Match Thread

Match Thread: West Ham v Manchester United

West Ham v Manchester United
FA Premier League
Olympic Stadium
KO 5.15pm
TV: Sky Sports 1

Man United Starting XI

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

Lineup Prediction

Lineup Prediction: West Ham v Manchester United

Team: Randolph, Nordtveit, Cresswell, Ogbonna Reid, Obiang, Kouyate, Antonio, Payet, Ayew, Carroll
Subs: Adrian, Fernandes, Fletcher, Martinez, Feghouli, Rice, Lanzini

Mark Noble is almost certainly out this afternoon. I do wonder whether we might revert to a 3-4-3 formation with Kouyate going back into defence. If so, Nordtveit would make way for either Fernandes, or more likely Lanzini. This will be the last match for several weeks for Kouyate and Ayew who are both off the African Cup of Nations. This means Edimilson Fernandes is likely to play quite a role over the next few weeks. I suspect I am not alone in thinking he is the only one of the summer signings to have made a positive impact so far.

Manchester United will be without Rooney this afternoon, but otherwise they are likely to have a very strong lineup. But let’s not forget, we got a well deserved point off them at Old Trafford, even if they did rather trounce us in the EFL Cup a few days later. They are on a good run at the moment, though, and will be difficult to beat. Payet certainly needs to be on his game in a way he certainly hasn’t been for some weeks. Andy Carroll could well be the key today.


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The HamburgHammer Column

Foxes, fondue and faith in our transfer window

Ich wünsche allen Lesern und Autoren von WHTID ein frohes, neues und hoffentlich gesundes Jahr 2017! (Wishing all readers and authors on WHTID a happy new and hopefully healthy 2017!) While some may still be nursing a bit of a hangover from the New Year celebrations there is no time to waste as the games are coming thick and fast for our Hammers this week.

My quick recap of the game against the Foxes is still a positive one overall, despite a disappointing scoreline. While I was getting myself up and ready for the New Year’s Eve family do at my brother’s place I found myself busier with watching the game than choosing clothes though. It was a fantastic game of football, end to end stuff, with some fierce challenges being thrown in, plenty of incidents and West Ham had the Foxes under the kosh for long periods of the game especially in the second half.

Of course we failed to score which was the big downside in this game (apart from potentially losing Noble for a few games due to the Leicester player trying to determine the strength of Noble’s kneecap). It’s been discussed at length on various other threads, but we are still making too many mistakes, sending passes astray, not chasing the opposition enough to win the ball back and I also noted how many set pieces we wasted against Leicester. I know we are the most successful team in the Premier league this season so far when it comes to scoring from set pieces. But unfortunately it didn’t show this time, with both cornerkicks and freekicks too often not finding a West Ham player, but sailing into no man’s land.or wide of the goal.

We certainly lack some pace when trying to switch from defending into attacking mode. We still lose or give away the ball too cheaply and while I love Carroll to bits for what he does on the pitch it limits our overall game in other ways. We will also lose Ayew and Kouyate for the duration of the African Cup of Nations.
This transfer window will once again put our board to the test: Will they learn from past mistakes and finally strengthen the positions we have failed to address in several windows in succession ?

Will we finally bring in someone who will make the RB position his own for years to come instead of being a stop gap ?
Will we bring in a proper striker who can actually score goals on a regular basis, preferably someone who gives us something different than Carroll ?
I would love us to bring in a pacy forward, someone who can make runs into space and who isn’t afraid to take defenders on.
I don’t have a fixation with a particular player like Bacca or Defoe, Hogan or Long. I just hope it’ll be a player who can help us out straight away, not some dodgy last day signing from the Bolivian Second Division.

I am confident that instead of just trading water our board will be looking to fix the holes in our squad to make sure we not only stay in the league (minimum requirement) but finish as high in the table as possibly. The Man U game coming up will be a tough one, it is a game I would have loved to see live in London, but it wasn’t possible for me to travel at such short notice and so shortly again after my recent visit.

Games against a Mourinho led team always have a little bit of extra spice, passion and entertainment value. We tend to raise our games against the big boys, so I hope it shall be the same this time. As most Germans tend to do on New Year’s Eve my brother’s family and I had a lovely fondue dinner. One thing you need in order to enjoy your fondue is to be patient as it takes time for your meat to cook through properly and the pieces are relatively small, so it takes a while until you have your fill, but it is ultimately very satisfying and also very communicative around the table (and of course there’s also salad and bread and so forth).

I hope our performance against Man U will be just like that, little steps, a patient approach, calm and composed with a result that will be ultimately satisfying. You all know how much I despise Mourinho as a manager and person (at least in terms of the public persona he displays in the media and public eye), so getting one over Manchester United has become that much more enticing for me.

Let me tell you once again how much I’m enjoying writing on here and I hope to be able to continue doing so on a regular basis in 2017 too. I know you will never please everyone all the time, but that’s the beauty of this blog, It offers something for every Hammers fan out there. So if you don’t like my stuff I trust that you may get more enjoyment from reading the articles of my fellow writers which I’d recommend you to read anyway.

Final note on Concordia as some of you were interested. There is a winter break until mid-February (despite mild temperatures), but the next action for the lads is on Sunday, an indoor footie tournament against nine other local sides in the same venue in Wandsbek where the Klitschko brothers had their first profesional fights after they had moved to Hamburg full time. In general I am not a fan of indoor football, but I shall be making an exception here as I do need my regular football fix and there’s no way I’m gonna wait another six weeks for my next game. COYI!

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Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: West Ham v Man Utd

Firstly, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish all West Ham Till I Die readers a very Happy New Year!

Blast from the past

Three months to the day before English football’s greatest day in 1966, Liverpool were on their way to Bill Shankly’s second league title, Everton were to go on to win their third FA Cup trophy and West Ham United were in the midst of a season that would see them finish in 12th place in the First Division. As the Hammers hosted Manchester United on the 30th April 1966, Manfred Mann were number one with ‘Pretty Flamingo’ and Doctor Zhivago was in UK cinemas.

In front of 36,423, the Hammers were 2-0 up at the interval thanks to their two England strikers – Geoff Hurst (pictured below) put the hosts ahead after 28 minutes and strike partner Johnny Byrne doubled the advantage with a penalty three minutes before half-time.

The Red Devils pulled one back after 63 minutes through a rare goal from former West Ham full-back Noel Cantwell but Hurst doubled his tally ten minutes later to restore the Hammers’ two-goal cushion. John Aston Junior struck what turned out to be a further consolation for the Red Devils with 12 minutes left to play, the Irons holding out to secure the points in their final home match of the season, a fitting send-off for World Cup heroes-in-waiting Hurst, Bobby Moore and Martin Peters. Indeed, with Nobby Stiles and Bobby Charlton, this match featured half of the outfield players England used in the World Cup Final against West Germany exactly three months later.

Scottish forward David Herd, who sadly passed away three months ago on 1st October 2016 at the age of 82, became Manchester United’s first ever used substitute in this match.

The victory pushed West Ham into 11th place in the First Division going into their final two games but away defeats at Stoke and Leicester resulted in a 12th placed finish. Manchester United would end the 1965/66 campaign in fourth position. Two-goal hero of the day Hurst ended the season with 40 goals from 59 games in all competitions and would be voted Hammer of the Year, with Peters runner-up.

West Ham United: Jim Standen, Dennis Burnett, Dave Bickles, Bobby Moore, John Charles, Ronnie Boyce, Martin Peters, Peter Brabrook, Johnny Byrne, Geoff Hurst, Johnny Sissons.

Manchester United: Harry Gregg, Shay Brennan, Noel Cantwell, Tony Dunne (David Herd), Paddy Crerand, Nobby Stiles, John Connelly, David Sadler, Bobby Charlton, Denis Law, John Aston Junior.

Club Connections

Michael Carrick could face his former club. A largely impressive list of players join the Geordie midfielder in having turned out for both West Ham United and Manchester United over the years. These include:

Goalkeepers: Roy Carroll, Les Sealey.

Defenders: Noel Cantwell, Jonathan Spector, Rio Ferdinand.

Midfielders: Paul Ince, Ralph Milne, Luke Chadwick.

Strikers: Billy Grassam, Stuart Pearson, David Bellion, Carlos Tevez, Teddy Sheringham.

In addition, Dave Sexton and Frank O’Farrell both played for the Hammers before going on to manage the Red Devils. Lou Macari played for Man Utd before managing West Ham.

Today’s focus though is on one of the most talented players to come through Manchester United’s academy during Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign, by the Scot’s own admission – Ravel Morrison was born in Wythenshawe, Manchester on 2nd February 1993. He signed on as a first-year scholar at Manchester United in 2009 and turned professional on his 17th birthday the following year.

Morrison made his first team debut as a substitute in a 3-2 League Cup win over Wolves on 26th October 2010 and was part of the Red Devils’ FA Youth Cup-winning side later that season, scoring against Chelsea in the semi-final and bagging a brace in the second leg of the Final against Sheffield United. He made two more League Cup substitute appearances for Manchester United in the first half of 2011/12, against Aldershot and Crystal Palace, before signing for Sam Allardyce’s West Ham United for an undisclosed fee on 31st January 2012.

The 19-year-old Ravel made his Hammers debut as a substitute in a 1-1 Championship draw at Leeds on 17th March 2012 but would not play for the club again for another 17 months. The tricky midfielder spent the 2012/13 season on loan at Birmingham in the Championship before returning to West Ham intent on making his mark on the Premier League.

Morrison scored his first goal for the Irons in his first start, in a 2-1 League Cup second round win over Cheltenham on 27th August 2013, before bagging his first Premier League goal in a 3-2 home defeat to Everton the following month. Another goal followed just three days later, just 20 seconds into a 3-2 League Cup win over Cardiff. Morrison’s finest moment in claret and blue came on the 6th October 2013, applying the gloss to a fine 3-0 victory at Tottenham, the Hammers’ first win at White Hart Lane in 14 years – he picked the ball up in his own half before maximising every shred of his pace, skill and impudence to bamboozle the Tottenham defence and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris. Morrison’s final goal for West Ham came the following month, giving the Hammers the lead from close range at Norwich before the Canaries fought back in the second half to claim a 3-1 win. This, impressively, was Morrison’s fifth goal in 11 matches.

Morrison joined Queens Park Rangers on loan for the rest of the season in February 2014. He returned to West Ham for the 2014/15 season and made his final appearance for the Hammers on 30th August 2014 in a 3-1 defeat to Southampton. He was shipped out on loan for a third spell, this time to Cardiff and joined Italian side Lazio on a free transfer at the end of the season. Morrison had scored five goals in 24 appearances for West Ham United. Now 23, he has failed to make an impression at the Rome-based club.


Monday’s referee will be Mike Dean; 2016/17 is Dean’s 17th as a Premier League referee. Since West Ham United achieved promotion back to the top flight in 2012 Dean has refereed 18 of our league matches, officiating in nine wins for the Hammers, five draws and four defeats.

Dean was the man in the middle last season for our 2-2 home draw with Norwich in September, the 1-1 draw at Aston Villa on Boxing Day, our 1-0 win over Sunderland in February and our 3-1 win over Watford in April when he awarded the Hammers two penalties. He also refereed our final match at the Boleyn when we famously triumphed 3-2 over Manchester United – in fact, Dean has been the referee for our last two Premier League victories over Man Utd as he also took charge of our 2-1 win in December 2007. Dean’s most recent Hammers appointment saw him award a penalty to both sides and send off Winston Reid in our 3-2 defeat at Tottenham in November.

Possible line-ups

Slaven Bilic has Sam Byram available and is boosted by Sofiane Feghouli’s exclusion from Algeria’s AFCON squad. Mark Noble may miss out with the knee injury suffered at Leicester. Alvaro Arbeloa is out for a few more weeks with a badly bruised leg which has put him on crutches since the Arsenal match while fellow full-back Arthur Masuaku is several weeks away from a return after suffering a knee injury in training. James Collins returns to training this week after a calf strain but Gokhan Tore and Diafra Sakho are out for months after knee and back surgery respectively. My understanding is that Cheikhou Kouyate and Andre Ayew are available for this match (despite FIFA rules stating clubs must release players 14 days before an international tournament) before departing for Gabon to represent Senegal and Ghana respectively over the coming weeks. West Ham are unbeaten in their last four league meetings with Manchester United and have never before gone five league games unbeaten against the Red Devils. Slaven Bilic could become only the second manager (after Ruud Gullit) to remain unbeaten in his first four Premier League matches against Man Utd

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is without Luke Shaw and Daley Blind so Matteo Darmian could return, while Juan Mata could also start. Mourinho must make a decision on whether to play Zlatan Ibrahimovic who, at 35, may not be able to start two games in just over 48 hours – Wayne Rooney has apparently not travelled but Marcus Rashford could come in. Eric Bailly has been denied permission to play by the Ivory Coast. Marouane Fellaini, so often influential against the Hammers, could retain his place. Manchester United have only failed to score in two of their past 17 trips to West Ham. Ibrahimovic has scored three goals in two matches against the Hammers, while Anthony Martial has five in four against the Irons.

Possible West Ham United XI: Randolph; Nordtveit, Reid, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Kouyate, Obiang; Antonio, Lanzini, Payet; Carroll.

Possible Manchester United XI: De Gea; Valencia, Smalling, Rojo, Darmian; Mata, Fellaini, Pogba; Mkhitaryan, Rashford, Martial.

Enjoy the game – Come On You Irons!

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Zaman Siddiqui's Match Review

Special year comes to an end

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all readers a Happy New Year!

Both teams have had magical seasons to remember. Leicester won the title, despite being underdogs at 5000/1, and we finished 7th. Oh, and Millwall are still in League 1. Whilst we didn’t get the end-of-the-year finish we wanted with a place in the top half, both teams will see this year as a turning point in their clubs’ respective histories. The duo have witnessed sporting spectacles with Premier League football finally back on the cards for the Foxes, and a new vision of the club for us with the move to the London Stadium.

Last season, Gary Lineker said that he would present the first episode of the new series of MOTD in his undies. As his disciplinary record on the pitch suggests, he was true to his word. That said, he may struggle to keep his new promise if Leicester end up retaining the title. He has delved into politics on Twitter, but this may be the most questionable thing he has ever tweeted: Lineker vowed he would do the first episode of next season naked, standing on his head, while Shearer and Wright beat him with a stick! If Leicester somehow end up winning the title again, it will definitely be another 1990 moment for the presenter.

Both managers know that in order to continually improve on their teams’ successes, they need to finish well within the top half. Like players, managers learn from experience. Bilic made the severe mistake of not signing a proper striker; Ranieri sold Kanté to Chelsea, and did not get a midfield replacement. They’ve had to learn the hard way that they can’t put too much pressure on just a single aspect of play.

By contrast, Southampton and Everton have done a better job with their transition periods. They have sold players they can afford to sell. Both of them have a good balance of youth, and know that you have to finish in the top 7 if you are to challenge the top teams. Stoke have finished 9th for the past three seasons, yet are currently below us in 14th. You simply can’t rely on a win at the end of the season in order to narrowly finish in the top half. Southampton didn’t make a good start to the previous season lagging behind in 16th after their first six games, but they turned it around finishing in 6th. Even this season, they had to wait until the fifth match to get their first win – the Saints are currently 9th. That is the sort of resilience both we and Leicester need to develop going into the new year.

With four goals scored in our previous match against Swansea, you would be forgiven for thinking that we were going to score again. We had scored in our last eight matches, whilst Leicester had failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 11 matches. They sound like stats a bookie would use to convince you to bet on West Ham scoring. To be fair, I certainly would have taken a punt on that. The likelihood of the Foxes keeping a clean sheet were as likely as Leicester’s favourite son Gary Lineker keeping one! Joking aside, whatever view you may have of Gary, he is still an influential ex-footballer with a lot of passion. His interview with the FT is definitely worth a read.

Last season, we failed to win four consecutive league matches, so if we were to do so with a win against Leicester, it would have been huge. Something that I feel we are going to have to try and replicate this season is to play counter-attacking football. Our defence is rock solid with Reid at the heart of it, but we need to be able to absorb some pressure from the opponents and then exert it back on them by creating opportunities for each other. Our creative outlets are good with Payet and Lanzini, with the latter getting an inch-perfect lofted ball for Carroll only a few minutes after being subbed on. However, in spite of more urgency going forward, we are too stagnant in defence at times, failing to clear our lines.

Leicester had far too much time and space on the ball in the first half. Slimani hit the post in the fourth minute with a header – that was a huge let-off. Four of Leicester’s last five league goals on home soil have come in the 20th minute or earlier. Soon after, we should have been defending with much improved marking. Unfortunately, Payet didn’t mark Albrighton whatsoever, who got the assist. It shouldn’t have been particularly difficult either. There was nothing sly about the Foxes’ goal. Slimani hit the post earlier, so it would’ve made sense if we were marking him. The Algerian striker got a second heading chance, and he took it with a massive thumping header that Randolph couldn’t deal with. 15 of his last 33 league goals have now come from headers.

The post was the MOTM against Hull City, however it didn’t look upon us too favourably this time round. Sure, it stopped Slimani once, but Antonio should have got yet another headed goal in this match. Him and Tim Cahill now both hold the record for the most amount of headed goals in a calendar year with 11. Shame his effort wasn’t helped on by the post.

We had a whopping 25 shots, and only had five on target. By comparison, Leicester had a dozen shots with four on target. In the second half, we were pressing well, but we didn’t get into areas where we could have scored often enough. Leicester blocked 10 of our shots, as well as making several clearances. This is evocative of some of our most recent wins. The teams that we beat had no cutting edge, and as such, were easier to defend against. In our match against Swansea, both sides had 14 shots and seven on target, yet we won 4-1. That is partly down to Swansea failing to create enough clear-cut chances relative to their shots. We couldn’t even create a single clear-cut chance, despite dominating possession and having more than double the number of shots of Leicester City.

This season, we desperately need to spend big bucks on a new striker. The January transfer window is renown for being over-priced, but that is the risk the board took when they allowed the signing of Ayew. In fact, they had a heavy influence on it. We can’t play hoofball with Carroll as our only attacking style. At the moment, most of our strikers are either very inexperienced or unfit. If we don’t improve our current attacking options, we could end the season in mid-table.

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