The GoatyGav Column

Losing the ‘Happy Hammers’ Monkey On Our Back

Although I was never his biggest fan I had to give some credit to Mr Allardyce during his time in charge. Before his West Ham team went in to decline he appeared to make us ‘hard to beat’. He organised very well and put his stamp on the team. At the time it was what was needed and the results, if not the fayre that was served up, justified the MO.

From what I’ve seen so far, in the respect of installing his own methods, David Moyes is doing the same thing. The Scot’s teams have always been hard working. Sometimes, his critics would contend, he has put graft before guile. Personally I always liked the way that the Everton team that he built played but I know it’s not enough for some West Ham fans in the same way that Mr Allardyce’s pragmatism wasn’t.

It’s fair to say that, since his appointment, DM has given the likes of Anderson and Haller a fair crack at the whip. The fact that the former of the two may give you one decent game in every five matches has led to the manager dropping him down the pecking order. For me he’s a luxury player who is playing in the wrong country. He’s simply not suited to English football…never mind the Premier League. Even the likes of Oxford United exposed the areas of his game he needs to develop if he is going to succeed on these shores. I hope that he does adapt as, on his day, he’s a helluva player but I’ll be very surprised if he does manage to turn things around and become a consistent performer in English football.

As for Haller I believe it’s a different story. He’s our overall top scorer with seven goals this term albeit some of those were bagged against lower league opposition. I see so much of Deano in his play that I believe he can, and hopefully will, become the fifteen plus league goal a season man we’ve craved for so long. Playing with Bowen and Antonio I think he’s got a great chance of achieving it.

Back to the main subject, however, and the fact that those two players, being the most expensive signings in the club’s history, have been dropped to the bench and to the, second string, cup teams shows that David Moyes will not tolerate passengers that are not putting in the required shift.

The gaffer has also shown that he’s no slouch in the area of tactics in the last two games as well. Now that the team is heading towards a settled starting line-up the formations played are beginning to show adaptation to the opposition. Although his in-game management, and ability to use substitutions other than like-for-like replacement, hasn’t yet been tested he’s shown a very astute approach to the last two matches with the way he’s set the side out.

Unlike Mr Allardyce David Moyes has said all the right things about our club and us supporters. Taking time to pay tribute to the club’s history, traditions and large, passionate supporter base he’s won a lot more friends than the former manager did. Without mentioning it, however, he’s clearly recognised that there have been aspects of ‘The West Ham Way’ that have held the club back. The ‘soft underbelly’, the drinking culture and the tolerance of players who seemed to put in performances whenever it suited them to mention but a few.

Which brings me on to my final point about David Moyes. He knows which positions players should be playing in to get the best out of them. Should be quite simple, really, shouldn’t it but when you look at what Moyes did with Arnautovic, and has now done with Michail Antonio, you can’t deny that he saw something that both Super Slaven and Pellegrini didn’t and deserves full credit for. In the case of Arnautovic you also have another example of his ‘perform or you’re dropped’ policy which had the desired effect.

All boiled down he’s a great fit for our club and I genuinely hope he goes on to have many successful years in charge at West Ham.

Another tough weekend for the Women at home to Reading. Lauren Bruton netted the only goal of the game for Reading when she was quicker on to a diagonal cross in to the box than the West Ham defence who seemed to be ball watching and slow to react. Grace Fisk will look at the replay of the goal and resolve to learn from the experience. That didn’t tell the story of the entire match, however, which saw the West Ham team play some terrific football and create enough chances to win with a comfortable margin. As the old saying goes if you don’t take your chances you don’t win games and our girls will certainly be rueing those missed opportunities. Players of the quality of Adriana Leon and Kenza Dali should be putting away good chances, and penalties in the case of the latter, otherwise it’s going to be a very long, tough season ahead.

Elsewhere in PL2 the lads suffered a 3-2 loss to Brighton. The U23’s can count themselves unlucky not to have got a point having conceded the only goal of the second half from a lofted ball in the ‘87th minute. Next up are, high flying and undefeated, Blackburn Rovers who visit Rush Green on Friday 23rd.

I’ll sign off with a quick few points on the transfer window. Personally I’d have liked to have seen us in for Mykola Matviyenko. As previously mentioned I don’t get involved in transfer window speculation but will happily discuss signings and non-signings afterwards. I genuinely believe that we need another, defensive, left sided player to push Cresswell and provide cover for Og. That said I’m confident that Vladimir Coufal will go on to be an excellent signing. Knowing West Ham injuries will play a part in our campaign and we’re looking particularly lightweight up front. A loan signing or two certainly wouldn’t go amiss to strengthen our forward line. Whether this happens or not remains to be seen. Lastly I’d like to wish Josh Cullen all the very best in the future for his career. It’s always a shame when you see an academy product move on but this may be the best thing for him. Hopefully he’ll return one day as a quality, experienced player. All the best Josh!

COYI!


Transfer Gossip

Transfer Deadline Day: Open Thread

22.19 Oops. I was in such a hurry to get something out there I failed to notice that Dan Coker had kept you up to date while I was indisposed! Thanks Dan!
22.13 So Xande Silva’s move to Greece on loan has been confirmed. By my count, that’s 4 players who have left – Silva, Anderson, Cullen and Wilshere. Not wholy sure that makes our squad stronger, if I’m honest.
22.10 Apologies for the interruption in service. Presenting a radio panel on Black History Month and updating this thread weren’t exactually conducive. Now on the train home so I’ll see what has happened in the meantime.
21.05 We are reportedly making a late play for 20-year-old Strasbourg defender Mohamed Simakan. A €17m offer was apparently rejected earlier tonight, but it is possible we could meet the €20m asking price before the deadline (DC).
20.38 Confirmation from the club that Jack Wilshere’s contract has been terminated by mutual consent. A shame it didn’t work out (DC).
20.06 Josh Cullen has joined Anderlecht on a permanent basis. Great move for him, hope he does well (DC).
20.03 Xande Silva has joined Greek team Aris Thessaloniki on loan until the end of the season (DC).
19.33 Latest rumour is that Chelsea defender Fikayo Tomori could be joining on loan.
19.17 Jack Wilshere has left the building. This is not a drill.
18.53 Anderson off to Porto. Looks likely according to Claret & Hugh
18.19 Swansea weer said to have quoted us £30 million to buy defender Jor Rodon. Tottenham are about to buy him for half that. #sameoldwestham
17.08 Fancy a French defender playing for Mainz? Claret & Hugh reckon Moussa Niakhaté, 24, is available for £13 million. Less than six hours before the deadline closes, though…
*16.52
Claret & Hugh reckon we’re in for a £22 million Argentinian, Matias Zaracho. Again, can’t see it. We have a plethora of attacking midfielders.
16.37 Felipe Anderson is the subject of a last minute loan bid from FC Porto. Can’t see it happening.
14.55 Chelseas Antonio Rudiger has turned down a move to West Ham. This is one of the least surprising bits of news of the day.
14.31 Interesting that all the usual ITK Twitter accounts are silent today.
12.20 Arsenal’s Calum Chambers is said to be one of the defensive targets we are looking at. He’s more of a right back than a centre back but has proved his versatility. This is one move I hope may come off.
11.08 HITC report that we are now out of the running to sign Theo Walcott. That would be because we were never in the running…
10.56 KUMB are reporting Xande Silva could be heading to Greece on a loan with an option to sign permanently.
10.01 No word yet on what might happen to Jack Wilshere. Speculation remains that West Ham will buy him out of his contract.
09.41 QPR left back Ryan Manning could be available for £5 million according to HITC, who also reckon we could be in for Joao Maria. I’s rate both of these as extremely unlikely. We’ve got enough midfielders, and after Masuaku’s and Cresswell’s form of late, do we really need another left back when Ben Johnson can play there too?
09.07 Claret & Hugh are pouring a lot of cold water over the Snodgrass to Celtic move.
08.56 Celtic have been rumoured to be sniffing around Robert Snodgrass. Celtic are his boyhood club. Stranger things have happened.
08:55 Could Josh Cullen be going to Anderlecht on a permanent move? That’s the speculation… Travesty.
08.46 Claret & Hugh report that a loan offer has been made to Bayer Leverkusen for 24 year old centre back Jonathan Tah.
08.30 I guess we’re all braced for a late bid for Declan Rice from Chelsea. If they do, I suspect it will be so low that it would be laughed out of court. I hope so, anyway
08.29 Mario Gotze, the German World Cup winner, is being linked with a deadline day move to Upton Park. I’d say this is one of the more unlikely rumours.
08/25 Xande Silva is likely to be loaned out today according to ExWHUEmployee.
08:00 I’ll try to update this thread as often as possible during the day, depending on what activity there is…


The HamburgHammer Column

Hammers chase Foxes from their den - after tickling their tummy

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WHAT. A. PERFORMANCE!!!
Vardy who ??? (The Leicester striker had fewer touches in the game than our goalkeeper, quite a telling stat.)

You could have hit me over the head with a blunt instrument or spiked my cup of Rosie with bleach, never in my wildest dreams could I have predicted that level of performance from our lads and that kind of result against Leicester of all teams.

We usually don’t do well against Leicester. Vardy tends to enjoy playing through and past our defenders. And the Foxes had started the season really well. But this is why we all love the game so much.

We may THINK we know what’s gonna happen. Every once in a while we simply don’t. Who would have predicted the Hammers to go jolly fox hunting like this on Sunday lunchtime ?

And who could have guessed that even Czech, Italian, French and Paraguayan nationals would be so adept at hunting down good old Vulpes vulpes ?

Due to watching the Concordia U23s earlier I actually missed the first 20 minutes of the game. When I hurried up the staircase to reach Casa HH, I was just hoping the scoreline wouldn’t read as 2:0 to Leicester already, thank God it didn’t. Antonio had given us the lead. New boy Coufal was playing and apparently we were employing the wing back formation again that had worked so well for us before.

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Once more it simply was a complete team performance. I could name you 7 players deserving of MotM credentials (I’ll pick one later anyway). We looked well drilled, perfectly organised, so that Fabianski hardly had any save to make. Leicester had a late effort chalked off by VAR which was brilliant for West Ham obviously, but the neutral fan would have admired the pinball machine style exchange of passes which, frankly, would have deserved a goal.

But we deserved that clean sheet as our fivesome of Coufal, Balbuena, Ogbonna, Cresswell and Masuaku was absolutely fantastic. Cresswell and Masuaku look very comfortable together on the left. Balbuena has slotted back into proceedings nicely again, Ogbonna did his usual impression of a rock with wave upon wave of Leicester rolling towards him to not much avail really. And Coufal ? Apart from the fact the pundits pronounced his name wrong all game (I suppose they didn’t read the instructions posted on here by our own Toddy) he looked as if he was playing his 85th game for West Ham, not his first. And he can even launch a decent long throw which may come in handy this season.

My MotM ? It could have been any of our defenders. It could have been Rice or Soucek. It could have been Antonio. Bowen finished his goal brilliantly too. But I will give the prize to Pablo “Fournails“ Fornals.

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I liked our Spanish chico from the start really. All the while he has been played in a role that’s not his best position really. But he kept on carrying on regardless, running and tackling his calcetines off, always playing with a smile on his face. Always happy like an Iberian pig wallowing in Extremaduran mud when a teammate scores. And here he was, providing excellent passes again. And also scored a Miss Andalucia of a goal himself, controlling the ball well and tucking it away with a cheeky little touch of his left boot. Of course I cheer every single goal we score. This one though was a bit special and I was so happy for Fournails.
He really deserved that one. And his passes seem to find Jarrod Bowen a lot lately, so we got a nice little bit of chemistry going there apparently. Long may it continue.

The only changes we made late on were for the sake of eating up a bit of time really as our starting XI were such a well-oiled machine on the day that substitutions weren’t really necessary. We are now finding ourselves in slighty unfamiliar territory: 10th place in the table, 6 points out of a possible 12 to start the season. Goal difference of +4.

It’s weird, but oh so wonderful to see. Whatever it is Moyes is doing with these players (with a little help from Irvine, Nolan, Pearce and Nevin), it is working out pretty well so far.
The next three games after the international break are still a big ask (Spurs away, Manchester City at home, Liverpool away).

Normally I would predict us to get a big fat ZILCH from this. After our performances against Wolves and Leicester though I will say we will probably win one of those.

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Monday of course is Transfer Deadline Day which is why this article will be superseded by our rolling WHTID transfer business coverage soon enough. At this point it’s hard to predict what’s gonna happen. Apparently we will let Josh Cullen go to Anderlecht. Which personally I feel sad about as I have always been roting for the lad. But for some reason he has never got a shot to properly work himself into the gaffer’s plans at West Ham.

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So it’s only fair to allow him to join a club where he can actually play and forge a career for himself. I had the pleasure to meet him briefly during West Ham’s preseason in Germany a few years ago and he was a lovely fella to have a chinwag with. So I can only wish Josh all the best at his new club, I hope you find happiness there, mate.
While getting plenty of minutes on the pitch. You show ’em, Josh!

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There’s also word that Robert Snodgrass may be allowed to join boyhood club Celtic in this transfer window. Which would seem strange to me as he is the kind of player Moyes likes to have in a squad. Snodgrass has been the type of midfielder I have always admired at West Ham, the hard grafters who are also genuinely good and funny characters to have around the club. He obviously didn’t play as often recently as he would have liked, but whenever he put on the shirt he gave us 100%.
If indeed he does leave, I wish him every success at his next destination. Thanks Rob, you will be remembered and missed…

As for other business we may or may not do during the day, I am dubious.
I haven’t got a Scooby what’ll happen. We could surely do with some incomings, considering the number of players we let go and the way Moyes seems to want to play these days. We certainly could use another quality CB at least, plus a halfway decent striker (after getting rid of Hugill, Ajeti and potentially Xande Silva going out to Greece on loan).
But I won’t be taking anything for granted.

And of course it’s merely the international window that’s closing later on Monday, we can still do domestic deals with Championship clubs or lower until October 16th. We’ll see.

So I do expect nothing in terms of further arrivals at West Ham in order to preempt disappointment on my part. I shall still happily join the transfer debate throughout the day. COYI!!!

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Hamburg football update: Starting with a very unfortunate 0:1 loss for FC St.Pauli away to Sandhausen on Friday. Sandhausen are very much a nondescript plain Jane outfit in Bundesliga 2, but they are a solid team all around and especially strong at home which showed on the night. Hamburg SV on the other hand had their home game against Erzgebirge Aue virused out after several players and staff members from the east German team tested positive for Covid earlier.

The Concordia first team netted a late 2:1 winner in injury time under the lights on Friday night to keep their perfect record of the young season, two wins in two games, six goals scored, three conceded. Good start to the season. The Cordi Under 23s played out a very entertaining 0:0 away draw Sunday against local rivals Billstedt-Horn on a hard and dry cinder pitch which is very rare at that level, it’s usually 3G artificial pitches throughout the league.

The Cordi Women’s team continued their on-pitch crash course at the top amateur level at home against the girls from Victoria, losing 0:5.
Challenging season ahead for them…


David Hautzig's Match Report

Leicester City 0, West Ham 3. As Good As We've Seen In Ages.

7am kickoff’s suck. Especially when sleep is about as consistent as a Trump press conference or rally staying on script and remaining civil. I told Iain there was no way I was going to set an alarm. And regardless of when I did eventually turn the game on using my IPad, because it’s only streaming here, I would likely watch while doing other things and do the best I can to put something up here. When my eyes popped open at 7:20am, I instinctively grabbed my phone. I saw a message from Nigel Kahn to my WhatsApp group that complimented a cross from Cresswell, and thought that was a good enough reason to check the score.

Well done Cress and Ant. Lovely cross, excellent finish.

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Leicester City 0
West Ham 1

Because of my very superstitious nature, I asked permission of that WhatsApp group to turn the match on. I seriously feared that if I turned it on and things immediately went south it would be my fault. I’m not kidding. I admit I didn’t wait for the answer, although John Bucci of Moore Than Just A Podcast gave me the thumbs up right after another fantastic pass came off the boot of Cresswell, followed by an even better first touch from Fornals, followed by and even better finish from the Spaniard at a moment most of us feared he would bottle it. He did not.

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Leicester City 0
West Ham 2

The Hammers had a couple of other opportunities to increase their lead, including a cross from newcomer Coufal that almost found Antonio in the box and an attempted overhead kick by Antonio off a corner from Bowen. On the defensive end West Ham looked organized and disciplined. The side that put five past Manchester City had a very hard time asking even a simple question of Fabianski.

Halftime
Leicester City 0
West Ham 2

Early in the second half West Ham had a couple of chances to bag a third. The first was on a good cross from Coufal to Antonio in the box, but the Premier League goal machine’s header floated softly into the arms of Schmeichel. Moments later West Ham won a free kick 35 yards from goal. The delivery went straight to Balbuena in front of goal but his header went in a direction nowhere near the goal. A few minutes later, after a nasty challenge by Evans on Antonio, West Ham couldn’t finish a scramble inside the Leicester City eighteen yard box and the lead remained two. Moments after that Coufal sent a long pass over the top that Antonio ran down. He gathered the ball, waited for help which came in the form of Fornals, but Evans got in the way of Fornals shot and deflected it out for a corner.

West Ham should have scored a third in the 72nd minute when Rice went on what could be described as a hundred million pound run into the box. With Bowen in the middle, Rice went for power and slammed a shot off the bar.

Ya’ know, I thought Bobby Madley was the worst referee in the league before he left. Turns out it’s genetic. His brother is awful as well.

West Ham finished the job in the 82nd minute when Rice controlled the ball in the West Ham half and sprung Fornals on a counter. The new nailed on number ten for the Hammers timed a pass to Bowen with perfection running into the Leicester area. With precision and a killer instinct Bowen curled his shot around Schmeichel.

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Leicester City 0
West Ham 3

What do you think Haller was thinking when he came on in the 87th minute? It’s not like he can claim he is being treated unfairly. But at the same time, I still think he is a quality forward and I’m glad we have him. I’m not used to West Ham being in such a position.

Leicester City’s day could be summed up in the 89th minute when Balbuena switched off and allowed Vardy in behind him. The consolation goal looked a certainty. Instead, the shot rolled wide of the far post. It did not even count as a shot on target, which up to that point the home side hadn’t achieved. Their frustration was compounded in added time when Barnes finally broke through the West Ham defense and after some quick passing beat Fabianski.

And then VAR said they didn’t.

Final Score
Leicester City 0
West Ham 3

It’s weird, but my brain…which is barely functional at this point….harkened back to the grey days of BFS. We do love our capital letter nicknames at West Ham, don’t we? BFS, GSB. Anyway, I remember some neutrals scornfully asking me why I wanted him out. I tried to articulate that it was possible to be sound defensively while still at least trying to score. The point, I would tell them, was to score more goals than the opponent. Not to play for a nil-nil draw. I’ve always thought Moyes was a better version of that, while also not being an antagonistic enemy of the supporters.

Today that was on full display.

Despite almost 70% possession, Leicester did not manage a single shot on target. They only could muster two off target. And West Ham easily could have scored six, and should have had four with Rice’s blast off the woodwork. Cresswell, who has been chided mercilessly on social media, was a strong candidate for Man Of The Match, and my football app actually gave it to him. Heck, Coufal looked like he had been around for ages, making a superb overhead kick to simply deny Leicester a chance to counter late in the match. Balbuena was solid and will keep Diop on he bench for a bit it seems. Ogbonna was immense, and showed why he received the call from his country to put on the famous blue jersey again. Unless of course they wear the white one that day, but that’s besides the point. You know what I mean.

In such difficult times, to be handed some fun and unfettered joy by your football club is a gift.

Thanks West Ham. We appreciate it.


Predictor League Competition

Match Predictor: Dicollio & Jimmy Cooney Top The League

Here’s the Top Nine from the Leicester City Match Predictor.

The Predictor League for Spurs on Sunday 18 October is ready to enter HERE . The deadline for entries is 1.30pm on 18th.*


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