Match Thread

Match Thread: West Ham v Leicester City

West Ham v Leicester City
FA Premier League
London Stadium
KO 8pm
TV: Sky Sports
Radio: BBC 5 Live

Please use this thread to comment on the game as it progresses.


Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: West Ham v Leicester

Blast from the past

New Year’s Eve 1977 – Wings were number one with their double A-side Christmas number one ‘Mull of Kintyre/Girls’ School’, Star Wars was in UK cinemas and, on the day which saw Bruce Forsyth step down as presenter of The Generation Game after six years, the Hammers defeated the Foxes at Upton Park in front of 25,355 spectators.

John McDowell (pictured) fired in a rasping drive for his only goal of the season to give the Irons the lead. Derek Hales, sent clear by a Trevor Brooking pass, made it two with his fifth goal in ten games to give the hosts a 2-0 half-time lead.

David ‘Psycho’ Cross then scored his first ever goal in claret and blue, getting on the end of Brooking’s cross to score the first of his 97 goals for West Ham United. The Hammers were 3-0 up but, typically for West Ham, the game was not over – Steve Kember scored a freak goal from a cross which looped over Bobby Ferguson to pull one back for the visitors. Scottish goalkeeper Ferguson, playing in his first league game for 20 months, then made a super save from a dipping shot by Roger Davies. Steve Sims added another for Leicester with a looping header from a corner but the Hammers held out to claim a 3-2 win and end 1977 on a happy note.

My video below shows all the goals from this game as well as Ferguson’s save and an interview with the former Hammers goalkeeper.

West Ham would go on to be relegated in a 1977/78 campaign that saw them finish third from bottom, in 20th place, just one point behind QPR. Bryan ‘Pop’ Robson would be the Irons’ top goalscorer with 11 goals in 41 matches in 1977/78. Brooking was voted the Hammer of the Year and, for the only time since 1961, there was no runner-up. The Foxes finished ten points behind the Hammers, rooted to the bottom of the First Division table. Nottingham Forest won the league and Ipswich won the FA Cup.

West Ham United: Bobby Ferguson, John McDowell, Billy Bonds, Tommy Taylor, Frank Lampard, Alan Devonshire, Alan Curbishley, Trevor Brooking, Bryan ‘Pop’ Robson, Derek Hales, David Cross.

Leicester City: Mark Wallington, Tommy Williams (Steve Earle), Dave Webb, Steve Sims, Dennis Rofe, Steve Kember, Jon Sammels, Eddie Kelly, George Armstrong, Roger Davies, Billy Hughes.

Club Connections

Players who have represented both the Hammers and the Foxes include:

Goalkeepers: George Hebden, Colin Mackleworth.

Defenders: Gary Charles, Chris Powell, Dickie Pudan, Rufus Brevett, Paul Konchesky, Dai Jones, Matthew Upson, Clive Clarke, Billy Oakes, Fred Milnes, John Paintsil.

Midfielders: Andy Impey, Shaun Newton, Nolberto Solano, Franz Carr, Sid Bishop.

Strikers: David Connolly, Albert Carnelly, Mike Newell, Brian Deane, Keith Robson, David Speedie, Bertie Lyon, Paul Kitson, Norman Proctor, Les Ferdinand, David Kelly, Tony Cottee, Jimmy Quinn.

Frank O’Farrell and Jimmy Bloomfield have played for the Hammers and managed the Foxes.

Today’s focus is on another who played for West Ham United and managed Leicester City. Martin Allen was born in Reading on the 14th August 1965 and started his professional career at QPR in 1984. Martin was born into the famous footballing Allen family – the son of Dennis Allen (who played for Reading, Charlton and Bournemouth), the nephew of Les and cousin of Paul, Bradley and Clive. He played in the 1986 League Cup Final during his time at Loftus Road before joining Lou Macari’s West Ham United in the summer of 1989 for a fee of £670,000. He scored on his Hammers debut in a 3-2 home win over Plymouth on 26th August 1989 and bagged another in his next appearance at Upton Park in a 1-1 draw against Swindon. Allen scored an impressive 11 goals in 48 appearances in his first season with the club and also picked up a red card in a League Cup quarter-final against Derby – it was Allen’s strike against Wimbledon that had booked the Hammers’ place in the last eight. He had gained a reputation as a midfielder with an eye for goal – his combative nature in the middle of the park also lived up to his nickname, ‘Mad Dog’.

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Billy Bonds had taken over from Lou Macari midway through the 1989/90 campaign – Allen’s goal at Middlesbrough had given Bonzo his first win as Hammer manager. 1990/91 would see Allen spend more time as a substitute than the previous season – he made 46 appearances but 12 of these were from the bench. He scored five goals in this promotion-winning campaign – four came in October 1990 with two in a League Cup second round second leg 2-2 draw at Stoke and another double in a 2-1 home win over Charlton. His final goal of the season was in the reverse match at Selhurst Park, Charlton’s temporary home, in a 1-1 draw.

The fateful First Division campaign of 1991/92 saw Allen spend a considerable amount of time on the sidelines with an Achilles injury – he scored two goals from 24 matches, both against Sunderland in a 3-2 FA Cup fifth round replay defeat at Upton Park on 26th February 1992. Allen was a key member of the 1992/93 promotion-winning side though, playing 44 matches as he teamed up with new signing Peter Butler in midfield – the pair provided a tough-tackling, no-nonsense approach which allowed wingers Kevin Keen and Mark Robson to create for free-scoring Trevor Morley and Clive Allen, Martin’s cousin who had joined from Chelsea towards the end of the previous campaign. ‘Mad Dog’ scored four goals – September strikes in a 2-1 home win over Watford and 3-1 triumph at Peterborough were followed by a goal in a 6-0 smashing of Sunderland at Upton Park and another in a 4-0 home victory over Brentford.

1993/94 saw ‘Mad Dog’ stamp his paws on the Premier League – he scored ten goals in 34 matches. Most of his game time in the early months of the season came from the bench and he only registered one goal before Christmas, in a 2-0 League Cup second round second leg win at Chesterfield. He won his place back in January 1994 and scored three goals in as many matches – against Watford in a 2-1 home win in the FA Cup third round, at Aston Villa in a 3-1 defeat and in a 3-3 home draw with Norwich – he kept his place in midfield for the rest of the season as the Hammers consolidated their top-flight status. A flurry of goals between March and May saw Allen bag six goals in nine matches, including a delightful lofted effort over David James in a 2-1 home defeat to Liverpool and typical long-range efforts in a 2-1 home defeat to Blackburn and 2-0 win at Arsenal. Although Ken Monkou did score an own goal later in the 3-3 draw with Southampton on 7th May 1994, ‘Mad Dog’ holds the distinction of being the last West Ham player to score in front of the terraced North Bank having struck earlier in the second half of the game.

1994/95 saw Harry Redknapp take up the managerial reigns – Allen scored twice in 33 appearances that season, in a 2-1 win at Chelsea and 2-0 home win over Southampton, both in October 1994. Allen’s final goal in claret and blue came in a 1-1 draw at Nottingham Forest on 26th August 1995. His last appearance for the club was four days later in a 1-1 draw with Tottenham at Upton Park. After the death of his father Dennis, who used to watch Martin from the West Stand at Upton Park, Allen decided it was too emotional to play at Upton Park and left the club for Portsmouth in August 1995. He had made 232 appearances for the club, scoring 35 goals. 33 of Mad Dog’s 35 goals can be seen in my video below.

After two years at Fratton Park, Allen moved to Southend where he ended his playing career in 1998. He began his managerial career as assistant to Alan Pardew at his hometown club Readingand managed Barnet, Brentford and MK Dons before getting the Leicester job in May 2007. Due to a strained relationship with chairman Milan Mandaric, mainly revolving around player transfers, Allen was only in charge for four games before leaving the club on 29th August 2007. He won two, drew one and lost one of his matches with the Foxes.

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Now 52, Allen has since managed Cheltenham, Barnet (on three further occasions), Notts County, Gillingham and Eastleigh.

Referee

The referee on Friday will be Martin Atkinson, who most recently refereed our last Friday night match – the 3-0 home defeat to Brighton. He was also in charge of our 4-0 opening weekend defeat at Manchester United on 13th August. 2017/18 is Atkinson’s 13th as a Premier League referee. Since West Ham United achieved promotion back to the top flight in 2012 Atkinson has refereed 19 of our league matches, officiating in nine wins for the Hammers, two draws and eight defeats.

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Atkinson also refereed the Hammers’ FA Cup quarter-final at Old Trafford in March 2016, when he turned down appeals for a penalty after Marcos Rojo appeared to have tripped Dimitri Payet and failed to spot Bastian Schweinstieger’s block on Darren Randolph as Man Utd equalised late on. He refereed last September’s 4-2 home defeat to Watford and October’s 1-0 win at Crystal Palace, when he controversially sent off Aaron Cresswell for two very harsh yellow cards in quick succession. His previous Hammers appointments this calendar year were our 3-1 win at Middlesbrough in January and our 3-0 defeat to Arsenal in April.

Possible line-ups

West Ham United have lost only three of their last 30 home matches against Leicester stretching back to 1967, with 21 victories and 6 draws against the Foxes in that time. David Moyes will be without Chicharito, Sam Byram, James Collins, Jose Fonte and Michail Antonio. Marko Arnautovoic and Andre Ayew are both available. Andy Carroll has gone 12 hours and 49 minutes without a goal – spanning 10 games – since scoring against Hull on 1st April.

Leicester City manager Claude Puel will be without Robert Huth and Matty James. Leicester failed to register an attempt on target in a Premier League game for the first time in 13 months against Manchester City last weekend. The Foxes could record three successive away victories in this fixture for the first time. They had only won one of their 28 league visits to east London prior to back-to-back victories in the past two seasons.

Possible West Ham United XI: Hart; Zabaleta, Reid, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Kouyate, Noble, Obiang; Ayew, Lanzini; Carroll.

Possible Leicester City XI: Schmeichel; Simpson, Maguire, Morgan, Fuchs; Iborra, Ndidi; Mahrez, Albrighton, Gray; Vardy.

Enjoy the game – Come On You Irons!

Please check back after the match for the results.


Match Preview

Opposition Q&A With Leicester City

This week David Moyes leads West Ham into his first home game at the London Stadium against Leicester City. He will be hoping (as will we all) that West Ham can hit the net with a couple of chances they create. Ahead of the game I had a chat with Chris Forryan from “leicestertilidie”:http://www.leicestertillidie.com to discuss what he thought about the fixture.

Chris, you have got us in the Friday night fixture this week, are you feeling confident you can beat a ‘bottom three’ team?
I’m a Leicester fan, we are never confident about anything.

Having sacked your manager less than a year after guiding you to Premier League victory, Slaven Bilic’s sacking will have come as no surprise to you?
Nothing surprises me in football these days and after Leicester’s manager sacking history of late It would be wrong of me to criticise West Ham’s decisions.

What do you think of his replacement David Moyes?
Lets just say I’m glad you got him!!

How do you rate your current manager Claude Puel?
Craig Shakespeare was a great #2 but had no tactical nous when it came to making game changing substitutions.
Early days but at least Puel has that nous and, to be fair, not a bad signing I believe.

After the heady days of two years ago where do you think you will finish this season?
With our new manager 8th – 10th

Where do you think West Ham can realistically finish the season?
16th or 17th if you are lucky. For me Moyes was the wrong replacement for you.

Which three teams do you think will suffer relegation and who will lift the title this season?
Palace, Swansea and if they stick with Unsworth (who again is tactically inept) Everton.

N’golo Kante seems to have been irreplaceable, apart from his loss are you happy with the make-up of your squad?
Ibbora & Maguire have been great signings. Silva when we finally get him in January will give us strong midfield options. One thing Shakespeare (and his team) did well was our signings this season.

I can recall in your Premier League winning year, you looking very impressive beating us right at the beginning of the season, 1 – 2. I’ve just looked up the details because I was sure taht Vardy scored, apparently not, but he ran us ragged all afternoon. Any memories of West Ham/Leicester games of the past?
Last seasons 2-2 draw with the Vardy dismissal. A draw that felt like a win at the time.

Mmm, I seem to remember a dodgy penalty in that game…If you could have any current West Ham player in your first team who would you choose and why?
To be fair don’t know enough about your players to choose, but to be honest if he can get them playing well our team is strong enough to do well this season so don’t know where anyone would fit in.

Which Leicester player(s) will be key to your hopes this season?
Maguire, Gray & Vardy

How do you expect Leicester to setup against West Ham on Friday/ Team/formation prediction?
4-4-1-1 with Mahrez just behind Vardy

Prediction for score?
3-1 To Leicester

Thanks again to Chris for his time. Not a David Moyes fan you would say! Well you can’t blame him for feeling confident, but you’d have to hope that Moyes has prepared for this game as well as any other, and that the players have responded accordingly. I’ll go for a 2 – 1 win. Come on you Irons!

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Please check back after the match for the results.


The GoatyGav Column

A Much Needed Bit Of Escapism – Ex Academy Hammers Excel At Hatters

You could say it’s been an eventful few days with the traffic of comments at a very high level on WHTID. There are, as always, some differences of opinion and interesting conversation threads but one common theme dominates. Things are looking extremely grim indeed. So bad, in fact, that I’m going to discuss a completely different club where things are looking far healthier – just to escape our woes for a short time.

In the four football leagues there is currently only one team that have scored more goals than Manchester City. Luton Town are absolutely flying. So when I heard that the Lee brothers had hit three of Luton’s seven goals this weekend, with Dan Potts hitting another, I had a little look at their squad.

Outside of our club there was much talk of a pretty special goal this weekend. Oliver Lee did the, almost, unthinkable. With Cambridge on the attack, in Luton’s final third, and their keeper, David Forde, off his line Olly nicked the ball following a poor Cambridge pass under pressure, took a touch to the right and hit a 65 yard shot which looped over Forde and in to the Cambridge net. You can see it on the following video. Enjoy .

Dan Potts was a player who I genuinely hoped would make the grade when he was coming through the academy. Admittedly it was a lot to do with his father, in my opinion, being a West Ham legend. To many an unsung one at that. Dan seems to be enjoying his time at Kenilworth Road. In fact, since I started writing this, on Tuesday night, Dan chipped in with yet another goal to help his team hit top spot. His goalscoring record, for a defender, is quite something this season. Like busses they all seem to be arriving at once with five this term – his first five for the club.

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Admittedly it was a lot to do with his father, in my opinion, being a West Ham legend.

Another player that some wanted to see come through at West Ham was Olly’s brother Elliot Lee. Elliot showed a good deal of promise but, unfortunately, was unable to take his chances when he had the odd sniff at the higher level. He’s just starting to really find his feet, however, this season with Luton at the League 2 level. With 5 goals and 2 assists so far his contribution is significant.

Marek Stetch is now Luton’s no1 keeper – having gone to the club from Sparta Prague at the start of the season. Marek never really had a chance at West Ham despite doing well at youth and reserve levels. Great to see him establish himself as a no1. back in the English Leagues. More about his season, and specifically his debut, below.

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Pelly Ruddock (Mpanzu) is another. Substitute on Saturday, but with 15 appearances this season, he is an Energetic box to box midfielder in his 5th season for Luton having notched up 137 games with the club. He’s popular with the Luton faithful for his ability to turn defence in to attack.

They’ve even got a James Collins too – although not a West Ham academy product so, perhaps, more of a tenuous link this one.

With an amazing 46 goals scored Luton have hit eight on opening day of season vs Yeovil, where Stech made a Penalty save on his debut, seven vs Stevenage and seven, without reply, on Saturday vs Cambridge. Seeing so many Ex Academy Hammers doing so well in one team has brought me a little cheer and has been a welcome distraction from affairs away from the London Stadium and I’ll be looking out for their results until May. If the Academy old boys can continue to play a major part in Luton’s promotion campaign I’d be delighted for them all.

Not much consolation, I know, but it’s always good to see our ‘lads’ doing well.

Elsewhere another of our ‘lads’, who is still a West Ham player, on loan at Borussia Mönchengladbach is keeping first teamers on their toes at the club who are in fourth place in the Bundesliga. A tough fixture at home to Champions and League Leaders Bayern awaits them on Saturday. Reece is likely to start on the bench but, you never know, may see some action. Let’s hope so. Let’s also hope we can get a result, and some kind of performance, against Leicester City on Friday night.

COYI! West Ham 4 The Cup!

Please check back after the match for the results.


The Blind Hammer Column

Supporting West Ham-Supporting Moyes

Blind Hammer looks at avoiding relegation and argues against protest.

Tomorrow night’s game against Leicester will be a test not just for David Moyes and the team but also the fans. By now Moyes will realised the huge size of the task confronting him. Our display demonstrated a disjointed and ineffectual effort against a depleted Watford shorn of many first team regulars. Despite this Silva’s men produced a confident display of verve and attacking football which West Ham can only dream of. Those who argued for the hiring of Silva over the summer will feel vindicated.

Yet there is no point in now dwelling on what might have been, in actual fact, we need managerial speculation now like we need a hole in the head.

What we do need to manage is expectation. I wrote last week that Moyes’ capacity to transform our squad’s fitness was fancifully overblown. Large numbers of our squad, absent during the international break, would have barely met Moyes, in Winston Read’s case, returning only hours before travelling to Watford. , Upcoming fixture congestion will [[[provide no opportunity for any boot camp style fitness program. Expecting Moyes to wave an immediate fitness magic wand was unrealistic. The club videos advertising new training intensity looks like unfortunate spin now.

We need to face some unpalatable facts. For some weeks it has been clear that we are in for a relegation fight. Too many points have been conceded against average or poor teams. Games will get no easier in the weeks ahead. We have consistently demonstrated that we have the worst defence in the premiership. An average team with the worst defence will always struggle. We are in for a rocky ride.

Things are already turning ugly with some of our fans. The stupidity of some of Carroll’s play against Watford was immediately exceeded by the stupidity of fans who abuse him outside the ground. This is entirely counterproductive. In this period of adversity with a team struggling for confidence players will need not abuse but support like they has rarely needed it before.

There will be no easy games. An expectation to roll over teams like Watford, Brighton, Stoke, and Bournemouth West Bromwich should not currently exist. Lashing out at the team, manager and even the Board because we have a team bereft of confidence is a luxury we cannot afford.

Moyes was not a popular appointment and the chances are that he has inherited a squad which will give him negative results. It is likely that any honeymoon period will be brief and dissent will emerge. But for people to react with an “I told you so” will not help, Moyes is the Manager until the end of the season and no fan protest will or indeed even should change this. Multiple managerial sacking rarely helps any club.

Equally futile is lashing out at our Board. We cannot afford the luxury of petulant Stadium protests. We all tend to look for blame but this is currently an indulgence.

We have been here before. The protest against the huge own goal of the Bond scheme in 1991 was objectively entirely justified. Nevertheless however justified the protest was it still resulted in a toxic atmosphere which Billy Bonds, our manager at the time, was convinced was the cause of our relegation.

I do not want to see history repeat itself. It seems some would almost welcome relegation if it gave them a stick to beat the Board with and punish them for moving to what they repeatedly call the “Athletics Bowl in a desperate attempt to create a “feel bad” atmosphere. There should be no satisfaction in seeing West Ham fail. Constant whining about how the Board allegedly “promised the next level” is pointless now. We have to become more positive if West Ham is ever to thrive again. Opposition fans love watching our current disunity. Upton Park is no more, we can either engage in perennial but futile whingeing about the past or we can try to move on a support the club.

Having said that, I will now make my own constructive Board criticism. The fact is that they also have to considerably up their game. The announcement following Moyes’ appointment was clumsy at best. They are far too fond of getting excuses in early. They seem to have been taking lessons from the Boris Johnston School of Diplomacy. Sullivan’s “shooting from the hip” description of Moyes as a “gamble” was crass in the extreme. His subsequent description of Moyes as not the best but only “the “best available” also damns him with faint praise. Sullivan is the boss at West Ham so he has the right to speak his mind. However despite Boris’s example a political leader is normally media coached to avoid making these sorts of gaffs. , Sullivan desperately needs similar support. The problem is who, at West Ham, will be able to tell him he needs this? Will the brave PR person please stand up?

So we must positively support Moyes and the club as a whole in the difficult weeks ahead. From top to bottom, from Board to fans, we must embrace Moyes as a legitimate Manager and try to build confidence in our team.

Once upon a time West Ham used to be famous for supporting our team in adversity. Players remember fans support much more when things are going badly rather than when they are going well. From tomorrow night’s game against Leicester I have committed myself to supporting the team through our current adversity. I will not leave early no matter what the score. I will not boo, no matter what. I will try to encourage and do my tiny bit to improve the love and support the team can feel. In return I expect the team to try their best. This use to be the West Ham Mojo. If we are to prove that there are three teams worse than us we need to rediscover it fast.

COYI
David Griffith


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