Match Thread

Match Thread: West Ham v Watford

West Ham v Watford
FA Premier League
London Stadium
KO 3pm
TV: None

Please comment as the game progresses in the thread below.

Talking Point

What Are Our Players Worth?

Guest Post by Gary Hymams

I watched the Fulham game in Bulgaria. My son, who lives there, and I spent two days working out the best option. The game would be on Bulgarian TV, but one would have to put up with a commentary in Arabic or Russian. There is a bar in the high street, where the Bulgarian owner is a West Ham fan and, sure enough, on the day, when we walked past, he was wearing a West Ham shirt. Then, I had a live chat with BT Sport and discovered their app can be viewed anywhere in the EU (for how long?), which is rather helpful.

So, after some difficulty with screen mirroring from a phone to the TV, we settled down in comfort, although it went to streaming a couple of time which was worrying.
Basically, when abroad, I would walk 10 miles or go without food for two days in order to watch a game. I’m sure you would too.

However, what I didn’t count on were my grandchildren. Did I want to play with slime? Did I want to eat the slime? I didn’t realise how big my grandson’s head is , until he put it between me and the TV. My son went to the kitchen to get them some snacks and missed the first goal. Thereafter, my granddaughter kept telling him to go to the kitchen, so West Ham would score again.

When West Ham scored, the grandchildren went berserk and my grandson, who is five, wasn’t even watching the game.

So, my reflections of each player:

Fabianski – Fabulanski
Masuaku – Why the hell is he a left back? Surely, he would make a better midfielder?
Balbuena – completely solid
Diop – Reliable as usual
Zabaleta – a great game, although when he gets to the byline, he seems to run out of ideas and execution.
Noble – he can deliver a killer pass either for us or backwards for the opposition.
Snodgrass – complete respect for the way he has gone about improving his game.
Rice – reminds me of Bobby Moore the way he distributes the ball
Antonio – Scored another great goal and seems to have got his confidence back in front of goal.
Hernandez – seemed to only have one touch the whole game, but that paid his salary.
Anderson – Wonderful and still seems not up to his best. Better than Payet in defence.
Carroll – If you bring him on, at least get to the byline and get some crosses over
Diangana – Hope he doesn’t lose that initial confidence
Obiang – reliable

So, approaching the transfer window, let’s play a Christmas game and value our team:

Fabianski £25 million
Masuaku £10 Million
Zabaleta a pat on the back
Diop £40 million
Balbuena £25 million
Noble – a pat on the back
Snodgrass £20 million
Rice £45 million
Antonio £20 million
Hernandez £5 million
Diangana – £20 million
Carroll – £10 million
Arnautovic – £50 million
Anderson – £55 million
Obiang – £10 million

Come on you Irons . I’ve finally lost that sick feeling in my stomach.


Match Thread

Match Thread: Fulham v West Ham

Fulham v West Ham
FA Premier League
Craven Cottage
KO 5.30pm
TV: BT Sport
Radio: talkSport

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

Match Report

The West Ham Tower of Babel

Guest Post by Gary Hyams

I can’t explain how Jesus walked on water and I don’t know how Donald Trump became President of the United States. More of a mystery is the way West Ham could play such a sloppy first half filled with inaccurate passing, but come out in the second half and score three brilliant goals in just a few minutes.

It was if they had just go out of bed and nobody told them the kick off was at 3.00pm. By the time, at 3.15pm,they actually starting playing, they were one down.

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So, let’s try and explain that mystery. Like most Premier League teams, our team is a reconstituted Tower of Babel. In the place of surnames, our team comprised by language Polish, Spanish, Spanish, French, French, English, English, English, Spanish, Spanish, and Portuguese. These are all directed by a manager whose speaks Spanish and English with an accent so thick , I wouldn’t be inclined for him to teach my children the offside rule. Looking at the line-up, it would be sensible to teach the English players to speak Spanish, rather than the converse. Comprende!

Or, we need to establish a common language. Esperanto is out of the question, but I would suggest the most appropriate language would be cockney rhyming slang, so here are a few phrases:

Ball watcher – Botcher
Dribble – Have a Nibble
Formation – Hold your Station
Foul – Kick in the Bowel
Goal – Good for your Soul
Members of the Board – Should be put to the Sword
Header – Ball Spreader
Marking man to man – Parking Auntie Anne
One Touch Soccer – Dutch Rocker

In addition, I have no idea how the referee can communicate his instructions in so many diverse languages. The referee today was Anthony Taylor who comes from Cheshire, so it goes without saying that he hardly speaks English.

We are going to have VAR next year, so I also suggest the introduction of earpieces, downloaded with Google Translate. I would call it EAR – Earpiece Assistant Referee. Perhaps, the manager could use it, as they do in American football.

So, what the hell happened at half-time. Did they finally have some Weetabix or a magic potion? Did the manager utter some diabolical phrase in Spanish? Whatever happened, they came out in the second half and scored three goals again in a short space of time. And brilliant goals too.

It was great to see Andy Carroll standing there like the Rock of Gibraltar. It would appear every time he gets the ball, we get a free kick. Otherwise, he can be like a bullseye on a dartboard. Robert Snodgrass finally found the net with a brilliant strike. Earlier, he had made one of the worst passes of the season.

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Felipe Anderson is the visual version of a good bottle of wine – velvety, light bodied and crisp and leaves you wanting more. Declan Rice is a cut above everybody. The only excuse I can find for Zabaleta and Masuaku is that they found the green surrounding the pitch too disturbing and their performances will be much improved when this is turned to claret.

Noble has been much improved , since they put him in blinkers and he stopped passing back and to the side all the time. Diop and Balbuena are faultless, but you can’t have a two man defence.

Anyway, well done the lads! This week has been great entertainment and you have done us proud.

Match Report

Ten Things We Learned From West Ham 3 Crystal Palace 2

Three games. Three wins. Three or more goals in each of them. When was the last time that happened, because I’m buggered if I know. Perhaps the most gratifying thing about this win was the fact that even when we were 1-0 down at half time I was confident we’d pull it round.

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Even though we didn’t have a shot on goal in the first half (unless my memory is failing me) we played some good football. OK, had their shot just before the half time whistle been a couple of inches lower, we’d have gone in two down, but even then I wouldn’t have ruled us out of getting something out of this game. So, what did we learn?

1. That we have a squad worthy of the name. Our subs bench is packed with regular first teamers even though we have an injury list as long as your arm.
2. Perez and Hernandez are too similar to be played alongside each other. Perez was unlucky to be substituted, though as he was very busy in the first half.
3. While not fully back to his old self, Andy Carroll’s entry to the game was a key development. He hassled and harried and he won the ball which led to the second goal.
4. Robert Snodgrass and Declan Rice should share the Man of the Match award. Snodgrass was everywhere and a constant threat to Palace. Rice was superb in his tackling and the timing of his tackling. He has that same imperious majesty about his game that Bobby Moore had. He never seems ruffled and appears to have all the time in the world when in reality he doesn’t.
5. Another goal for Felipe Anderson, and what a corker it was. Payet at his best. he picked his spot and from the moment the ball left his boot there was no doubt in my mind it was going in. As the game went on, he came into his own more and more. He’s still too easily knocked off the ball, but he’s getting there.
6. The loss of Marko Arnautovic could have been a gamechanger. It wasn’t. Since he departed the pitch against Cardiff, we’ve scored 6 goals in 155 minutes of football. I’m not sure how many of us would have bet on us doing that.
7. Our main weakness today, I’m afraid to say, was Arthur Masuaku. His defensive weaknesses are usually compensated by his attacking abilities. I’m afraid he and Anderson appear to have no understanding whatsoever. And most of Palace’s dangerous moments came down his side of the pitch, rather than Zabalatta’s. There’s a reason for that.
8. We are now tenth in the Premier League with 21 points from 16 games. Half way to safety and 11 points above the relegation zone. Or as I like to see it. Two points off 7th.
9. Our next five games are against Fulham, Watford, Southampton, Burnley and Brighton.
10. A final word about Grady Diangana. He came on the for the last twenty minutes and again looked absolute class. In fact he nearly scored.

And here’s how I’d rate the performances of those that played…

Fabianski 7, Diop 7, Balbuena 7, Zabaleta 7, Masuaku 5, Noble 7, Rice 8, Snodgrass 8, Chicharito 6, Anderson 8, Perez 6, Diangana 7, Carroll 6

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PS David Hautzig’s match report will appear tomorrow.

PPS. Here’s why Perez didn’t come out for the second half!

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