Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Everton Game Live on Fox

Just checked the schedule and yet another Hammers game on the box. Excellent! Also the Bolton cup game is confirmed as the BBC live game so I think that means we'll get ESPN coverage of that one.

Monday, February 27, 2006


Jeremie has a bitch

c+p from Skysports.


Jeremie Aliadiere has launched a withering attack on Alan Pardew by insisting the West Ham manager wasted his time.

The Arsenal striker, now on loan at Wolverhampton Wanderers via a spell at Celtic, made the ill-fated switch to Upton Park at the end of last summer.

Aliadiere failed to make any impression in East London but claims that was of Pardew's making and revealed he would rather have stayed at Highbury.

First team opportunities may have been limited at The Gunners but the Frenchman claims it would have been of greater benefit to train with the likes of Thierry Henry than kick his heels on the sidelines at West Ham.

"I would have been better off just training with Arsenal than going to West Ham," Aliadiere told The People. "Alan went back on his promise because he said he would play me as a loan player and then never did. Ten days into the loan deal he said he wanted to sign me but once nothing came of that I didn't have a chance. He told me the reason I wasn't playing was because I wasn't a West Ham player and that I was just on loan. I just wasted my time because if you have the chance to train with Thierry Henry or West Ham then there isn't a choice. You go to a club that is much smaller than Arsenal and you go there to play and gain experience. You don't just go there to train and waste your time and that is what I have done."

Meanwhile, The Hammers have been linked with a move for Manchester City's out-of-favour defender Danny Mills.

The former England international is rumoured to be seeking a move away from Eastlands and with Pardew known to be keen on defensive reinforcements a move could suit both parties.


No, Jeremie, if it's true, Pardew was probably telling you that to save your feelings - you were outclassed by the existing West Ham players and that's that! Now shut yer gob and get back to your Championship football.

Sunday, February 26, 2006


No Hammers Selected for Final England Friendly

What a crock! Take a look at the league table and check your form guide Sven!

Wayne Bridge gets a call ahead of Konchesky?? Kieran Richardson??? Luke Young?? Give me a break! Just how are Wes Brown and Ledley King better than Anton Ferdinand - Premiership player of the Month for January??

The only advice I can give to our lads now is pull your socks up, keep your heads up and bring the FA Cup to E13 along with a top 5 finish - then boys you can't be ignored!

The full squad:Paul Robinson (Tottenham), Robert Green (Norwich), David James (Man City), Luke Young (Charlton), Wayne Bridge (Chelsea), John Terry (Chelsea), Wes Brown (Man Utd), Rio Ferdinand (Man Utd), Ledley King (Tottenham), Gary Neville (Man Utd), Jamie Carragher (Liverpool), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), David Beckham (Real Madrid), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Joe Cole (Chelsea), Jermaine Jenas (Tottenham), Shaun Wright-Phillips (Chelsea), Michael Carrick (Tottenham), Kieran Richardson (Man Utd), Darren Bent (Charlton), Wayne Rooney (Man Utd), Peter Crouch (Liverpool) & Jermain Defoe (Tottenham).

Thursday, February 23, 2006


Jimmy back for the ressies tonight

Jimmy Walker will start a match for the 1st time since doing his cruciate ligament in the play-off final last May. He turns out for the West Ham reserves at home against Leicester after many months of painful rehab.

Sunday, February 19, 2006


Bolton 0 - 0 Hammers

I watched a stream of this live. Bore draw about sums it up. Very uneventful - not even a booking. Ashton looked out of sorts and Booby Zamora in comparision looked very lively when he came on which is a rare positive in a dire game. But we'll be relishing a home tie under the floodlights now I'm sure - hopefully we'll spank 'em at home - and I'm sure the replay will be on ESPN. Normally the last thing you want at this stage of the season is a cup replay but fortunately we are in the luxury of being able to afford an extra game with our league position being very safe and we seem to enjoy playing at the moment.

Friday, February 17, 2006


Which Hammers will Sven pick?

There's been a lot of talk lately about West Ham players potentially being called up for the World Cup. Well, with my very limited knowledge of the other England contenders, I've decided to look into the contenders and see how the Hammers shape up. (Warning: your results may vary. That's what the comment button is for!)

Anton Ferdinand: Faces a lot of competition for this position, although Sol Campbell might be doubtful at this rate. Not likely to be called up ahead of Rio, John Terry, and Woodgate, partly due to his inexperience, but has a slight chance thanks to some superb performances. Also an outside chance of being used in the right-back position.

Paul Konchesky: A very good chance. Ashley Cole and Wayne Bridge are his main rivals but is in with a decent shot at making the squad, if not the starting XI. The fact that he can also play left midfield is a big plus.

Matty Etherington: This is a tough one. Who knows what Sven wants to do in midfield, but if he goes the sensible option of Lampard/Gerrard together in the middle, then Matty mostly faces competition from guys like Joe Cole and Shaun Wright-Phillips. He's never made the England squad before and this will count against him, but I reckon he's got a pretty good chance, especially if he keeps up the good work he's done of late. He's proven his Premiership ability, has been tough and consistent, and is in the Actim Stats squad of the season so far.

Hayden Mullins: If Sven can't get Lampard and Gerrard to work together properly in midfield, he may slot Gerrard on the left and play a holding midfielder - I think he's got Ledley King in mind for this, or maybe Mick Carrick, but it's certainly a job that correlates with Hayden's CV. At any rate there are always a few "hangers-on" in the squad and Hayden might just make it. He's been the quiet achiever this season, and for that reason may not have caught Sven's eye, but in my mind he is definitely up to the job.

Nigel Reo-Coker: Probably one of the best contenders. The youngster has been in the spotlight for much of the season - and we've all seen his opening goal time and time again on the telly. A so-called "born leader" (I'm getting sick of hearing it, frankly), NRC certainly puts himself in prime position to be picked, with his impressive work rate and natural skill. Like Hayden, his biggest problem lies in getting ahead of Lampard and Gerrard in the pecking order, but again, NRC might find himself in the tail end of the squad.

Marlon Harewood: If Owen is fit - and probably will be - Harewood doesn't stand a chance of pushing him and Rooney aside for a starting place, but due to his ability to play on the right side of midfield as well as his habit of, well, scoring goals, the big man might just find himself receiving a phone call from Sven. The odds aren't great but you never know.

Dean Ashton: A real, tangible chance at this stage of the season. With everything to prove, and tons of natural ability, Dean might just prove a black sheep in the running. He has a few months to force himself into the reckoning. He and Marlon are up against some really tough competition though.

Summary: For my money I reckon the best chances are NRC and Konchesky. However, all of the players on this list are in with a chance. Every four years there are a couple of surprise choices, wild-cards if you will, in the squad. With any luck there will be a couple of West Ham faces in the squad, who might just get their chance on the world stage.

Thursday, February 16, 2006


New Banner for the Site!

* I'm currently working on a new banner for the site - we should get it in the next few days! Watch this space! :-)

* I'm horrified to learn that Newcastle vs Southampton is ESPNs live FA Cup game this weekend (and of course the obligatory Man U v Liverpool). 2 of the form teams of the Premiership West Ham & Bolton are going head to head and they're showing that shower of sh*te! They've shown Man U every round so far - sux!


¿Qué pasa, Anton?

Lionel Scaloni has revealed that West Ham defender Anton Ferdinand is pondering life in Spain. The London Evening Standard has quoted the Argentinian as saying, "I've only been here a few weeks but Anton immediately impressed me with his questions about life in Spain, what Barcelona is like as a city and a club. He wants to learn some Spanish words and I'm happy to teach him. But when I asked him what it was about he admitted that it does seem that Barcelona are genuinely interested in signing him."

Alan Pardew has already insisted that Barcelona's mooted but so far nonexistent offer, variously reported as being between £4 million and £5.5 million, is derisory. "It is a ridiculous figure," said the West Ham honcho at the time. "Even if we were to accept an offer for Anton, that won't be good for him because he needs his education, he needs to be here."

Cómo se dice "stick your blue flag" en español?

Incidentally, Scaloni may earn his sixth cap for Argentina after being called up to the squad for their friendly match against Croatia on the first of March, just three days before West Ham's clash with Everton.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


Check out my Sig :-)


West Ham 3-0 Birmingham City

The sky is no longer the limit for the high-flying Hammers, whose 3-0 dominance over Birmingham was enough to see them sitting, for the moment, in a UEFA Cup place on the Premiership table.

Team selection was, as usual, predictable, the only quirk of note being the selection of no less than three strikers on the bench - Zamora, Sheringham, and 100K Katan - to accompany Dailly.

The Irons started very well, passing the ball with aplomb and pulling off some lovely moves. Marlon Harewood made the breakthrough on the 10 minute mark by following up a Reo-Coker shot and lucky bounce, and slotted the ball coolly into the net. The celebrations were a little subdued, and without trying to make any assumptions about what goes through the team's minds, I hope they aren't a little too blasé about scoring goals.

It certainly looked that way for the next 20 minutes or so, as West Ham became too lax on the ball and Birmingham managed to battle their way back into the match, which became perhaps a more even contest. Hayden Mullins did manage to get himself in a prime scoring position but dallied over the ball slightly and was tackled. They had a couple of half chances, and some penalty-area scrambles, but thankfully nothing came of it. West Ham got a little hungrier after that and rounded off the half in relative comfort.

The second period was better for the home side, who virtually dominated the pitch. Yossi Benayoun missed to gilt-edged chances, once firing high after a poor first touch, and then placing a dismal pass across goal when he really should have taken the shot himself.

After a quarter of an hour into the second period the pressure told on Martin Latka, who accidentally handballed in the area. Harewood's penalty was parried but the striker followed up to get his second of the game and his eleventh (or is it twelve?) of the season.

The Irons were now cruising and put the game well out of reach a few minutes later. Scaloni put in a wickedly curling deep cross, which Yossi just barely missed with his head but Dean Ashton was in the right place at the back post and simply nodded the ball into the gaping net for his second goal in as many starts at the Boleyn Ground.

Player ratings:

Hislop 6: Not much to do, but was reliable when asked.
Konchesky 7: Took a while to get Pennant under control but managed it in the end. Overlapped very well but needs to work on his passing.
Gabbidon 7: Occasionally shaky but in general very good.
Ferdinand 7: His consistency is really impressive.
Scaloni 7: Mostly quiet, but a good assist for the third goal. Not much went down his side, which is a good sign.
Etherington 8: Excellent. Consistently a threat, and heavily involved in the match.
Reo-Coker 7: Didn't stamp his authority on the game as much as usual, but tried hard. Had some good moments, including some great passes.
Mullins 7: Off at half time - I didn't hear why.
Benayoun 7: Missed some good chances, but consistently got himself into positions where he could have scored. On another day would have had a hat-trick.
Harewood 8: Two goals, and some hard work as usual. Good support play.
Ashton 8: Class. Some really incisive passing, and stole the ball once or twice. At this rate he's well worth the money.

Dailly (on for Mullins) 7: Worked hard. Had one good crack at goal which was well held by the keeper.
Zamora (on for Ashton) 6: Didn't really get involved.
Katan (on for Etherington) 6: Like Zamora didn't get much time but seems good enough to get a run for most other clubs who don't have 4 first choice strikers!

Monday, February 13, 2006


More Mullins Kudos

Birmingham midfielder Julian Gray has sung the praises for his West Ham counterpart Hayden Mullins.

"I know Hayden from our days together at Palace," said Gray on the icons.com website. "He played mainly in defence then, but he's been performing wonders in midfield for West Ham this season. Hayden's a real unsung hero. He's an understated player and he's not been getting the headlines like the others have, but he's as vital to West Ham as anyone. He's a quality player. He just goes about his business and gets on with his job without making a fuss at all. The most important thing is to play your role for the team. That's what he does and I'm sure that even though he doesn't make many headlines, all the players respect the job that he does and the manager loves having him on his team."

On the upcoming match against West Ham, he said: "We need to get something out of the game, but we're under no illusions how tough it will be. They are in top form. A lot of people didn't expect them to do so well this season, but they've got young players who are all hungry and that's shown on the pitch. I think playing together in the first division has also helped them a lot. They are all familiar with each other's game and they are a strong team unit."

Gray added that he has a few other friends on the West Ham side, namely Nigel Reo-Coker, Anton Ferdinand and Paul Konchesky.

Sunday, February 12, 2006


Well Done, Anton

Anton Ferdinand has been named as Barclays Player of the Month for his stellar work for West Ham United.

The 20-year-old is the first West Ham player to win the award since Stuart Pearce in 2001. Rio and Anton are the first brothers to have won the award.



This interview with Alan Pardew is very interesting any may tell you a few things you didn't know. (warning: contains crap puns)

This one with Nigel Reo-Coker is also a decent read.

And then there's this one with NRC, this time from icons.com:

"It's all good at West Ham United at the moment. To win six consecutive matches at this level is by no means easy so we're all feeling really happy with how things are going. I don't mean to put a dampener on it, but we still can't do any kind of celebrating. We're feeling relaxed but we're aware that a winning streak can easily turn into a losing streak in the Premiership. This is no time to start thinking we've done enough.

"It's great for the manager that people are starting to talk about him in a positive way now. He's had to put up with a lot of criticism at West Ham, but his excellent work with the team is now being given the respect it deserves. He's doing a great job.

"One story that did emerge this week that caught my eye was that Barcelona are said to be interested in signing my mate Anton Ferdinand! I think it's such a compliment to Anton for the way that he's performed for us this season and I believe he fully deserves that kind of recognition. For a club of Barcelona's stature to be talking about Anton is tremendous for him and for his confidence. I know that he's flattered by it, but I also know that he won't let it go to his head. He's a level-headed guy that takes his football seriously so I know he'll just carry on doing what he's doing. A lot of people were questioning whether he could make it in the Premiership a few months ago but I was always sure he'd be quality. I knew what he was capable of and had belief in him to succeed at this level. I'm really pleased that everyone else is seeing that for themselves now too.

"We entertain Birmingham City on Monday night and it should be another interesting game. Their signing of DJ Campbell from Brentford was a really nice story and I hope he gets the chance to play against us. The way he's jumped from non-league football to the Premiership in the space of a year is incredible and it's also an inspiration. Other players in non-league will now be able to look at DJ Campbell and be given a reminder that they can still make it to the top and that their dreams can come true. If you work hard and also have ability, then anything is possible."

Saturday, February 11, 2006


Testing - this could be huge!

I thought I'd give this a test because this could open up avenues to make this site a bit more interesting. Below is an embeded video of last nights A-league semi final goal and post match interview. Anyway if this works we could have goals for Hammers games on here. :-)

I don't know if it will work but you will need flashplayer8 to view it if it does.

Friday, February 10, 2006


Mullins for England!

Yes you read correctly - C&P Skysports.

West Ham boss Alan Pardew believes Hayden Mullins could gatecrash England's World Cup squad.
Pardew has been impressed by Mullins' performances this season and he feels he could do a job for England.
Mullins has been a consistent performer for West Ham this season and Pardew believes the former Crystal Palace ace and other players such as Jimmy Bullard are too easily overlooked by Sven Goran Eriksson.
"I think there's a few players in the Premiership that get overlooked," Pardew told Sky Sports News.
"Jimmy Bullard at Wigan should be looked at, in my opinion, and these names are new names to The Premiership but that doesn't mean to say they haven't performed to a very high level.
"We have ourselves Hayden Mullins. You look at that role, sitting in front of the back four, I would bet there's not been anyone as consistent as Hayden Mullins doing that role but he hardly gets a mention.
"One of the good things about the current England manager, of course, is that he comes to all games.
"He's always at a game and I know he is aware of Hayden Mullins and I know he's appreciative of what he does for us."


Martin Peters on Ron Greenwood

"Ron always knew how he wanted the game to be played. He was an absolute purist, and though he didn't always succeed in getting the football, or at least the results, he wanted, he never put aside his beliefs. Because of the quality of pitches in England at that time, sometimes our football went wrong; you couldn't always be as precise as you wanted to be and sometimes maybe we would get steamrollered against a powerful town on some muddy pitch, usually up north, but that never tempted Ron into compromise. To him, there was only one way to play football - it was the right way, with skill and intelligent running. If you couldn't make football beautiful, why play?"


Thanks, Ron

Football greats have paid tribute to Ron Greenwood, who passed away at age 84 yesterday after a long illness. Greenwood was manager of West Ham United during its greatest period, from 1961 to 1974, and is generally credited as the man who gave West Ham their reputation for quality football. It was during his reign that the club became known as the Academy of Football.


Trevor Brooking leads the way with his tribute. "It's a sad occasion, particularly I think for West Ham connections as well. Ron was the manager who brought me to the club as a youngster and had huge effect on my development as a young player. He got me thinking about the game differently, sowed a lot of seeds to help me become a better player.

"He converted Geoff Hurst from a midfielder to a striker and he was scoring a hat-trick in a World Cup final a couple of years later. He developed a style of play at the club which was an entertaining, very technical, based on a European style people called it at the time. From then on he was hugely respected and had the opportunity to manage England and everything.

"Without a shadow of doubt he is one of best coaches this country has ever produced. Perhaps it is just a shame he didn't get more involved even here with where I am now at The Football Association as he had wealth of knowledge, integrity and was hugely respected by everyone.

"I think naturally he was a great coach, a great communicator, it was about encouragement, making you better. He was not a dictatorial coach, he actually asked you questions that got you thinking. He developed you as individual, he kept you informed about everything, he treated you as somebody on the same level and didn't talk down to you.

"Anyone with West Ham connections will know the massive impact on the West Ham style of play by the coaching philosophy of Ron. There will be a minutes' silence on Monday night against Birmingham and he was hugely respected by everyone. I know that he will be a sad loss for the club, the rollercoaster success they've had, but the style of play was certainly put there by Ron."


Hat trick hero Geoff Hurst made this statement. "It would not be overstating the case to say that Ron Greenwood was the single most influential figure in my career. I considered it a privilege to play for him. He opened the door to the world of modern football."


Peter Shilton said the following. "It's very sad news. Ron was a real football man in the sense he loved to play the right way. I think he was a bit ahead of his time in the 1960s and '70s when he was in charge of West Ham, when he had Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters because the way they played the game, they were really ahead of their time - it was great football to watch.

"I was very lucky to be associated with the England team when Ron was in charge. He ended up picking me for the World Cup of 1982 in Spain, which was a very successful tournament and we were very close to getting to the semi-finals.

"He had a great knowledge of football. He appreciated quality players and skill which is what you need at international level. Don Howe and him made a very good partnership, Don was very good at the defensive side and motivating players while Ron had the other things. They made a very good team.

"I've always felt the players respected Ron. I found him to be a nice person but in no way soft. He had the strength to make decisions in 1982 and I was very pleased to be selected. I had tremendous respect for him as a football man and as a person."


Alan Pardew said, "Unfortunately, I never had the chance to meet Ron but I know he was highly respected by everyone in the game and gave West Ham and England fantastic service during his time as manager. Geoff Hurst has said that his coaching abilities and ideas were ahead of his time, and that his teams were always a joy to watch, and I know there are many other former players and supporters who would agree with that sentiment. His loss is a very sad occasion for the club and I'm sure all our supporters will be eager to pay their respects to a man who did so much to establish West Ham as a great name in English football."

Thursday, February 09, 2006


Teddy shuns Spurs for Irons

cut n paste from the BBC.

West Ham striker Teddy Sheringham has revealed he turned down the chance to join Tottenham for the third time in his career in January.

Spurs made a bid for the former England star, who will be 40 in April, during the transfer window.

He said: "There was a chance to go to Tottenham and West Ham manager Alan Pardew said if I really wanted to go he would not stand in my way.

"But he made it clear he wanted me to stay and I enjoy playing for West Ham."

Sheringham is the Premiership's oldest outfield player and he played for Tottenham from 1992 to 1997 and 2001 to 2003.

He told Sky Sports: "The grass is not always greener on the other side.

"The manager is doing a great job, there are a great bunch of players here and I am getting satisfaction day in, day out."

Well done, Edward!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


Barca interest in Anton

* Champions League heavyweight Barcelona FC have reportedly drawn up a shortlist of three defenders, seeking a partner for Charles Puyol, and Anton Ferdinand is at the top of the list. The Catalan club has sent scouts to the last couple of West Ham's games, and are rumoured to be lining up a £5.5 million opening bid for the England U21 star. No doubt such a derisory offer would be immediately rejected by the West Ham board and manager, but it remains to be seen whether a more credible offer (in the region of £15 million or more) would be considered. Of course, many West Ham fans are still scarred by the £18 million sale of Anton's elder brother Rio as the start of the club's downfall that ultimately led to relegation, and will be loathe to sell the arguably more talented younger brother, whose 21st birthday is a few days away. However, a decent offer, which may include former West Ham target Gabri as a makeweight in the deal, might be too good for the board to refuse, and this would be seen by most fans as a big mistake. West Ham are a rising club and not a single one of the current crop of talented youngsters should be sold at any price: it is exactly these type of players that the really huge clubs - Barcelona, AC Milan, Manchester United, for example - are constantly chasing in order to keep their place at the pointy end of their respective leagues, and if West Ham were to sell, then it would be a statement of intent that the board are satisfied with running a mid-table Premiership club. But if the board, and Pardew, stick to their guns and refuse to sell, then the club has the opportunity to build on its current success and become a stalwart of the top European sides.

Incidentally, Barca are also keeping an eye on 21-year-old Felipe at Udinese. The third player on their shortlist is as yet unknown to outsiders.

* Meanwhile, Anton has put teammate Nigel Reo-Coker's name in the hat for the England senior team. "I am egging Nigel on to get into the World Cup squad," he said. "He has a realistic chance because he is one of the best at his job as a Premiership youngster. His hunger and determination is like no other. To be 21 and be captain of a club like West Ham shows the character he has and he can bring that to England. History shows there is always one surprise member that makes the squad and my fingers are crossed for Nigel." Fans will remember the last-minute selection of Trevor Sinclair into the 2002 squad as a makeshift left-sided midfielder due to injuries to other players. After his initial run off the bench, Sinclair proved his worth and became a regular in the side during the tournament.

* Ex-Wolves goalkeeper Paul Jones has been training with the West Ham squad. "I've been training with the Hammers and might help out for a month or so to give them another option," the 38-year-old Welsh veteran said. "It's been good to train with the Welsh boys - Danny Gabbidon, James Collins and Carl Fletcher - at West Ham, so we'll see how that works out. As for Wales, I'm still keeping myself fit and available if needed. Helping out on the coaching side with our young keepers has been fantastic, so if I can pass something on to them and maybe pick up another few caps that's great."

Monday, February 06, 2006


Six in a Row

It's 6 wins in 6 matches* for Alan Pardew's side as they overcame 10-man Sunderland thanks to second-half goals from Dean Ashton and Paul Konchesky.

The Londoners now sit in eighth on the table (although Blackburn one point below have a game in hand) and there is talk of battling for European qualification, with sixth position still up for grabs. While that's not out of the question, a top-10 finish would still be a spectacular result for the Irons, whose original target after scraping through promotion was survival in the top division. As it stands, they are only two points away from the coveted total of 40 points, although as we all know that isn't necessarily enough to ensure survival, it is unlikely that the Hammers will finish the season without another win or two to guarantee at least one more season in the Premiership.

Alan Pardew said, "We've always stuck to wanting to finish as high in this league as we can and that's still the case. We're almost in sight of reaching our first target which would mean a successful season for us and that's staying in this league. So let's see how high we can go."

Mick of the Mackems put the gap between his cellar-dwellars Sunderland and high-flying West Ham rather poignantly when he said, "They got off to a good start this season, and built on it and continued to build. And then went out and bought a £7 million striker."

Friday, February 03, 2006


Das Goals

Thanks to The Red Penguin, here are West Ham's goals at Highbury (approx 11MB).

So it was Reo-Coker for the third goal after all... D'oh.

Thursday, February 02, 2006


Gunners 2-3 Hammers

West Ham have continued their superb run of form by nicking a win from Arsenal at Highbury for the first time in eleven years, thanks largely to a brick-wall defence.

Clive Clarke made a surprise debut at right-back, but otherwise the side remained the same as it has been recently, with Zamora and Harewood up front, Sheringham and Ashton on the bench. Dailly was absent through suspension, so Pardew had no defenders on the bench apart from part-time right-back Shaun Newton.

It was a good thing the defence played well, then, because they came under the cosh right from the start. Ljungberg inadvertently blocked an Henry shot, then Persie hit the post after trying to twist through the West Ham back line.

The away side showed their usual spirit and came back into the match after 25 minutes, when Reo-Coker, who was full of running, capitalised on Sol Campbell's mistake and slid the ball between Lehmann's legs for the opening goal. Cue a very odd boot-tapping celebration from the midfielder.

West Ham had the upper hand for a period, culminating in a second goal for the visitors. Zamora cut inside from the right after receiving a brilliant long diagonal pass from Konchesky, and curled the ball sweetly inside Lehmann's right hand post. West Ham looked to be fairly comfortable for a while, forcing the home side on the back foot, but Arsenal fought back hard once again. Several shots were deflected, cleared off the line (thanks Yossi!), or somehow went off target. But their dominance paid off moments before the end of the half; Konchesky failed to controll a ball and it was returned to Ljungberg. Hislop came out but could not pinch it from Ljungberg's feet, and it fell to Pires, whose deflected off Henry and into the net.

After the break, Arsenal maintained possession in the final third and West Ham defended brilliantly but with desperation. Hislop tried to pluck a corner out of the air but could only get his fingertips to it, and soon after saw a shot hit the post, but he had the spot well covered. Gabbidon somehow cleared another shot off the line with his heel, and then Henry's bicycle kick curled wide of the post.

However, West Ham restored their lead when Harewood (I thought it was, anyway - one report said Reo-Coker) snatched a ball from the Arsenal defence, and Etherington met the low cross and his shot deflected into the net, despite Pires' goofed clearance.

The final few minutes frustrated Arsenal as they were repeatedly caught offside and denied chances by the West Ham back line, and Pires' last-minute goal proved too little, too late for the North Londoners.

All in all it was a pretty harrying performance from West Ham. Persie, Ljungberg and Pires gave them a lot of trouble but they never gave up. They need to keep possession at times, and I thought the introduction of Sheringham would have been a good idea, rather than Ashton (although the youngster did quite well under the circumstances). Reo-Coker is full of running and this often leaves Mullins in the middle on his own. When this happens the wide midfielders don't come inside - especially Matty. They also often fail to track the runners as they come in down the wings, leaving the full-backs a bit exposed. I don't really know what the solution is but I hope Pardew finds one.

Player Ratings

Hislop 7: Solid work. Good saves.
Konchesky 8: Some great tackles and hard work, marred only by his wayward control that led to Arsenal's first goal. Couldn't get forward due to Arsenal's possession. Sometimes chooses the long ball when a short pass would be better.
Gabbidon 9: A stonking, world-class performance. Ten feet high and six feet wide, Danny G was everywhere, especially in the first half. Brilliant tackles, interceptions, headers, everything. Really impressive.
Ferdinand 8: Not as obvious as Gabbidon, but Anton got stuck right in and, like Danny, maintained a high level of concentration throughout the match. How those two remained composed is beyond me.
Clarke 7: Not the place to make a Premiership debut, but Clarke acquitted himself well. Unsurprisingly, he was utterly knackered at the end, but played professionally and did not stop. Well done.
Etherington 7: Got in some good crosses and scored the all-important third goal. He's changed as a player since the Championship - less storming runs, but more hard work. If he could do both I'd be very very happy!
Mullins 6: Quiet, and struggled.
Reo-Coker 8: Was everywhere, but sometimes leaves the centre open.
Benayoun 6: Literally didn't get a touch for the first 20 minutes. Didn't do much, although he made an important clearance off the line. (Well, I guess they're all important.)
Zamora 8: Got involved, got a great goal, and hassled Arsenal's defence all night. What's with the celebration?
Harewood 6: Again, fairly quiet. Both strikers need to hold the ball up better.

Newton (on for Benayoun) 6: 10K did his job well, as usual.
Ashton (on for Zamora) 6: Showed a good touch.
Fletcher (on for Clarke) 6: On for the tired Clarke, all I remember him doing is disputing a corner decision (quite rightly, too.)

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


Gabri Grumpy; Scaloni on Loan-y

Barcelona fringe player Gabri has rejected the proposed move to West Ham. "After much consideration, my final decision is to remain at Barca," said the utility player. "There have been some offers, but in the end, having spoken to my family, I have decided to stay. My mind is now only at Barcelona. I am aware that it will be difficult to have minutes but I have to fight until the end."

It seems that Pardew raids mainly in Spain, and he has deflected his interest onto one Lionel Sebastián Scaloni of Deportivo la Coruna, who has reportedly signed on loan for the remainder of the season. The 27-year-old has found himself a notch or two down the pecking order at Deportivo. There is no option-to-purchase clause, so the right-back/right-midfield is just going to be the fill-in that Pardew supposedly didn't want!