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

Watford v West Ham Pundit Predictions- Can the Hammers sign off with a win?

The final day of the 2018/19 Premier League season is upon us, and West Ham will finish their engagements with this clash away at Watford. Beating the Hornets will seal a top 10 finish for Manuel Pellegrini’s men.

Javi Gracia’s Watford will have one eye on their upcoming FA Cup final against Man City- it perhaps comes as no surprise that they’ve won just once in their last five games (that too against relegated Huddersfield) once they beat Wolves in their Cup semi-final.

Let’s take a look at what the pundits have to say about this Round 38 clash.

Mark Lawrenson: Lawro says that every time he thinks West Ham are going to kick on, they go missing. Notes that Watford will seal a top 10 finish in the top flight for the first time since 1986/87 if they avoid defeat on Sunday afternoon, and has backed the Hornets to do exactly that with his 1-1 prediction.

Celeb opponent: Lawro’s celeb opponent this weekend is hip hop star Loyle Carner, who has also chosen a 1-1 draw. [Read more…]

Noble, Fredericks and Arnautovic among West Ham players named in the Premier League Team of the Week

West Ham United completed a double over Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Southampton by beating them 3-0 at the London Stadium over the weekend. Wins normally bring entrants into the Team of the Week, as it happened when the Hammers upset Spurs in Round 36.

Here, we take a look at different pundits’ TOTW and the West Ham players named in them. We had noted that Mark Noble had his best game in a while against the Saints, and the Hammers skipper is among those who features, with goal scorers Ryan Fredericks and Marko Arnautovic being the other two.

Alan Shearer’s Premier League Team of the Week for Round 37

The former Magpies legend had Fredericks and Arnautovic in his Team of the Week. West Ham had 2 representatives in his TOTW, as did Wolves, with seven other clubs contributing a player each.

Shearer TOTW Round 37 [Read more…]

Nobes enjoys himself, league double over Saints & more- Talking Points from West Ham 3-0 Southampton

West Ham’s final home game of the Premier League season saw them beat Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Southampton 3-0 at the London Stadium. Marko Arnautovic’s brace and Ryan Fredericks’ first ever league goal for the Hammers sealed victory for Manuel Pellegrini’s men on Saturday afternoon in this GW37 clash. Let’s take a look at our talking points from the game.

Mark Noble enjoys himself: The West Ham veteran enjoyed one of his best games in a Hammers jersey against the Saints. He was paired with Pedro Obiang and Manuel Lanzini in the centre of midfield, with Declan Rice, Robert Snodgrass and Felipe Anderson missing from the starting XI.

Afforded too much time and space by Southampton, Noble bossed the midfield. It was he who pounced on Yan Valery’s error and gave a perfect pass to Marko Arnautovic for the opening goal. And it wasn’t just attack- he put in some fine tackles as well, none better than the one on Armstrong to stop a potentially dangerous Saints move just before the hour mark. [Read more…]

West Ham v Southampton Predictions- How do the pundits think the Hammers will fare against Hasenhuttl’s Saints?

West Ham will be looking to complete a league double for the third time this season when they take on Southampton in their final home game of the 18/19 season. Fulham and Newcastle are the only teams that Manuel Pellegrini’s men have beaten home and away this season, and they’ll be hoping to add Southampton to that list later this afternoon.

When the Hammers beat them at St.Mary’s in December, Saints were hovering precariously near the drop zone, but new manager Ralph Hasenhuttl has achieved his primary goal of keeping them in the top flight. On the way, he’s also got his side to score the Premier League’s fastest ever goal- achieved by Shane Long against Watford.

If they beat Southampton, West Ham will also reverse a losing trend under referee Stuart Attwell- they’ve lost their last four in a row under him, including defeats to Bournemouth, THFC (Cup) and Man City this season.

What do the pundits think of this clash? Let’s take a look.

Mark Lawrenson: Lawro took note of the Hammers’ fantastic achievement last weekend- they became the first team to score and win at the new Spurs stadium, and says that despite their up and down form, they should be able to sign off with a good performance in their final game of the season. Has gone for a 2-0 win for the home side. [Read more…]

Diop & Antonio among West Ham players named in Premier League Team of the Week for Round 36

It’s been a while since we saw a West Ham player in one of these lists- perhaps not surprising given the club’s indifferent form over the last few weeks. However the Hammers’ shock 1-0 win over Spurs on Saturday afternoon, which made them the first team to win at the new Tottenham Stadium, saw a number of strong performances, and several players have been rewarded with spots in the Team of the Week for GW36.

There’s a West Ham player in virtually every pundit’s Team of the Week bar Robbie Savage’s. Issa Diop, who was re-united with Fabian Balbuena in the centre of defence, and Michail Antonio, who scored the winner, were the most prominent ones, but there was room for a few other players as well.

Sol Bamba Team of the Week for Round 36 (Sky)

Bamba’s team of the week had a spot for Michail Antonio [Read more…]

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…]