Match Thread

Match Thread: Newcastle v West Ham

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

West Ham United: Jaaskelainen, Demel, O’Brien, Collins, Reid, Noble, Diame, Nolan ©, Downing, Jarvis, Maiga
Subs: Adrian, Rat, Tomkins, Diarra, Morrison, Cole, Vaz Te


Match Preview

Match Preview: Newcastle v West Ham

I know this is probably a really stupid thing to say, but I reckon the Newcastle match could well be a defining game. If we win it, expectations are going to be sky high and we’re all going to expect a good season finishing in the top half. And in a week’s time we’ll expect to have nine points on the board and have reached the second round of whatever the League Cup is called nowadays. Football isn’t life that, though, is it? Especially if you’re a West Ham fan who supports a club with no real strikers.

Newcastle away

Although we won the same game last year, back in 2011 we were slaughtered 5-0. Even with their injury, suspension and transfer woes, Newcastle are not to be misunderestimated, as George Bush might say. They have some quality players who will have been humiliated after their drubbing at Manchester City in their first game. We also need to bear in mind that last season we were the only club in the Premier League never to win two consecutive games. It would be nice to break that particular hoodoo today.

Newcastle will probably line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation: Krul; Debuchy, Yanga-Mbiwa, Coloccini, Santon; Sissoko, Anita; Marveaux, Ben Arfa, Gouffran; Cisse. They are missing S Taylor (suspended), Gutierrez (hamstring), Remy (knee), Williamson (knock), Haidara (knock), Alnwick (calf/shin), R Taylor (knee) not to mention Cabaye (Arsenal bound).

The most likely change I can see in our starting eleven is Downing in for Jarvis or Cole, but my suspicion is that Sam Allardyce doesn’t think he is fit enough to last ninety minutes. In theory Rat could come in for O’Brien, but why change a winning team? O’Brien played very well last week.

Last week I correctly predicted a 2-0 Hammers win. Unusually, I was right. Let’s see if lightning can strike twice. This week I’m going for a 2-0 win again, with Maiga to score.


Player Analysis

Is Ricardo Vaz Te the Answer to our Striker Problems?

One nice thing about this new site is that far more of you are contacting me via the CONTACT button at the top of the page, either to give me feedback on the site, or to make suggestions as to subjects we might debate. This evening, I had just appeared on ANY QUESTIONS and got this email from Leon.

Vaz Te

I am a former season ticket holder and as always I am keeping a keen eye on the summer transfer window like most fans. West Ham, or rather the two David’s and Sam, have done a fantastic job over the past few seasons and with the new ffp rules seem to be working overtime to keep the playing staff both balanced and competitive, which brings me to my main point.

We are in desperate need for at least one more goal scoring forward and in my opinion I think we have that player at the club in Vaz Te. I think he could handle playing in a more central role and Sam could I hope really get the best out of him. Now he might not be able to hold the ball up as well and others at the club but I think with the right service/support from midfield he could be the man to put the ball in the back of the net on a regular basis running into channels and getting in behind the last defender.

If I’m not mistaken Vaz has played this role at other clubs and I would love to see if your man at West Ham stats could dig anything up supporting my thinking. Enjoy the game tomorrow. Let’s hope that Newcastle do not have the wounded animal approach to the game.

Well, it’s a point of view, and on reflection, I wonder if he has a point. Let’s not forget, in 16 Championship games, he scored 12 goals. Some may say he found his level that season, but he hasn’t become a bad player overnight. I suspect he is a bit like Carlton Cole, a player who performs best when his manager shows his confidence in him.

Edit:

Hi all, Tom Aldworth here. Iain emailed me last night and asked for a few numbers to support this discussion.

Unfortunately, my main data sources (whoscored.com and squawka.com) do not have any stats for the 2011/12 Championship season, so we don’t have any real data from when Vaz Te played up front.

What I have done though, is taken a look at some of the data from last season, and compared RVT to his striking competitors in some key areas.

Firstly, we know that a centre forward for West Ham needs to be able to hold his own in the air. Well, last season Vaz won 43% of his headed duels. This is better than Maiga’s 40%, and at a similar level to Carlton Cole’s 49%. As expected though, this is significantly further behind Carroll’s 65%.

Vaz Te did, however, record the best headed pass completion rate of the four (46%). Carroll comes second in this category (39%), although he and Cole did play significantly more passes with their head than Vaz Te and Maiga.

Aside from aeriel prowess, what we really need is a striker who scores goals. It’s a bit difficult to say whether or not Vaz would be able to do this in the Premier League, but a record of 12 in 18 in the Championship two seasons ago suggests he is capable. Last year, he manged three goals – all of which came from inside the box, a positive sign. He also had a better shooting accuracy rate than Carroll (44% on target to Carroll’s 38%).

What interested me the most though, was his chance created stats. Vaz Te created 29 chances for his teammates last season. More than Maiga (6), Cole (11) and almost as many as Carroll (34). What intrigued me about this though, was that the majority (72%, to be precise) of the chances Vaz Te created came from the central attacking positions. 21 out of the 29 came from the centre. To me, this suggests that Vaz Te is a far more dangerous player through the centre of the pitch than he is on the flanks.

The question that Leon has posted (Is Ricardo Vaz Te te answer to our striker problems?) is one that RVT believes he has the answer too. Back in April, he gave an interview to the official site, in which he stated:

“Obviously I am not playing in my two main positions, which are forward or left-winger so all season I’ve had to adapt to the right.”

So maybe the answer does lie within?


Transfer Gossip

Is Sam Allardyce the New Alastair Campbell?

Sam Allardyce

I tell you what, politicians have got nothing on football managers when it comes to spin. Sam was at it at his press conference today, trying to make out that he was perfectly happy only having one striker in his squad, totally ignoring that the other one is trying to get a move to St Etienne. And of course, no one has come in for Vaz Te. Perish. the Thought. Or Matt Taylor. Or anyone come to that. And of course the club haven’t been talking to Juventus, or any other club for that matter, about bringing in another striker. Well if that’s the truth my name’s Wim Van Hanegam. [Where did that come from? Ed]. And if it really is the truth then someone isn’t doing their job properly.

I have rather lost count of all the European strikers we have been linked with. Quagliarella seems to be the hottest tip, although Norwich might well be competing with us for his services. Not sure the Norwich nightlife would suit him, to be honest. but maybe it’s changed since I was at university there in the early 1980s. A nice pizza at Pizza One, Pancakes Too in Tombland, then a night at Bonds or Ritzy’s. I knew how to live. Eleven pernod & blacks (remember, I come from Essex) in two hours was a particular achievement. The night took a turn for the worse when I asked the captain of the UEA Rugby Club: “Do you come here often?” I was dragged away by friends before he could shove it where the carrot wouldn’t crunch. Anyway, I digress…

Quagliarella

If we are happy to pay £7 million for a 30 year old Italian, why not pay £6 million for Jermain Defoe or not much more for Jordan Rhodes. They are both proven goalscorers and could both either lead the line or play alongside Andy Carroll.

We have a chance to finish well inside the top half of the league this year. But I can’t see that happening if we are totally reliant on the midfield players to chip in with ten goals each. Neither Jarvis nor Downing are known for their goalscoring exploits, and while Nolan and Cole will always get their fair share, what if Andy Carroll gets injured? Again. It hardly bears thinking about.

Sorry if that all sounds depressing. I really feel we can push on this season, but not if we have to rely totally on one player for goals. We’ve seen what Swansea have done. We’ve seen Norwich sign a couple of cracking strikers in Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Gary Hooper. I think both of them could finish in the top half. We could well finish above them, in the top 8, but only if we do what we all know needs to be done. And there are only 9 days left in which to do it.


Talking Point

Ssssssh! It's Oh So Quiet...

I got a lovely email via the site today, which I thought I’d share with you. I won’t name the reader as I don’t have his permission, but I think he brings up a very important point relating to the amount of singing at games.

Just to say I really enjoy website and think the new format is great. I have been a West Ham supporter since 1958 so no guesses about my age. I never write to anyone but for some reason you’re the exception. All I want is for you to try and get the crowd swaying again when singing Bubbles. There was no finer sight than to stand in the old chicken run and watch the other banks all swaying and singing. I feel this would be a fantastic sight when we get to the new stadium, which I am really looking forward to. If we only do it at the beginning of each match due to all seating, it would be something. Forgive an old sentimentalist.

West Ham Fans

I have to say I thought there was much more noise at the Cardiff match than usual, but that may be down to the fact they had 3,000 of their supporters in the away end. I have to say there were some games last year when you had to wonder if you were at The Emirates rather than Upton Park it was so quiet. Night games are the exception, although due to my job I can never go to those any longer.

All this makes me wonder what will happen when we move to the Olympic Stadium. The big mistake Arsenal seem to have made isn’t to have any designated singing areas. Clearly we need to create an OS version of the Bobby Moore Lower and the corner of the West Stand and Trevor Brooking Lower which is where most of the singing emanates from. It would be good to dot a few more singing areas right around the Olympic Stadium. I have no ideas whether these are in the plans or not, but if they aren’t, they should be.


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