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.

Dawud Marsh's Photo Diary

From the Vaults: West Ham United v Liverpool 4th February 2019

Hope everyone is safe and well.

Continuing my series of past games looks at the draw at home to Liverpool on 4th February 2019.

League leaders Liverpool were looking to go 5 points clear of title chasing Manchester City, but were held to draw at London Stadium to a West Ham side who showed enough in attack to earn a point. Another laboured performance from the Reds after a draw with Leicester City in the week handed some crucial ground to Man City.

Liverpool started well and were rewarded for their threat in front of goal when Sadio Mane fled past Fanianski on 22nd minute, despite James Milner, who provided the assist, being offside in the build-up.

But the Hammers were not to be beaten, playing with some freedom and making the clearer chances throughout the match six minutes later Michail Antonio scored a deserved equaliser as Liverpools defence failed to clock Felipe Anderson’s neatly disguised free-kick that Antonio picked up on his run into the area to drive a low angled shot that went in off the post. This was Antonio’s fourth goal in his five Premier League games against Liverpool.

The Reds attack failed to put the Hammers defence under any severe pressure with just two efforts from Mohamed Sarah and a header from Mane, comfortably dealt with by Fabianski. Divork Origi lost sight of goal for the final kick of the game shooting straight at the keeper, for another comfortable save.

The Hammers made the Reds defence look amateurish as they repeatedly failed to track runners from free-kicks, highlighted cruelly for the equaliser when Antonio caught the defence napping as they seemed to be ready for Anderson to play high into the area, instead of a low pass to set up Michail for his diagonal run to fire past Allison.

The Hammers could have taken all three points as soon after the equaliser as Anderson – voted man of the match – went around the side of the wall from another free kick to get a shot away, whilst Declan Rice also headed over the bar when unmarked.

The draw ended a run of three straight defeats for the Hammers, who should feel that the game was theirs to win as the Reds errors highlighted the absences of injured defensive trio Lovren, Gomez and Alexander-Arnold.

But credit must be given to the Hammers defence for playing with impressive organisation, a welcome improvement after a dismal defeat to Wimbledon in the FA Cup. Bright and inventive in possession, Pellegrini was clearer disappointed with the draw. Rightly angry about Milner’s offside and again with Origi’s opportunity, but when asked about speaking to the officials about what Manuel felt were clear errors by the officials, he shrugged his shoulders. But the gaffer highlighted the many opportunities the team had to seal a victory.

The result left Manuel Pellegrini’s side 12th, level on 32 points with 11th placed Leicester City.

Dawud Marsh's Photo Diary

From The Vaults: West Ham United v Burnley Saturday 3rd November 2018

The Predictor League for WBA is open. Enter your team HERE. Deadline is Tuesday at 4pm.

Continuing my series on highlighting past home matches.

Despite a winless October West Ham put in a performance that Manuel Pellegrini described at the time as the best by the team since he took charge. Lead by man of the match Felipe Anderson, the Hammers were bold, thrilling but also showed a brittle side, superior against a struggling Burnley, but not convincing.

Sean Dyche’s team had been struggling to maintain the momentum of the previous season that saw them reach unexpected heights and with heavy losses to Manchester City and Chelsea were taken apart by the home sides’ adventurous play.

Anderson, who was poor against Tottenham Hotspur in the recent Carabao Cup defeat and substituted at half time for Robert Snodgrass, spearheaded a dominant display at the London Stadium as he sliced through the Burnley defence at will.

Arnautovic opened the scoring for the Hammers when he dispossessed James Tarkowski and raced clear to fire home. The Hammers could have run away with the match with Joe Hart making excellent saves from both Arnautovic and Pedro Obiang with Ben Mee rescuing his side with a goal line clearance. But Burnley managed to equalise against the run of play through Johann Berg Gudmundsson’s slotted home goal just before half time.

With the introduction of Javier Hernandez on the hour the Hammers went out for victory and despite Mee saving his team again to deny Hernandez a goal almost with is first kick, Burnley could not hold out much longer. Excellent work from both Arnautovic and Diangana in 68th minute set up Anderson who fired home between the advancing Hart’s legs from just 12 yards out.

With the introduction of both Robbie Brady and Chris Wood, Burnley we able to fashion an equaliser from a corner, with Brady delivering for Wood to head powerfully home for an equaliser.

But the Hammers were out for the win, and two opportunities for Anderson created with more wonderful interplay between Diangana and Arnautovic provided Felipe with a chance that the Brazilian took to find the net from a deflection off Mee, who was unable to save the team this time round.

Anderson, who had struggled to settle having scored only one goal since joining the team in July, showed his influence again when he delivered a sublime cross field pass that began an attack that lead to Hernandez scoring again from the bench. Anderson, who took more touches and played more passes than anyone else on the pitch, drew praise from Pellegrini, who said despite his poor performance against Spurs in the Carabao Cup, put in a massive performance against Burnley.

“I said before the game that maybe some players need more time to adapt to the league, but his commitment has always been 100%,” said Pellegrini.

“I talked a lot with him, and there was never a chance of him not playing. He knew from the beginning that despite playing bad against Tottenham, he was going to play. It was a massive performance.”

Diangana also stood out with the 20 year old’s direct approach giving Charlie Taylor, Burnley’s left back, a difficult afternoon. His performance included 5 key passes and an assist for the second goal by Anderson.

The win kept West Ham in 13th place on just 11 points, with Burnley in 15th on just 8 points.

Hope everyone is safe and well.

Dawud Marsh's Photo Diary

Player in Focus: Aaron Cresswell

*The Predictor League for Stockport is open. Enter your team HERE. Deadline is Monday at 6pm. If you’ve already chosen Haller or Snodgrass you way want to edit your entry!"

Aaron was born on 15th December 1989 and made his first team debut for Tranmere Rovers on 1st November in a League One match against Milton Keynes Dons after joining their youth team system when he was released from Liverpool where he worked his way up through the academy.

The young aspiring footballer grew up in Liverpool idolizing star striker Robbie Fowler of Liverpool. On the pitch, his performances would see his stock rise as multiple Championship sides were trying to get his signature. Although he was offered a new contract to remain at Tranmere, manager Les Parry expected Aaron to turn it down saying “Aaron has got four or five Championship clubs trying to sign him; if I had a guess I would say Aaron might be leaving us this summer.

In June 2011 Ipswich Town won the race to secure his services, with the likes of West From and Doncaster Rovers fighting for his signature. The clubs had initially failed to agree a fee and after a transfer tribunal a 3 year contract was announced. Cressy debut for the club was on 6th August 2011, starting in a 0-3 away win against Bristol City at Ashton Gate. Aaron scored his first goal for Ipswich on 17th March 2012 in a 3-2 home win against Peterborough United. Making 46 appearances in all competitions in his first season at Portman Road, Cresswell won the club’s player of the year award.

He made 130 appearances for Ipswich Town over 3 years and his steady and consistent performances with Ipswich Town made Premier League sides take notice of the defender with reported interest at the time from Aston Villa.

But in July 2014 West Ham United signed him to a five year contract, reportedly worth £3.75m and made his debut against Tottenham Hotspurs in a 0-1 defeat at Boleyn Ground. Cressy scored his first goal in a 1-0 victory over Newcastle on 29th November and in 2015 was voted Hammer of the Year and Players Player of the Year.

In July 2016 Aaron suffered a knee-ligament injury in a 3-0 pre-season victory over Karlsruher SC. It was initially expected for Cresswell to be out of action for four months, but he recovered to return to first team football in a 1-0 away victory against Crystal Palace on 15th October, assisting Manual Lanzini for the winner. But 2 yellow cards in the matter of a few minutes saw him sent off, cutting his comeback short.

In September 2019, Aaron scored a 25 yard free kick against Manchester United at the London Stadium helping to securing a 2-0 victory. Hitting the back of the net again a week later in a 2-2 against Bournemouth Cresswell scored in consecutive league appearances for the first time in his career. Cressy signed a new 4 year contract to stay at West Ham until 2023. In the new system employed by Moyes this season, Cresswell is definitely a player West Ham are looking to hold on to averaging 2 key passes per 90 in the Premier League this season.

He earned his first England cap against Spain at Wembley Stadium in November 2016 but has only played 3 times for the national team.

Cresswell has become an integral member of the team, popular with players and fans alike and a committed and reliable player on the pitch. When asked about this seasons improved form Aaron says:

“I think the togetherness we’ve got at the moment, we’ve got a very good team spirit,” he observed. “Certainly, since the lockdown last season, when we played nine games to get out of the relegation battle we were in, we did it with a couple of games to go and I think we’ve just carried that form right through up to now.”

“The league is really tight this season which means we’re right up there, so it’s a good start, but it’s still early doors.”

In Cresswell’s 7th season at West Ham, he observes that it’s “one of the best dressing rooms we’ve had here for a long time.”

This season Cressy has played in 17 premier league matches with 18 tackles and 4 assists. Most recently against Everton Aaron almost scored from a free kick and provided the assist – albeit deflected – for Soucek to score the winner in the 86th to give Moyes a first win against Everton at Goodison Park since leaving in 2013.

Cresswell has received plenty of feedback on his revised form under Moyes, which he has highlighted himself and spoke about how happy he feels in the role he is playing in the team this season.

Josh Verrills @WestHamJoshV on Twitter said: “Credit where it is due, the formation Moyes has employed this season has suited Cresswell down to the ground and he is playing better and more consistently well than he has done in the last three seasons or more. Good to see such a long serving player returning to good form.”

@TheWestHamYank says ‘Our most improved player since last season”

Benrahma @Ethan34790376 says “Always been a fan of cress. He’s been reborn this season”

Lets hope Creswell continues to flourish in his role and we carry on with our good form throughout this New Year.

Be safe everyone.

Dawud Marsh's Photo Diary

From the Vaults West Ham United v Brighton & Hove Albion 1st February 2020

West Ham had let a 2 goal lead slip into a draw dragging them into the relegation zone with Manchester City and Liverpool to look forward to in the coming games ahead. Since returning to the managers post in December, Moyes had not been able to lift the teams form with only 1 league win in 6 and being dumped out of the FA Cup by then Championship side West Brom.

Issa Diop and Robert Snodgrass – who provided and then delivered – gave the Hammers a two goal lead just before half time. Diop headed in from a Snodgrass free kick, who then doubled the lead with a powerful strike from inside the area. It seems that the players had managed to turn their poor form around and the crowd were bouyant going in to the break.

Then came the second half, with alarm bells ringing as Fabianski punched Gross’s corner at Ogbonna who managed to head the ball into his own net. Snodgrass capped his man of the match performance with a second goal that left Brighton struggling for answers leading up to the final quarter hour of the match. But Brighton did not give up.

Shocking defending left Moyes angry that the team were unable to see out the win to continue a trend where the Hammers have yet to beat Brighton the the Premier League with the most recent victory in April 2012 when both team were in the Championship.

Substitute Arthus Masuaku’s poor pass infield was intercepted by Leandro Trossard sending the ball towards the box. Diop and Ogbonna hesitated under little pressure and as Ogbonna tried to head the ball back towards the keeper Fabianski, Pascal Gross nipped the ball into the net.

Fabianksi was arguably at fault for Brighton’s third and even Ryan Fredericks should have prevented the Davy Propper’s cross from being delivered to Glenn Murray, who scored to the exasperation of Moyes and the home crowd. After a lengthy VAR review the goal stood, reversing Michael Oliver’s origins decision to disallow the goal for hand ball.

Moyes said “I’m more disappointed at what my defender did; VAR should never have been close to being involved with it.”

It could be argued that both teams could not continue to survive the drop playing like this, with Brighton soft under pressure and West Ham making such defensive mistakes and not being able to see out the match to secure all three points.

“I’m angry and the players know I’m disappointed,” Moyes said.
“In the main we were very good but for a couple of really silly mistakes. We offered a threat, as did they. The performance was good but it’s tarnished by a couple of mistakes.”

After this match West Ham sat 18th in the table on 24 points, with Villa in 17th on 25 points and Bournemouth 16th on 26 points. Brighton remained in 15th on goal difference on 26 points.

Wishing everyone all the very best and a safe New Year.

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