Match Report

Ten Talking Points From West Ham 2 Chelsea 1 - When the OS Became our Home

Hilarious, eh? I left the LBC studios at 7pm but had a cab driver who seemed to pick a particularly bad route to St Pancras, which meant I had to get the 7.37 train. I arrived at the stadium with ten minutes played. I’ll just get a burger, I thought. And just as I did, the cheer went up. I bounded up the steps to see the replay on the big screen what a goal.

And what a game. As a complete performance, it was about as complete as you’ll get. Passing, attacking, dominant in midfield and calm in defence. What more can you ask for? In a couple of games (Watford and Sunderland being the prime examples) we’ve played really well for 30 minutes, but then gradually faded. Today we didn’t fade at all. It was a consistently brilliant performance. There wasn’t a time when Chelsea looked as if they might overpower us. And that’s not to diminish their danger. They always looked dangerous and given the quality of their players, we shouldn’t be surprised by that. This wasn’t a weak team. Costa and Hazard didn’t start but they played for half an hour.


1. Edimilson Fernandes had another excellent game, and he took his goal superbly well. Even as he shaped to shoot you could tell it was going to be a goal. But it’s his all round game that I like. He’s certainly issued Bilic with a ‘drop me if you dare’ challenge.
2. I thought Pedro Obiang was again immense. He had several driving runs and was as strong as an ox. This midfield threesome of Obiang, Noble and Fernandes really offers a lot. I doubt any of us would have predicted that at the beginning of the season.
3. The back three performed brilliantly again, and came close to their third clean sheet on the trot. In the second half it was Kouyate who shone, in the second it was Winston Reid, who resembled a brick wall. That’s not to underplay Ogbonna’s role at all.
4. I would defy anyone to tell me that the atmosphere at the stadium tonight was inferior to a night game at Upton Park. The place was buzzing. The singing and chanting was back to Boleyn levels and the place was rocking. You could just see it in people’s faces. This was the night that stadium became our home.
5. Michail Antonio didn’t score, but he did everything but. He was everywhere. His speed was phenomenal and at times his runs were quite spellbinding. But you sensed that even he hadn’t quite got a clue what he was going to do next.
6. I wasn’t quite sure why Bilic risked playing Ayew for 13 minutes, when he didn’t need to. We weren’t chasing the game. We didn’t need another option in attack. OK, he lasted the pace, and it was good for him to get some gametime, but otherwise, what was the point?
7. Feghouli played rather well when he came on and did a few crowdpleasing tricks.
8. It’s not a coincidence that West Ham’s change in fortunes has coincided with a return to form by Mark Noble. I thought he was outstanding today. He was less of a Ray Wilkins and more of a Bryan Robson, constantly driving forward.
9. Lanzini had a quiet game but was unlucky not to score a replica of his goal against Crystal Palace.
10. Payet faded towards the end of the game but for the first 60 or 70 minutes he was his usual brilliant self. We didn’t see any of his trademark free kicks from outside the area, but he did nearly score one from the left hand side of the penalty area. The angle was impossible, but he hit it so hard and Begovic did well to tip it over.

We now have a quarter final away at Old Trafford. And you know what, we shouldn’t be afraid of that at all. Bring it on.

It may have taken some time for our season to spring into life but in the last three games it has. Let’s hope we keep it going at Goodison on Sunday.

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Match Thread

Match Thread: West Ham v Chelsea

West Ham v Chelsea
Olympic Stadium
KO 7.45pm
TV: None

Starting XI: Randolph, Kouyate, Reid, Ogbonna, Fernandes, Obiang, Noble ©, Cresswell, Lanzini, Payet, Antonio.

Subs: Adrian, Nordtveit, Feghouli, Zaza, Collins, Ayew, Fletcher.

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

Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: West Ham v Chelsea

Blast from the past

West Ham United have met Chelsea in the League Cup twice before, with both games coming in the third round of the competition. The Blues emerged victorious from the last tie between the two clubs with a 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge in October 2004, a game which saw an incredible goalkeeping performance from Hammers stopper Jimmy Walker who memorably saved a Frank Lampard penalty.

The only other League Cup tie between West Ham United and Chelsea came exactly 22 years ago today, on the 26th October 1994. Having won through to the third round by defeating Walsall over two legs, Harry Redknapp’s Hammers came up against Glenn Hoddle’s Blues at Upton Park. Pato Banton was number one with ‘Baby Come Back’ and Pulp Fiction was in UK cinemas as 18,815 were in attendance at a reduced-capacity Upton Park with the Centenary Stand under construction.

The Hammers took an early lead through record £1.5m signing Don Hutchison – Julian Dicks, in only his second game back in east London after a short spell at Liverpool, took a throw-in which found Tony Cottee, who had beaten a similar track in returning to West Ham from Merseyside. Cottee’s touch allowed Deadly Don to curl a strike from just outside the penalty area and beyond Dimitri Kharine into the far corner with just two minutes on the clock. Gavin Peacock, son of former West Ham first-team coach Keith Peacock, added to Chelsea’s woes after 15 minutes when he was forced off through injury.

The Irons had Czech goalkeeper ‘Ludo’ Miklosko to thank for two stunning second half saves from Erland Johnsen and Dennis Wise as they secured their spot in the fourth round, only to be knocked out 3-1 at home by First Division Bolton – the Trotters would go on to reach the Final where they would lose to a Liverpool side inspired by two-goal Steve McManaman.

West Ham United: Ludek Miklosko, Tim Breacker, Steve Potts, Alvin Martin, Julian Dicks, Matthew Rush, Ian Bishop, Martin Allen, Mike Marsh, Don Hutchison, Tony Cottee.

Chelsea: Dimitri Kharine, Gareth Hall (David Lee), Jakob Kjeldberg, Erland Johnsen, Anthony Barness, David Rocastle, Nigel Spackman, Eddie Newton, Dennis Wise, Gavin Peacock (David Hopkin), Neil Shipperley.

Club Connections

A decent number of players have represented both West Ham United and Chelsea. Victor Moses spent last season on loan with the Hammers and is now proving a key player for Antonio Conte’s Blues. Others to have worn the colours of both clubs include:

Goalkeeper: Craig Forrest.

Defenders: Tal Ben Haim, Wayne Bridge, Scott Minto, Ian Pearce, Joe Kirkup, Glen Johnson and Jon Harley.

Midfielders: Frank Lampard Junior, Peter Brabrook, Alan Dickens, Scott Parker, Yossi Benayoun and John Sissons.

Strikers: David Speedie, Len Goulden, Demba Ba, Clive Allen, George Hilsdon, Carlton Cole, Jimmy Greaves, Pop Robson and Ron Tindall.

Ron Greenwood and Gianfranco Zola played for Chelsea and managed West Ham, while Sir Geoff Hurst and Dave Sexton both played for the Hammers and managed the Blues. Avram Grant has managed both clubs.

With today being the 26th October and West Ham’s only League Cup win coming over Chelsea on this very day 22 years ago with a strike from a player wearing number 26, it’s only right that another former number 26 is today’s focus. An Academy graduate who had two spells at Upton Park and spent seven years at Stamford Bridge, Joe Cole was born in Paddington on the 8th November 1981 and was a prodigious young talent who was linked with a £10m move to Manchester United before he’d even made his professional debut. Likened to Paul Gascoigne, Cole made his debut at the age of 17 in January 1999 in a 1-1 FA Cup draw at home against Swansea; his league debut arrived eight days later in a 4-1 defeat at Old Trafford. Cole was a key figure in the Hammers’ FA Youth Cup winning team in 1999 and also played his part in the senior team’s InterToto Cup success later that summer. His first goal for the club came in a 3-2 League Cup win at Birmingham in November 1999 while his first league strike came in the 5-4 win over Bradford in February 2000.

Cole scored five goals in 2000/01, including one in the 3-0 win at Coventry and strikes in the 1-1 home draws with Bradford and Coventry. He also notched crucial goals in the 3-1 home win over Derby and 3-0 home victory over Southampton as the under-performing Hammers secured their survival in the top flight the weekend before Harry Redknapp’s departure.

Cole made his England debut in May 2001 and scored his first goal under new Hammers manager Glenn Roeder in the 3-0 FA Cup third round win at Macclesfield in January 2002. The skilful midfielder was part of England’s 2002 World Cup squad and got his 2002/03 campaign off to a flyer, scoring from distance to give the Irons the lead against champions Arsenal only for the Gunners to eventually claim a 2-2 draw at Upton Park. The season was a turbulent one, with Cole one of the few players to emerge with credit from a campaign which would end in relegation. Joey also scored in the 2-1 home defeat to Birmingham, the 2-2 draw at Middlesbrough, the 3-2 FA Cup third round home win over Nottingham Forest and the 2-2 home draw with Newcastle. He was named captain by Roeder in January 2003 and was voted Hammer of the Year by the club’s supporters at the season’s end.

Cole left West Ham United in the summer of 2003 to sign for Chelsea in a £6.6m deal, having scored 13 goals in 150 appearances for the Hammers. He made his debut for the Blues as a substitute a week after signing for the club in a Champions League qualifier away to MSK Zilina and scored his first goal in October 2003 in a League Cup tie against Notts County. His first league strike in a Chelsea shirt came in a 2-1 defeat at Aston Villa in December 2003. Cole became a regular in Jose Mourinho’s 2004/05 Premier League title-winning team, scoring nine goals in all competitions.

2005/06 saw Cole score a career-high 11 goals in a season in all competitions, earning himself a place in the PFA Team of the Year as Chelsea retained their Premier League title. The following campaign was an injury-hit one for Cole but he was back to his best in 2007/08 – he reached double figures in the scoring charts again, won the Chelsea Player of the Year Award and played in the Champions League Final. Cole also scored home and away against West Ham that season, refusing to celebrate his strike in Chelsea’s 4-0 win at Upton Park in March 2008. A knee injury kept Cole out for the second half of the 2008/09 campaign and his final game for the Blues was the FA Cup Final against Portsmouth in May 2010, Chelsea winning the match 1-0. After seven years at Stamford Bridge in which he scored 40 goals in 281 appearances and won three Premier League titles, three FA Cups, two League Cups, two Community Shields and was a Champions League finalist, Cole joined Roy Hodgson’s Liverpool on a free transfer in the summer of 2010.

After a difficult start to life on Merseyside, Cole spent the 2011/12 season on loan at French side Lille but, after returning to Liverpool for the first half of the following season, Joey returned to the Boleyn Ground in early January 2013, signing for Sam Allardyce’s Hammers on a free transfer. He set up both goals on his second debut for the club as James Collins scored twice in a 2-2 FA Cup third round draw with Manchester United and scored himself in the 1-1 home draw with Q.P.R. and the 3-2 home defeat to Tottenham. He started the 2013/14 season with a bang, notching the Hammers’ first goal of the campaign in a 2-0 home win over Cardiff in August 2013 before scoring in the 3-0 win over Fulham in November. His final goal for the Hammers came in the 3-3 home draw with West Brom in late December 2013. Cole’s last appearance for West Ham came in the 2-0 defeat at Manchester City in May 2014 and he left the club later that summer after his contract expired, signing for Aston Villa. Cole had scored five goals in 37 appearances in his second spell in east London, taking his totals for the Hammers to 18 goals in 187 matches.

Following a spell with Coventry, Cole, now 34, is currently playing for Tampa Bay Rowdies in the NASL, the second tier of the American soccer pyramid.


Wednesday’s referee will be Craig Pawson; 2016/17 is Pawson’s fifth as a Premier League referee. In 2014/15 he refereed West Ham’s 3-1 home win over Liverpool and sent off Adrian in our 0-0 draw at Southampton, a decision that was later overturned. He was also the man in the middle for our 4-1 Capital One Cup home defeat to Wigan four seasons ago and our 3-1 loss at Stoke’s Britannia Stadium three seasons ago. His Hammers appointments last season were both at the Boleyn Ground, for our 2-2 draw with Manchester City in January and the 3-3 draw with Arsenal in April.

Pawson’s most recent match in charge of West Ham United saw him send off Harry Arter as the Hammers defeated Bournemouth 1-0 in August.

Possible line-ups

West Ham United will name a strong line-up for the fourth round clash. Darren Randolph has started every domestic cup game so far in 2016 but has not even made the bench for the last two league fixtures due to a knee injury. Aaron Cresswell should return after serving his suspension on Saturday against Sunderland but, having only just returned from injury and with Edimilson Fernandes pushing for game time, Cresswell may well be saved for the trip to Everton. Sam Byram, Arthur Masuaku, Gokhan Tore, Diafra Sakho and Andy Carroll remain unavailable, while the game will probably come too soon for Andre Ayew.

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte made seven changes for the last round against Leicester from the team that had lost at home to Liverpool in their previous league match, including his entire front four. Asmir Begovic is a likely starter in goal, while Michy Batshuayi could come in up front for Diego Costa. The likes of Gary Cahill, N’Golo Kante and Eden Hazard could also be rested with the Blues set to face Southampton at St Mary’s on Saturday. John Terry, Nathaniel Chalobah, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Oscar could all come into the side but Cesc Fabregas, the two-goal hero of the last round, has a thigh injury. Branislav Ivanovic and Marco van Ginkel are both ruled out through injury.

Possible West Ham United XI: Randolph; Kouyate, Reid, Ogbonna; Antonio, Obiang, Noble, Fernandes; Lanzini, Zaza, Payet.

Possible Chelsea XI: Begovic; Azpilicueta, Terry, Luiz; Moses, Matic, Oscar, Alonso; Willian, Batshuayi, Pedro.

Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!

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Match Report

Sunderland, Zaza and New Hope

Victory at home to Sunderland made it back-to-back wins and with seven points from our last three games, we look to have our solidity back.

Several commendable performances were underpinned by fluid, cohesive team play and confidence is beginning to manifest itself back in the minds of the players.

This was a game in which we showed flair, confidence, grit and determination. It was another performance to take encouragement from.


I want to address this first so we can focus on other areas. Those who have read my articles or comments know I am a fan of Zaza. From his time at Sassuolo and Juventus to breaking into the Italy national team, he has always been a striker with great potential.

I know on here he has his doubters, and also his followers. So for what it’s worth, I thought I’d share my opinion on his current situation.

He is a hard working, energetic forward with a professional attitude and solid work ethic. The kind of traits that West Ham fans cherish. Unfortunately, what we need from our starting striker is goals, and in this area, he has continued to struggle.

This isn’t to say that Zaza isn’t capable of becoming a top class striker. There are far too many factors in need of consideration before we write-off any top tier player – Forlan and Veron at Man Utd for example – but we are faced with a unique set of circumstances.

With an obligation to buy after 14 games, time is against Zaza and I feel this could lead to him not making the cut. Normally a player has a season or more to settle into a new league but Zaza hasn’t been afforded that luxury.

£25million is a sizeable investment and to justify such an investment the club has to be confident that the player has, or can develop, the skills required of them.

Sakho offers everything Zaza does, so for me, I don’t think we’ll see him beyond the next few games. It’s sad because he strikes me as a top professional and he’s clearly very talented. It’s just not worked out for him so far.

His performance against Sunderland was solid and energetic but offered little improvement compared to his display against Crystal Palace and chances again went begging. It’s a pity because his attitude and work rate have been excellent.

The irregular loan agreement we have must also add considerable pressure. I for one wish him all the best if he does leave and I’ll be the first to eat my words if he grabs a brace against Chelsea on Wednesday or against Everton at the weekend – wouldn’t that be something! Come on Zaza, give everyone something to think about.


It surprised me to read the number of reports claiming that Sunderland were unlucky to lose. I disagree wholeheartedly. Poor finishing and even worst officiating were the only factors preventing us from concluding the first half two or three goals up. Sunderland got back in the game after the first 35 minutes but threatened very little and Reid, Ogbonna and Kouyate dealt with Defoe and any other attacks very well. Obiang put in an excellent tackle on Defoe to halt the forward on the edge of the area, although Reid and Ogbonna were still between him and Adrian.

At no point were we on the back foot for any extended spells and we defended exceptionally as a team.

We created 17 chances to Sunderland’s seven. The image below shows the chances created by both teams and it’s clear to see who posed the greater threat.

We are creating numerous chances in each game and we will start capitalising on them. Even with our poor results at the start of the season we have not failed to create. With the defence looking more solid by the game, getting our strikers back from injury, or young Fletcher or Calleri stepping up, is the final piece of the puzzle.

Possession, passing, pressing and persistence

West ham enjoyed 65% possession, 87% pass completion, 18 dribbles and 20 shots. The only area in which the team struggled was with it’s finishing. Of our 20 attempts on goal only three were on target. 12 of the 20 shots came from inside the box, which again highlights our lack of clinical finishing in front of goal.

Some of this can be attributed to Sunderland’s well organised and packed defence, but it’s an area we need to improve. Personally I think Sakho, Carroll and Ayew will see to that!

Despite hitting the woodwork and having eight shots blocked, the team continued to press and persisted all the way to the end. A 94th minute Winston Reid collector’s item was their, and our, reward.

For anyone doubting the teams commitment or support for their manager, those fears should now be put to rest.


Of all the standout displays – Obiang, Kouyate and Reid to name a few – a special mention has to go to Edimilson Fernandes. A relatively unknown quantity signed for £5.5 million from Sion, this young man has come in to stake a claim and if he continues in this form, he’ll be very hard to leave off the team sheet.

His display would be worthy of note even if he had been playing in his natural position – centre midfield – let alone out of position. Considering he is a right-footed central midfielder, making his home debut in front of 56,000+ and has only been with the club a short time, his performance at left wing back – yes LEFT WINGBACK – was nothing short of sensational.

Playing to that standard in the Premier League with so many factors against you is nothing short of remarkable and we should all be very excited by his potential.

Fernandes had a 93% pass completion rate for the game, making over 40 passes. He had four shots, made three tackles, completed three take-on’s, created one chance, one interception and four defensive clearance; a truly remarkable display.

Playing with and without the ball

There is no formula for correlation between possession and scoring goals. Manchester City and Arsenal were just two examples of this at the weekend.

Even with some of the world’s most technically proficient players, it is very difficult to create space at the highest level and this is where we, and any team, can struggle.

One of the key components is a clinical forward with terrifying movement such as Aguero, Suarez, Tevez et al. These forwards unsettle defenders and don’t allow them to venture forward, therefore restricting a team’s movement and ability to create space. This is something Sakho does well, as did Ayew when playing up front for Swansea – I’m sure we all remember his goal against us last season when he ghosted our entire defence to slip in with a powerful finish.

These factors, as well as others, make it very difficult to play possession football in the Premier League and even a team of Manchester City’s calibre can find it challenging.

Struggling with possession is not a sign of a weak or poor team, far from it. Just look at Athletico Madrid under Diego Simeone, they thrive without the ball and their entire philosophy is based on counter attacking football. However, they too can struggle when afforded too much possession and must have a plan B should they need it.

Bilic is a shrewd tactician and one that obsesses over detail. Rarely have we been let down by our tactics and this is testimony to his ability to outthink his opposite number. However, sometimes teams lack the players to impose themselves on an opposition that is set up to defend deep and in numbers. Fortunately, we have players like Payet, Lanzini, Antonio and Ayew who are all capable game changers and are able to play with or without possession.

When Ayew is fit and we have a more potent threat leading the line, I think we will give any manager in the league nightmares when it comes to planning how to play us. Far from an Arsenal type team, we are adaptable and capable of playing counter attacking, possession or even defensive football should we need to. This is a huge asset and one we haven’t been able to enjoy fully so far this season.

The returning players offer more options for Bilic and we shouldn’t forget some of the tactical masterstrokes he played last season against Spurs, Arsenal, City and many others. Soon he will have a fully stocked armoury and a team back to it’s confident best.

Also, just like last season, I think we are set up better to play the bigger clubs. The teams that will come to attack us and try to impose their game on us. This is where we thrive. This is where our engine room can close the space and win the ball back, catching our opponent open and out of position. This is where our magicians like Payet and Lanzini can find pockets of space that allow them to conduct the intricate counter attacks that devastated some of the best defences in the league.

Wednesday, against Chelsea, is our time to shine.


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Talking Point

The Supporter's Contract

Blind hammer appeals to West Ham to honour the Supporter’s Contract with its Disabled Supporters.

It had been difficult for me to post in recent weeks. Partly this has been due to the distraction of my breaking my foot after the Middlesbrough game, but more importantly because it had been hard to post negative articles about the club during the spate of bad news stories over previous weeks. The fact is that as supportive as we have an emotional bond with our club, if things are going wrong, and other people are attacking them, you don’t want to join in. There is an old maxim, “if you cannot find something good to say about the people or things you love, don’t bother saying anything at all.”

On the pitch we had, hopefully, turned the corner. However there are issues going on off the pitch behind-the-scenes which also need resolving. I am particularly concerned about some of the outstanding access issues. Some of these are more serious than others. For example despite assurances from last season, it is irksome that the club had failed to provide me with a seat at the new stadium with which I can attend with my Guide Dog. I have been contacted by others who have experienced similar difficulties.

I had avoided writing about these kinds of issues from the beginning of the season precisely because I did not want to add to the free for all of bad news stories. Now there is a chance results are improving on the pitch West Ham need to also get a grip on the issues off it. Teething difficulties is no longer an excuse.

West Ham needs to honour the Supporter’s Contract. They must progress and resolve difficulties off as well as on the pitch.

The first rule of the Supporter’s Contract with the club as far as I am concerned is care for the welfare of their supporters. This means they must talk to us. It is unacceptable for the club to simply ignore repeated communications and requests for assistance, whether this is by letter, email or other form. I and other supportive are not negative moaners. We not only highlight problems which need resolving, but also suggest constructive possible solutions. We were actually doing this for months before we moved into the new stadium, and many of the actual difficulties were anticipated. A lot of issues could have been avoided if the club had simply worked with us. Sadly we were ignored. .

The club promised to meet with its disabled supporters in a Forum before the start of the season. We are still waiting.

We love our club, we are prepared to be understanding, and we just don’t want to be ignored. So this is my appeal to my club. When we write to you, when we contact you, when we try and propose solutions, listen to us and respond to us. Don’t just ignore us.

This is, I believe, the supportive contract, we will support you through thick and thin, in good times and bad, but this is a two way street. We need your support as well.


David Griffith

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