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West Ham points total poll revealed

Over 70% of Claret and Hugh readers expect West Ham to total between 40 and 50 points when the Premier League season ends, a further 24% believe we could push on to between 50-60 points with just over 1% saying 60-69 is still possible.  Just over 3% say we will amass between 33 and 40 points this term in the top flight.

With twelve games remaining West Ham in theory have thirty six points to play for.  They start their dozen games with Fulham this coming Friday at the London Stadium.They then face a tricky away trip to Manchester City followed by a home tie to Newcastle United, we then travel to Wales to play Cardiff city away.

Two back to back home games at the London Stadium sees us play Huddersfield then Everton in March.

April brings Manchester United, Chelsea and Spurs broken up by Leicester City at home at the middle.

Finally May has our last home game against Southampton followed by the last day of the season against Watford in North London.

Full Poll Results: 33-40 (35) 3.66%  40-50 (676) 70.79% 50-60 (232) 24.29% 60-69 (12) 1.26%

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Irons strike force at bottom of pile as fans vote

If anyone were to doubt the standing of the Hammers strike force in the eyes of the fans they had a big awakening in the ClaretandHugh poll for Hammer of the Year.

Whilst there may still be much to come from the unpredictable Marko Arnautovic his standing in that poll came as a shock.

For as we reported earlier, whilst sweeping all before him last season as he became the fans’ choice for the top award, he and the others are bang out of favour this time around.

In a poll which drew over 2,000 votes the Austrian managed to pick up just six votes but it didn’t end there for our lack-lustre lot up front.

For Andy Carroll managed just five and Lucas Perez a hardly surprisingly big fat zero along with the deeply disappointing Javier Hernandez.

Also right out of favour with the fans in Arthur Masuaku who managed a paltry three votes suggesting that another huge overhaul is required in the summer.

When your three main front man can manage only 11 votes between them for such an important award the team really does have a problem!

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Karren Brady refuses to step down

West Ham Vice Chairman Karren Brady has refused to condemn her friend Sir Philip Green despite fresh allegations.

The Baroness said she would not be resigning as chairman of Taveta Investments – which owns Sir Philip’s Arcadia Group – asking a reporter, ‘Why should I?’

The comments were made outside her £3million Knightsbridge home and are her first public comments on the scandal since it broke three months ago.

She refused to speak to a reporter from The Sunday Telegraph but made her views clear by saying the claims against Sir Philip had been ‘denied’.

The newspaper sent her a written list of questions, which included asking for her opinion on non-disclosure agreements used to silence the mogul’s alleged victims.

Baroness Brady’s agent issued a statement to the Daily Telegraph last week saying: ‘You want Baroness Brady to resign from Taveta but she feels a real sense of duty to the 20,000 people who work there, one of which is her daughter, to remain in post. I hope you would agree that walking away is the easy thing to do – staying in the role and ensuring the company is robust going forward is much harder. She has made significant and lasting changes to the business since she became chairman and will continue to do so, ensuring that the company maintains the standards expected of it.’ 


Perez left out in the cold

Striker Lucas Perez seems unlikely to be included in Manuel Pellegrini plans for the remaining twelve games of the Premier League season after a failed January exit.

West Ham were close to agreeing a permanent £3.5m deal for Lucas Perez to join Real Betis in January but the Spanish club changed their minds, Bundesliga club Schalke were in talks to sign Perez, but that was on an initial loan deal with the option of making the deal permanent in the summer for £4.5m but again decided against the deal.

Perez joined West Ham in August in a £4m deal from Arsenal but has only made 14 appearances in all competitions since, scoring five goals.

Perez was not seen in any club pictures at the warm weather training in Spain earlier this week fuelling speculation he is out of favor with the manager and did not join the first team squad. In January the striker was dropped from the match day squad with Pellegrini who told reporters he had not applied himself well enough in training while a previous bust up last September involved Perez refusing to warm up from the bench.




Poll: Which injured West Ham player will you most welcome back?

Hammers Manuel Lanzini and Fabian Balbuena both look in contention to return from Injury for selection in the 18 man match day squad to face Fulham next Friday.

Both trained well in the warm weather training in Malaga earlier this week and are eager to resume their West Ham playing careers.

Samir Nasri who did not travel to Spain with the others remains a few weeks off a return while Winston Reid (knee), Jack Wilshere (ankle), Andriy Yarmolenko (achilles), Carlos Sanchez (knee) remain some way off from a first team return and are unlikely to feature much this season.

West Ham remain in tenth place in the Premier League table on 33 points with 12 games yet to play. Seven points separates Wolves in seventh place on 39 points and Leicester City in 12th spot on 32 points.

In today’s Claret and Hugh poll we ask which West Ham injured player  have we most missed and  you most welcome back into the first team.


Exit door looms for striker

West Ham are understood to have decided that Andy Carroll will not see the option on his contract exercised this summer and the very best he can expect to receive is a pay as you play contract at the club after his injury ravaged spell with us.

The Hammers would allow the contract to run out and offer him a new one rather than triggering the option they hold on the centre forward.

There had been hopes that an offer would be  received in the transfer window but there was no interest from anywhere in either a loan or permanent arrangement.

Carroll’s future as a free agent is now very much in his own hands and CandH has been regularly told that he is keen on a move to the MLS.

It means that we would be losing around £90k off the wage bill should he finally decide his future is elsewhere were a pay as you play deal not to appeal.

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Arnie’s opportunity to put things right

Marko Arnautovic may have fallen bang out of favour with many but he remains the Hammers best hope for a last lap charge over the last 12 games of the season.

His fall from grace has been dramatic and unsurprising given the January soap opera and his brother’s part in the Chinese soap opera.

Last season Marko won everything in sight at the awards ceremony – Hammer of the Year by a distance – and deservedly so,

But in last week’s CandH  organised poll held to gauge opinion on the leaders in this season’s race for the honour, the striker was  stranded on just five votes or 0.25 per cent of the votes.

It’s a demonstration that above everything else the fans demand loyalty and will turn dramatically once a player’s discontent becomes public.

On this occasion it even led the manager to use the transfer window woes as a reasons for the shocking defeats at Bournemouth Wimbledon and Wolves.

Since his return from injury in the last game Arnautovic has been ineffective which may be a reflection on the fact that he has received little service or something more sinister.

We take nothing for granted at PL level of course but Friday night when Fulham come visiting gives him an opportunity to show that he is still the player he was for us.

A good game and goal or two could easily set him up to become a major player for us again and given the other strikers we have at the club we all need it to happen.

With a new deal under his belt he owes us and I reckon we should make out judgements on where he’s at round about 10 pm on Friday evening.

He has a great opportunity to start putting things right but it still may be too late for many of course!

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Report: Hammers eye 33 year old to replace Zaba

There are stories …and then there are sensible reports!

And the tale in The Sun this morning seems like nether  given the Hammers and Pablo Zabaleta have yet to agree on whether he will be staying at the club next season.

As we have reported on several occasion Zaba only needs another eight Hammers appearances this season to automatically qualify for a new deal.

But already The Sun is claiming his replacement – in Antonio Valencia who is only one year younger – has been lined up should the Argentinian decide to call it a day.

That’s not true according to our senior source – who spoke to us by text – and admitted  the manager would like to keep Zaba for another year anyway given the trust between them built up at Manchester City and here.

According to the report Valencia has been at Old Trafford for 10 years but his contract ends this summer and there are no plans to discuss a new deal.

However, should Zaba add those final eight appearances a new contract will kick in automatically and he may find it difficult to resist a final year at this level.


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Karren Brady: ‘It is no use complaining’

West Ham Vice Chairman Karren Brady says there is no use in complaining about agents and scouts so long as everybody is working within legal requiremenst.

Writing in her Sun football diary the Baroness addresses an issue over which most become very hot under the collar.

And she also points out  that West Ham have seven scouts in Europe and a video analysis department.

Brady writes in the Sun   Agents and scouts are the propulsive figures. From desert sheikhdoms to Pacific atolls the obsession with football, accelerated by TV and its ladles of cash, is bringing all sorts of countries into play. Son Heung-min from South Korea scores goals for Spurs while Marko Arnautovic was tempted to leave West Ham because a Chinese club were dangling wads of Yuan. This is not necessarily all good, clean fun but, unless if breaks the law it is no use complaining. After all, my club does plenty of scouting abroad and it would be a dereliction of our duty not to. We have a director of football who has set up a system which employs seven scouts in Europe.

And I mustn’t forget our video unit, people who scan tapes of prospective footballers, delivered in hundreds every week.

The attraction of football really is eye-popping.”

Claret and Hugh Opinion:

For the transfer market to work, players must be scouted and enticed away from other clubs to join West Ham. It works both ways, sometimes agents try to turn the heads of our players to join another club like the case of Marko Arnautovic to China while at other times it agents who do the head turning on behalf of West Ham. I am sure no Lazio fan wanted to let Felipe Anderson go and probably resent Premier League clubs coming in to steal their best players.  Agents are a necessarily evil and here to stay. It is all a game of swings and roundabouts.


Pelle may be ready to revisit midfield option

Gary Medel was the only player in whom the Irons were interested

West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini looks set to launch a new raid on unsettled Beskitas midfielder Gary Medel in the summer.

The defensive midfielder is under contract until June 2020 and has made it clear to Besiktas he has no intention of agreeing a new deal with the club.

The Turkish outfit are keen for the 1 year old to a new three year deal but the player has made it clear he wants to finish his career in the summer.

At his age and with a year left on his deal the former Sevilla, Cardiff City and Inter Milan player woul cost in the region of £3-£5 million.

The Hammers boss was keen to sign him last month and although he has flair players such as Andriy Yarmolenko, Manu Lanzini and Samir Nasri on the way back he still needs defensive midfield cover for Declan Rice.

Earlier this month Pellegrini said: ”The only player we had interest in was Gary Medel, they told us it was free, and we were interested because he can play in two or three positions. They told us he was free but then it turned out the player was not free.”

However, at a knockdown fee a Hammers senior source told us by e mail: “He is one who interests the manager but at this stage we are simply concentrating on finishing as high as we can. It’s one that could possibly be revisited.”