Friday, September 30, 2011

Green Out, Alumunia In

The official West Ham website report that Robert Green faces around six weeks out with a knee cartilage injury.

West Ham have therefore signed goalkeeper Manuel Almunia on an initial one-month emergency loan from Arsenal.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Kevin Nolan Question

One of the biggest questions facing West Ham at the moment seems to be - "Is Kevin Nolan a good enough captain to justify his inclusion in the team?"

The consensus seems to be that Nolan has so far been disappointing in a West Ham shirt. Gary Portugal argues in an article on KUMB that Nolan is 'failing on all counts'.

In yesterday's Evening Spamhead Nolan himself admitted that he has yet to give his best to West Ham,

"To be honest I'm not happy with my own form but it's been quite difficult, I've moved to a city where I never thought I would live and I have my family.

"At the end of the day though, I know I have to start playing and lift my game and when we're not playing well, I'm my worst critic. I'm not happy but I think I can still add something to the team."

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Lee Bowyer Haunting West Ham

The Guardian, The Independent, The Star and The Express all start their match reports on last night's game with some form of the words,

"Lee Bowyer came back to haunt West Ham."

Sam Allardyce was particularly incensed with losing the game so close to full-time,

"We thought we had learned our lesson and clearly we haven't done that. I keep telling the players about respecting the point. Coming off nil-nil would have been a good point for us because I didn't think we were at our best - particularly in the first half.

"We can ill afford to throw points away but more importantly we can't do that at Upton Park. We really have to eradicate that because we have to make up those points away from home and while we have been magnificent in terms of our results away from home we won't always keep going away from home and winning."

In other news The Mirror report that West Ham keeper Marek Stech has been handed a trial at Burnley after being told he can leave Upton Park.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

West Ham 0 Ipswich 1

West Ham started with Faye and Tomkins at the back. Baldock and Bentley also started with Faubert dropping to the bench and Taylor out injured.

The changes to the West Ham side seemed to have a negative effect on the team and Ipswich dominated the possession in the first half and looked the more likely to score.

The best chance of the half fell to Michael Chopra. In the 20th minute an Edwards cross was volleyed goalwards by Chopra but the shot was well saved by Green. In the 15th minute a Bowyer effort from inside the penalty area hit the post with Green beaten.

In the 22nd minute West Ham's first real effort on goal was a long range shot from Lansbury which only just flew wide of the post. In the 26th minute Faye headed over the bar from 10 yards.

Those two efforts were the best of the action from West Ham in the first half. In the 45th minute Bentley did try a very long range effort on goal from a freekick but the ball was easily gathered by Stockdale in goal.

West Ham started the second half with a bit more life in them. In the 50th minute Cole shot straight at Stockdale. In the 53rd minute O'Brien fired over from 22 yards.

However West Ham's early effort soon fizzled out and in the 65th minute Allardyce brought on Carew and Collison for Cole and Lansbury. In the 72nd minute Edwards shot from 30 yards but the ball flew just wide.

In the 75th minute Baldock got into the box but slightly miss-hit his shot and in the end the ball was easy for Stockdale to gather. Ipswich immediately broke forward and Leadbitter's long range effort was deflected wide for a corner.

In the 83rd minute a Cresswell freekick from 30 yards forced Green to rise and tip the ball over the bar. In the 87th minute a long range Bentley shot deflected off Nolan and flew wide.

With 2 minutes to go to the end of 90 minutes Carew cleared the ball from an Ipswich corner but only as far as Bowyer who fired it back goalwards low and hard and beat Green in goal.

In injury time Tomkins headed over from a corner.

A far from convincing performance from West Ham ends in a home loss and a missed opportunity to go top of the league. More worryingly West Ham have scored one goal in the last three matches and that goal came from a penalty. The team suddenly look like they don't know how to score.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Confidence Breeds Success

West Ham go into the Ipswich game tomorrow on a seven game unbeaten run in the league. Sam Allardyce, in his Manager on Monday post on the official West Ham website, says that the squad is now full of confidence,

"Results breed confidence such as going away to Doncaster and then drawing with Leeds and beating Forest with four goals and beating Watford by four.

"The players have built a very good dressing room very quickly, down to firstly the captain and then the rest of the players joining in and building a unity between them that's a good bond, so that they can communicate with each other on a day to day basis and enjoy their own company.

"And also enjoy criticising each other for the benefit of the team because it's no good seeing somebody doing wrong and saying nothing. That's not a good dressing room. If somebody's doing something wrong, you tell then and that's a good dressing room.

"I think that's what we're building and that's helped us get good results on the field."

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Man Mountain Abdoulaye Faye

Sam Allardyce says that he will quit if West Ham don't get promoted back to the Premier League.

"I thrive under pressure and I said when I came here if I don’t deliver promotion in two seasons I expect to get sacked. In fact, co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold won’t have to sack me ­because I’d tender my ­resignation and say its right to part company anyway."

After yesterday's match Allardyce was also full of praise for Abdoulaye Faye (and himself),

"Our defence is starting to look solid and that's all because of a man mountain called Abdoulaye Faye. He's the coolest dude you have ever met in your life.

"You see him lumbering along but he always gets there. He's cool, he wins headers, gets into position, nullifies the opponents and, in terms of being a calming influence, he's very experienced - thanks to being lucky that I brought him to the Premier League many years ago. He has a lot to thank me for, which I keep reminding him."

Saturday, September 24, 2011

West Ham 1 Peterborough 0

Tomkins started on the bench with Faye again starting in the middle of defence.

Peterborough had the better of the opening exchanges. Within the first minute the Posh won a corner, from which Rowe forced Green into a save from a headed shot.

However in the 10th minute Lansbury was fouled just inside the area. Mark Noble claimed the penalty and sent the keeper the wrong way, slotting the ball into the bottom corner.

After the goal West Ham started to control the game. Boyd's 27th minute left-footed effort from just outside the area, which flew just over the bar, was a rare chance for Peterborough.

At the other end West Ham came close to getting a second in the 38th minute when a Cole shot flew just over the bar. In the 41st minute Lansbury also shot just over, after some good build up from Reid and Faubert down the right wing.

Peterborough started the second half quite brightly. In the opening minutes of the half Tomlin shot just wide of Green's post from 25 yards and Boyd shot wide from just inside the box.

In the 53rd minute West Ham finally woke up and Cole headed over from a Faubert header. After 55 minutes Carew came on for Carlton Cole. In the 56th minute Faubert shot just wide from just outside the area.

Carew was very busy in the first few minutes after his introduction managing a couple of headed efforts and a 30 yard drive. However the game remained quite open and in the 62nd minute a Tomlin shot from the edge of the area had a lot of power but was straight at Green.

In the 67th minute Bentley came on for Faubert. In the 79th minute Bentley curled a nice looking shot goalwards but Jones just managed to get across and tip it wide. In the 81st minute Taylor also forced a save from Jones.

Tomkins was brought on for Taylor in injury time. In the last few seconds of the game Peterborough threw everybody forward but West Ham managed to hold on for the win.

Another home win for West Ham moves them to within one point of the automatic promotion positions.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Tomkins Could be Fit for Peterborough

The Guardian say that Tomkins could be fit for West Ham's game against Peterborough United tomorrow. Tomkins suffered a groin injury against Millwall last weekend and was considered a doubt to face the Posh. But he has improved quickly and may be able to start this weekend.

Sam Allardyce says that he will assess the player's fitness today.

The Sun claim that West Ham have told Robert Green and Carlton Cole that they have to wait until January before getting new contracts. The Sun claim West Ham are waiting until January before offering the pair new contracts so that they can assess whether the club are likely to be promoted to the Premier League next year.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Have We Seen the Last of Barrera?

Pablo Barrera has been talking to Spanish newspaper Marca and it appears he is keen to make his loan move to Zaragoza into a permanent deal. Barrera said to the Spanish paper,

"I am calmer and happier now and I have finally have a home where I feel comfortable. As soon as I knew that Zaragoza were interested in me, I wanted to come here. I'm very happy and want to show that on the pitch.

I pressed for this move. From the first moment I heard that Zaragoza were asking about me I wanted to go. I know people have high hopes for me and support me, so I am responding on the field starting with that win against Espanyol on Sunday. Now I'd like to do the right thing and stay here in Zaragoza."

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Kurucz Now Fully Fit

Sky Sports report that West Ham goalkeeper Peter Kurucz has made a miraculous recovery from a serious knee injury.

Sky say that Kurucz suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury during a reserve game in August that the club thought would rule him out for the rest of the season. Following a course of cryotherapy Sky say Kurucz is now fully fit and ready to return to the West Ham squad.

Kuracz actually suffered the injury last August so this isn't quite the miraculously fast recovery that Sky claims. However West Ham do seem to have massively improved the fitness levels of the squad under Big Sam (touch wood) and it is good to see Kuracz back in contention.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Olympic Knickers Stadium

Things are very quiet on the West Ham news front. This could be why two newspapers yesterday decided to run stories that West Ham would be renaming the Olympics Stadium the Ann Summers Stadium.

West Ham have released an official statement denying the story. The story seems to have emanated from a joke made at last week's fans forum.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Millwall 0 West Ham 0

West Ham started with just the one change, Faye replacing Reid at the back.

Lansbury won the ball immediately from the Millwall kick-off. He spotted Forde in goal bizarrely wandering around behind his goal and tried a 40 yard effort on goal, which unfortunately missed.

Except for the Lansbury effort it was Millwall who had the better of the opening fifteen minutes, forcing a number of corners. Their best chance in this spell fell to Bouazza, whose low strike was tipped wide by Green.

In the 17th minute Cole managed West Ham's first shot on goal, but his effort from a tight angle was easy for Forde in goal to gather. A minute later Marquis broke clear of the West Ham defence but Green did well to smother his shot and then gather the loose ball.

In the 25th minute Cole set up McCartney on the edge of the area but the defender's right footed shot flew high and wide. In the 30th minute Tomkins was forced off to be replaced by Reid.

The best chance for West Ham fell to Lansbury in the 35th minute. Forde dropped a McCartney cross and Lansbury fired a shot that hit the keeper, the rebound fell to Lansbury and this time his shot was headed off the line by Robinson.

In the 44th minute Millwall's best chance fell to Trotter from a Stewart cross, but Trotter somehow managed to fire over the crossbar from only five yards out.

At the start of the second half West Ham were a little better at suffocating attacking play but at the expense of their own forward momentum as well. In the 59th minute Bentley came on for Taylor.

The introduction of Bentley gave West Ham more impetuous going forward. In the 69th minute West Ham managed the first shot from either side in the second half. Cole won a near post header from a Millwall corner, Faubert found Lansbury who broke forward. His cross for Nolan was headed straight at Forde in goal.

In the 72nd minute Millwall managed their first shot on target of the second half but Marquis' shot was saved by Green at his near post. A minute later Baldock was brought on for Lansbury and West Ham actually had two attackers up front.

In the 76th minute Bentley missed an open goal from 7 yrds after a Faubert shot was blocked by Forde, the ball fell to Bentley who missed a golden opportunity to get his first goal for West Ham. A minute later Bentley actually managed to hit the target with a long range effort but the shot was easily saved.

In the final quarter of an hour West Ham continued to have the better of the play without really creating any real clear cut opportunities. In the last minute of standard time Faubert actually managed to find the back of the net but from an offside position.

This was a game of two halves. Millwall had the better of the first half and West Ham dominated the second. Millwall clearly won the corner count, with West Ham managing just the one corner in the whole match but West Ham probably had the better goal scoring opportunities in the game.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Savio Goes Missing

The Daily Mirror and The Mail say that former West Ham forward Savio is being sought by Interpol after disappearing in Italy.

Savio is now on loan to Juve Stabia from Fiorentina but the 22-year-old has not been seen since texting his coach he would not make training for "personal reasons" last Thursday.

According to the Mirror Savio's mother has contacted Interpol in the hope that they can find her son.

Savio is obviously a player with a lot of personal problems and I hope that he is found soon. I can't help thinking though that Interpol should also have a look at the circumstances behind Nani signing him for a reported £9 million.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Piquionne Loses Appeal Against Red

The Sun say that Piquionne has lost his appeal against his sending off against Portsmouth and will now be banned for three games.

The paper also says that West Ham will offer Australian international left back David Carney a one-year deal after he impressed on trial.

I've heard elsewhere that Carney and midfielder Juca will continue their trials with West Ham for a little while longer before any decisions are made.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Stech on Trial at Ipswich

TWTD, an Ipswich Town fan site, says that West Ham goalkeeper Marek Stech is on trial with the club.

West Ham's teenage striker Robert Hall has moved to Oxford United in a one-month loan deal. Hall has been on fire for the development squad this season scoring six goals in seven games.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Selection Problems for Allardyce

In Sam Allardyce's Manager on Monday post on the official West Ham website Big Sam discusses his enviable selection problems,

"We have a good squad and more players to come in. We have got to get them fitter and some of the players are going to be disappointed now as they won't even make the bench. I will have to handle that in the right way but all the players will get used over the course of the 46 games."

"Henri has set the bar high so I will be saying to him that I expect at least that every week! We are happy to be able to have got him on loan from Arsenal. David Bentley also showed his ability when he came on and that kind of experience is going to be important for us in being able to change personnel and systems whenever the need be.

"Guy and Papa are a couple of weeks away and will have hard intensive training and some matches behind closed doors to get their fitness up. David Bentley will also benefit, while John Carew only got two substitute appearances with the national side."

Sunday, September 11, 2011

West Ham vs Pompey - What the Papers Say

Most of the newspapers saw yesterday's win over Portsmouth as an entertaining affair but most believe West Ham were lucky to win. The sending off is seen as the turning point in most of the papers. Most of the papers were also impressed with Henri Lansbury's debut.

The Star say,

"This was an even game until Liam Lawrence saw red for a reckless challenge on David Bentley.

The People say,

"It was a disjointed display and only the dismissal of Portsmouth captain Liam Lawrence and a brainless penalty area hand-ball by Justin Pearce ensured all three points."

The Mirror were impressed by West Ham's loanee midfielder,

"Lansbury celebrated his debut by claiming one of the goals that gave the Hammers their first victory of the Championship campaign at Upton Park.

He also supplied plenty of midfield creativity as the east Londoners capitalised on the dismissal of Pompey’s outstanding Liam Lawrence in the 67th minute."

The Express were also impressed with Lansbury,

"Lansbury stepped into Scott Parker’s boots with a man-of-the-match display for the Hammers."

Saturday, September 10, 2011

West Ham 4 Portsmouth 3

West Ham started with Lansbury replacing the departed Parker and Faubert keeping out Bentley on the wing.

West Ham's terrible home form seemed set to continue when Portsmouth scored as early as the 8th minute. Varney got Portsmouth's opener when his shot from just inside the penalty area was deflected into his own goal by Cole.

From the restart Cole was fouled 25 yards out from goal allowing West Ham immediately back into the game. Taylor sent a low freekick goalwards, the ball took a slight deflection to beat Ashdown in goal.

After getting the equaliser instead of West Ham pressing on it was actually Portsmouth who shaded the rest of the half, with West Ham again reverting to their rather dodgy home form.

In the 53nd minute Lansbury got his debut goal. Lansbury's shot, from 16 yrds out, took a deflection off Pearce and just had enough pace to trickle over the goal-line. It took Portsmouth just seven minutes to get back on equal terms. In the 60th minute David Norris headed home from close range, from a Huseklepp cross.

It really looked like it was going to be another disappointing game for West Ham until Liam Lawrence was sent off for a second yellow card after a foul on Bentley. Portsmouth had put in a combative performance all afternoon and a red card was always on the cards.

In the 70th minute the impressive Lansbury tried a little ball juggling in the area which was disrupted by a Pearce handball. Noble stepped up and struck the ball home, with Ashdown diving the wrong way. In the 76th minute West Ham got their fourth with a Cole header from a Taylor cross.

West Ham's afternoon was slightly spoilt in injury time when Piquionne was sent off for a hand in the face on Halford. Immediately from the restart Ben Haim fell over in the West Ham area and the ref gave a penalty. With the last kick of the game Halford converted the penalty.

So an incident packed game ends with West Ham getting their first home win since March.

Allardyce's Influence On & Off the Pitch

The Daily Mirror has an interview with James Tomkins today. In the interview Tomkins seems to suggest that Sam Allardyce has turned things around=d at West Ham, both on and off the pitch.

"The gaffer has been good to me ever since he got here and has shown his faith by playing me in every game which always helps. I feel like I am improving as a player and have still got a lot to learn. I am enjoying the challenge.

"I have played more games than anyone at the back and enjoy being the leader which helps me as a player. I think the manager has been a motivator for all of us and he is a great professional. We are spot on with everything that we do - not just on the pitch, but off it as well.

"It is good to see the young lads getting a chance for England. If I continue to play well, that is my target and the ultimate dream - to be out there for my country."

The Sun are suggesting that Wayne Bridge could end up on loan at West Ham once again now that he has been told by Man City that he isn't part of the clubs plans.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

New West Ham Store

West Ham are opening a new shop next week in the new Westfield Shopping Centre in Stratford. The shop is in a prime location to capitalise on next year's Olympics and the thousands of visitors who will be passing through the centre on the way to the Olympic Park.

Sam Allardyce, Kevin Nolan, Carlton Cole and Jack Collison are all expected to be attending the opening of the new store.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Henri Lansbury's England Highlights

Henri Lansbury grabbed two goals for England Under 21 against Azerbaijan and was named man of the match. His first was pretty stunning.

Here are the highlights of the game (might be UK only)

Thursday, September 01, 2011

A Good Transfer Window for West Ham

When West Ham were relegated I suspect most fans expected that the club would off-load Upson, Parker, Cole and Green. It is something of a success then to have come through the transfer window having retained Cole and Green.

Matthew Upson had made his intentions to move on pretty clear early last season by refusing to sign a new contract so it was almost inevitable that he would leave the club. Scott Parker is the obvious big loss to the club during this window but that aside I think we have actually entered the new season with a stronger squad.

The departures of Hines and Stanilas are a disappointment but if the club had to offload some of the home grown talent I'm glad it was Hines and Stanislas rather than Noble, Tomkins or Collison.

Nolan and Taylor already seem to have strengthened the West Ham first eleven and the capture on loan of David Bentley means that West Ham for the first time in a few seasons look to have a very balanced team with good crossers of the ball on both wings.

McCartney has been a great buy, particularly as Ilunga made a number of costly mistakes in West Ham's opening games. With the addition of Guy Demel, Henri Lansbury, Sam Baldock and Papa Bouba Diop West Ham now have a number of options in most positions.

Overall then it has been a good transfer window for West Ham and we seem to have emerged from relegation with a stronger rather than a weakened team.

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