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What is the Europa Conference League?

West Ham are staring down the barrel of qualification for the Europa Conference League, the new competition that will run alongside the Europa League next season.

Any European football would undoubtedly be a triumph this season, given how last season went, but not  much is known about the Conference League by any of us!

So we’ve put together a guide on what the competition actually is and how the Hammers can qualify.

WHAT IS IT? 

The Europa Conference League is the new competition introduced by UEFA for those clubs who won’t be playing in either the Champions League or the Europa League next season.

WHO QUALIFIES IN ENGLAND? 

As it stands, the seventh-placed team, and this is where it gets a little bit complicated. The winner of the Carabao Cup would usually get a spot but champions Manchester City won that, so their place passes to the next highest-ranked team in the competition who haven’t qualified for Europe.

The same goes for the FA Cup, as Leicester won it, and they are on track to finish in the top four. As a result, sixth-place are on course to be qualifying for the Europa League, with seventh in the Conference League.

On current standings, that would be the Hammers.

WHO ELSE QUALIFIES?

The seventh-best teams in Spain, Italy and Germany would qualify along with various other representatives from other leagues. On current standings, that’s Villarreal – provided Man United beat them in the Europa League final – in Spain, Roma in Italy and Union Berlin in Germany.

WHEN DO THE GAMES HAPPEN? 

The same night as the Europa, so Thursdays.

WOULD WEST HAM GO INTO THE GROUP STAGE? 

No. They’d have to qualify via a two-legged play-off that would take place in August.

Winning that would grant access to the group stage and then the Conference League operates in the same way as the Europa League, with knockout games leading to the final.

WHAT DO YOU WIN? 

In addition to a sparkly trophy, access to the following season’s Europa League, unless they have already qualified for the Champions League.

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Mipo nets PL award

Mipo Odubeko has won the Premier League 2 Player of the Month award, the Hammers have confirmed on their official website.

Odubeko has been in brilliant form for the Irons and was particularly excellent in April.

He scored all five of the club’s goals as they beat both Manchester United and Everton. The first game saw the club come from 2-0 down to win 3-2, with Mipo scoring a hat-trick, while he also netted a brace in the 2-1 win over the Toffees.

His goals mean that the club will be playing in the U23s’ Division 1 next term, and he seems primed for a first-team breakthrough in east London in the coming seasons.

Odubeko has scored 10 goals in nine outings in the Premier League 2 thus far this term and has already played twice for the senior side.

Those appearances both came in this season’s FA Cup, playing a single minute versus Stockport County and then playing 58 minutes in the fifth round against former club Man United.

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Agent Allardyce told Hammers need him

Former Hammer turned Academy coach Carlton Cole has posted a unflattering photo of Sam Allardyce with the caption “Come on West Brom, West Ham need you, Big Sam do your magic”

The 37-year-old former player who was managed by Allardyce is hoping that the relegated team led by his former gaffer Big Sam will roll over and play dead on Wednesday night to give the Hammers all three points.

The Baggies have only won five games all season with their last win coming against Southampton mid April.   However they did beat Chelsea 5-2 at the beginning of April and have drawn against Spurs, Manchester United and City in recent games.

Wednesday evening will see the return of supporters to see West Brom’s last  home game in the Premier League for now but Hammers fans will be hoping that Agent Allardyce can do West Ham one favor in not trying too hard with nothing to play for.

 

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Hope lives on as Blades grab surprise result

Sheffield United helped West Ham’s European hopes by beating Everton 1-0 on Sunday.

The relegated Blades pulled off a surprise 1-0 win over the Toffees at Goodison Park.

Everton remain on 56 points three points and one place behind the Hammers with two games to play.

Everton’s goal difference of +3 is inferior to West Ham on +10.

The Toffees must play Wolves before a tough last game of  the season against Manchester City to complete their Premier League campaign.

West Ham are aiming for a top seven spot to qualify for Europe but might need a few results around them to go their way over the next week.

The Hammers currently sit in seventh place with West Bromwich Albion on Wednesday and Southampton on Sunday.

West Ham have 59 points after 36 games with six points to play for so a maximum 65 points at the end of the season.  A 65 point total could earn the Hammers anything from fourth to seventh depending on results around them.

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Lingard price drop on the cards

It’s not gone unnoticed that Jesse Lingard’s form has failed to reach the heights of his early performances over recent weeks.

Those stunning early displays led to him to being named Player of the Month and earned him a recall to the England team.

But as the team’s form has slipped the Manchester United loanee has not been the effective force in those early games when he notched nine goals.

There may be a number of reasons for that and whilst in itself of course it’s  a great pity,  all honeymoon periods in every walk of life come to an end.

And in this case it may allow some realism to enter the debate about how much he is worth with the noises coming out of Old Trafford that they are ready to sell the 28 year old.

Over recent weeks anything between £20-£40 million has been reported but the reality probably is closer to £15 million.

David Moyes wants the deal done early in the summer so interesting times ahead.

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Slavia boss reveals Hammers Sima talks

West Ham have been in discussions with Slavia Prague over the transfer of Abdallah Sima to the London Stadium.

The exciting news can via a comment from Prague manager Jindrich Trpisovsky soon after the The Evening Standard  claimed Sima has had a big change of heart over his future.

The player had been reported previously as wanting a move to the German Bundesliga but has now apparently decided he wants a move to the Premier League.

Now Trpisovsky has confirmed that the 19 year old is available at the right price and that the Hammers have already been in talks with the club.

The Prague manager said on Slavia Prague’s official Twitter feed. : “There is interest in Abdallah Sima,” 

“There’s a set price at which he could leave.

“We focus on managing the rest of the season with us. We talked about it with the boys from West Ham, where they have him very high on the list of possible reinforcements.”

Claretandhugh says: There is transfer speculation, then there’s solid news and with this coming from the manager of the Czech outfit we can believe that the link with Sima is 100 per cent accurate and even at a price of say £25 million. it will be straightforward for the Hammers – who clearly have a special relationship with the club – to sort out suitable instalment terms which will be the way things are done across the board this summer.

 

 

 

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Moyes knows precisely why CL hopes are dead

Exasperated David Moyes knows exactly why our top four ambitions have disappeared like a morning mist.

It’s all to do with international football and with the Euros ahead all of us have a cause for fear of injuries and worse after Declan’s experiences this season.

It cannot be a coincidence that our form slipped so suddenly with the absence of Declan and the manager cane close to explaining his feelings after  the match against Brighton.

He didn’t go all the way and scream the house down but the frustration was obvious as he spoke of Dec’s absence over the past five weeks and the implication was very clear indeed.

He said: ‘We have missed him. It was nothing to do with us, he got injured playing for England, not for West Ham.

So we have had to put up with that. That has had an effect. It was good to get him back.’

Declan’s performance on his return backed up up his manager’s complaints as the Irons grabbed a last gasp equaliser on the south coast.

It took only half an hour of Rice’s return against Brighton to appreciate fully what West Ham have been missing.

During the first half an hour he made four vital interceptions and two big blocks on the edge of his area.

After that it was situation normal as he became key to everything good in the Hammers game.

We can moan and criticise as much as we like about recent performance but it was that international duty that was 90 per cent the cause of our undoing.

Is it any wonder many are hardly looking forward to the summer of football ahead.

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Benny’s hard work has paid off

Hammer Said Benrahma is delighted with his first goal for the club telling reporters it is his payoff for all the hard work he puts in each day in training.
The 25-year-old spoke to reporters post-match on the South Coast saying  “I’m happy to have scored my first goal. I hope it’s just the beginning. I’ve been working hard for this every day and it’s paid off today. I would’ve liked to have got the win as well, but a point away from home is OK and we have two games left.
We have to give everything and I hope to score more goals. Brighton are a good footballing team. We managed to stay calm and remain in the game. It’s better to get one point than nothing.
We kept going even after the goal and the point may be a big point at the end of the season. We managed to get back into the game and had one or two more chances as well. It’s tough because we would’ve liked to have won, but sometimes that’s how it goes.”
It was the former Brentford player’s first goal for the Hammers after 31 appearances since his £25m move from the Championship side.
Benny added  “Everyone was waiting for this goal, especially me, my family and the fans. I’m pleased and I hope it’s the first of many.
I hope to score many more. That’s what I’m working hard to do and I’m trying to play a key role. I hope that’ll pay off.’
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Declan’s dream dies and he says: “It’s horrible”

Declan Rice is a very unhappy young man after seeing the Hammers Champions League hopes die on the south coast.

We may well have dominated the game but our emerging habit of not finishing things off in the final third has cost us dear.

Our inability to break down a massed defence was another huge factor as it was against Everton and the reality is teams know how we play and organise themselves accordingly.

We certainly had our chances but in the end it meant that we had to battle our brains out to get an equaliser via Said Benrahma’s first goal of the season.

Declan was deeply disappointed declaring after the game that t he lads could not have battled harder all season long to make what still seems like a wild dream a reality.

And the truth is that it was probably key injuries which did for us in the final countdown.

Declan said:”‘It’s horrible, because we had the Champions League in our sights. We need to be winning and we’ve drawn too many. We’ve still got to be upbeat. 

‘I thought we dominated the game, but we’ve missed so many chances. At one stage, it looked possible.

The change around has been phenomenal. If we win our last two games, that will be West Ham’s best-ever (Premier League) season. “

‘We’ve given everything. Since pre-season, the manager’s been on us. That was a real bite in the teeth (drawing with Brighton). The injury (Rice suffered weeks ago) was a shock after playing so much. 

‘You think you’re invincible. He (Said Benrahma) deserves it (getting his first goal for the club). He’s had a mixed time here. Hopefully he can kick on.’ 

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Moyes makes an important Euro point

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with dreaming big – the problem starts when grief and upset take over if they prove TOO big,

David Moyes is not among those who are claiming our season is over, Instead he continues to feel that we could make it onto that European stage.

And he has made it clear that the point against Brighton might just be the one that makes the difference.

Moyes is a realist and knows it will be tough  but says that the result at Brighton may just be the tipping point which helps us qualify.

And he had great praise for the players who fought to the end to ensure they got a point which may yet prove invaluable.

It’s a hard one to believe but most of us know the game well enough to understand that Noysie may well have nailed it with just a couple of games to be played.

Speaking to www.whufc.com he said:Getting a point [after falling behind] with six minutes to go was good and the players showed a lot of character to make sure that we earned it. A point might be really important – it could be.

We are frustrated because we’re playing really well but we’re not getting rewarded for it.

The players were playing really well, their football’s improved. I would like that to show fruition by the goals and the last bit [of moves], but we’re not showing that by what we’re doing in the final third of the pitch at the moment.”

And he had a message for the rest of us saying: “My message to everyone associated with the Club is the same: Keep going.

We think we’ve done a lot of good things and we’ll try and keep it going.

We should never have gone a goal down in the first place, but as I said, great credit to the players for coming back.”