Monday, February 28, 2011

Parker Plays Through the Pain Barrier

About an hour before yesterday's match TalkSport were reporting that Scott Parker would be out for a while with a shoulder injury. Scott Parker fell on his shoulder during training on Saturday and looked unlikely to play against Liverpool. The Mirror claim Parker was unable to walk just three hours before the game.

However Parker was given pain killing injections and the midfielder has dismissed the injury as a mere trifle,

"It's not too bad. Got a bit of treatment on it and I got through the game, so it was fine.

"It was just a little bit of a knock and that was it, really."

The Mirror also report that West Ham co-owner David Gold was in hospital on Sunday, with the 74-year-old being treated for cholangitis and septicaemia.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

West Ham 3 Liverpool 1

West Ham started with Upson back in defence, partnering Tomkins. Hitz, Parker and Noble lined up in midfield and Piquionne was brought in to partner Ba up front.

Early on both sides notched a good chance on goal. In the 3rd minute Hitzlsperger connected well with a long range volley but the ball flew straight at Reina in goal. In the 5th minute Meireles had a great opportunity with his head from 10 yards but he put the ball wide.

West Ham just about edged the possession in the opening twenty minutes and their persistence was rewarded in the 22nd minute when Parker played a one-two with Hitzlsperger before poking the ball in from the edge of the area, off the left hand post.

A couple of minutes after the restart Kuyt gave West Ham a scare, hitting the side netting from 22 yards. However, for a change, West Ham didn't sit back and try to desperately defend a lead. West Ham pushed on and in the 45th minute extended their lead.

A long ball forward from Green was headed on to O'Neil on the right wing, he crossed the ball into the area and Ba headed home from 8 yards.

Liverpool pressed West Ham back much more in the second half. For the first twenty minutes of the half however West Ham looked good on the break. In the 52nd minute, against the run of play, Ba shot just wide from 22 yards.

In the 61st minute Suarez turned Tomkins and shot from 12 yards, forcing a great save from Green. From about the 70th minute on West Ham struggled to retain possession at all and it was nearly one way traffic from then on.

Liverpool's pressure finally told in the 84th minute when Tomkins and Jacobsen both left the ball for the other in the penalty area. Suarez picked up the ball and fired the ball across the six yard box for Johnson to score from 3 yards at the far post.

West Ham then faced a very nervy final 5 minutes. However the nerves were cured in the 91st minute when Cole (on for Ba) brought a long ball down, beat his defender, and fired home from just inside the penalty area.

A great win for West Ham lifts them off the bottom of the league and sparks hope that we just might be able to escape relegation once again.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Faubert Wants to Quit West Ham

A clearly angry Julien Faubert has told The Mirror that he plans to leave West Ham in the summer,

"My story with West Ham is at an end. I worked flat out for them, even when my mother died, and I have never created any problems.

"If they told me I'm not playing because I am no good I would understand, but that is not the case. I am in good shape and just want to play, but I don't expect anything more here.

My future lies elsewhere and I hope they will not try to prevent me leaving.

"At the time of the Birmingham game, my newly-born son was ill and in hospital. I spent the Friday and Saturday with him and could not go to training.

"My bosses knew the situation. On the eve of the match they told me I was in the reserve squad, but when I turned up on the Sunday the assistant manager told me the first team needed me as a player was injured.

"So I jumped in my car, rushed home and then on to Upton Park - but when I got there surprise, surprise - nobody was injured and I was not in the squad.

"I left the ground, as players do in these situations, and went to see my son as he had suffered a relapse. The hospital was an hour's drive away.

"On my way I got a phone call saying that a lad (James Tomkins) had got injured five minutes before the kick-off, and that I had to come back to replace him - but that was impossible.

"Afterwards the bosses said I had not wanted to return, and that I lacked respect for them. They made me out to be a mercenary.

"West Ham were simply looking for excuses after their defeat against Birmingham. This chapter is now closed - but so is mine at the club."

Friday, February 25, 2011

West Ham Injury Update

The Guardian report that all West Ham's currently injured players should be fit within a month.

They say Keane is likely to return to action in four weeks. Collison is three weeks away from a return. Upson may be fit in two months time and Dyer is likely to be available next weekend. They also Obinna could be in contention for a starting place on Sunday.

The Metro is reporting that Victor Obinna could be a summer target for Sp#rs. Obinna will be available on a free contract in the summer. The Metro quote Obinna as saying,

"Will I stay at West Ham? I am happy in London but we will have to evaluate many things."

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Villa After Green

The Sun says West Ham hope Keane will be back in action 'next month'.

The Mirror claim Aston Villa will look to replace Brad Friedel with Robert Green in the summer.

The Guardian say West Ham are ready to sue the FA for compensation for Dean Ashton's enforced retirement. David Sullivan is quoted as saying,

"We will have to issue a writ shortly, but it’s the last thing I want to do because I don’t believe people in football should be suing each other.

"For West Ham to get nothing is appalling. Years after the injury and several years after the retirement, they have never offered us a penny. That can’t be right."

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Upson to See Specialist

The Daily Express say that West Ham will find out in the next 24 hours whether Matthew Upson will need to undergo surgery on his Achilles tendon. The Express say if surgery can be avoided and the problem managed, Upson is hoping to rejoin training as soon as possible.

Most of the other newspapers today are concentrating on the return of Hitzlsperger. Hitzlsperger rejects claims that he is West Ham's saviour but thinks the club can avoid relegation,

"Our target is to stay in the Premier League. This season has been up and down really but we have to try to stay in the league and remain positive.

"I'm really looking forward to the next few months and if I stay fit, which I will, then we have a good chance of staying up because this is a good group and we all fancy our chances.

"I'm optimistic about our chances of staying in the league and after the performance against Burnley, we have a chance of getting to the FA Cup final too."

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Ilunga & McCarthy to Wednesday

Inter Milan have not renewed Victor Obinna's contract. Obinna says,

"Inter have no more say about me. I had a loan deal until the end of the season with an option on my contract to be registered before the end of January for 2011 and 2012, but they (Inter) did not register it."

This presumably means that Obinna will be available on a free contract in the summer. It seems likely that Obinna will have a number of clubs chasing his signature.

Sheffield Wednesday are in talks with West Ham to take McCarthy and Ilunga on loan until the end of the season.

Gary Megson said today,

"We are trying to get both players in and the two clubs have been in dialogue for a few days."

Upson Won't Miss Season

You have to love hate The Daily Mail. Today the newspaper says that,

"some reports suggested the England man (Matthew Upson) would play no further part in the Hammers' battle to avoid relegation."

In fact the only newspaper that I saw that said Matthew Upson would miss the rest of the season was The Daily Mail. So The Daily Mail fresh from printing an exclusive report that West Ham's captain was out for the season are now exclusively able to reveal that he isn't.

According to The Mail Upson will return to training this week. The newspaper even has the cheek to quote Upson's obvious frustration at The Mail's own lies,

'My mum rang me and said "Thanks for telling me you're out" and said she'd read in the papers that I was out for the season.

'I said "that`s news to me". I've had a problem and it's been a bit complicated. I've had several different diagnoses which is always frustrating because, as an athlete, you have to choose what is right and wrong which is not easy.

'We're in the process of sorting it out and I personally feel like I could be training very soon - possibly the end of the week. That's a lot different to being out for the rest of the season.'

Monday, February 21, 2011

West Ham 5 Burnley 1

Hitzlsperger started the game in midfield with Parker and Noble. Reid partnered Tomkins in defence and Ba started up front with Cole.

West Ham started the game slowly and Burnley looked the better team for the first twenty minutes. Green was forced into a couple of good saves early on. In the 14th minute Rodriguez brushed Reid aside in the penalty area and his poked shot from 9 yards forced Green to tip the ball over the bar. A minute later and Green was forced into a diving save when Wallace cut in from the right wing and shot from distance.

In the 23rd minute Hitzlsperger got his debut goal. The Hammer dropped his shoulder 30 yards out, making room for the shot before firing home. After the goal West Ham came into the game and controlled possession for patches. However Burnely still managed to create another good chance when Eagles forced Green into a save with a 20 yard effort.

In the opening 5 minutes of the second half we saw the best and the worst of Carlton Cole, amazingly both the best and the worst led to goals for the striker. For his first goal Cole was played clear by Noble. The striker looked suspiciously offside but he continued anyway, well continued to miscontrol the ball before falling over. However from a prone position Cole still managed to get his shot away and score.

Two minutes later Noble played Cole through again. This time Cole's first touch was beautiful and his second touch sent the ball into the back of the net from 12 yards. In the 59th minute Reid made it 4-0 by heading home a Hitz corner from 6 yards. A minute after that Ba was unlucky when his shot from 12 yards was just tipped wide.

In the 67th minute Hitzlsperger was replaced by Barrera. In the 70th minute Rodriguez was left unmarked on the edge of the area but he fired his shot over. A minute later however and Bridge played a short ball back to Green. Green's clearance rebounded off Mears two yards away and fell to Rodriguez who headed in from 4 yards.

In extra time a Reid goal-line clearance saved West Ham conceding a second. West Ham then broke up field and Sears scored from 12 yards.

This was a great win for West Ham. Hitzlesperger got some much needed first team action under his belt and scored on his début. Noble played two defence splitting passes and Cole got on the score sheet twice. It was also a great game from Grant who must take some credit for the second half goals. Grant clearly told the players to play the ball in behind the Burnley defence and the tactic worked a dream.

Now bring on Liverpool.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Upson Out for Season

The Daily Mail say that Matthew Upson will be out for the rest of the season. The Mail say Upson played in the defeat to Birmingham despite being injured. He was forced off in that game and now looks to have played his last game for the club.

Upson's contract is up in the summer and has so far refused to sign a new contract. The injury to West Ham's captain leaves West Ham very short of experienced cover at centre back.

Stoke Away in the FA Cup - maybe

If West Ham win against Burnley tomorrow they will be rewarded with an away tie against Stoke in the quarter-final of the FA Cup. The quarter-final ties will be played on 12 and 13 March 2011.

Taking Cole to Newcastle

The Sunday Mirror claim Newcastle are lining up a summer move for West Ham striker Carlton Cole.

The People say Wally Downes is soon to leave West Ham as his relationship with Avram Grant has reached breaking point.

Friday, February 18, 2011

McCarthy and Hitz to Play Against Burnley

There seems to be a lot of speculation that Benni McCarthy may be given a start against Burnley. McCarthy was left out of West Ham's Premier League squad but is available for the FA Cup.

Personally I can't see it. You would think that Grant would use the match to try and develop the partnership with Cole and Demba Ba up front. Thomas Hitzlsperger played 72 minutes for the reserves this week, so expect to see the midfielder in action for some of this game.

Lawro is predicting a 2-1 West Ham win and says Grant is likely to pick a strong side for the game.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hearn Moans About the Olympics Stadium

Most of the West Ham related news today concerns Barry Hearn's complaints that despite Leyton Orient not putting in a bid for the Olympic Stadium they really don't want it to be used by anyone else.

So instead of news about West Ham today I shall use this space to post a holiday snap.

A few people asked in the comments where I was last week. Whilst West Ham were being trounced by Birmingham I was happily skiing in the Alps. I did manage to catch the West Brom performance on Match of the Day (whilst stopping over in Geneva).

It is a bit depressing having to swap gorgeous Alpine views (not a cloud all week) for the grey slate Victorian skies of London again but I have returned with a new sense of optimism and am now hoping that a win in the FA Cup next week will spur West Ham on to a run of victories in the league.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

West Ham - A Good Bet for Relegation

There isn't much West Ham related news today. Ladbrokes have an interesting, if depressing, assessment of West Ham's chances of avoiding the drop. Looking at the teams fighting relegation they tip West Ham as a good bet.

They argue that although West Ham possibly have the strongest squad of the relegation contenders they also face the toughest run-in, with away games against Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester City and home games against Man Utd and Liverpool.

They argue that West Ham currently represent the best value if you want a punt on teams to go down.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Things Looking Good on Injury Front

Thomas Hitzlsperger who was a sub for the West Brom game is due to make his long awaited début for West Ham in the FA Cup this weekend. Obinna could also play and should definitely be available for West Ham's next league game.

Keane looks set to miss the next league game against Liverpool with an injured foot but is expected to recover for the game against Stoke.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Feeling Optimistic About West Ham

What a difference three points make.

A great away win tonight and West Ham's position suddenly looks a lot more positive. A win on Sunday at home to Birmingham (a real shame they picked up a point tonight) and things will begin to look almost positively rosy. If we can then follow that with a win at West Brom then we might even be able to look forward to that mid-table finish that Avram Grant often hints at.

Ignore my pessimistic post below, I'm not sure why I ever doubted West Ham.

On another note I'm about to enter a week's internet silence. Normal service (and hopefully not the pessimism) will resume on Monday 14th Feb.

Benni Rejects a £1 Million Pay Off

The Telegraph are reporting that Benni McCarthy has rejected a £1 million pound offer from West Ham to rip up his contract.

The paper say that McCarthy and Ilunga have both been left out of West Ham's 25 player squad list for the rest of the season. It seems that McCarthy is happier to earn around £38,000 for the 18 months left on his contract than risk trying to find another club.

West Ham will now presumably look to loan McCarthy and Ilunga out for the rest of the season.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Feeling Pessimistic About West Ham

West Ham Till I Die and KUMB both have positive stories out today. Both websites seem impressed with West Ham's business during the January transfer window.

Keeping hold of Parker has obviously pleased everyone and in the signings of Keane and Bridge West Ham have secured two established Premier League players.

However to avoid relegation I think West Ham are going to have to win nearly half of their remaining 14 games. The last time West Ham were relegated we went down with 42 points and the way the league is panning out this year I think we will probably need around 42 points to stay up.

To win 7 games is going to be a massive undertaking (we have won 4 out of 24 so far). So despite the improved squad I'm still pretty pessimistic about our chances of avoiding relegation.

I admit it's been an OK transfer window for West Ham but the investment in established Premier League players should have been made in the summer.

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