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 v Huddersfield predictions- What do the pundits think?

After last week’s horror show at Cardiff, West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini will be hoping for an instant response from his players in this GW31 clash against Huddersfield. The Hammers have been far better at home than on the road, and will be bidding to win three consecutive home games for the first time at the London Stadium.

Bottom of the table Huddersfield look set for the drop- they are 16 points from safety currently with eight games to play. Pellegrini could shake up things a bit, potentially recalling both Marko Arnautovic and Fabian Balbuena to the starting XI and perhaps even Samir Nasri and Michail Antonio.

The referee for this game is Jonathan Moss under whom the Hammers have a fine recent record- they’re unbeaten in their last six Premier League games under the 48 year old. HTAFC’s two games with Moss in charge this season have both ended in defeat.

What do the pundits predict for this WHUFC Huddersfield game? Let’s take a look. [Read more…]

Media Player Ratings- Cardiff v West Ham

West Ham’s struggles on the road continued as they slumped to a shock 2-0 defeat at the hands of Cardiff City over the weekend. The Jekyll and Hyde nature of Manuel Pellegrini’s team this season has seen them take points off Arsenal, Man Utd, Chelsea and Liverpool at home, and yet lose to the likes of Cardiff and Burnley on the road.

West Ham’s dreadful 2019 away from the London Stadium

Cardiff 2-0 West Ham
Man City 1-0 West Ham
Palace 1-1 West Ham
Wolves 3-0 West Ham
Wimbledon 4-2 West Ham
Bournemouth 2-0 West Ham

The Hammers boss opted to keep faith with the same lineup that had done a league double over Newcastle last weekend- the only change came on the bench, where Paraguayan defender Fabian Balbuena returned to the squad, with Lucas Perez dropping out. [Read more…]

Another poor away performance, 70% possession & over 500 passes!- Talking Points from Cardiff v West Ham

Mark Noble’s 400th league appearance for West Ham ended in defeat as they turned in a lacklustre performance to go down 2-0 to relegation threatened Cardiff. Goals in either half from Junior Hoilett and Victor Camarasa sealed a 2-0 win for the Bluebirds. Let’s take a look at the main talking points from the game.

West Ham very sluggish and off the pace

Literally every pundit predicted a West Ham win before the game. Few gave a Cardiff side who had conceded 10 goals in the last three games a chance against Manuel Pellegrini’s men, but the home team not only picked up all three points, but also kept a clean sheet.

This was in someway a typical West Ham performance against lower ranked opposition. With Wolves and Watford away at Chelsea and Man City respectively, this was a great opportunity for the Hammers to heap pressure on their nearest rivals. Instead they fluffed their lines badly and turned in one of their worst performances of the season. Cardiff were physical and niggly, and West Ham’s players failed to adapt.

It took them over 70 minutes to register their first shot on target! There were only two notable chances- one a long range Rice effort denied by the woodwork, and another one from Arnautovic that was parried away by Neil Etheridge.

At the final whistle, West Ham had 70% of possession and had made over 500 passes- Cardiff by comparison had made a little over 200 with a pass accuracy of only 67%. Yet the Bluebirds had more clear cut chances than their opponents.

Rice and Fabianski the only positives in Noble’s 400th league game.

As it’s so often happened this season in a poor performance, Declan Rice and Lukasz Fabianski were the only shining lights for this West Ham team. Fabianski made a terrific double save in the second half and without him, the Hammers may have easily lost 3 or 4-0.

Noble won’t look too fondly upon his 400th league appearance. The Cardiff midfield trio of Gunnarsson, Arter and Camarasa outshone the Hammers, and Pellegrini had hooked Anderson, Noble and Lanzini by the hour mark- so frustrated was he by his side’s sluggish play.

Fredericks onside

Ryan Fredericks didn’t appear to be on the same wavelength as the rest of his defence for the offside trap against Palace last month. It didn’t cost them there, but did so here. Everyone thought Camarasa was offside for his goal, only for the wide angle to reveal that Fredericks had played him onside. With that goal went West Ham’s slim chances of taking something from the game.

Worrying away performances

The Hammers are winless away on the road in 2019 with six defeats and a draw in their last seven. For some reason, they don’t seem to really turn up for away games and this inconsistency must be frustrating for Pellegrini.

Referee Graham Scott

Scott seemed to be content to allow things to flow and kept his cards in his pocket- more of a laissez faire attitude. There was an early Harry Arter challenge for which the medio should’ve seen yellow- it might have reduced the free for all nature of the game. Late in the fixture, there was a dangerous collision between Fabianski and Sean Morrison, which some may have seen worthy of a red for the Cardiff defender rather than the yellow he received.


Cardiff vs West Ham predictions- How do the pundits think the Hammers will fare against the Bluebirds?

After completing home and away doubles over Fulham and Newcastle, West Ham will look to do so likewise against relegation threatened Cardiff when they square off against the Bluebirds in this GW30 clash.

The Hammers beat Neil Warnock’s men 3-1 back in December in a fixture that was perhaps Lucas Perez’s best act in a West Ham jersey. Joe Ralls’ missed first half penalty cost the Bluebirds big time in that game, and they can ill afford misses like those come Saturday, with the home side third from bottom in the league table and two points adrift of safety.

Interestingly, the referee for this game, Graham Scott, is the same one who presided over the reverse fixture between the two sides at the London Stadium earlier this season. In six Premier League games under Scott as referee, West Ham have suffered only one defeat- away at Arsenal back in August.

After watching Manuel Lanzini return to action over the last fortnight, West Ham could see another key player do so in the form of Fabian Balbuena. The Paraguayan may however see action only from the bench though if Manuel Pellegrini chooses to reward Angelo Ogbonna for his fine recent performances.

Cardiff have lost their last three games by a 10-1 aggregate score, and are without the injured Sol Bamba, who is also their joint top scorer in the league this season. [Read more…]