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.

WHUCAR

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…]

West Ham v Cardiff City- Pre-Match Pundit predictions for the Hammers against the Bluebirds

West Ham will be looking to continue from where they left off at Newcastle when they host Cardiff City in a midweek clash at the London Stadium. The Hammers produced an impressive performance on Saturday afternoon, scoring 3 goals and keeping a clean sheet to end the Magpies’ three game winning run.

The Bluebirds have lost their six games against West Ham in all competitions. The referee for this game, Graham Scott, is one under whom Cardiff have alternated between losses and wins in their six fixtures. Going by that trend (LWLWLW), this seventh game against the Hammers should end in defeat for the visitors.

Cardiff’s last six games under Graham Scott

Leeds 1-4 Cardiff (WIN) 2018
Cardiff 0-2 Newcastle (LOSS) 2017
Cardiff 2-0 Preston (WIN) 2017
Cardiff 0-2 Leeds (LOSS) 2016
Bristol 0-2 Cardiff (WIN) 2016
Cardiff 2-3 Brentford (LOSS) 2014 [Read more…]

West Ham Going To Wem-Ber-Ley

West Ham booked their place in the Championship Play-off final at Wembley on May 19th after a 5-0 aggregate thrashing of Cardiff City.

After Malky Mackay’s recent comments about 2-0 being a very dangerous score line for West Ham, it turned out to be the platform for a great victory with The Hammers running out 3-0 winners in front of a packed house at The Boleyn, which was watched by former stars Trevor Brooking, Martin Peters, Tony Gale, Tony Cottee and celebrity fan Russell Brand to name but a few.

West Ham haven’t been to Wembley for 31 years so it could have been a nervy affair , but after a bright start from Cardiff and a possible penalty turned down it was The Hammers who took the lead in the 15th minute, Kevin Nolan heading in from a yard out after another wonderful corner from our set piece expert Matt Taylor.

After that it was one way traffic with Cardiff resigned to defeat being 3-0 down and needing to score 3 goals against an inform West Ham team. Just a few minutes after the first goal we nearly scored again, with two-goal hero from the first leg Jack Collison sending in a lovely cross which Gary O’Neil connected a volley with which hit the bar.

O’Neil then hit a beautiful curling shot from outside the box after a cutback from Vaz Te, which forced a fantastic save from Cardiff keeper Marshall who pulled off some great saves over the two legs.

Just before the break though West Ham double their lead in style from the in-form Ricardo Vaz Te who was played into the box and hit an unstoppable powerful strike across the keeper into the roof of the net. It was celebration time for The Irons!

Second half the game lost a bit of it’s energy and fluidity, not surprising as the tie was well and truly over, however Nicky Maynard managed to have the final say with a beautiful strike into the top corner after being played into the box by Henri Lansbury.

Only down side to a perfect day was Jack Collison injuring his shoulder, which I believe popped out and then popped back in again after a challenge near Cardiff’s corner flag. Let’s hope he is OK for the final as he has been in great touch for us recently.

The crowd thoroughly enjoyed this game, including me, and the bellows of “We’re going to Wembley” are still ringing in my ears this morning!

COYI!!!!

Wembley Glory In Sight As Hammers Beat Cardiff

An awesome performance by West Ham today at Upton Park that left Cardiff beaten 5-0 on aggregate has put the Hammers within a whisker of Premiership glory.

At Cardiff they were beaten 2-0 and today the boys just finished them off in style with goals coming from Ricardo Vaz Té, skipper Kevin Nolan and Nicky Maynard. Jack Collison’s brace set this game up in Cardiff and West Ham have not disappointed their fans who are itching for Premier League action next season.

And skipper Nolan’s header after just 15 minutes virtually said goodbye to Cardiff’s hopes of ever being in this tie. Then Portuguese wonder kid Vaz Té doubled the Hammers advantage just before the break with some decent finishing inside the box. West Ham were on a roll and nothing was going to stop them now! The bubbles were freely flowing and Cardiff could sense it!

Just before the final whistle Nicky Maynard, not to be outdone by his fellow Hammers, fired a beauty into the top corner of the hapless Cardiff keeper.

The Hammers are now awaiting their rivals with Birmingham hosting Blackpool on Wednesday. Blackpool have a one goal advantage after a Birmingham own goal in the first leg of the tie.

Hammers boss Sam Allardyce had this say after the game:

“We’ve produced two outstanding performances. “We’ve got a massive opportunity now. Hopefully we can hold it together and produce a performance like we did today at Wembley.”

Jack Collison had to come off after dislocating his shoulder in the clash. His shoulder was “popped” back in but was taken to hospital as a precautionary measure. We have no news at the moment on his condition but it doesn’t look like at this stage that he’ll miss the final.

Great work by the boys, you’ve had us on the edge of our seats at times throughout the season but this tie with Cardiff has shown us all that we deserve to be back in the Premier League. What do you think?

Collison Double Downs Cardiff

Jack Collison upset his fellow countrymen last night with both goals in the two nil win for West Ham.

Collison was all smiles last night after giving The Hammers a great away result, thus putting Sam Allardyce’s men in a superb position for the second leg at 4pm on Monday 7th at The Boleyn.

The first of his goals came in the 8th minute when Ricardo Vaz Te cut back from a ball over the top of the defence, Collison’s strike was saved but the midfielder followed up and headed in from close range. He added his second shortly before half time with a sweet strike from outside the box following a corner, it took a deflection from a Cardiff players head but we don’t care about that!

Speaking to WHUFC.com:

“The first one I think I did my hardest to miss it, to be honest! It was a great ball from Vaz [Ricardo Vaz Te] and he put it on a plate for me. I’ve hit the keeper and luckily it has bounced out for me and I’ve managed to knock it in.

“The second one, it has bounced out to me and Matty [Taylor] was in my ear telling me to shoot so I thought ‘Why not?’ and I caught it quite sweet. It took a little deflection but I think it was going in anyway!

“They all count and it’s great to get the goals, but like I said it was a real team performance.”

So we are in the driving seat ahead of the second leg but we know all about counting chickens before they hatch, however our home form has picked up of late so unless we self destruct we should have enough about us to finish the job and have a nice day out at Wembley! COYI!

 

Jack Collison Double Is Just The Ticket

A brace by Hammer Jack Collison at Cardiff last night gave the irons hope in the first leg of their playoff with the Welsh team.

Even Sam Allardyce had to admit that “it was a great night” as his boys firmly planted one foot on the Wembley turf on their road to redemption and back to the Prem.

Cardiff now have to come down to our “manor” in East London and bring it if they want any glory. It’s going to be a tough game at Upton Park for the boyos in blue and the hammers are ready to take them on.The match will be on Bank Holiday Monday so expect a large and lively crowd for that one.

Of course, anything can happen in these games as we have seen all throughout this season. I think the Hammers can hold their heads cool and keep their nerves – I can’t see it being too big a problem to put away another few goals at the Park.

Big Sam said:

“This has been a great night for us but it’s only 90 minutes gone of a two-legged game and anything can happen.”

“We nullified their threat and restricted them to minimal chances on their own ground. Tactically, we did everything right.

“There’s no pressure on Cardiff, they can come and try to claw something but this result gives us a great platform”.

I have to agree with the boss on nullifying Cardiff as the boys did a good job and to be fair Cardiff looked pretty dangerous at times throughout the game and even tested Rob Green in the first 10 minutes or so of the first half.

Ok, so it might not be a cakewalk but we are two goals up thanks to Jack Collison and Cardiff will have to attack if they want to spoil the party.

This is just what West ham needed, too. A clean sheet and a couple of goals – you can’t ask for anymore, can you?

Cardiff boss Malky Mackay said this about his team:

“We’re disappointed with their first goal and our defending”.

Make no mistake though Cardiff will come down here on Monday thinking they are two down and it’s only half time. The boys need to be on the ball and a goal or two will seal the deal I think.

The funny thing is that Collison is a Wales midfielder, so that must have gone down like a hole in the head for the boyos down at Cardiff 🙂 Cardiff have been trying to get into the Premier League for three seasons now and Collison’s double might make the Welsh side wait another year – we will see!

Cardiff v West Ham Preview

Tonight West Ham travel to Cardiff for the first leg of our promotion place play-off.

There is no injury news for Cardiff so they look to be able to select their starting eleven from a fully fit squad. Four unspecified players took knocks against Crystal Palace on the final day of the season, but are all expected to be back in contention for a place against The Hammers.

Cardiff have been beaten only once in their last 13 matches, and are looking to reach Wembley for a second time this season, having lost on penalties to Liverpool in the Carling Cup final.

The Welsh side are also looking to end their play-off nightmare having been beaten by Reading in last years semi-final and the year before lost to Blackpool in the final.

Good news for West Ham though is that we have a fully fit squad to choose from. Nolan, O’Neil and Tompkins all took knocks against Hull on Saturday, but have all been passed fit for our most important game of the season to date.

Big Sam substituted both Ricardo Vaz Te – who was looking tired to me – and Carlton Cole early into the second half in our game against Hull with one eye being on the play-off’s.

So the nerve jangling play-off’s begin tonight and even though we didn’t go up automatically, it would still be nice to win at Wembley in front of  a 90,000 strong crowd. COYI!

 

Hurst Backing Hammers In Playoffs

West Ham & England legend Sir Geoff Hurst is backing his old club The Hammers to do the business in the upcoming play-off’s for promotion to the land flowing with milk and honey that is also known as The Premiership.

He said: “It was tinged with disappointment that they didn’t go up automatically when it looked like they were going to do, but they are still in with a shout, and a very strong shout.

“They have got to win three more games. They didn’t finish the season too badly, particularly at home, where results had been poor at times.

“The away record is some kind of record for the club, but they have lost a couple of games at home. But they won convincingly at home, 6-0, a couple of games ago and in terms of form coming into the play-off games, the form is pretty good.

“It’s going to be tough. They are playing Cardiff, who gave Liverpool a game in the Carling Cup final, but they are still there. They are still in with a shout with a couple of games home and a final at Wembley to fight for.”

Lets hope Sir Geoff is right and we will soon be back plying our trade in The Premiership.

Seeing as our away form is much better than our home form the first leg being at Cardiff could be an advantage, I am hoping we can go a long way to finishing the job there and not have to win at The Boleyn as we don’t seem to do too well against teams sitting backing and countering! COYI!