Dawud Marsh's Photo Diary

From the Vaults: West Ham United 1 Sheffield United 1 26th October 2019

Hope everyone is safe and well.

Continuing my series of past games looks at the draw at home to Sheffield United. What a difference now compared to then.

West Ham came into this home game winless in their previous 5 matches with the buzz from beating Manchester United the previous month fading. This was a worrying performance with a team apparently packed with talent that made Manuel Pellegrini’s insistence the Hammers could have won this match hard to swallow. Although performing better than in their recent defeat against Everton and Crystal Palace the team failed to create chances for the £45m forward Sebastien Haller. “It is not easy to create chances against Sheffield United,” Pellegrini said. “He must play with some players near him.”

Memories of the bitter row between the clubs hung over proceedings with fans goading the visitors by holding up Tevez masks in the first league fixture between the teams since the 2007 season that saw Sheffield United relegated from the Premier League. The deal that brought Tevez, who scored against Manchester United to secure Premier League survival and sending the Blades down, and Javier Mascherano to East London 13 years previously still providing fuel to fierce rivalry between fans.

Robert Snodgrass, voted man of the match and returning to the side to make only his second league start of the season was the standout player offering a threat in the area and down the left throughout the game and deserved his goal. Snodgrass fired the Hammers ahead just before the break after Enda Stevens failed to deal with Jimenez’s goalkick allowing Felipe Anderson to set up Snodgrass and break the deadlock against a team with the joint second best defensive record in the league so far.

Snodgrass saw another effort come back off the post in the second half and Andriy Yarmolenko came close with a shot fractions wide in stoppage time. But the visitors had come out in the second half and ralied pushing on after Henderson had stopped Felipe Anderson doubling West Ham’s lead. In midfield the Blades out numbered Declan Rice and Mark Noble and Baldock spurned two excellent chances.

It was Lys Mousset, who was surprisingly dropped after netting the winner against Arsenal the previous week, was called from the bench in the 63rd minute. It proved a decisive substitution when on the 69th minute a header from Stevens teed up Mousset to volley beyond Roberto. West Ham did not do enough to win the game and despite those close chances from Snodgrass and Yarmolenko, the draw saw the Hammers climb briefly above Spurs to 9th, 2 places below the Blades on the same points separated by goal difference.

Parish Notice

The New West Ham Till I Die - A Sneak Peek

As you know, over the last year a new WHTID site has been developed. It’s taken far longer than I originally envisaged, and many apologies for that. The current site was built in around 2013 and is creaking. The new site will be the fourth incarnation.

But we are nearing the launch of WHTID 4.0, which will hopefully be in the next few weeks once everything has been ironed out and tested to destruction. I’m currently trying to complete a player archive which will contain details of every West Ham player who has made 100 appearances or more since 1900. Eventually I aim to include every player who has ever made a first team appearance, even if it is only one substitute appearance.

As you know the Match Predictor was launched some months ago. The new site will contain three video boxes, and the front page (not wholly shown here) will contain a number of articles, in a more magazine format. You will click on each one to read the whole thing and comment. The commenting system is pretty state of the art.

However, I do recognise that website users are pretty conservative beasts and in general dont like change. So I accept that not everyone will greet this change with huge enthusiasm, but I hope that having seen some of the designs below, it will whet many of your appetites.

In order to take part in the Match Predictor or to comment, you will need to create your own unique user profile. Around 500 of you have already done that. Your current profile and password will not be copied over, so you must create a new profile. Click HERE to do so now.

Over time the posts from this site will be copied over into an archive, but that will not be available initially as it’s a mammoth task.

If you have any questions please leave them in the comments, and I’ll do my best to answer them. Feel free also to make any suggestions which will make the WHTID experience better for everyone.









Nigel Kahn’s Column

Help Or Hindrance

The Predictor League for Spurs is open. Enter your team HERE. Deadline is 10am on Sunday.

This week the argument that West Ham is performing so well this season as opposed to other seasons because of no fans are in the ground reared its head, again, after Talksport’s roving reporter, and West Ham fan, “The Moose”, Ian Abrahams, claimed our win against Sheffield United came about because of it.

The Moose was derided by many in social media land but is there any legs in this argument? In my opinion, no, there are no legs in the argument. I do accept there can be a correlation between the fans on the pitch and the performance of the players during a game, but I can’t see that being replicated across a whole season and I think it detracts from the great work being done by David Moyes and his coaching team along with the players’ hard work and effort they put in.

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What not having fans in the ground does affect is that home advantage is not a big factor as it is in a normal season across the whole of the premier league. Last season there were 380 home games played which resulted in 172 home wins. That is a percentage of 45% while away from home and the same amount of games played there were 116 away wins, a 30% away win ratio.

This season so far there have been 247 home games resulting in only 88 home wins, that’s 35% of games played won by the home team. A 10% drop in home wins in one season more defines for me the lack of fans in the stadium and the effect on the game fans can have. It is possible that lack of fans is not hurting the home teams, but is actually helping the away team in that they are not being pressurised by 30 to 50 thousand fans screaming abuse at them. The home advantage this season is no advantage and virtually makes the stadiums into neutral venues.

In West Ham’s regard, we have won exactly 50% of our home and away games and as this season will possibly go down as one of the most successful seasons the club has had not only in the premier league but also in any top-flight season it is hard to compare this season to recent others especially at the London stadium.

If we look back to points-wise our most successful in the PL then in 2015/16 season we won 9 of our 19 home games and won only 7 Away.

Under BFS we won only 10 away premier league games in three whole seasons combined. Last season under David Moyes, we only won 1 of his 9 away games.

Despite having one of the best away day fanbase in the country, we have never been blessed with a great away day team to follow, until the one season we cant follow them. It is not just West Ham this season as only Man City & Liverpool in the top 10 teams have won more home games than away. Man United’s so-called Theatre of Dreams, Old Trafford, holds no such fear as it used to with them only winning 5 of their 12 games played there. Perhaps the fact we are playing them soon there may help us to finally win for the first time since 2007.

This for me is the real factor of not having fans in the ground but it will be interesting to see next season as hopefully fans will again be in attendance so we can then see if we are the hindrance many in the media think we are.

Of course, we as a fanbase still have our divisions though, I must admit to being a bit worn out by the constant negativity that goes on around the club and its fanbase. It seems like Brexit you have to be either in one camp or another. You all know my feelings in regards to the owners and hopefully watched my Video a couple of weeks ago on why I remain Board Out. The video though wasn’t a rallying call to others to join the fight, and drive them out, it was just me explaining why.

I fully understand that there are many fans though that support the board and are happy with the way they have run the club. I think nothing less of them for that unless they write for a certain other website and personally criticise an ex-player who gives his point of view that is different to their stance.

A short podcast this week but towards the end, you can hear the frank exchange of views between the author of that article and his co-presenters on the podcast.

Many may have seen the Rio Ferdinand podcast with Ravel Morrison interview, going over some of the contentious issues throughout his career. Ravel was the boy superstar who was in the same United Youth team as Jesse Lingard and Paul Pogba and was looked at as being the star of the team.

His time at West Ham was controversial, yet it seems Ravel blames Allardyce for the way his time with us finished, and to me seems to fail to acknowledge his part in his downfall and specifically going missing over Xmas 2013 to the point no-one knew where he was still next when our next game was played.

It is always a shame when such a talented footballer seemingly wastes his talent and while these days the young players are privileged and well rewarded at a younger age than years ago, I still look back at his time at the club fondly, his talent stood out and perhaps it is that reason I feel disappointed for him and in him.

I think Fergie hit the nail on the head when saying he was “just beaten by his background”. I hope that he will find a club and get back to obviously what he enjoys most, Playing football.

The Jimmy Cooney Column

Mr. Moyes, Keep Confusing Me!

The Predictor League for Spurs is open. Enter your team HERE. Deadline is 10am on Sunday.

Greetings everyone.

As I begin my latest work, I watch the replay of the latest match in front of my t.v., (which is about to take a dump most likely to overuse during a double dip pandemic which doesn’t seem to be subsiding…..) as a matter of fact, it seems to have a brain, and self defense mechanisms that cause it to mutate just as vaccines are out, and hopefully, slow the spread.

However, only thanks to an honest West Ham United victory over a Sheffield United, who, in spite of looking relatively aggressive last season, and, if not for Fabianski, would have scored at least one, look to be headed for relegation, we ended up grinding the win out with a little glitter on it, as I will try very hard not to remain in “Apocalypse Now” mode.

Oh, our beloved Hammers, who, for about a half an hour, were in 4th place……4th! Of course, two hours later, Chelsea had defeated Newcastle, and jumped us on goal differential, and for now, we have to settle for 5th……. O.K!!!! :-))

I must be honest, and those who care, know, part of my absence last week was due to everything that had went wrong in that week between Fulham and our “gallant” effort at Old Trafford, where nothing ever seems to go well for West Ham United, and as it’s no secret that I’m voting for Ogbonna for Hammer of the Year, I could almost feel a para-collective supports’ pain in my ankle, as I saw him go in, and when he didn’t get back up, I knew it was serious, and I just short circuited…..(like my T.V. is about to do) I literally sat there, starting at the screen, not really watching, and surely, sharing some company across the world. (Anyone remember the first time they were “dumped”? Over the phone…. [oh yeah, for those who struggle with my indeterminate “slang”……getting “dumped” means being broken up with, or, to have the bird or fella you fancy most, pull a runner on ya with some Millwall tart/mug from Berdmonsey, or Hersham ].) ;))

Of course, I won’t dwell on that for too long, thankfully because it is at Central Defense, that we are “Thick as a Brick” (Quote Courtesy of Jethro Tull) :) and where I was very upset with Oggy’s injury, I do believe in Diop, Balbuena, and Dawson, (Alves, we have yet to see) however, when cries went out to possibly sell Diop to try to fix our perennial issue with the “born to score goals out of nothing, can count on the match saving goalscorer at CF” problem, a loud protest did go up from this gaffed up corner of the world to keep him, for we will need him, and perhaps is our future starting LCD. (Again, for those whose struggle with my slang, and aren’t yet familiar with search engines [Even I know what one of those is!] “gaffed up” is mostly Boston area, and ironically, in the New England region of the U.S. in general, slang for “damaged very badly”). ;))

As a matter of fact, when I saw the team named for the match, I grew more confused than I normally am. “No Fornals? No Benrahma? Johnson AND Cresswell? Lanzini to start?” I know it’s Sheffield United, (and, turned out to be Lanzini’s 28th birthday) who, some pundits still wonder, as do I, to a degree, what their (Sheffield United’s) issue is, however, these are usually “banana peel” matches where we’d help a struggling club, but I don’t have time to worry or discuss their lack of finishing fangs, or defensively open center channels for, based on quality of play in the first half, of the first half, it really could have been 1-2 to the Blades going into halftime, however, we soaked up the pressure defensively, and once we found our counter attack, we finally got a penalty, which was goal bound, and I believe was Moyes’ strategy.

However this doesn’t stop the seemingly convenient argument for most anti West Ham advocates comes in, if we win, it’s either because we were “punching above our weight”, or the opposition was “off the boil”, which, is getting older than this pandemic, for it dawned upon me, every time Moyes has me scratching my head 5 minutes from Kick Off, about 2 hours later, he has me strutting around with my kit of the match (that’s a whole article, in and of itself, on how I pick my “match day kit”) smiling, not letting little things get to me, and generally feeling pretty good. Looking much like Mr Noble does in the picture below.

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However, as I’ve said before, and not heeded myself, we all should probably heed the words, “management of expectations”, simply because we are pretty thin overall. I also would like to ask a tough question (for me, and some others, I’d imagine) as a talking point, of which I will mention after I make a few more points.

I was very proud of young Ben Johnson, who, could be one hell of a WB that could work either flanking channel, however would most likely flourish on the right, at first, he did appear to be quite bossed by his opposite Stevens, and Osborn as well, as may be expected, however it turned around once he figured out his personal strategy, he grows into a match well, and as it turned out to be a perfect match to test/try him and whichever formation you think it was, (I think the only ones I’ve not seen mentioned across all media were 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1! I think the official site had it as a 3-2-4-1?? Whatever it was, ultimately, it was a success.

As I recall the “look who we beat” argument, and even though there were spells where a more seasoned club would have seized upon and exploited the mistakes made by West Ham United during the match, however, this balances the whole argument to me, again we “SHOULD” have beaten Sheffield United soundly, balances itself out, now that I think it’s clear that Moyes IS the manager we need for the foreseeable future, we SHOULD have won this match, for those very reasons.

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We exploited and made something out of their mistakes, very much like those above and next to us have done to us (save for the Manchester United home loss), I say that was headed for a point if not a win, because if we ever received an 1/8 of the respect we deserve, that match should be be sited as the turning point of their season, which turned on a goal that should not have stood, because VAR couldn’t find (very conveniently, I may add) an angle that showed the ball that Pogba scored off of, came from a ball that went fully over the touchline, apparently by a meter or two!

Unfortunately, a fact that remains for now, for the most part, we go into most Manchester United, or Liverpool away fixtures, and they are SUPPOSED to limit us to one point, at the most, if, they are feeling kind, or have the league or Cup tie on “lockdown” (general urban U.S. slang for having something under sufficient control…. I beg pardon… it’s the “wise ass” in me…..I’m really just having fun, joking around, “taking the piss” a little because, after all, I do at least care about each of you as fellow Hammers, and many as friends) ;)) Now with my fun time disclaimer that “I’m just having a laugh at myself as well,” to finish the point, the home side just seems to have advantage when we visit the cities of the Northwest.

Old Bogeys aside, basically, we are obviously on the right track, and 7pts out of our next 3 could put us in a top 5 conversation long term, however, there are some thicker clubs not far behind, and around. Chelsea has obviously been revitalized under Tomas Touchel’s tutelage, and, from what Danny Higginbotham says (who has turned out to be a pretty objective and solid pundit for NBC here in the States), has excellent “man management” skills. Then you have Everton, Spurs, Liverpool all as our competition at the moment, and with Arsenal seemingly growing a threat, and Southampton, they have been knocked down, but could come crawling back into the conversation, I personally just don’t want to let myself get too carried away again, although, 6th-8th I think would be a fair argument for the quality of character and skill of our current team.

Get Antonio back once the weather warms up just a few more degrees? Or, maybe Masuaku a month from now? I say Oggy is done for the season, very reluctantly, and, with a proverbial tear in my eye, however, many think he’ll be back in a month, (I hope I’m wrong, hope you are right, but fear we are both wrong and it’s gonna be a significantly longer time than a month), however, it looks like Johnson can do the business against the opposition who are struggling a bit more, and more performances like that from Diop, and Oggy will end up having to win his position back!

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O.k. the big talking point. Manuel Lanzini….. the difference in pace and footspeed was night and day when Benrahma came on, in spite of the fact that it was Noble who was subbed on for Lanzini and Benrahma relieved a knackered Lindgard, who, I really hope we can make permanent, his movement forward is creating something for all to take advantage of.

However, back to Manu, who I love, and have been hoping his pace would return, at this point I hate to say that due to a horrible knee injury, it will either take time that the English Top flight doesn’t have, or “The Little Magician” may have performed his last magic act for West Ham United by scoring the “at the death” equalizer at Spurs last October. He does seem to be o.k. when he comes off the bench, (that’s the stage on which his magic show was performed, and hopefully can in the next few to see our success continue), however, he’s 28, prime age, but the pace is not there, I hate to say, that in my opinion he’d struggle getting into the starting XI of any EPL side from the times I’ve seen him start. (Apart from the bottom 3 perhaps) I suppose I’m asking everyone who took the time to read this, which I appreciate very much, does Lanzini get an extension? Or, will he be transferred to make room for the reinforcement that is obviously needed in the front? I mean, he still has a creative mind on the ball, was a part of the charge that led to the penalty, he still can wiggle out of slower defenders clutches, however it seems that he gets overtaken more times than not.

Plus, with “Sir” Mark Noble’s (I think he has a shot…..) :) however whose playing days with WHUF.C. numbered as the starting Captain, (he’s still #1 Captain, of course) and I hope our current starting Captain in Rice decides to buck the trend, and see if he can help West Ham become yearly threats to the big clubs…. if not, we will need some more help in the holding middle, and you can never have enough good midfielders.

There is never an easy moment in football, however, all pondered, humored and considered above, we definitely deserve a day or two to enjoy just how well this squad and the coaching staff are playing, can focus on top ten success, and celebrate many more moments in such a fashion as depicted below.

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David Hautzig's Match Report

West Ham 3, Sheffield United 0. How High Can We Go?

The Predictor League for Spurs is open. Enter your team HERE. Deadline is 10am on Sunday.

The backup striker argument, or lack thereof, was once again front and center at The London Stadium today when Antonio was ruled out for….surprise….a hamstring injury. When Moyes signed Lingard on loan, his supposed ability to play anywhere along the front line was given as a reason. It became more important when January ended and nobody replaced Haller. Now I have been, and still am supportive of that decision in that saving the money for the summer as opposed to signing yet another Sullivan-Agent special felt prudent. Today did nothing but strengthen that opinion.

The first opportunity of the day happened in the 5th minute when Rice stepped up to take a free kick from just outside the Sheffield United eighteen yard box. He took it low, and Ramsdale went down to push the ball wide. But when Dawson chased it down, he was fouled by Stevens and for the first time this season a referee pointed to the spot for a West Ham penalty. Buuuuuut, VAR had other ideas and although it was indeed a foul Dawson was offside and West Ham remained the only team in the EPL not to be awarded a kick from the spot.

Three minutes after the penalty that wasn’t, Norwood sent a super cross into the box that McGoldrick was able to get a foot on but it went straight up in the air. Sheffield won a corner seconds later, and Dawson’s attempted headed clearance almost became an own goal. The second corner was dealt with much better.

West Ham broke on the attack in the 14th minute, and it gave a glimpse of what we planned to do without Antonio. It was all about pace, fluidity, and movement, with Bowen feeding Lanzini who then fed Lingard. The loanee cut to his right and tried to beat Ramsdale to the far post but he went down to make the save.

The Hammers won a corner in the 24th minute when Lingard was sent on a run by a long pass from Coufal, but when he got in the box the angle was tight and Ramsdale gave him nothing to shoot at. Dawson got his head on the delivery from Bowen, but it went over the bar. Five minutes later West Ham won a free kick 25 yards from goal, but Cresswell went for goal and was nowhere near it.

The Blades won a corner in the 36th minute when Lingard lost the ball at midfield, and the visitors broke. Osborn collected a low pass and fired a shot that Fabianski decided to take no chances on and pushed it behind. Dawson dealt with the delivery and the threat was over.

West Ham broke forward in the 39th minute, and it was the speedy three again. Lingard got on the end of a pass in the box and he was simply bowled over by Basham. The referee pointed to the spot, and this time VAR didn’t even bother. But the drama was still there when Rice walked up to Lingard and basically told him “gimme the ball”. Lingard did not look too pleased, but he listened to his captain and gave him the ball. I texted my WhatsApp group that he had better score. He did.

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West Ham 1
Sheffield United 0

Johnson won The Hammers a corner in the final seconds of the half. But Lingard’s delivery found nothing and Sheffield cleared.

West Ham 1
Sheffield United 0

Sheffield United almost leveled in the 52nd minute when Sharp chased down a ball at the end line and chipped a cross that McGoldrick headed towards goal. It deflected off of Johnson, and Fabianski reached up and was able to just parry the ball over the bar for a Sheffield corner. The set piece wasn’t nearly as nervy for the hosts.

When Issa Diop scores, not that he does it a lot, the primary element of his celebration is sticking his tongue as far out as he can. Looks like the old pro wrestler George The Animal Steel. West Ham won a corner of their own in the 57th when Lanzini rolled a nicely weighted pass for Bowen in the eighteen yard box, but Egan got in the way of the shot and put it out for the set piece. Cresswell put the delivery into the box, and the bell that was rung on Tuesday had more than enough in it to direct the ball past Ramsdale. Cue the tongue.

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West Ham 2
Sheffield United 0

McGoldrick had another good look a goal in the 62nd minute when Soucek was able to just get his foot in front of the striker in pink’s shot and send it over the bar. The corner came into the box, and after a scramble Basham was whistled for a foul and West Ham were given a goal kick. Five minutes later McGoldrick was fed a fantastic opportunity to get his side back into the match when Stevens found him in front of Fabianski. He really should have scored with his unmarked header. The fact that he didn’t is indicative of the year they are having.

You know what Lingard does? He shoots. Lingard makes the keeper stop the shot anytime he can. He won West Ham a corner in the 70th minute with a dipping strike from 25 yards out. The Hammers took the set piece short, and then won another set piece when Lingard was fouled. Moments later Coufal was sent in alone after winning the ball back deep in Sheffield United territory. Not exactly a position right backs find themselves in too often. Ramsdale came out to meet him and made a good save with his arm. You could say he should have buried that (which a friend did say). Maybe. Bowen or Lingard, yes. Coufal? Nah.

Sheffield United had another opportunity in the 80th minute when Osborn sent another good corner into the box, and this time it was McBurnie who got his head to it but Fabianski made the save. Seconds later Soucek fed Lingard in the box, and had Egan not gone into a full stretch to make the tackle Lingard looked on target. It was both players last action of the day as Lingard was replaced by Benrahma and Egan was taken off on a stretcher with what looked like an ankle injury from the tackle.

Sheffield United won a corner in the first of the six minutes of added time after McGoldrick had his shot from close range deflected out. But the delivery flew over everyone and bounced back out for a goal kick. Moments later Lundstram fired his own shot from twenty yards out that went over the bar.

Benrahma may not have a goal yet, but his ability in tight spaces is fun to watch. Deep in stoppage time the Algerian danced in and around what looked like ten pink shirts before rolling a pass to Fredericks, who whipped a low right footed shot into the back of the net.

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Final Score
West Ham 3
Sheffield United 0

There are so many things I am simply not used to this season. Never mind being in the top four as I type this, because even though I dare to dream I highly doubt it will happen. The biggest thing I’m trying to wrap my head around is the number of players who are noteworthy after each win. My MOTM today? Diop. I said to my mates that when Ogbonna got hurt I had no doubt Diop would seize the moment to make Moyes job very hard when the Italian returns. Dawson was fantastic yet again, Lingard offered as many outlets as a striker in my opinion, Rice controlled the midfield, and Johnson was composed well beyond his years. I expected a 2-0 win, and we got a 3-0 win instead.

Expectations continue to be exceeded.

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