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Laid-back Reidy points finger at Brighton

ReidyWinston Reid is one of the most laid back guys in the game but he makes no bones about the fact the Irons must beat Brighton.

Like his fellow defender Jose Fonte there are no ifs and but about it -the south coast side have to be brushed aside on Friday night at the London Stadium.

He’s disappointed – like everybody else – that we conceded late against Burnley – but declared: “We would have liked to have kept another clean sheet.

“We will look to bounce back , we have a game against Brighton on Friday night and we have to win that game.

“We had a very poor first three games and we have had some injuries, but we have got just about all our injured players back now and you could see there are good players that can’t even get on to the bench.

“Hopefully we will do well this season, but we need to start picking up some more wins so that we can get further up the table.”


“All in all, we are getting better. I think the football we played at the start of the match (against Burnley) was really good and if we had eleven players on the pitch [for the whole 90 minutes] we would have ultimately won the game.”



Bilic and the striker that got away – THANKFULLY!

IheanachoWho remembers the name Kelechi Iheanacho?

For those with shorter memories he was the young man West Ham were supposedly set to sign as their main striker way back in the summer.

Without most of us having seen him or heard about him, his 22 goals for Manchester City over two seasons made him a ‘must have’ player for the Irons and all hell broke loose when Slaven Bilic put the block on it.

The manager’s argument was that at City – surrounded by good players – he may look a better player than was actually the case and instead he waited for another to come along with a proven pedigree in Chicharito.

We got him for £16 million whilst Iheanacho was priced up at £25m!

Okay, we know the Chicharito thing hasn’t worked out too well thus far but that’s for another discussion which has probably been held anyway.

Back to the point and watching Leicester City last night against West Brom seemed to suggest that on Iheanacho at least Bilic had got it right.

The boy has played six games in a blue shirt, failing to find the net as the Foxes have gathered just three points from three draws in their last six games.

That also tells a tale of second season syndrome suffered by managers such as Craig Shakespeare and our own boss but time is on their side at least.

I dread to think what would have been happening on the forums had we bought Iheanacho and he’d experienced the same sort of start with us as he has in the east midlands.

And remember there was a buy back clause involved from Manchester City. Thankfully, on what we saw last night which included a booking, he was the one that got away.

All that remains now is for Bilic to find a way of getting the very best out of  Chicharito !




Just brilliant as Hammers find a new playmaker

We welcome new blogger Max Willow to ClaretandHugh. Max is based in Australia and has been a fantatical Hammer since the early 1960s. He is a regular contributor to the CandH forum and also writes for West Ham World. In his first blog he puts the spotlight on Pedro Obiang as he looks back at the 1-1 draw against Burnley. Welcome Max!

By Max Willow

obiang1The dust has now settled, following our well-deserved 1-1 draw against Burnley at Turf Moor. After an exciting and very turbulent first half, which saw us reduced to 10 men,

Slaven Bilic decided to replace Marko Arnautovic with the ever-reliable, Pedro Obiang which made good sense given Obiang’s considerable abilities as a defensive holding midfielder, and an excellent partner with the West Ham ‘powerhouse’, Cheikhou Kouyate.

Sometimes, we easily fall into the trap of confining a particular player to a certain position/role, which seemed to be the case when Pedro first arrived from Genoa, in 2015.

Upon resumption of play, nobody could have expected to witness what must have been the most brilliant display of Obiang’s footballing life? A solid, dependable performance, yes; but nothing quite as breathtaking as this. 

On that restart  West Ham played like a team possessed. For the first 10-15 minutes, I was mesmerised by our display; I could have easily been mistaken by believing that this was a Brazilian team, playing in their irresistible, improvised best.

For many years, I had hoped that one day, we could play like the brilliant 1970 World Cup winning Brazilians, when they thrashed Italy 4-1, in one of the most memorable finals of all time. Yet we did, albeit for a short period!

Within a few minutes, Manu Lanzini fired in a superb cross from the right flank, which only just failed to find Michail Antonio’s desperate lunge. Oh, so close…

It was only minutes later, when we witnessed, arguably, the ‘move of the match’. It began with Pedro Obiang taking possession with a well-timed tackle on a Burnley defender about 45 meters from the Burnley goal.

He was quick to spot a small opening to his right, and ran with the ball before using a clever back-pass onto a following team-mate. Lanzini and Chicharito combined to put together a series of quick short diagonal passes which tore the Burnley defence to shreds. The ball slipped through to Antonio, who just failed to make perfect contact with his shot, but still requiring a fine save from Nick Pope. The passing sequence may have resembled a well-rehearsed training tactic, but Obiang’s integral part suggested that this was vision and creativity at its very best.

This second piece of footballing magic deserved a goal and make no mistake, about Obiang’s role in orchestrating what occurred. As the game continued, it appeared that Antonio, Lanzini, and Chicharito were starting to show signs of tiring, yet Obiang seemed to fill in the void, with the consummate ease of an established playmaker. In addition he showed great enterprise with two well-struck shots from outside the penalty box.

 After repeated reviewing of that second half, I am convinced that in Obiang we have another playmaker in addition to  Lanzini.  I am very reticent to assign that very important title, given how much it is over-used these days. So let’s remind ourselves of what we understand by the term playmaker..

 In general, a playmaker is a person who controls the flow and momentum of a team’s offensive play; often involved in passing movements which lead to goals, through their vision, technique, ball control, creativity and passing ability.

Many deep-lying playmakers (also commonly known as the ‘regista’ in the Italian football vernacular), are also known for their ability to switch the play, or provide long passes that pick out players making attacking runs, as well as their striking ability form long distance.

It was only barely a month ago, playing against WBA, when we witnessed Obiang’s stunning 45-yard strike cannon off the cross bar, with the WBA goal-keeper, Ben Foster, only slightly off his goal-line!

 Pundits may be quick to remark that Obiang is not a particularly fast sprinter. That said, his decision-making/reflexes are lightning fast, and he has good acceleration over 15-20 yards.

Hopefully, Obiang would have received sufficient positive feedback for his fabulous contribution. Let us hope that Slav and friends can see these play-making attributes and make optimal use of them. So assuming that I am correct, how did Obiang reach this lofty and rarely seen ability?

As a young boy, where he excelled at RD Alcala (a club from the ‘community of Madrid’), he learned the importance of technical ability in the context of Spanish football. His subsequent move to Sampdoria, in 2008, presented him with a new challenge, with a requirement to develop a well-tuned, tactical sense, to his existing kitbag of skills.

A very revealing, albeit short interview question which was put to Manu Lanzini, last year, was “who would be your first team-mate chosen, in a team that you would theoretically put together”. Without hesitation-he named Pedro Obiang, and his reasoning was consistent with the characteristics discussed above.





Chicharito is only as good as his service says Phelan

skysports-javier-hernandez-west-ham_4129764“If you’re looking for a centre-forward with a history of scoring goals, it doesn’t get any better than Javier,” Mike Phelan, Sir Alex Ferguson’s former assistant at Manchester United has told Sky Sports.

But there is another side to it: Can you provide the service for him to score the goals? If the service is there for Chicha in and around the 18-yard box, you can guarantee he’s one of those players who will hit the target more often than not, which means he’ll score more goals than he’ll miss. It’s just a question of how you play to him.”

“He’s a joy to work with,” 
Phelan says. “He comes in, he’s prepared to train, he works hard, he smiles but he also gets annoyed. He’s always had all the ingredients of a top player.

“For him to come back to England was a big decision for him. He’s not Mexico’s top goalscorer for nothing and he’s not had the career he’s had for nothing. It’s up to West Ham to get him in there and show everybody that he’s the player who can turn their fortunes around.”


Hammers track Blades attacking midfielder

DavidWest Ham is said to closely following the rising career of young attacking midfielder David Brooks at Sheffield United who is rumoured to be available for £10m this January.

Liverpool, Arsenal, Newcastle and Everton are also tracking Brooks, who earned a call-up by Wales for their recent World Cup qualifiers against Georgia and Ireland. The 20-year-old played for England U21’s in the Toulon Tournament last summer, when he was named the best player in the south of France. But Brooks, who qualifies for Wales through his Wrexham-born mother, switched allegiance in August when he was named in Rob Page’s Under-21 squad. Brooks subsequently scored in a 3-0 victory for the U21s in Switzerland.

Since making his Sheffield United debut against Leicester under-23’s in an EFL Cup he has quickly established himself as one of English football’s hottest young properties. Blades boss Chris Wilder has vowed fto keep him at Bramall Lane insisting the starlet is a crucial part of his plans to win promotion back to the Premier League.


West Ham rumoured target to be offered new contract

JackArsenal manager Arsene Wenger is looking to offer Jack Wilshere a new four-year contract to stay at the Emirates.

A report in the Daily Mirror says Wenger has been so impressed that a new four-year contract offer is in the pipeline for the 25-year-old.

The Arsenal midfielder and boyhood West Ham fan has yet to appear in the Premier League this season but has completed the full 90 minutes of two cup games – one in the Europa League, one in the Carabao Cup – as well as a further substitute appearance in Europe.

Recent media speculation had continuously suggested Wilshere was set to join the Hammers our senior sources said West Ham have no intention of signing Jack Wilshere this January.

The Hammers are adopting a once bitten twice shy attitude to Wilshere after the problems they inherited when Andy Carroll joined the club and have no interest in signing any player with a long injury history.


Mike on Monday

Mike is back again with his weekly feature and on this episode he talks about our battling draw against Burnley, Andy Carroll’s dismissal and the resulting improvement in our passing game.


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Poll: Who should skipper West Ham?

With Mark Noble no longer looking an automatic first-team selection, thoughts turn to whom should be the on-pitch skipper in his absence.

Winston Reid currently has the armband but a growing number of views are being expressed on social network as to who is the obvious candidate.

Pablo Zabaleta’s name continually crops up and Joe Hart has been regularly mentioned in dispatches along with Cheik Kouyate.

So our latest poll asks a simple question: Who do you think should inherit the armband when Noble is not around?

It’s a tough one and some would say that it’s an irrelevancy because if you are a leader you don’t necessarily need to word captain written on a piece of cloth around your arm.

However, we want to hear your view:

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Sinclair gets Carroll fine issue all wrong


Trevor Sinclair has warned Slaven Bilic he will be making a big mistake if he decides to fine Andy Carroll for his sending off offences against Burnley.

Speaking out on Twitter the former Hammers favourite claims the manager will be creating a very dangerous precedent if he decides to take such an action.

But  in fact  the former Hammers favourite was making the mistake as such situations are more than covered – some would say inadequately – within the players’ contractual obligations.

ClaretandHugh learned this morning, and published a story explaining, that all squad members are punished by the loss of one week’s wages for a straight red for half a week for two as is standard procedure within contracts.

However the wild suggestions in some of the tabloids that Carroll would be hit by a £180,000 fine (two weeks wages) received an immediate response from Sinclair.


Sinclair responded:: “Slav setting a very dangerous precedent if he fines Carroll for sending off at Turf Moor .”

Also wrong!

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Irons fans want new skipper – guess who?

A growing lobby of West ham fans are calling for Pablo Zabaleta to become West Ham United’s captain.

With Mark Noble dropped for the match at Burnley and looking unlikely to regain his position as an automatic selection the armband situation is being discussed more and more on ClaretandHugh forums.

Many do not believe Winston Reid is not vocal enough but that Zaba has captain written right the way through him with his experience, ability and total commitment to the cause.

Here are some of the random comments from CandH’s followers today after Zab told Andy Carroll his elbowing sending off was “nasty.”

40D515D800000578-4550636-Pablo_Zabaleta_says_he_was_persuaded_to_join_West_Ham_by_fellow_-a-180_1496007389018 (1)

O Please make this guy captain of our squad.

O To me, Zab is every inch a captain. Experienced, sees the game well, not afraid to give ANY player a reality check!
What more does a team need?

O  Have just booked my tickets for Friday nights match I would love it if we saw Zab with the armband on

O I like Mark Noble but but would he, as captain, have come out and criticised Andy like this? Zab is proper captain material.

O I agree. He’s a 100%  winner and what he said about Carroll was spot on

O Zab every time -really impressed by his attitude. A winner.