Guest Post

Bag a bargain for your West Ham-supporting friends and family this Christmas with a Blowing Bubbles subscription for 2019

Our partners Blowing Bubbles are offering a huge discount to WHTID readers for 2019.

Editor David Blackmore and his team are offering UK residents the opportunity to subscribe for the whole year for just £20.19 – that’s a saving of more than 30%.

There are also huge discounts for European, international and digital subscriptions to help spread the festive claret and blue cheer around the globe!

David, who launched the magazine in 2012, says: “This is the biggest New Year discount we have ever offered because we want to reach more people than ever before as we chronicle the next twists and turns of our club’s journey.

“As well as securing a subscription for yourself, why not look to take advantage of this offer to secure subscriptions for your West Ham-supporting friends and family for Christmas.”

To take advantage of our very special offer no matter where you are in the world, and get every issue of the magazine delivered through your door just click this link: “http://www.blowing-bubbles.co.uk/whtid-christmas-2018-offer.html”:http://www.blowing-bubbles.co.uk/whtid-christmas-2018-offer.html


Dawud Marsh's Photo Diary

A Game of Two Halves As West Ham Move to 10th With a Win Over Struggling Palace

Firstly, I must apologise for missing Tuesdays fantastic win against Cardiff City. I’ve been struggling with my health recently so had to take a rain check. Also, I’ll be missing the Watford match on 22nd December as I’m away with my wife celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary. So, I’d like to wish everyone here a peaceful and happy Christmas – however you spend your time – and all the very best for the New Year. A huge thank you to everyone for your comments and support for my blog posts. It is very much appreciated and with often quite touching and thoughtful comments.


David Hautzig's Match Report

West Ham 3, Crystal Palace 2. Driving To Another Win.

Yesterday was the annual holiday party for my company in New York. In previous years, the shindig has always been on a Friday. I hadn’t been in a few years because it always seemed to fall on the same day as a winter concert at school for one or both of my kids. Suffice it to say, I always chose kids. The switch to Saturday was more family friendly, as many of my colleagues brought spouses, partners, and youngens. It was, however, not at all football friendly. So while I would not have entirely minded a snowstorm or non-lethal illness that would have forced me to stay home and watch the match on my 65 inch TV, I did in fact enjoy myself at the party. The drive down, with the game streaming on my IPhone, was equally enjoyable once the usual panic went away. No, I didn’t watch TV while I drove. Not really. OK, I glanced over sometimes when the presenters sounded excited. But I watched the road. I did. Really.

Since this report as such was written well after the match ended, as opposed to being created while living through it, it will be shorter. Those of you applauding due to my occasional wordy writing, I’m sorry to say the longer version be back for Fulham.

The last thing West Ham wanted was to lose the momentum their first back to back wins in almost two years gave them going into yesterday’s match. But in the 5th minute, moments after Chicharito had a chance he should have done better with after a pass from Noble, Snodgrass hauled down McArthur to give Palace a free kick just over the midfield line. Van Aanholt lofted a pretty lazy ball into the box. West Ham tried to play Palace offside, but when Tomkins headed it towards goal McArthur timed his move and got to the ball and nudged it past a shocked Fabianski. Replays showed it was Rice who missed a beat and played the Scotland international onside.

West Ham 0
Crystal Palace 1

The rest of the first half labored on, as did my drive. West Ham didn’t create any chances that made me glance, and by the sound of it the London Stadium crowd was getting a bit salty. It could have turned into a sodium overload in first half injury time had it not been for the crossbar, which stopped a Milivojevic free kick from dipping into the top corner and doubling the visitors lead prior to the break.

Halftime
West Ham 0
Crystal Palace 1

I for one expected Perez to start, and was quite happy that he did. In fact, I think he should start next week at Craven Cottage. But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t pleased that Carroll….you know, the tall guy with the man bun….started the second half in his stead. West Ham were getting the ball out wide, but the Palace defenders towered over Hernandez and Perez so the crosses were pretty easy for the Tomkins and Sakho to deal with. AC’s presence alone changed the flow and where their back line had to focus. Had the balls into the box been low and whipped across the area, it might have been a different kettle of fish.

I’m going to get a bit maudlin here. Remember, I’m in the wine biz. I’ve had a few. And it’s late.

If I had to choose one player on West Ham that I want my kids to emulate, it would be none other than Robert Snodgrass. After all of the abuse he took from his employer, his employers kids, as well as supporters, for him to come back from his loan at Villa and not only contribute but become pretty much undroppable is astonishing. His perseverance and professionalism are a lesson for us all.

West Ham had tried to get the ball into Big Andy, first off the foot of Masuaku and then Zabaleta. Both of those crosses were poor. The second was headed out by Sakho, but right to Snodgrass. I’m guessing Palace were expecting another ball out wide or possibly a pass from Snoddy into AC. Instead, he sent an absolutely gorgeous left footed curler past Hennessy for his first ever EPL goal in Claret & Blue.

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West Ham 1
Crystal Palace 1

Here’s the thing about Chicharito. No, he has not been the same player we remember seeing at Manchester United. Or Real Madrid. Much of that has been down to how he has been used at West Ham. He cannot play up front alone. And even when paired with a second striker in a classic 4-4-2, he can be invisible for long stretches of time. But that doesn’t negate what the man still knows how to do, and that’s score goals. He was superb against Newcastle. He was almost non existent against Cardiff. And until the 62nd minute, he wasn’t much better yesterday. But when Carroll drew a silly foul by Tomkins to give the Hammers a free kick from 25 yards out, we were reminded of what he brings to the table. Anderson continued his excellent run of form with a terrific free kick over the wall. But Hennessy couldn’t handle it, and there was Lil Pea to knock it into the top of the net.

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West Ham 2
Crystal Palace 1

Let’s see. What were the arguments against signing Anderson from Lazio for a record amount. There were many. One biggie was that no other team was in for him. How could he be any good if nobody else wants him? He only played for Brazil once. A 35 million pound Brazilian has to have played for the national team multiple times to be worth anything, right? Yet Pellegrini didn’t relent. “You said you would back me and get who I want. I want him. Get him”. I bet Sullivan was near apoplectic. But in the past few games, he has been outstanding. “A real player” is what my friend Neal Barnett, formerly of Chelsea TV and now SiriusXM radio called him on Friday. Minutes after Chicharito put West Ham in front, he rolled a pass to Anderson on the left side of the Palace eighteen yard box. He looked up, surveyed the scene, and unleashed a strike the likes of which we haven’t seen in these parts since Pa………

Yeah.

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West Ham 3
Crystal Palace 1

When Schlupp came on late in the match, for some reason that made me anxious. OK, everything makes me anxious but his entry exacerbated the stress. He was just the kind of pain in the butt substitute that could make us miserable. And he did, in the 76th minute, when he got his head on the end of a Meyer cross and slipped it past Fabianski. Only a minute earlier, Pellegrini put Diangana on for Hernandez in a move I’m assuming many Hammers questioned. I want to attack. But you did, Pelle. That’s why you are up by two goals. So isn’t closing a game out an appropriate strategy at that point?

West Ham 3
Crystal Palace 2

As the final 15 minutes plus added time ticked away, I fully expected a Palace heartbreaking equalizer. Such a moment is in our genetic code. We have perfected it. But it never came.

Final Score
West Ham 3
Crystal Palace 2

I’m both smart enough and experienced enough not to get carried away. We have won three matches in a row, all against opponents we believe we should beat more times than not. But those are also the matches we so often disappoint in. At the end of the day, we do seem to have much of what we have asked for since the current merry band of whatever they are took over. We wanted actual investment with a quality manager. And we wanted to be entertained, to enjoy watching West Ham play football.

This past week, we have certainly had that.


Match Report

The West Ham Tower of Babel

Guest Post by Gary Hyams

I can’t explain how Jesus walked on water and I don’t know how Donald Trump became President of the United States. More of a mystery is the way West Ham could play such a sloppy first half filled with inaccurate passing, but come out in the second half and score three brilliant goals in just a few minutes.

It was if they had just go out of bed and nobody told them the kick off was at 3.00pm. By the time, at 3.15pm,they actually starting playing, they were one down.

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So, let’s try and explain that mystery. Like most Premier League teams, our team is a reconstituted Tower of Babel. In the place of surnames, our team comprised by language Polish, Spanish, Spanish, French, French, English, English, English, Spanish, Spanish, and Portuguese. These are all directed by a manager whose speaks Spanish and English with an accent so thick , I wouldn’t be inclined for him to teach my children the offside rule. Looking at the line-up, it would be sensible to teach the English players to speak Spanish, rather than the converse. Comprende!

Or, we need to establish a common language. Esperanto is out of the question, but I would suggest the most appropriate language would be cockney rhyming slang, so here are a few phrases:

Ball watcher – Botcher
Dribble – Have a Nibble
Formation – Hold your Station
Foul – Kick in the Bowel
Goal – Good for your Soul
Members of the Board – Should be put to the Sword
Header – Ball Spreader
Marking man to man – Parking Auntie Anne
One Touch Soccer – Dutch Rocker

In addition, I have no idea how the referee can communicate his instructions in so many diverse languages. The referee today was Anthony Taylor who comes from Cheshire, so it goes without saying that he hardly speaks English.

We are going to have VAR next year, so I also suggest the introduction of earpieces, downloaded with Google Translate. I would call it EAR – Earpiece Assistant Referee. Perhaps, the manager could use it, as they do in American football.

So, what the hell happened at half-time. Did they finally have some Weetabix or a magic potion? Did the manager utter some diabolical phrase in Spanish? Whatever happened, they came out in the second half and scored three goals again in a short space of time. And brilliant goals too.

It was great to see Andy Carroll standing there like the Rock of Gibraltar. It would appear every time he gets the ball, we get a free kick. Otherwise, he can be like a bullseye on a dartboard. Robert Snodgrass finally found the net with a brilliant strike. Earlier, he had made one of the worst passes of the season.

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Felipe Anderson is the visual version of a good bottle of wine – velvety, light bodied and crisp and leaves you wanting more. Declan Rice is a cut above everybody. The only excuse I can find for Zabaleta and Masuaku is that they found the green surrounding the pitch too disturbing and their performances will be much improved when this is turned to claret.

Noble has been much improved , since they put him in blinkers and he stopped passing back and to the side all the time. Diop and Balbuena are faultless, but you can’t have a two man defence.

Anyway, well done the lads! This week has been great entertainment and you have done us proud.


Match Report

Ten Things We Learned From West Ham 3 Crystal Palace 2

Three games. Three wins. Three or more goals in each of them. When was the last time that happened, because I’m buggered if I know. Perhaps the most gratifying thing about this win was the fact that even when we were 1-0 down at half time I was confident we’d pull it round.

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Even though we didn’t have a shot on goal in the first half (unless my memory is failing me) we played some good football. OK, had their shot just before the half time whistle been a couple of inches lower, we’d have gone in two down, but even then I wouldn’t have ruled us out of getting something out of this game. So, what did we learn?

1. That we have a squad worthy of the name. Our subs bench is packed with regular first teamers even though we have an injury list as long as your arm.
2. Perez and Hernandez are too similar to be played alongside each other. Perez was unlucky to be substituted, though as he was very busy in the first half.
3. While not fully back to his old self, Andy Carroll’s entry to the game was a key development. He hassled and harried and he won the ball which led to the second goal.
4. Robert Snodgrass and Declan Rice should share the Man of the Match award. Snodgrass was everywhere and a constant threat to Palace. Rice was superb in his tackling and the timing of his tackling. He has that same imperious majesty about his game that Bobby Moore had. He never seems ruffled and appears to have all the time in the world when in reality he doesn’t.
5. Another goal for Felipe Anderson, and what a corker it was. Payet at his best. he picked his spot and from the moment the ball left his boot there was no doubt in my mind it was going in. As the game went on, he came into his own more and more. He’s still too easily knocked off the ball, but he’s getting there.
6. The loss of Marko Arnautovic could have been a gamechanger. It wasn’t. Since he departed the pitch against Cardiff, we’ve scored 6 goals in 155 minutes of football. I’m not sure how many of us would have bet on us doing that.
7. Our main weakness today, I’m afraid to say, was Arthur Masuaku. His defensive weaknesses are usually compensated by his attacking abilities. I’m afraid he and Anderson appear to have no understanding whatsoever. And most of Palace’s dangerous moments came down his side of the pitch, rather than Zabalatta’s. There’s a reason for that.
8. We are now tenth in the Premier League with 21 points from 16 games. Half way to safety and 11 points above the relegation zone. Or as I like to see it. Two points off 7th.
9. Our next five games are against Fulham, Watford, Southampton, Burnley and Brighton.
10. A final word about Grady Diangana. He came on the for the last twenty minutes and again looked absolute class. In fact he nearly scored.

And here’s how I’d rate the performances of those that played…

Fabianski 7, Diop 7, Balbuena 7, Zabaleta 7, Masuaku 5, Noble 7, Rice 8, Snodgrass 8, Chicharito 6, Anderson 8, Perez 6, Diangana 7, Carroll 6

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COYI!

PS David Hautzig’s match report will appear tomorrow.

PPS. Here’s why Perez didn’t come out for the second half!



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