David Hautzig's Match Report

West Ham 0, Liverpool 4. Yeah, Well. Whatever.

My penchant for metaphors will take a slightly dark turn today.

Pain and discomfort. What makes those unpleasant feelings and moments bearable is the unbelievable relief and catharsis one feels after those episodes are done. This season has been like a horrible case of bedspins, whether the result of the flu or far too many beverages that I sell for a living. You roll around in bed, the room rolling like you’re on a cruise from hell, promising your maker that you will be eternally grateful if he/she will simply allow you to find a single position where the world will just stop moving. Finally, after you’ve resigned yourself to being sick and miserable until rapture, it stops. The sweat that had been pouring out of you as if your skin was a colander draining pasta dries up. You stop groaning. Your heart rate calms down. You feel…..OK.

That was Friday night.

Today brought us something that I don’t recall feeling too many times this season. The ability to simply watch and enjoy a bit of West Ham football. At least for me it did. That was, however, before the match actually started.

For all of our lifetime pain against Liverpool, we came into today unbeaten in five against them. That collective optimism was on display in the opening minutes. The home side looked to have its tail up, and in the 7th minute Calleri continued his relatively decent form of late when he spotted Byram streaking down the right and laid a well timed ball for the young right back to run onto. But instead of opening his East London account his shot went wide.

Moments later, Liverpool came inches away from taking an early lead when Coutinho delivered a corner kick onto Matip’s hairline. The ball bounced in front of Adrian and off the crossbar before going out for a second corner. A couple of minutes later, signing of the season Fernandes (a dubious honor if there ever was one) sent a long low shot that nobody expected. Certainly not Mignolet. But the Liverpool keeper reacted just on time to push the ball out for a corner.

I was slightly annoyed at the early action because I was also needed to cook a Mothers Day breakfast. Bacon, egg and cheese soft tacos. Made Carnitas de Puerco last night for dinner and we had leftover, homemade tortillas. Man, they were good. Running back and forth between bacon and an IPad is a tough job on a Sunday morning.

What makes the EPL so much different than other leagues? In the 20th minute, Lanzini danced his way to the top of the Liverpool penalty area but looked to have been pushed over. He wanted a foul, Swarbrick wanted him to get up. A moment later, Lanzini gave a little shoulder love to Coutinho on the other end of the pitch to regain possession. The lesson there, Mr. Calleri, is that if you don’t like the officiating you are better off taking matters into your own hands than moaning about it.

Coutinho is a very clever player. His cheeky free kick under the jumping wall last season in the FA Cup replay at Upton Park allowed me to see that up close and personal. In the 35th minute, he cleverly threaded a ball through the West Ham defense. I wasn’t the only one watching the ball head to Sturridge. Fonte watched as well, instead of having any awareness of what was going on. If he hadn’t gazed, he might have stepped up and put Sturridge offside. Nigel texted me from the stadium to see if the linesman got it right, and he wasn’t surprised when I told him yes.

West Ham 0
Liverpool 1

The goal galvanized and energized Liverpool, while West Ham looked more like the lost souls they had been for much of the season. In the 41st minute Matip again had a free header off a corner but this time it went over the bar instead of into it. Thank heavens for small favors.

If we hadn’t assured ourselves safety by now, I might have done some serious harm to myself in the 45th minute. West Ham won a corner when Clyne played it safe and sent a looping cross behind the net. Lanzini’s inswinger made its way to Ayew alone in front of the net. Two feet, max. He hit the base of the post. And if that wasn’t surreal enough, he got another chance while sitting on his arse. The second shot again hit the bar and rolled across the line before Mignolet smothered it.

Halftime
West Ham 0
Liverpool 1

As the second half got underway, the visitors looked intent on increasing their lead as opposed to protecting it. West Ham still looked shocked that Ayew didn’t level the match. First, Origi sent a powerful shot from the edge of the area that forced Adrian to make a good save. That was followed by saves on Lallana and Wijnaldum. Is there such a thing as a hat trick on saves?

Liverpool continued to ask the only questions of the second forty five when Wjinaldum tried to find Sturridge with a cross. Fonte put it out for a corner, but it was a comically sloppy slice. Maybe that was the moment Bilic decided he had seen enough and made a double switch. Calleri out for Fletcher and Fonte out for Feghouli.

Two minutes after the substitutions that we hoped would galvanize our side, the job got twice as hard. Wijnaldum fired a shot from 25 yards out that bounced off the crossbar. Reid tried to clear the ball from danger, but his backwards header fell right to Coutinho. A move to his left, a wiggle to his right, and the ball in the back of the net.

West Ham 0
Liverpool 2

To his credit, Feghouli made a bit of an impact right away. Not on the scoresheet, obviously, but he did move the ball well. He sent Byram down the right on an overlapping run that ended in a cross that Mignolet had to punch out. Seconds later, he sent a shot towards goal that was deflected out for a corner.

On that corner, Wijnaldum caught Reid in the face with an unintentional forearm. Reid went down in the Liverpool box, clutching his face. The ball also looked to have struck Wijnaldum’s aforementioned forearm. Head injury, hand ball. Two reasons for Swarbrick to blow the whistle. Nope. Play continued, and Coutinho scored again. We will never know if anything would have changed had Swarbrick not made a mockery of the situation. But it was a stunningly bad bit of refereeing in my opinion.

West Ham 0
Liverpool 3

I can’t really tell you how Liverpool scored their fourth. By the look of it, neither could many of the supporters who had already left Stratford. I was busy making coffee for me and my daughter. 15 years old and she likes a good cup of coffee. You know, Origi sounds like it could be a type of coffee, doesn’t it? I’ll have a cup of the Nicaraguan Origi, please. Cream and sugar. Cheers.

Full Time
West Ham 0
Liverpool 4

It would have been nice to at least look a little useful on the back of the fantastic result against Spurs last week. Instead, we were reminded of how forgettable this season was and how lucky we are to have another shot in the top flight next year.

Time to start planning Mothers Day dinner.

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Match Thread

Match Thread: West Ham v Liverpool

West Ham v Liverpool
FA Premier League
Olympic Stadium
KO 3pm
TV: Sky Sports 1
Radio: BBC Five Live


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


Lineup Prediction

Lineup Prediction: West Ham v Liverpool

Given that we have very few fit midfielders I wonder whether Slaven Bilic might be tempted to give youth a chance in this match. Josh Cullen has been Bradford’s player of the year, while Reece Burke has impressed at Wigan again. Both are presumably available for selection as their seasons have finished. However, given that each place in the Premier League is worth around £2 million, we need to finish as high as possible and we need to field our strongest side. If we get three points today we go joint 8th – well, 11th on goal difference. It would really set us up well for the final match at Burnley. If we won that too we could indeed finish 8th, only one place below last season. I know it doesn’t feel that way, but that is something we’d all surely have settled for at the beginning of the season.

So, this is the side I suspect Slaven will pick…

Adrian, Fonte, Reid, Collins, Cresswell, Byram, Fernandes, Nordtveit, Lanzini, Ayew, Calleri.

I’d love Fletcher to replace Calleri but for reasons best known to himself Slaven Bilic seems determined to keep giving Calleri the benefit of the doubt.

Remember, there’s a WHTID meetup at 12,45 outside entrace 238. I hope to see you there.

You have until 1.10pm to enter the Predictor League

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Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: West Ham v Liverpool

Blast from the past

Today’s blast from the past features a 1-0 victory on the 3rd of September 1962, with West Ham United welcoming the previous campaign’s Second Division title-winners, Liverpool. American poet E. E. Cummings died on this day at the age of 67, Frank Ifield was number one with ‘I Remember You’ and William Holden and Trevor Howard were starring in The Lion in UK cinemas.

The Irons went into the game third bottom of the table after five games – a 3-1 defeat at Aston Villa had been followed by successive heavy home defeats to Wolves (4-1) and Tottenham (6-1) before a 0-0 draw at Wolves in the reverse fixture arrested the slump. A 2-0 defeat at Leyton Orient immediately prior to the visit of Liverpool piled the pressure back on though.

The Hammers scored the only goal of this Monday evening encounter courtesy of 21-year-old Tony Scott. This was the Huntingdon-born right winger’s seventh goal of 19 in his West Ham career, which spanned from 1960 to 1965. The 1962/63 season turned out to be Scott’s best for West Ham as he went on to score ten goals in 34 appearances, this strike against the Reds being the first of them. Scott made 97 appearances in claret and blue before departing for Aston Villa. He went on to play for Torquay, where he played under former Hammer Frank O’Farrell and was reunited with former team-mate John Bond. He followed Bond to Bournemouth, where he also teamed up with another former team-mate in Ken Brown, before finishing his playing days at Exeter. Now 76, Scott lives in Perth, Australia. He is pictured below, on the right, alongside defender Eddie Presland and fellow winger Harry Redknapp.

Ron Greenwood’s West Ham would end the season in 12th place while Bill Shankly’s Liverpool finished in 8th. Bobby Moore won the second of his four Hammer of the Year titles, with Jim Standen voted runner-up. Geoff Hurst was the Irons’ top goalscorer in 1962/63 with 15 goals from 29 appearances. Everton won the First Division title and Manchester United won the FA Cup.

West Ham United: Lawrie Leslie, John Bond, Bobby Moore, Ken Brown, Jack Burkett, Martin Peters, Tony Scott, Phil Woosnam, Johnny Byrne, Geoff Hurst, Malcolm Musgrove.

Liverpool: Jim Furnell, Gerry Byrne, Ron Yeats, Phil Ferns, Ronnie Moran, Gordon Milne, Jimmy Melia, Ian Callaghan, Roger Hunt, Ian St John, Alan A’Court.

Club Connections

Andy Carroll and Alvaro Arbeloa both welcome their former club, although neither will play. Julian Dicks played for both clubs and is now First Team Coaching Assistant with the Hammers. A whole host of players join the trio in having turned out for both West Ham United and Liverpool, particularly over the last twenty years. These include:

Goalkeepers: Charles Cotton, David James.

Defenders: Rob Jones, David Burrows, Glen Johnson, Paul Konchesky, Neil Ruddock, Thomas Stanley.

Midfielders: Don Hutchison, Yossi Benayoun, Joe Cole, Victor Moses, Paul Ince, Ray Houghton, Javier Mascherano, Stewart Downing, Mike Marsh.

Strikers: Craig Bellamy, Titi Camara, Robbie Keane, Neil Mellor, Danny Shone, Tom Bradshaw.

George Kay made 237 league appearances for the Hammers between 1919 and 1926, becoming the first-ever player to play more than 200 matches for the club. Kay was also the West Ham captain in the 1923 FA Cup Final. He went on to manage Liverpool between 1936 and 1951, winning the First Division title in 1947.

Today’s focus falls on a player who played for Liverpool at the turn of the century before signing for West Ham United. Rigobert Song was born in Nkenglicock, Cameroon on 1st July 1976 – his father had died when he was young and Song has dedicated all his subsequent success to his late father. He began his career in France with Metz in 1994 and, in the same year at the age of 17, became the youngest player to be sent off in a World Cup. After four years with Metz, Song moved to Italy with Salernitana in 1998, a year in which he became the first player to be sent off in two consecutive World Cups. He was swiftly on the move again, this time to England to sign for Gerard Houllier’s Liverpool in January 1999 for a fee of £2.7m.

Song made his Liverpool debut against Coventry in a 2-1 defeat at Highfield Road on 30th January 1999. Predominantly a centre-half but often used at right-back, the Liverpool fans appreciated his strength, skill and bravery but his lack of discipline and tendency to be caught out of position did not fully endear him to the club’s management. His only full season at Liverpool, in 1999/2000, was mixed as he missed three months of the season due to international matches, captaining Cameroon to victory in the 2000 African Cup of Nations and scoring the decisive penalty in the Final against Nigeria. Song was not able to secure a starting spot in the early stages of the 2000/01 season and played just four games – his last appearance for Liverpool was a 1-1 draw with Sunderland at Anfield on 23rd September 2000. He made a total of 38 appearances for the Reds, without scoring, before departing for Harry Redknapp’s West Ham United on 28th November 2000 in a deal worth £2.5m that also saw Liverpool capture young £1m-rated Finnish forward Daniel Sjolund.

Signed as an immediate (and cost-effective) replacement for Rio Ferdinand who had just left for Leeds, Song made his Hammers debut in a 2-1 home defeat to Sheffield Wednesday in the fourth round of the League Cup on 29th November 2000. He made 20 starts in his first season at West Ham and one substitute appearance, in a 3-0 defeat to his former club at Anfield. Song started the 2001/02 season as a regular under new manager Glenn Roeder – he is pictured below in the 2-1 defeat at Liverpool on the opening day of that season. He started six of the first seven matches of the campaign – the last of these was a 5-0 defeat at Everton on 29th September 2001, which transpired to be Song’s final appearance for the club. Song joined Cologne on loan in November 2001 and left permanently for French club Lens the following summer.

After two years back in France, Song signed for Turkish giants Galatasaray in 2004 and later became club captain. He moved to Trabzonspor in 2008, where he would also captain the side, and retired in 2010. Song appeared in the 1994, 1998, 2002 and 2010 World Cups for Cameroon and won the 2000 and 2002 African Cup of Nations with his country. He was on the pitch when team-mate and fellow former Hammer Marc-Vivien Foe collapsed and later died in the 2003 Confederations Cup. Song remains Cameroon’s most-capped player of all-time with 137 appearances and five goals for his country.

Song was appointed manager of the Cameroon ‘A’ team in February 2016, a national team composed only of players based in Cameroon. He is also a national ambassador for his country and uncle of fellow former Hammer Alex Song. Rigobert suffered a stroke on 3rd October 2016 and spent two days in a coma at a hospital in Yaounde, Cameroon before being flown to France for further treatment – the Cameroon government reportedly spent £78,000 on Song’s treatment, a measure of the esteem in which he is held in his home country. Song is pictured here in December, two months after his stroke – I’m sure all readers will join me in wishing Rigobert all the best in his continued recovery.

Referee

Sunday’s referee will be Neil Swarbrick. The Lancashire-based official took charge of two of West Ham United’s highlights from 2013/14, the 0-0 draw against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and the 2-1 League Cup quarter-final victory against Tottenham at White Hart Lane. He also officiated in two league matches involving the Hammers in 2012/13, those being the 4-1 home win over Southampton and the 3-0 defeat at Sunderland. He was the man in the middle for the controversy-laden 2-1 home defeat to Arsenal in December 2014, disallowing Alex Song’s volley from distance for offside, awarding the Gunners a penalty for a Winston Reid foul on Santi Cazorla and failing to award the Hammers an injury-time penalty for a clear tug on Morgan Amalfitano. Swarbrick was also the referee for the FA Cup penalty-shoot-out triumph over Everton in January 2015, sending off Aiden McGeady in the process.

Swarbrick’s only appointments involving the Hammers last season were for our two trips to the North East; our 2-2 draw at Sunderland in October 2015, when he sent off Jeremain Lens, and the 2-1 defeat at Newcastle in January 2016. His only two Hammers matches this season have seen our best two goals of the season – Dimitri Payet’s stunning solo effort in the 1-1 home draw with Middlesbrough in October and Andy Carroll’s scintillating scissor kick in the 3-0 home win over Crystal Palace in January.

Possible line-ups

West Ham United, unbeaten in five games after losing the previous five, are without Angelo Ogbonna, Cheikhou Kouyate, Pedro Obiang, Mark Noble, Gokhan Tore, Michail Antonio, Diafra Sakho and Andy Carroll. Arthur Masuaku is a doubt. None of the last 11 Premier League meetings against Liverpool in East London have ended level, with West Ham winning four and Liverpool claiming seven victories since a 1-1 draw in December 2001.

Liverpool and England players Adam Lallana and Daniel Sturridge could claim a place in the starting line-up for the trip to East London. Adam Bogdan, Jordan Henderson, Sadio Mane and Danny Ings are out while Lucas and Roberto Firmino face late fitness tests. The Reds have won their last three away games in the Premier League, at Watford, West Brom and Stoke.

Possible West Ham United XI: Adrian; Fonte, Reid, Collins; Byram, Nordtveit, Fernandes, Cresswell; Ayew, Lanzini; Calleri.

Possible Liverpool XI: Mignolet; Clyne, Matip, Lovren, Milner; Wijnaldum, Can; Lallana, Coutinho, Firmino; Sturridge.

Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!

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Match Report

A Week Later...

Guest post by Steve

It’s now nearly a week since my best night at the New Upton Park. I never thought I’d be able to say that, but it may not be the bricks and mortar from the old place but the heart and spirit had certainly transferred over on Friday. It was a night long to live in the memory and despite what happens Sunday it will stay with us across the Summer. Now it’s starting to be our home and now we all know what we are capable of in the new place.

Now it’s fair to say for me that this game had me nervous from the moment I woke on Friday. I put on the lucky socks (the ones with the crossed hammers on the front) and my only polo with the new badge (plus some other clothes obviously).On the way to the station I put on the usual bets, more in blind faith than anything else but there’s always hope, just like my dreams.

I got to London for 4pm, a bit early but today was different. I had been twice before, both Saturday afternoons,,and being the sort who likes different real ales I had ventured in via Hackney Wick so I could go to the Crate brewery pub. On both occasions it was very good too and the right side of the ground to where I want to be. However as I am a single traveller and so I felt this way was unwise considering they would be coming the same way. So via Stratford it was then, but ,thanks to this site and a call to the Met , it was stated that the pubs would be closing early. This was clearly no good for me! So I needed a pub en route.I decided that the Wetherspoons at Liverpool Street might be ok. I got that wrong. From just walking past it, a Spurs song came up and the large throng of young men was enough for me to decide another pub would be smart. It only ever looked like it was going off and even the large Police presence gave me no confidence .I walked across the road to a Nicholson’s pub where I got mugged four and a half quid for a pint (although it was good).I killed time in here but when armed Police walk through the pub you start to realise just how much London has changed. It was still too early to go to the ground so I crossed the road and went in the Young’s pub. It was a long dark pub with a smattering of claret and blue but it was still in the air.I ordered two halves of different London ales and got robbed of £4.80 ! No wonder people don’t drink in London, I can easily get the £3 pint back home! I stood at the back of the bar and it got a little more busy and a gang of likely lads stood around me .I was just starting to wonder what was next when this bloke took his big coat off to reveal his no.6 1975 top and it became apparent they were Hammers. I offered this bloke somewhere to put his coat and it turned out that this bloke Mickey and his group were from down the road from Rugby, my hometown, in Northampton and Villages! Small world!

So I left to go back to Liverpool Street and it was getting a lot more busy and there were considerably more coppers about. Still I was away and soon enough getting off at Stratford. Now as this was my first time from this side I didn’t have a clue, I followed right and up the outside of the buildings up past the David Blackmore and his assorted beauties flogging the Blowing Bubbles. It was cold by now and I couldn’t even see the ground. I walked past the Cow that was certainly open and it looked like I could have walked through Westfield so I was not happy. As you carry on walking, and over the river the Stadium breaks out in all its glory. The big screen glorifying hero’s past and present. It was bloody cold so I got straight into the ground.

I’m in a posh bit so I was able to lounge around for a bit. Then it was announced that King Arthur was in the room with Pedro. The girl interviewed him with mundane questions but when asked what we should do against Spurs tonight his reply of ‘kill them’ brought the place down. Well said Arthur. I ventured down to my front row seat next to their dugout and various kids were hopeful of autographs. Then out of nowhere Teddy Sheringham comes over and happily has photos taken and signs autographs. He was there a while and made sure everyone got what they wanted. Top bloke .Funny, Andy Townsend was close by and no one even noticed him! Our boys were then coming off the pitch and all the kids shout across and the various gestures come back to say sorry. Except for one , the last one. Step forward future legend Declan Rice. He wouldn’t have been known to most of the kids, but they asked and he signed them all.I knew who he was and he was superb. He signed and had pictures taken and then ran off down the tunnel. A brilliant effort from a young man on the way up.

Now the games been covered and the barrier incident swept under the carpet by Brady and others, which for a few very worrying minutes looked bad. Credit to Fonte who acted with some urgency to get support. Now clearly I was near their Manager, who never really looked comfortable all night but you also get a good look at Bilic who physically and mentally is always on the go. The atmosphere is getting there and with a bit of moving around we will have banks of noise from all round the ground next season. Now I know a few like a flutter and so like a few others was I relieved to see Fletcher’s, icing on the cake shot, go just wide of the post at the death. 105/1 for a Manny 1-0 was perfect! And I know I wasn’t alone!

At the end of the game the players came past slowly enjoying the praise. Ginger Pele was stripped down again, Cresswell had a massive smile and to be fair Mark Noble just drifted past on his cloud nine. Perfection.

Coming out of the ground the supporters singing the Party song and other anti Spurs songs were hilarious. It’s a long old haul back to the International station and clearly something has to be done and it’s so unprofessional to have hordes of kids stuck in a jam. There is limited stewarding by the station but despite the cold everyone was pretty warm from the glow inside so it wasn’t too bad. At least at the station itself it was quite well organised. I must say the young girl on platform had a voice like a foghorn ( and I can talk) and eventually to shut her up a throng of lads just out sang her every time to tried to make an announcement. Funny but quite apt. The train to Ashford (!) was uneventful as all the Spurs fans had sulked off early and there were none to be seen.

So an eventful night with nothing to worry about in the end. Just us stopping Spurs, again, only this time is was a Lanzini not a lasagne.

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