrey in the Mexican league. The player is known as Guille and his own website currently says,

"Details will be announced next Tuesday, 8 September about Guille's current situation with the Argentine team Estudiantes de La Plata."

So it seems that West Ham have snatched Guiiermo from under the noses of the current South American champions.

Here's Guille scoring against Costa Rica last week (Gooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaal):

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Reserves 6 Birmingham 0

Since Nobert Solano left the club West Ham have never looked that threatening from free-kicks. In Dimanti it looks like we once again have a player who can score from dead ball situations. Dimanti got two goals tonight for the reserves, both goals came from free-kicks, one from 25 yards and the other from 30 yards.

Hines scored a hat-trick and N'Gala scored the other.

Behrami got 58 minutes under his belt before being subbed and new signing Ferrari also started.

West Ham Sign a Ferrari

West Ham have announced a new signing, 17 year old full-back Davide Ferrari from Brescia Calcio. According to the official West Ham website Ferrari was signed at the end of the transfer window but the news couldn't be announced until he received his international clearance.

Ferrari has signed on an initial one year loan, with "a view to a permanent transfer."

Any chance there are any strikers who West Ham are awaiting international clearance for before announcing?

OK, maybe not.

Free Entry to Reserves

West Ham have announced that tonight's reserve game against Birmingham City at the Boleyn Ground will be free for all supporters. The game should feature Valon Behrami.

Turnstiles will open at 6.15pm, with kick-off at 7pm.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Possible Bid for West Ham

The Independent on Sunday say that Ali al-Faraj, the Saudi property investor who recently failed in his attempts to buy Portsmouth, is believed to be considering a bid for West Ham United.

The paper say that it is not known if Peter Storrie, chief executive of Portsmouth and former managing director at West Ham is involved in the approach. However they then go on to say that "a return to Upton Park for Storrie, a lifelong Hammers fan, would prove difficult to resist should it arise, after he was acrimoniously sacked by the club in 1999 by then chairman Terry Brown."

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Zola & Nani in Italy

KUMB are reporting that Zola and Nani have flown out to Italy this weekend in the hunt for an out of contract striker. This suggests that the much rumoured Mark Viduka is not West Ham's first choice (if they actually have any choice).

Friday, September 04, 2009

Three Lions

James Tomkins, Junior Stanislas and Freddie Sears could all feature for England's Under-21s this afternoon against FYR Macedonia. Kick-off is at 2.30pm.

The game is the first match of England's qualifying programme to reach the 2011 UEFA European Under-21 Championship. The three players will then be heading off to Greece for a second qualifier next Tuesday.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

West Ham's Financial Woes

The Guardian have published an examination of West Ham's accounts today that explain how badly the club was run under Gudmundsson's stewardship. The prolific buying of players and wages paid under Gudmundsson's chairman Eggy left the club with a £100 million debt.

The paper claims West Ham only managed to avoid going into administration in 2008 because of the good will of five banks, who had loaned the club more than £20m, allowing West Ham extensions on the loans.

The Guardian also suggest that the financial troubles for West Ham may not be over. They point out that West Ham are yet to file their May 2009 accounts.

News today that Benjani refused to sign for West Ham because he could not agree personal terms suggest that West Ham are still strapped for cash. The fact that League Two club Notts County can apparently offer the player better wages appears very worrying.

It also doesn't present much hope for West Ham in their attempt to sign Mark Viduka on a free. Viduka has already refused to sign for Portsmouth because they couldn't match his wage demands.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Spector Offered to Sp@rs

The Daily Mirror say that despite Scott Duxbury's claim in January that West Ham would not sell players to Sp@rs, yesterday the club offered Spector to Harry Redknapp.

They also claim that Mattew Upson turned down an £8m move to Fiorentina.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Collins Out, No One In

West Ham have confirmed the departure of James Collins to Aston Villa and have confirmed that no players were bought today. The club say that they did reach agreement with a club to buy a striker but the player himself was unwilling to join the club.

The official West Ham website say that West Ham are now discussing the possibility of an out of contract striker joining the club, who has been tracked in the past month.

More positively the club say that Valon Behrami will be available for West Ham's next game against Wigan on Saturday week.

Collins to Sign for Villa

All reports this morning suggest that James Collins is set to sign for Aston Villa for £5 million. Collins has agreed personal terms with Villa and is in Birmingham for a medical.

The transfer deadline is 5pm today.

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