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…]

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…]

Premier League debut for David Martin, Pablo Fornals & Declan Rice Very Good, 16 Fouls to 0 & More- Talking Points from Chelsea vs West Ham

West Ham secured their first ever win at Stamford Bridge since 2002 as they upset Frank Lampard’s men 1-0 on Saturday afternoon. The Hammers, winless in their last eight games across all competitions, were rank outsiders for this clash, with questions marks also being raised over the future of Manuel Pellegrini. They however put in a fine defensive shift to come away with all three points.

Chelsea were all over the Hammers for the first 25 minutes, but the visitors recovered and slowly worked their way back into the game. They took the lead against the run of play through Aaron Cresswell, and also had a second denied by VAR.

Chelsea had 66% of the ball and made 666 passes. They didn’t even commit a single foul (the first time it’s happened for the Blues since Opta began recording stats)- the Hammers won that department 16-0!

Here are our talking points from this GW14 clash:

David Martin makes his Premier League debut: When Martin signed for West Ham, playing Premier League football would’ve probably been the last thing he would’ve expected. However Lukasz Fabianski’s injury and Roberto’s horror run in goal saw Pellegrini turn to his third choice keeper, and he did his job at the Bridge as the Hammers secured a much needed clean sheet.

There were several nervous moments for Martin- twice he spilt first time shots, but fortunately they didn’t cost the Hammers. He however looked way more assured than Roberto, and it seemed to rub off on his back four, with Cresswell, Balbuena, Ogbonna and Fredericks all putting in decent performances.

Martin’s tears at the end of the game told just how much this meant to him. While probably not in the same league as Fabianski, he’s probably done enough to earn himself another start against Wolves in midweek.

Declan Rice and Pablo Fornals good: Pablo Fornals has been a bit of a disappointment this season but today was probably his best game for the Hammers since his summer switch from Villarreal. We didn’t see too much of him on attack, but he was very good defensively, with his work rate and determination to thwart Chelsea attacks very encouraging.

Fornals started on the left wing with Anderson playing behind Antonio, but most of West Ham’s attacking moves went through the opposite wing- more than 50% of their attacks in the first half were through the right flank.

Declan Rice would probably admit that he hasn’t been at his best over the last few weeks, but today was a much improved performance- more like the Rice of old. Even made several marauding runs down the left wing! [Read more…]

Media Player Ratings- West Ham’s players rated by the press after shocker at Turf Moor

West Ham put in another insipid performance as they were beaten 3-0 by Burnley at Turf Moor. It was a horror afternoon for the visitors- shambolic defending, listless in attack and injuries to skipper Mark Noble and influential playmaker Manuel Lanzini.

Most of the blame (and perhaps rightly so), will be laid at the feet of Fabian Balbuena and Roberto, but there were very few positives from this game. Pablo Fornals was anonymous, Sebastien Haller looked disinterested and even Declan Rice wasn’t at his best. Robert Snodgrass was again an honest worker, although it didn’t amount to much. [Read more…]

Shockers for Fabian Balbuena & Roberto, VAR Blunder & More- Talking Points from Burnley vs West Ham

Burnley halted their three game losing streak as they comfortably beat West Ham at Turf Moor on Saturday afternoon. The Hammers have now gone seven games without a win across all competitions, and Manuel Pellegrini’s job appears to be under serious threat.

Just six weeks ago, West Ham were in the top three (behind Liverpool and Man City), but today’s defeat has seen them slump to 16th in the table. Their recent opponents- at least on paper, aren’t fearsome by any stretch of imagination- Bournemouth, Palace, Everton, Sheffield United, Newcastle and now Burnley, but Pellegrini’s men have collected just two points from these six games. It’s borderline relegation form, and given their next set of fixtures after the break (Spurs, Chelsea, Wolves and Arsenal), it could get even worse.

Here are our talking points from the game.

VAR blunder hurts West Ham: When it rains, it pours, and it certainly seemed so for the Hammers at Turf Moor. Replays clearly showed that Phil Bardsley’s long range attempt on goal had taken a deflection off Ashley Barnes, but referee Kevin Friend gave a corner to Burnley. The home side scored from the resulting set piece, and VAR, somewhat bizarrely, chose not to interfere.

West Ham never do well when they concede first- they had lost eight in a row before this game after going behind, and it predictably became nine on this horror afternoon in Lancashire.

Chris Wood scores against against West Ham: New Zealand striker Wood has a fantastic record against the Hammers (had scored in all four of his previous games against WHUFC), and Clarets boss Sean Dyche had no hesitation in restoring him to the starting line up for this game and putting Jay Rodriguez on the bench.

Wood originally thought he had scored from a header (the cross from Dwight McNeil for the goal was simply exquisite), but VAR disallowed it for offside. However he was not to be denied his customary goal against the Hammers, with Balbuena robbed in possession just minutes later and McNeil setting him up for Burnley’s second.

Shockers for Falbian Balbuena and Roberto: Paraguayan defender Balbuena, as mentioned above, handed Burnley their second goal on a platter. Even more shocking was goalkeeper Roberto, who attempted to flap at thin air and then proceeded to divert Westwood’s corner into his own net.

The first goal was also partly Roberto’s fault- it was his weak punch (under no real pressure) that saw the ball fall to Bardsley.

The Spaniard, to his credit, did make some good saves, but he doesn’t inspire confidence currently, especially at set piece time. Burnley even thought they had scored a fourth (again from a corner), but Mee’s header was disallowed for an alleged foul in the box.

At this rate, third choice keeper David Martin might fancy his chances of making his league debut for West Ham when they play Tottenham after the international break. [Read more…]

Pellegrini rings in the changes, Squandered chances & More- Talking Points from West Ham vs Sheffield United

West Ham United’s recent struggles continued as they drew 1-1 with newly promoted Sheffield United at the London Stadium. The home side took the lead against the run of play through Robert Snodgrass, only for Lys Mousset to equalise for the Blades after the interval.

The Hammers are now winless in their last five games across all competitions- their last victory was the famous 2-0 triumph over Manchester United back in September.

Here are our talking points from this GW10 game.

Pellegrini rings in the changes: It’s clear that Manuel Pellegrini was disappointed with the way his charges have played in the last few weeks. He made FIVE changes for this clash- three of them in the backline. Pellegrini is usually not one to tinker too much with his squad, but he probably felt it necessary to let the players know they needed to perform better. Out went Ryan Fredericks, Angelo Ogbonna, Arthur Masuaku, Pablo Fornals and Manuel Lanzini, and in came Pablo Zabaleta, Fabian Balbuena, Aaron Cresswell, Robert Snodgrass and Andriy Yarmolenko.

Two glorious second half chances wasted by Felipe Anderson: West Ham had two fabulous chances in the ten minute period just before the hour mark. One needed Anderson to pass to the unmarked Snodgrass, while another required the Brazilian to get his pass away to Yarmolenko. Unfortunately for West Ham, Anderson messed up both chances, and Sheffield United were let off the hook while trailing 1-0.

Anderson is not at his best, but with Manuel Lanzini off colour and Pablo Fornals still settling in, much of West Ham’s play goes through the Brazilian. It’s perhaps no coincidence that their winning streak has coincided with his dip in form. [Read more…]