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Hammers held at Brighton

The Irons  U18s were held to a 1-1 draw with Brighton & Hove Albion U18s at Little Heath on Saturday morning.

Sebastian Nebyla’s first half finish put West Ham in front, before Stefan Vukoje equalised for the visitors early in the second period.

The draw means Kevin Keen’s side continue their positive start to the season, the young Hammers sit 4th in the U18 Premier League South, with 12 points from seven games.

The Academy side had chances to snatch the points late-on but were unable to re-take the lead against the unbeaten Seagulls.

West Ham U18s Assistant coach Mark Phillips told the official site “It was a good display, we wanted to be a bit sharper in the penalty box, but we played some really good stuff and created some excellent chances. Even when Brighton were able to equalise, we had three or four good chances to win it.”

West Ham were back in league action for the first-time since a disappointing 5-1 defeat to Fulham, Phillips was glad that the U18s were able to put that game behind them.

“The most pleasing aspect of today was bouncing back from the defeat against Fulham, we spoke to boys about that a lot and we did get a good response from them.”

Next up for the West Ham U18s is a trip Tyneside to take-on Newcastle U18s in the U18 Premier League Cup.

A win in the North East would ensure that West Ham qualify for the knockout stages, having won their first group game 2-1 against Tottenham Hotspur back in September.

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Pinpointing Lanzini’s drop in form

Hammer Manuel Lanzini received player poor ratings yesterday for another under-par performance. Questions are quite rightly being asked what is wrong with our playmaker?

It would be unfair to suggest his drop in form coincided with his new deal but it equally hard to call it a coincidence or pinpoint other factors.

The club waited before offering a new deal to Lanzini to ensure he was the same player after recovery from his cruciate ligament rupture injury he suffered while on international duty for Argentina in the world cup warm-up. He suffered another torn muscle in April this year which kept him out of action for another 16 days at the end of last season.

The 26-year-old extended his contract by a further two years at the end of August this year committing his future at West Ham to the summer of 2023.  His deal is rumoured to have bumped up his wages from £40,000 per week to around £100,000 per week to be on par with other star players.

Lanzini suffered another injury to his foot while on international duty again this season allegedly playing through pain at Aston Villa away before missing two games and finding himself back on the bench for the Bournemouth game.  He started again for the Crystal Palace defeat and again for Everton but hasn’t set the world on fire in either match.

Although Lanzini nicknamed the jewel is a big favourite with the fans it would be fair to say his form has been inconsistent during his time at West Ham and he is sometimes viewed with rose-tinted glasses by many fans.

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Arthur’s four year deal – an alternative view

Maybe I’m just a cynic but like others, no doubt, I still can’t see a seriously positive reason for handing Arthur Masuaku a new four year deal.

It seems unfair after yesterday quite appalling display by the team to focus on any player for criticism because they all deserved to be pilloried in a big way.

However, my thoughts turned back to Arthur as I saw him pulled inside out and backwards for the first and probably, critical, goal.

Yes Roberto should have done better but Arthur should have done a LOT better.

We were assured at the time the new four years was offered  it was because he has a big part to play in our future and, on the face of it, with his contract coming to an end next summer, this would be the natural time to do so I guess.

However, it may not have necessarily been for the sort of reasons some may have considered, as I can’t see how his form over the last two and a half years will have justified an extension equal in years to that of an American presidency!

Yesterday’s considerable cock up  wasn’t the first and much as I hope otherwise, I doubt whether it will be the last because his history tells us differently.

So why four years!

Could it be that with just a few months left on his deal there would have been no chance of getting any sort of fee for him but that with a few years tagged on he won’t be going anywhere on a near free.

Like I said, maybe I’m just a terrible old cynic but, I honestly can’t see him still being at the club in nearly five years time.

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Poll: Can Pellegrini improve on last season’s finish?

Manuel Pellegrini finds his team in tenth position in the league table this morning matching his final position of West Ham last season.

We have had a number of chances to go third or fourth in the Premier League table including yesterday but have blown them all in what has become a predictable theme.

We are now five points off third and fourth places but also only four points above 18th placed Newcastle United and five points ahead of 19th placed Norwich City.

We seem to lack the big team mentality the manager speaks so much about.

With almost a quarter of the league already played and losing two games in a row against winnable teams we ask whether the manager can improve on last season’s tenth position to grab ninth place or above?  A simple Yes or No poll.


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Reason behind Pellegrini’s two changes

Manuel Pellegrini announced two changes to yesterday’s starting lineup when Aaron Cresswell and Andriy Yamolenko were left out in and replaced by Arthur Masuaku and Pablo Fornals.

Aaron Cresswell suffered a knock against Crystal Palace but on Thursday’s press conference the manager insisted he had no fresh injury concerns except for the long term injuries of Fabianski, Reid and Antonio. It now appears he was being economical with the truth with Cresswell missing some training this week.  If he was playing mind games with Everton he didn’t work with Masuaku not having his best of games for the Hammers.  Cresswell is expected to have a full week of training in the coming week and be fit again for the Sheffield United home game at the London Stadium.

Andriy Yamolenko was rested on the bench by the manager after two international games for Ukraine and came on in the second half when things started to go against us. The decision not to start Yarmolenko was a strange one given his current great form and the fact that Masuaku had played two full games on International duty but was deemed fit to play.

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Everton loss is the West Ham way

We shouldn’t be surprised that we crumbled against an out of form Everton yesterday, it is the West Ham way after all!

Everton had been defeated four times in a row and in a relegation spot in 18th place in the table while the manager under the pressure and facing the sack.

On paper, it was a great time to play them to repeat last season away win but we know it doesn’t work like that at West Ham.

We had a chance again to go fourth in the Premier League table but bottled it and we have moved down two places to tenth in the table.

We did the same two weeks ago against Crystal Palace,  we played a team who hadn’t won away from home for months and seemed low in confidence so of course we rolled over and let them tickle our tummy and have the away win.

The more the statistics seem to be stacked in our favor the more we seem to do our best to prove everyone wrong.

The West Ham way as we know is about building up your hopes and aspirations for the season and certain games then knocking them down, thus it was ever so.  Nothing changes.

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Pellegrini not happy with the Hammers

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£80m compensation due if club was sold for £600m

Yesterday’s Daily Mail non-story about West Ham being available for sale has raised fresh questions about the financial penalties the owners would face if the club was sold before 2023 and whether they plan to buy the London Stadium before that date.

Suggestions that the club is up for sale at £600m were described as ‘complete nonsense’ by one senior club insider yesterday but it is true that the owners would need to pay out compensation if the club as sold before 2023.

Should the club be sold to say he King of Saudi Arabia before 2023 for £600m then the owners would need to hand over just under £80m to the stadium owners. There is no compensation on the first £125m,  £1.875m compensation on the next £25m, £5m on the next £50m, and £12.5m on the next £100m, anything above £300m attracts a further 20% compensation so at a £600m sale it would a further £60m.

As for the club buying the London Stadium before 2023, while the stadium is experiencing losses as high as £30m per year there is almost zero chance of the club taking over ownership of the stadium unless a heavy government subsidy was provided with it. Even with naming rights and without athletics the stadium would lose £20m with the current long term contracts in place.

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Diop tops dismal player ratings

Issa Diop topped the Claret and Hugh West Ham player ratings with an average score of 5.78 out of 10.

His partner in crime Angelo Ogbonna was rated second with a score of 5.72 with goalkeeper Roberto the only other player with a five score managing an average score of 5.39.

Over 3,000 Claret and Hugh readers were in no mood to give out good ratings after yesterday’s disappointing defeat.

Top of the four scores was Seb Haller with an average score of 4.93 followed by Ryan Fredericks on 4.83, Declan Rice was next on 4.66 with Yarmolenko on 4.54 and skipper Mark Noble the last of the four scores on 4.31.

Arthur Masuaku was top of the three scores with an average score of 3.83 followed by Jack Wilshere on 3.46 and Manuel Lanzini on 3.3.

The worst ratings were reserved for Felipe Anderson 3.46, Ablian Ajeti 3.09 and Pablo Fornals 3.08.

These savage ratings are probably the worst ever dished out since the Claret and Hugh player rating system was launched.

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Seb: ‘A lot of small things made this game very bad for us’

Seb Haller reckons some serious talking needs to be done after yesterday’s shocking defeat at Goodison Park.

Left to plough his lone furrow up front without a hint of service from his midfield, the Frenchman – like the rest of us – simply can’t understand how that performance happened or where it came from.

Thankfully nobody has started talking about the “Everton bogey team” after a match which surely came down to one team’s motivation against what appeared another’s  disinterest.

We say APPERED  because no highly paid professional athlete every goes onto a pitch with such a minDset. It’s impossible.

Maybe Haller should be excluded from blame given the awful position he found himself in yesterday. Frankly, it was more than unacceptable and there can surely be no more displays like that without the most serious lash back among those paying to watch the team.

Pellegrini will know that but in the meantime Haller declared @ https://www.whufc.com/news/articles/2019/october/20-october/haller-everton-defeat-shows-we-need-improve: “It’s a shame to play like that and today Everton were better in every part of the pitch. It was even worse in the first half, the second we [were] better but we didn’t deserve anything.

“Sometimes it happens and it’s difficult to understand why we were like that because it was not only one player, it was almost the whole team. It’s something we have to speak about after the weekend.

“Hopefully that kind of performance will remind us that we need more to be more than 100 percent every game, be more aggressive and make different runs.

A lot of small things made this game very bad for us, so we need to think about it [and do better] because that was unacceptable.”