Referee appointed for Watford v West Ham- Potentially good news for the Hammers?

The referee for West Ham’s Round 3 clash against Watford has been announced, and it’s the same person who was in charge when the Hammers won 4-1 at Vicarage Road on the final day of the 2018/19 season- Chris Kavanagh.

The 4-1 win was perhaps a tad flattering to West Ham, but it ensured they finished in the top ten, and saw Watford slip into the bottom half. If the Hornets had avoided defeat in that clash, it would’ve been their first top-ten finish in the top flight since Graham Taylor had managed to do so in the mid 80’s.

That fixture swung the way of the Hammers when Jose Holebas was sent off after the interval (his red card was later rescinded, thus allowing him to play in the FA Cup final). Mark Noble scored two goals that afternoon, including one from the penalty spot. Given how the Hammers midfield have struggled in the opening two weeks of the 19/20 season, a return for the veteran at Vicarage Road, potentially at the expense of Jack Wilshere, might help stabilise things in the centre of the park for the visitors. [Read more…]

Media Player Ratings for West Ham against Brighton- Fab great, Jack not so much

Here is how the major newspapers and media outlets rated West Ham’s players in their Round 2 clash against Brighton at the Amex on Saturday afternoon.

Manuel Pellegrini, clearly disappointed with his side’s second half capitulation against City, rang in the changes, with five new faces in the starting XI. West Ham started with wbat looked like a 4-1-4-1, with Pablo Fornals operating on the left, Robert Snodgrass on the right, and Manuel Lanzini and Jack Wilshere on either side of Declan Rice. Somewhat surprisingly, Javier Hernandez was named as the sole striker, on his own upfront against the tall Brighton CB trio of Shane Duffy, Lewis Dunk and Dan Burn.

lineup vs brighton 2019 [Read more…]

Ogbonna captain, Brighton remain unbeaten under Anthony Taylor & more- Talking Points from BHAFC v West Ham

West Ham’s first away game of the new 2019/20 Premier League season saw Manuel Pellegrini’s side draw 1-1 with Brighton and Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium. Javier Hernandez put the visitors ahead just after the hour mark, only for debutant Leandro Trossard to equalise four minutes later for Albion.

Here are our talking points from the game.

Angelo Ogbonna into the starting lineup and appointed captain: Manuel Pellegrini was clearly upset with the performances of some of his players against Man City. Aaron Cresswell, captain for the season opener, went out of the 18 altogether today, with Arthur Masuaku replacing him at left back.

Another surprising omission was that of Fabian Balbuena, with Pellegrini drafting Angelo Ogbonna into the XI at the expense of the Paraguayan and also handing him the armband.

Sebastien Haller and Felipe Anderson were both injury enforced absentees, with Michail Antonio the fifth player to be axed.

lineup vs brighton 2019

Brighton remain unbeaten under Anthony Taylor: We had noticed before the game that Brighton had never lost a Premier League game with Anthony Taylor as referee. That record stayed intact today. [Read more…]

Brighton vs West Ham Predictions- What do pundits think of the Hammers’ chances at the Amex?

Manuel Pellegrini will be hoping to become the first West Ham manager in the Premier League era to win a top flight game away at Brighton when the two sides square off today afternoon at the Amex. The Hammers were well beaten 5-0 by Man City on the opening day of the season (6th consecutive year when their opening fixture was against top six opposition), while Brighton stunned Javi Gracia’s Watford 3-0 at Vicarage Road.

It’s new Seagulls manager Graham Potter’s first home game in Sussex this afternoon, and he will be keen to continue from where his side left last weekend. Given that BHAFC have been a bit of a bogey team for West Ham over the last few years, Potter will be cautiously confident going into this clash. His task will certainly be made easier if the key Hammers duo of Felipe Anderson and Sebastien Haller, both suffering from knocks, do not recover in time for this fixture.

Let’s take a look at what TV and media pundits have predicted for this Brighton v Hammers clash

Mark Lawrenson: Lawro “expects a reaction” from West Ham after their loss to City at home, and has gone for a 1-1 draw here.

The referee for this game is Anthony Taylor, under whom Brighton have never lost a Premier League game. All but one of BHAFC’s PL fixtures under him have ended in draws though.

His celeb opponent this weekend, swimmer Adam Peaty, reckons this will be a goalless stalemate, and has predicted a 0-0. It’s the only game out of the ten this weekend in which Peaty doesn’t expect goals to be scored.

Charlie Nicholas: Nicholas says West Ham were punished for “turning up scared” against Man City. He however expects Manuel Pellegrini’s men to bounce back this weekend, and has gone for a 1-0 win to the Hammers. [Read more…]

Referee for Brighton v West Ham- Seagulls yet to lose a Premier League game under him

Anthony Taylor has been appointed as the referee for West Ham’s GW2 clash at the Amex this weekend against Brighton and Hove Albion. Interestingly though, the Seagulls have never lost a Premier League game when Taylor’s been in charge.

Brighton and Hove Albion- Premier League games refereed by Anthony Taylor

Arsenal 1-1 Brighton (2018/19)
Brighton 1-1 Arsenal (2018/19)
Brighton 1-0 Wolves (2018/19)
Southampton 2-2 Brighton (2018/19)
Brighton 1-1 Huddersfield (2017/18)
Newcastle 0-0 Brighton (2017/18)

In Game Week 1, Taylor was given the blockbuster United-Chelsea clash at Old Trafford, which the home side won 4-0.

West Ham had themselves lost five in a row away from home across all competitions under Taylor until Michail Antonio’s goal against Spurs in April saw them break that losing run and become the first visiting team to win at the London Stadium.

West Ham under Anthony Taylor (last six away games- all competitions)

Tottenham 0-1 West Ham (April 2019)
Wimbledon 4-2 West Ham (January 2019, Cup)
Liverpool 4-0 West Ham (August 2018)
Leicester 1-0 West Ham (December 2016)
Everton 2-0 West Ham (October 2016)
Chelsea 2-1 West Ham (August 2016) [Read more…]

City love playing at the London Stadium, Haller looks promising & more- Five Talking Points from West Ham 0-5 Man City

West Ham’s opening league game of the 2019/20 season saw Manuel Pellegrini’s side go down 5-0 to defending champions Manchester City. The Hammers were pretty good for the first twenty odd minutes and were only a goal down at half time, but the floodgates opened after the interval once City got into their side.

Here are our talking points from this fixture.

City love playing at the London Stadium: Pep Guardiola’s men have now scored four or more goals against West Ham for the fifth game in succession at the London Stadium. Their record at this ground currently reads: Played 5, Won 5, Goals scored 22, Goals conceded 1.

While recent games at the Etihad between these two sides have been tightly fought, the ones at the London Stadium have been blowouts. It’s fast becoming one of City’s favourite grounds to play Premier League footy.

Sebastien Haller looks promising: Given City’s dominance, we didn’t really get to see much of West Ham’s new record signing, but he was impressive in the few instances he did get the ball. Strong, able to draw in defenders and has an eye for team mates around him. Also registered the Hammers’ first shot of this game with an attempted bicycle kick.

Questions remain over West Ham’s defence: While Manuel Pellegrini did strength his attack significantly with the additions of Fornals and Haller, there was little done on the defensive side of things. Youngster Goncalo Cardoso was their only signing in that department, and he didn’t even make the 18 here. [Read more…]

West Ham v Man City 2019 Predictions- What do pundits think of the Hammers’ chances in season opener?

West Ham begin the 2019/20 Premier League season today afternoon against defending champions Manchester City. Pep Guardiola’s side witnessed title rivals Liverpool get their campaign off to a winning start against Norwich last night, and will be keen to open their account as well.

The Hammers’ new summer signing Sebastian Haller jokingly said “What a sh** game to start with” ahead of this clash, but given City’s dazzling list of superstars, it’s perhaps a sentiment echoed by many West Ham fans. This is the sixth straight season where the Hammers are opening their campaign against top six opposition.

Let’s take a look at what various TV pundits have predicted for this WHUFC v City clash.

Mark Lawrenson: Lawro notes that City have scored four or more goals in their last four trips to the London Stadium, but thinks it will “not be so easy” for them this time.

Has gone for a narrow 2-1 win to City. [Read more…]

Mike Dean appointed as referee for West Ham’s opening round fixture against Man City

Have West Ham incurred the wrath of the fixture gods? Judging by the opponents they’ve been given in the opening week of the last few seasons, we feel tempted to say yes.

Since 2014, West Ham have always drawn a member of the “top six” for their first league fixture of the season.

WHUFC opposition on opening day of the season- last five seasons

2014/15- West Ham 0-1 Tottenham
2015/16- Arsenal 0-2 West Ham
2016/17- Chelsea 2-1 West Ham
2017/18- Manchester United 4-0 West Ham
2018/19- Liverpool 4-0 West Ham

A bad start to the season almost always ensures you’re playing catch up. This season appears to be no exception either, with the Hammers drawing defending champions Manchester City on the opening day of the season. The only small mercy- the fixture against Pep Guardiola’s all-conquering side is at home, instead of the Etihad Stadium. There is also the possible element of pressure if Liverpool, as expected, win on Friday night against Norwich, given the neck and neck tussle City and the Reds had last season. [Read more…]

Season preview- Can Pellegrini build upon 18/19’s progress?

Despite spending over £90m overhauling the squad over the summer, the 2018/19 season started off on the worst possible note for West Ham, with four consecutive defeats against Liverpool, Bournemouth, Arsenal and Wolves respectively. Their next three fixtures were away against Everton and at home to Chelsea and Manchester United, and it had some pundits wondering whether relegation was a real possibility for Manuel Pellegrini’s side.

However the Hammers got their act together and picked up seven points from those three games. In a way, that summed up their season- very competitive against the top six sides, but often complacent against the remaining fourteen, especially on the road. [Read more…]

A tale of two clubs, Arnie finishes as top scorer and more- Talking Points from Watford 1-4 West Ham

West Ham ended their season on a high as they beat FA Cup finalists Watford 4-1 at Vicarage Road. Here are our talking points from the game.

A tale of two clubs: Watford started the season with four straight wins while West Ham started theirs with four straight defeats. The two teams were 10th and 11th going into this fixture, but the Hammers secured a top ten finish at the expense of the Hornets with this 4-1 victory. If Watford had avoided defeat, it would’ve been their first top-ten finish in the top flight since Graham Taylor did so in the mid 1980’s. Instead, the Hornets had to be content with a spot in the bottom half of the table.

The red card that changed the game: The 4-1 end scoreline was a flattering one to the Hammers. Watford had dominated the first half, but trailed 2-0 at the break. They pulled one back immediately from kickoff after the interval and were looking dangerous before Holebas’ red card (on his 100th Premier League game) changed the complexion of the game. It was perhaps a slightly harsh one, but his dismissal snuffed out any hopes the Hornets might have had of winning the game. Felipe Anderson started to pull the strings for West Ham after Holebas’ dismissal and worse, Javi Gracia’s side may be without their influential left back for the FA Cup final against Man City.

Watford fans would’ve also had their hearts in their mouths after Etienne Capoue’s late challenge on Mark Noble, but fortunately for them, Chris Kavanagh deemed it worthy of only a yellow. Capoue, like Holebas, was playing a landmark game- his 150th Premier League appearance.

Marko Arnautovic finishes as the club’s top scorer: At 2-1, Felipe Anderson’s shot beat Ben Foster, only for the woodwork to deny the Brazilian. It however rebounded for Arnautovic to score, and the Austrian made no mistake. If Anderson had scored, he would’ve finished as West Ham’s top league scorer for 2018/19, and the only one to get into double digits, but as it so happened, that honour went to Arnautovic.

While Anderson fell a bit off the pace in the second half of the season, the Brazilian has had a very successful 2018/19 for West Ham, and fans will be hoping that he can kick on in 2019/20.

A poor game for Pablo Zabaleta: The veteran Argentine would perhaps not have anticipated coming on in this game, but an unfortunate injury to Ryan Fredericks necessitated his early introduction. He had a game to forget, tormented by Deulofeu’s pace, and it was his misplaced back pass that allowed Watford to score just 11 seconds from second half kickoff.

Another good game for Mark Noble: West Ham’s veteran skipper scored two goals- one a very nice individual goal to open the scoring for the Hammers, as well as the fourth and final goal for them from the penalty spot. Also had a pivotal part to play in the Lanzini goal. All in all, a fantastic day at the office for the medio.

WHUFC starting lineup vs Watford 2019