Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Collison is Back

TalkSport say that Jack Collison is finally set to make his long-awaited comeback from a long-term knee injury, when West Ham reserves play Manchester United on Friday.

The midfielder is set to play his first game when the reserves play at Bishops Stortford on Friday afternoon.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Parker Hits Best Form of his Career

Scott Parker's performance for England on Saturday has been getting rave reviews. Parker, speaking to The Sun, says he is currently at the top of his game,

"I feel like I am probably playing the best football of my career. I went into the game confident and in form and, hopefully, I showed that out there.

I was really happy I got a start, got to play and finished up on a winning side."

Ruud van Nistelrooy is out of contract with Hamburg at the end of the season. According to the Loughborough Echo West Ham want to bring the 34-year-old goalscorer back to England for one more season.

Friday, March 25, 2011

West Ham Look to Strengthen Midfield

TalkSport claim that West Ham will make a move to sign Swedish midfielder Rasmus Elm in the summer. The 23-year-old currently plays in the Netherlands for AZ Alkmaar.

Avram Grant has been talking to The Daily Telegraph about the potential of 17-year old Australian Dylan Tombides. The young West Ham player has recently scored for the reserves against Blackpool and Arsenal.

"He has the potential to be a good player but the big factor is whether you can maximise that potential. It's difficult with the position we are in but he might even play before the end of the season when we are fighting relegation."

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Orient Want Some Compensation

Leyton Orient say that they will apply for a judicial review of the decision to allow West Ham to take over the Olympic Stadium on April 4th. Unless that is someone gives them some money.

The Evening Standard claim Sp#rs are keeping a parasitical eye on these developments.

TalkSport claim Burnley are keen to take Zavon Hines on loan for the rest of the season.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Unstoppable Scotty Parker

Most of the papers report today that Scott Parker's father passed away on Saturday, less than 24 hours before another awesome performance from West Ham's inspirational midfielder, against Spurs.

Glenn Hoddle in The Express says that the England side's midfield should be built around Scott Parker,

"Scott Parker is an excellent footballer. He is a terrific all-round modern-day footballer. And at 30 years of age, he’s a fit lad.

"He could play all different roles. If you want him to burst forward, he’d do it, he has that ability. But if you said, 'I want you to be the sitter and allow Frank Lampard and Jack Wilshere to go forward', then he would be perfect.

"He gets on the ball quickly, he sees the picture quickly. And if you told him to keep it simple and feed people, he would be sensational in there. Also, if you do need to change the shape or system because you need to change the game, he will give you a thrust from midfield as well. So he would be a surprise element at times."

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Brady Criticises Mid-Week Break

The Daily Mirror say West Ham are one of a number of clubs interested in signing Swansea’s Darren Pratley. The 25-year-old is available on a free contract in the summer and The Mirror say that West Ham made a failed bid to sign him in January.

Karen Brady's attempts to undermine Avram Grant in her Sun column continue. The Guardian yesterday seemed to find her criticisms of the team's warm weather training in Portugal interesting.

Brady says the FA Cup defeat to Stoke cost the club £1.2 million and she will think hard before allowing the team to go away on a training exercise again. The paper point out that Avram Grant wasn't happy with Brady after she vetoed a deal to bring Steve Sidwell to West Ham in January.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Tottenham 0 West Ham 0

The first twenty minutes of this game looked very ominous for West Ham. Tottenham dominated possession, found space all over the pitch and peppered the West Ham goal with shots.

In the first ten minutes Dawson hit the crossbar, Defoe shot just wide from 8 yards and Lennon shot over from 12 yards. In the following ten minutes Modric and Van der Vaart both just shot wide with shots from the edge of the penalty area.

Despite all Tottenham's pressure the best chance of the opening twenty minutes actually fell to Carlton Cole. In the 19th minute Ba played Cole clear behind the defence. However Cole shot straight at the out-rushing Gomes in goal.

That chance for Cole seemed to spur West Ham into action and they looked much more comfortable for the rest of the half. Spurs however still managed to create a couple of good chances.

Tottenham's best effort of the half came from an excellent Lennon run, cutting in from the left wing. His shot from wide left in the area bounced back off the far post and fell to Defoe. However with an open goal in front of him Defoe shot wide from 5 yards.

For much of the second half Tottenham dominated possession but up until the last ten minutes the chances created were fairly even. Straight from the kick-off Cole tested Gomes from 12 yards. At the other end Defoe had another great chance from 5 yards but Green stuck out a foot and managed to save the ball.

In the 55th minute Noble came very close with a great overhead kick from 11 yards, putting the ball just wide. In the 64th minute Ba thundered a shot from 25 yards that forced Gomes into a great diving save. Then in the 71st minute Noble shot just wide from the edge of the penalty area.

In the last ten minutes Tottenham really came to life and created a number of really good chances. Pavlyuchenko twice forced saves from Green from the edge of the area and Defoe also had another couple of good chances which he failed to put away. In the 85th minute Bale curled a freekick in from 25 yards and Green did really well to dive and stop the shot, which was heading into the top corner.

Tottenham probably felt that they created enough chances in this game to get the three points. However, despite Tottenham's dominance of possession for much of the game, West Ham had enough shots on goal to feel that on another day they might have nicked a win. In the end a draw was probably a fair result.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Avram Grant Charged with Misconduct

Avram Grant has been charged with improper conduct by the FA for his comments after the Stoke game.

Grant was asked whether he thought the referee was trying to even things up after allowing Piquionne's goal to stand. In reply Grant said,

"I think so, yes. Maybe this is the reason the referee started the second half very, very strange.

Until they scored the goal, he gave fouls and penalties, everything for them. Maybe he felt a little bit weak."

If Grant has been charged for misconduct for that statement then the FA will surely also want to have a word with Matthew Etherington. Etherington denies diving to earn a penalty but said,

"After their goal appeared to be a handball, it looked as though the ref was going to give us something."

Etherington seems to be saying exactly the same thing as Grant, so the FA will surely act, won't they?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Demba Ba Fit to Face Spurs

There isn't much West Ham news around today. TalkSport claim that Demba Ba has stated on his personal website that he was merely rested against Stoke and is fit to play against Tottenham.

Kieron Dyer has been talking about his future. He is contemplating the possibility of signing for Ipswich or playing in the U.S. MLS after his contract with West Ham runs out in the summer.

The official West Ham website reports that Steve Lomas has continued his unbeaten run after the reserves beat Newcastle 4-2 yesterday.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Stoke Cheat Their Way to Wembley

Everyone seems to have had a go at the refereeing in yesterday's Stoke vs West Ham semi-final from Avram Grant to Scott Parker.

Most ridiculously Tony Pulis has once again laid into a referee after a game, claiming that Stoke are nearly always the victims of bad decisions. The hypocrisy of Pulis moaning about refereeing decisions is astounding. Especially as Stoke obviously practise how to foul the opposition at set pieces and every week he sends his teams out to basically cheat their way to victory.

I think there is a difference between Piquionne's handball and Stoke's continual fouling at set pieces. Piquionne's handball was done in the heat of the moment. Whereas Stoke obviously spend hours in training practising how to obstruct the opposition at set pieces.

Piquionne's goal shouldn't have stood. But Upson was obstructed for Stoke's first goal and Spector was pulled out of the wall and thrown to the ground for Stoke's second.

I don't think West Ham did enough to deserve to win yesterday's game. But if I was a Stoke fan I would be extremely embarrassed today to support such an anti-football side.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Stoke 2 West Ham 1

The only change in the West Ham team from last week was Piquionne in for Ba.

Whereas West Ham coped really well with Stoke's aerial challenge in the league in the first half here they were not as effective. There was an early warning when Green was forced into a very good save from an Etherington header from close range.

In the 12th minute however Green was unable to get to a powerful header from Huth, who rose unchallenged to head home a long throw from Delap.

West Ham themselves hardly showed any threat going forward until Hitzlsperger passed a wonderful through ball to Piquionne. Piquionne clearly handled the ball before bundling the ball home but neither the ref or his assistant saw the handball so the goal was given.

In the second half a combination of Stoke's diving and a ref desperate to atone for his earlier mistake handed the game to Stoke. Two minutes into the half Etherington dived in the area and the ref gave a penalty. Green did really well diving to his left to save from Etherington's spot kick.

In the 59th minutes Walter fell over and the ref gave Stoke a freekick. The freekick was fired against Obinna's arm and the ref gave another freekick, this time on the edge of the penalty area. Higginbotham fired in the kick and despite getting a hand to the ball Green couldn't keep the ball out.

In the last 15 minutes it was all one way traffic and West Ham peppered Stoke's goal. Obinna, Keane and Cole all forced good saves from Sorensen. In the 83rd minute Tomkins was clearly wrestled to the ground in the penalty area by Walters but, true to form, the referee gave a foul against Tomkins.

So in the end a combination of Stoke diving and a very poor refereeing performance ensured that ugly won the game. West Ham were not on their best form today. They seemed to miss Ba up front and only hit their recent form in the last 15 minutes of the game.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Dyer Joins Ipswich on Loan

Kieron Dyer has joined Ipswich on loan for a month. Presumably this means we have seen the last of Dyer at Upton Park. Dyer's contract runs out in the summer and West Ham will surely be desperate to get the injury prone midfielder off their books.

Reports suggest that Dyer is fit enough to play tomorrow in Ipswich's game against Leeds.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Hitzlsperger Looks Forward to the Run-in

The Daily Mail say that Italian side Napoli are targeting West Ham goalkeeper Marek Stech for a £2m summer move.

Elsewhere many of the newspapers quote Thomas Hitzlsperger as saying he is pleased with his first games for West Ham but that there is still a long way to go,

"That's three games and three wins, so what more could I ask for?

'I've scored again on Saturday and it's a pure joy being out there. The fans are behind us and there is a very good atmosphere.

'We're in a difficult phase at the moment, but we seem to be handling the pressure very well. The business is not finished yet, though. There is a long way to go and we're looking forward to it.'

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Wayne Rooney on Street View (non-WHU)

Street Views of the City of Manchester Stadium have appeared on Google Maps. The images seem to have been captured during the warm up for a game between Man City and Man United.

Despite Google's face blurring technology there is no disguising Wayne Rooney's potato shaped head.

Roberto Mancini can clearly be made out as well, despite having his back to the Street View camera.

If you click on either of the two images above you can walk around the pitch perimeter in Street View yourself.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Cole Aiming for A Top Ten Finish

The People and The Mirror both claim that West Ham are hoping to sign Kieran Richardson in the summer. Richardson was a West Ham trainee in his youth and the papers claim he could be keen on a move back to London.

The People claim Sunderland would let him move for about £7 million.

Carlton Cole still thinks West Ham can achieve a top ten finish this season. Speaking to TalkSport he said,

"We’re still on the road to where we want to be, that was the top half of the table and hopefully we can still get there because it’s a funny old Premier League season.

"We can really push on with the form we’re in at the moment."

With West Ham's tough remaining fixtures anywhere outside the bottom three will do me.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

West Ham 3 Stoke 0

Aware of Stoke's aerial threat Grant went with Da Costa and Upson in the centre of the defence and Tomkins pushed out to right back. Up front Piquionne was brought in alongside Cole and Ba.

The tactic of using height worked very well for West Ham, with Da Costa in particular winning every header at the back and being more that useful at set pieces in attack. In the first 20 minutes of the game there wasn't much goal mouth action but this all changed when Noble played a ball forward. Begovic rushed out of goal and completely missed the ball, leaving Ba in a chase with Wilson to get to the ball first. Ba won the chase and tapped the ball home from 4 yards.

In the 29th minute Da Costa made it 2-0 to West Ham when he leaped higher than every one else to head home a Hitzlsperger freekick from 8 yards. Six minutes later it should have been 3-0 to West Ham when Piquionne was left free at the far post but he could only manage to hit the side netting from 8 yards.

At the other end Stoke hardly troubled Green at all in the first half. Their only real chance came in the 11th minute when Walters tried a deft flick at the near post which did force Green into a save.

Stoke came into the game a little more in the second half and actually managed a number of goal scoring opportunites. The first chance of the half however fell to Tomkins who headed just wide at the far post in the 48th minute.

Stoke's best chances fell to Delap, Jones and Fuller. Delap forced a save from Green with a long range effort, the movement in the air causing the keeper a bit of a problem. In the 69th minute Jones headed just wide from 8 yards. In the 86th minute Fuller shot just wide from 9 yards.

However West Ham were also creating chances. Cole twice forced saves from Begovic and also shot just wide from 8 yards. Any nerves West Ham might have been feeling however were put to rest in the 83rd minute.

Parker drove to the byline and pulled the ball back for Piquionne. Piquionne's 8 yard shot was blocked and fell to Hitzlsperger who smashed the ball into the back of the net from 9 yards.

So West Ham keep a clean sheet and move out of the bottom three. They also pull off back-to-back wins in the Premier League for what seems like an age and have now won three games on the trot. They have also now scored 14 goals in their last 4 games.

Things are certainly looking up. Hopefully West Ham can keep the momentum going in the league with some tough games coming up.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Share Your Memories of the Boleyn

Boleyn Ground is a new photo blog where West Ham fans can share their photos of the Boleyn ground before its sad demise.

You can submit your own photos to the site and browse the submitted photos by decade. At the moment most of the decades are looking a little bare but hopefully that will soon change as news of the site grows and more fans upload their photos.

It is a brilliant idea. I really hope that it takes off. Whatever you think about the move to the Olympic Stadium the demolition of the Boleyn ground will be a sad day in West Ham's history.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

West Ham Publish Accounts

West Ham have filed their Financial Report up to May 2010. You can read the accounts yourself on the West Ham website (pdf file). I had a brief scan of the accounts and (not being a financial expert) they seem to show some improvement in the financial running of the club.

The Guardian have come to the same conclusion. The paper says that the "accounts to 31 May of last year show a £20.6m pre-tax loss, which is £4.4m higher than that of the previous year. But the financial fundamentals of the club are far healthier than in recent seasons. Although a £6.2m fall in distributions from the Premier League shrunk cash-flow".

The Guardian point to the club's renegotiating of its loan repayments last month. Now the £38.5m in loans need be repaid only at the end of 2013 and, I believe, the club have a better deal on the interest paid on the loan. The accounts also show that the new owners have significantly lowered the wage costs at the club.

The Guardian however do point to some concerns,

"There is the relegation threat, the fact that the final instalment on their £21.5m compensation to Sheffield United will not be paid until 2013, that the healthy figures were only possible due to £26m of shareholder cash pumped in over the year and that £7.3m of next season's ticket income has been sold forward. But at least West Ham are still standing."

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Mr West Ham

The Mail say Jack Colison will return to full training next week and could make his first-team return for the derby at Sp#rs on March 19.

The Daily Mail also has a good feature on Scott Parker, saying he must 'surely be a contender for Footballer of the Year'. The article won't surprise West Ham fans, praising his goals, half-time inspirational speeches and playing through the pain barrier.

The infographic on the page doesn't show up particularly well on the website but has some interesting stats. The graphic reveals that Parker tops every passing and defensive statistic for the whole West Ham side.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Lomas Returns

Steve Lomas has returned to West Ham as reserve team manager following the departure of Alex Dyer, who has taken the role of assistant manager at Charlton Athletic.

In other news Benni McCarthy is reported to have been offered to Charlton on loan. Unfortunately for West Ham, who seem desperate to get rid, Alex Dyer probably has more knowledge of McCarthy's current form than anyone else.

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