Tomas Soucek impressive on debut, Masuaku sub hurts West Ham & More- Talking Points from WHUFC 3-3 Brighton

West Ham dropped into the relegation zone as they squandered a two goal lead TWICE to draw 3-3 with fellow strugglers Brighton at the London Stadium. The result, coupled with Bournemouth’s 2-1 win at home against Aston Villa, pushed David Moyes’ men into the bottom three ahead of a tough set of fixtures for the club- 6 of their next 7 are against Man City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Wolves, Spurs and Chelsea.

Here are our talking points from West Ham’s 3-3 draw against Graham Potter’s men in Game Week 25.

Tomas Soucek impressive on debut: Czech midfielder Tomas Soucek was thrown into action straightaway today, and he impressed on debut. He played the furthest of West Ham’s three central midfielders in what appeared to be a 4-1-4-1 formation, and at times, almost looked like he was partnering Seb Haller as part of a duo upfront.

Didn’t shy away from the physical stuff, and very nearly got a debut goal early in the game, but Brighton keeper Mat Ryan did very well to save his header. Did a good pressing job in the first half too and played 85 minutes before being replaced. All in all, a more than satisfactory debut for the 24 year-old, and Hammers fans will be keen to see more of him in the future.

Masuaku substitution hurts West Ham: With Michail Antonio having run himself into the ground, David Moyes was left with no option but to bring him off, but his decision to bring Arthur Masuaku and play a more defensive system backfired. It was his botched clearance that lead to the mess that eventually resulted in Brighton’s second goal and his impact unfortunately seemed to mirror the Arsenal game, where West Ham lead 1-0 at the time of his introduction into the fixture, but ended up losing 3-1. [Read more…]

Media Player Ratings v West Brom (H)- How did the press rate West Ham’s players following FA Cup loss?

West Ham bowed out of the FA Cup at the hands of lower division opposition for the third season in succession as West Bromwich Albion claimed a 1-0 win at the London Stadium. The Baggies, currently managed by former Hammers gaffer Slaven Bilic, fielded a virtual reserve side and played the last 20 minutes with ten men following Semi Ajayi’s dismissal, but ran out deserved winners.

WHUFC boss David Moyes was so disappointed with his players that he made all three of his changes at half time, and added that he would’ve probably made “five or six” substitutions if the rulebook had permitted him. He also mentioned that it was a “lack of quality” rather than a lack of effort, indicating that some of the players who started the game were simply not Premier League standard, and this might be a cry to the owners to bring in some reinforcements before the winter window closes.

Moyes may well have been referring to Carlos Sanchez, the midfielder who didn’t cover himself in glory for WBA’s opener. The Colombian was hooked at half time, as were defender Fabian Balbuena and midfielder Pablo Fornals, with the trio of Mark Noble, Angelo Ogbonna and Michail Antonio replacing them. With their introduction, it was virtually a full strength West Ham side, but it still took them 85 minutes to register their first shot on target.

Here is a look at how the big newspapers across the country rated the players following this disappointing Cup exit.

Daily Mail: The Mail gave Balbuena a 3, with Sanchez and Fornals both being rated a 4/10 [Read more…]

Referee for Leicester vs West Ham 2020- Hammers have never won under him, Foxes yet to lose with him in charge!

The referee for West Ham’s Game Week 24 clash against Leicester at the King Power Stadium has been announced, and it’s an official under whom the Hammers are yet to win a Premier League fixture- David Coote. The Foxes, on the other hand, have never lost a game that he’s been in charge of so far, going all the way back to the time they were in the Championship!

Coote was also the referee when these two sides met last month at the London Stadium- West Ham lost 2-1 to what was effectively a B side fielded by Brendan Rodgers, resulting in the club parting ways with manager Manuel Pellegrini.

West Ham record under David Coote (P4- L3, D1)

West Ham 1-2 Leicester (December 2019, Loss)
Sheff Utd 1-1 West Ham (October 2019, Draw)
Wolves 3-0 West Ham (January 2019, Loss)
Burnley 2-0 West Ham (December 2018, Loss) [Read more…]

First headed goal of the season, Crucial Pickford saves, Ajeti head butt on Holgate & More- Talking Points from West Ham 1-1 Everton 2020

West Ham’s second game at the London Stadium under new manager David Moyes saw them draw with Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton. Having beaten Bournemouth 4-0 earlier this month, the Hammers would’ve been hopeful of picking up a win against the Toffees, but had to settle for a point.

Here are our talking points from Saturday afternoon’s fixture.

First headed goal of the season: Issa Diop’s first half goal, which put West Ham ahead, was also the Hammers’ first headed one in the league this season. The French defender nodded home from Robert Snodgrass’ fine free kick in the 40th minute of the game. Unfortunately for West Ham, they were to concede a headed equaliser just four minutes later, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin netting for the visitors.

Crucial Pickford saves: Apart from Diop’s goal, West Ham had two glorious chances in the first half- one fell to Sebastien Haller and the other to Pablo Fornals. Pickford however was equal to the task, and his excellent reflexes ensured the score stayed 1-1, instead of potentially ending up 3-1 in favour of the home side.

First half good, second half not as much: West Ham created plenty of opportunities in the first half- their best ones all came before the interval. The only real notable chance after the break, if you could call it one, came from the Haller header on the edge of the box that forced Pickford to stumble a bit after claiming the ball.

Manuel Lanzini disappointing: The Argentine is a fine player when on form, but still hasn’t been able to hit his pre-injury heights. Earned the free kick (from a silly Delph foul) that gave West Ham the lead, but not too much otherwise. [Read more…]

Moyes 2.0 starts with a fine win, rare win over Cherries & more- Talking Points from West Ham 4-0 Bournemouth

The first game of David Moyes’ second stint as West Ham manager saw the Hammers turn in one of their best performances of the season as they demolished Bournemouth 4-0 on New Years’ Day.

By kick off time, the Hammers were in the drop zone because of Villa’s 2-1 win away at Burnley, but they blew away Eddie Howe’s side to snap their four game losing streak at the London Stadium and lift themselves up to 16th in the league table.

Here are our talking points from this GW21 clash.

A very good win against Bournemouth: The Cherries have been tough opponents for West Ham in recent years- they were unbeaten in six against the Irons coming into this fixture, and did the double over them last season. However the home side’s first half blitz left the visitors stunned and forced Howe into making two changes at half time, albeit to no avail. The eventual margin of the win- four goals, was West Ham’s biggest Premier League win since their 5-0 win over Derby back in November 2007.

A real statement of intent from David Moyes, and perhaps apt that it came against Bournemouth- it was in the reverse fixture at the Vitality Stadium back in September that saw Lukasz Fabianski injured and the Hammers’ slide down the table begin.

Fantastic pressing and closing down from West Ham: Bournemouth were simply unable to live with West Ham’s pressing game in the first half, and the likes of Jefferson Lerma ended up giving the ball to the opposition time and again in dangerous areas. The Hammers took their intensity levels up a notch- their work rate was excellent, and Howe cut a shell-shocked figure on the sidelines.

Felipe Anderson scores his first goal of the season: Felipe Anderson hasn’t been at his best this season, and it’s probably no coincidence that the Hammers’ attacking struggles have coincided with his own slump in form. The Brazilian’s confidence appeared low for most of the game- there were a couple of opportunities he would have easily put away in his first season.

He eventually did manage to get on the scoresheet just seconds before being subbed off, courtesy of a fine ball from Declan Rice. Will this help him turn his season around? West Ham fans will certainly be hoping so. [Read more…]

Southampton vs West Ham Predictions- Pellegrini like “an empty tube of toothpaste”, says pundit

West Ham take on Southampton today evening in what is effectively shaping up as a must win game for manager Manuel Pellegrini if he is to stay at the London Stadium. There was rumours swirling over the future of the Chilean at the beginning of this month- a surprise win against Chelsea bought him some time, but back to back defeats against Wolves and Arsenal, have put the pressure back on him. Defeat could see the Hammers drop into the bottom three at the end of GW17.

The referee for this clash against the Saints is Martin Atkinson, who will be in charge of his first game involving these two clubs this season.

Here is what major TV pundits have predicted for this clash.

Mark Lawrenson: Lawro says Pellegrini at this moment feels like “an empty tube of toothpaste”, with the Hammers “squeezing the last bits out of him”, and it won’t be too long before “he is done”

Also says Saints have looked like a “different team” in recent weeks, and has tipped Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men to win this game 2-1.

Author David Baddiel, Lawro’s celeb opponent this weekend, has gone for a 2-2 draw.

Charlie Nicholas: Over at Sky, Charlie Nicholas got his prediction absolutely spot on last week, correctly tipping the Gunners to run out 3-1 winners.

Nicholas says he’s “amazed Pellegrini is still there” at West Ham and reckons Saints will edge this clash 2-1. [Read more…]

Referee announced for Southampton v West Ham- His first game in charge of both clubs in the 19/20 season

The referee for West Ham’s crunch GW 17 clash against Southampton has been announced, and it’s an official who is yet to officiate a game for both the Hammers and the Saints in the current 2019/20 Premier League season- Martin Atkinson. The 48 year old will be assisted by Lee Betts and Daniel Cook, with Jonathan Moss handling VAR. Andy Halliday will assist Moss, while Robert Jones will be the fourth official.

Atkinson refereed two West Ham games last season- the 3-1 away win at Everton and the close 1-0 home loss to Tottenham.

Southampton, like West Ham, also had a win and a defeat in their two games under Atkinson last season. The win was a 2-0 one away at Crystal Palace, while the defeat came against Cardiff City at St.Mary’s.

Only one point separates 16th place West Ham and third from bottom Southampton in the league table, and Hammers gaffer Manuel Pellegrini has admitted that he could face the axe if his charges lose on the South Coast on Saturday evening.

Some stats about Martin Atkinson in the current Premier League season

Atkinson has refereed 14 PL games in 2019/20. The winning margin in all of those games has never been greater than a single goal. [Read more…]

Rare come from behind Arsenal win, Masuaku disappointing & more- Talking Points from West Ham vs Arsenal

Arsenal secured their first win under caretaker manager Freddie Ljungberg as they beat West Ham 3-1 in Round 16’s final game on Monday evening. The result sees the Gunners back in the top half while the Hammers are now just one point above the drop zone, with next week’s game against third from bottom Southampton shaping up as a massive one for both the Irons and the Saints.

Arsenal were woeful in the first half and when Angelo Ogbonna headed the Hammers into the lead at the interval, many Hammers fans would’ve felt their side could repeat last season’s feat- when Declan Rice’s first ever goal saw them edge the Gunners 1-0, but a three goal burst in the space of nine odd second half minutes from the visitors put paid to those hopes.

Here are our talking points from this GW16 clash.

A rare come from behind win for Arsenal: In the fifteen league games this season that Arsenal had played before this clash, they had come from behind to win in only one- against Villa.

The Gunners were absolutely woeful for the first hour or so, but found their groove once Gabriel Martinelli scored the equaliser, with Lucas Torreira pulling the strings from midfield. West Ham unfortunately capitulated instead of taking the fight back to a travelling Arsenal side that was low on confidence and there for the taking.

Sky pundit Charlie Nicholas got his prediction absolutely spot on, having predicted a 3-1 win for the Gunners.

Unai Emery’s tenure started with two losses, before victory against West Ham saw him embark on a six game winning streak. Will it be the same for Freddie Ljungberg?

Arthur Masuaku disappointing: Both sides lost their left backs to injury in this game- Kieran Tierney departed in the first half while Aaron Cresswell (playing three games in 10 days) had to be subbed off five minutes after the interval. West Ham were leading 1-0 when Cresswell left the pitch.

Nicolas Pepe was lively and energetic the whole game for Arsenal, but found a new gear once Masuaku came on the pitch. He scored an stunner to put the Gunners ahead and it was his delicate cross that was converted by Pierre Emerick Aubameyang for the visitors’ third. On both occasions, Masuaku didn’t exactly cover himself in glory with his defending.

Ljungberg rings in the changes: While West Ham made just one change (Antonio for Haller), Ljungberg effectively changed half his side. [Read more…]

West Ham v Arsenal predictions- What do the pundits think of the Hammers’ chances against the Gunners?

Game Week 16 concludes with West Ham host Arsenal at the London Stadium later this evening. It is a return to home comforts for Manuel Pellegrini’s side after two successive games on the road against Chelsea and Wolves respectively. The Chilean has often stressed on the importance of winning at home, and again did so after Wednesday’s disappointing loss to Wolves. Arsenal have a caretaker manager in charge in the form of Freddie Ljungberg after sacking Unai Emery and come into this game on the back of a shock loss to Brighton in midweek.

Here is what the pundits think of the Hammers’ chances in this GW16 clash.

Mark Lawrenson: Lawro says that both teams “have got problems”, but if West Ham turn up for this one, he thinks the Hammers will win. Has worries about both Arsenal’s defending and their away form, and has tipped Manuel Pellegrini’s men to win this 2-0.

Lawro’s celebrity opponent for this round, tennis star Andy Murray, has gone for a 1-1 draw.

Charlie Nicholas: Over at Sky, Charlie Nicholas says these are “two teams in a right mess”. Adds that while the Hammers have class upfront, they’re “not showing a lot” at this moment, and has gone for a 3-1 win for Freddie Ljungberg’s side. [Read more…]

Much improved Felipe Anderson, Big Snodgrass miss & More- Talking Points from Wolves vs West Ham

West Ham’s first ever Premier League game on Amazon saw Manuel Pellegrini’s men slump to a disappointing 2-0 defeat away at Wolves on Wednesday night. Hopes had been raised following Saturday’s stunning 1-0 win over Chelsea, but Nuno Espirito Santo’s men, who have managed the pressure of playing both in the Europa League and PL with aplomb this year, brought the visitors down to earth at Molineux.

West Ham have never won a Premier League game this season after conceding first, which meant it was crucial for Wolves to open the scoring, and they did so through a deflected Leander Dendoncker strike midway through the first half. Patrick Cutrone sealed all three points for the home side four minutes from time.

Manuel Pellegrini made only change to the side that had beaten Chelsea, with Michail Antonio rested and Sebastien Haller brought into the XI. Haller was again disappointing, and how Pellegrini would’ve wished for the French striker to show the energy and physicality that Antonio brought on Saturday- a key reason for West Ham’s triumph at the Bridge.

The success of the Balbuena-Diop pairing against the Blues meant they kept their places in the XI, but Issa Diop, available for selection after serving his one game suspension, dropped out of the 18 altogether.

Here are our talking points from the clash.

Much improved Felipe Anderson: The Brazilian has been disappointing this season, but put in a much improved performance yesterday evening. He was easily the Hammers’ best player, and ran rings around the Wolves’ midfield, causing them all sorts of problems. Much of West Ham’s recent struggles on attack can be put down to Anderson being off colour- he scored ten goals across all competitions in 2018/19, but is yet to find the back of the net this season.

Big Robert Snodgrass miss: A big moment in this game came on the hour mark. Wolves were 1-0 up, and an excellent ball from Pablo Fornals found Snodgrass in acres of space and in a one on one situation with the opposition keeper. His first touch was decent, but the second was absolutely horrendous, and Wolves escaped. At 1-1, and with West Ham having the better of the game in the second half, things could’ve finished very differently. The Scottish international’s corners, normally so reliable, were also disappointing at Molineux. [Read more…]