Diop and Balbuena re-united, First team to win at New Spurs Stadium & More- Talking Points from Tottenham v West Ham

West Ham became the first visiting team to win at the new Spurs stadium as they secured their first away league triumph of 2019 on Saturday afternoon. Michail Antonio’s fine finish midway through the second half gave the Hammers all three points against Mauricio Pochettino’s men.

Here are our talking points from the game.

Balbuena and Diop re-united: After a long time, Fabian Balbuena and Issa Diop together played as a central defensive pair. The pairing between the Paraguayan and the young French star has been one of the bright points of West Ham’s season, and they were fantastic today as the Hammers secured a rare clean sheet. Balbuena denied Vincent Janssen a late equaliser with his clearance off the line, while Diop almost scored a great individual goal, striding from his own half into the opposition box, but was denied by Lloris.

Angelo Ogbonna has his moments, but tends to be inconsistent. Balbuena and Diop are clearly the way forward.

First away team to win at the New Spurs stadium: West Ham became the first away team to win at the new Spurs stadium, and Antonio’s goal was the first the Lilywhites have conceded at this ground. Nice little pub trivia stat in favour of the Hammers, who were also the first team to win against Arsenal at the Emirates.

All the more remarkable given that the Hammers had taken just one point from 8 league games on the road prior to this clash. [Read more…]

Talking Points and Media Player Ratings- West Ham 4-3 Huddersfield

West Ham avoided a major embarrassment at home against strugglers Huddersfield Town as Javier Hernandez’s brace helped them snatch a last gasp 4-3 win. Up against a Town side that hadn’t scored away from home since Boxing Day, the Hammers were 3-1 down midway through the second half before a late fightback saw them down Jan Siewert’s men. Here are our talking points from the game, as well as the player ratings from the media.

Fabian Balbuena needs to start soon: The Balbuena-Issa Diop partnership was one of the highlights of the season for the Hammers before the Paraguayan got injured. He’s now fit, but Pellegrini, perhaps out of loyalty to Angelo Ogbonna, has chosen to continue with the Italian’s partnership with young Frenchman Diop in the heart of defence.

There have been some good moments with the Ogbonna-Diop partnership, but the consistency that Pellegrini would like is missing. Together, the solidity you’d expect from a side wanting to challenge for Europe isn’t quite there- too many defensive lapses for the fans’ liking. [Read more…]

West Ham 2-0 Newcastle 2019- Poor Magpies crash to defeat

West Ham extended their unbeaten run at the London Stadium to five games as they beat a poor Newcastle side 2-0 on Saturday evening. The result took the Hammers above Everton, with the Toffees being leapfrogged in the league standings after they could only manage a draw in their fixture against Liverpool.

Manuel Pellegrini made five changes to the side that had suffered defeat in midweek to Man City, with Manuel Lanzini getting his first start for the club in nearly ten months. Newcastle however chose to stick with the same XI that had done the business against Burnley.

The pre-match predictions were a mixed bag, but many expected Newcastle to give the Hammers a real run for their money. Unfortunately, they were very poor in the first half, and failed to register even one shot on target before the interval.

Some clever West Ham play from a Robert Snodgrass corner saw the home side take the lead through young midfielder Declan Rice. [Read more…]

Soft penalty, Baptism by fire for Johnson & more- Talking points from Man City v West Ham

Man City followed up their Carabao Cup win over the weekend with a 1-0 triumph over Manuel Pellegrini’s West Ham at the Etihad on Wednesday evening. It kept the Citizens in the race for the title, with the defending champions only one point behind leaders Liverpool, who hammered Watford 5-0 at Anfield.

Let’s take a look at the key talking points from this City v West Ham clash

A soft penalty to give away: Many expected City to boss this game, and few would’ve expected them to score just a single goal at the Etihad against the Hammers, and that too from the penalty spot. Coming into this game, City had scored 2 or more at home in EACH of their last fifteen games. [Read more…]

West Ham v Fulham Match Report 22 February 2019

Fulham suffered their ninth straight loss in London derbies as they went down 3-1 to local rivals West Ham at the London Stadium on Friday night.

The Hammers made only one change, leaving out former Fulham defender Ryan Fredericks for Pablo Zabaleta at right back, while Fulham chose to give a former Irons player Havard Nordtveit a debut, with the Norwegian lining up in central defence for the visitors.

Zabaleta had a horror start to the game with a terrible backpass in the very first minute of the game, but fortunately for West Ham, Ryan Babel was not able to take advantage as Lukasz Fabianski managed to use his head to deny the former Liverpool star.

However Babel did get on the scoresheet a few minutes later. Between Cresswell and Ogbonna, no one really attempted to mark the Dutchman, and he got onto the end of a fine cross from Ryan Sessegnon to put Fulham 1-0.

West Ham started slowly and it was Fulham who produced much of the play in the first quarter of the game. However things changed with Javier Hernandez’s 29th minute equaliser- the Mexican appeared to use his hand, but the goal stood, and with that the game shifted into West Ham’s favour.

Issa Diop had given Fulham a warning when he had headed wide from a 7th minute corner, but the Cottagers’ defence didn’t appear to have learnt the lesson, and paid for it when the Frenchman scored his first Premier League goal and put the home side 2-1 up.

West Ham appeared content to hold on to their lead in the second half. Fulham had one excellent chance in the 67th minute but Aleksandar Mitrovic, fine player that he is, was no match for the pace of Ryan Fredericks, who had replaced Zabaleta at half time, and that opportunity was gone as quickly as it had been created.

The final fifteen minutes saw the much awaited return of Manuel Lanzini. The Argentine showed some delightful touches as West Ham began to pile the pressure. Marko Arnautovic went close twice, only to be denied by Sergio Rico, but the Hammers finally got their third, with some horrendous Fulham defending allowing Michail Antonio a free header in the box and the winger marked his 100th appearance with a goal.

Much welcome return to winning ways for West Ham, but as for Fulham, they were pushed closer to the drop. They weren’t too bad here, but the individual defending for each of West Ham’s goals was horrible, and at Premier League level, you get punished swiftly, as the Cottagers discovered at the London Stadium in front of a 59,950 strong crowd- West Ham’s biggest of the current season.

West Ham 3 (Hernandez, Diop, Antonio) beat Fulham 1 (Babel)