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Sarri claims Irons position “is not reality”

Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri has warned his squad that West Ham’s position in the Premier League “is not reality.”

The 59 year old Blues boss has made a perfect five game start to his  Staford Bridge but is very wary  of the job facing him at the London Stadium tomorrow.

He rates the team highly despite us having just recorded just one PL win in five games.

He said:’I have seen the five matches of West Ham in the Premier League. I think they are a very good team.

‘They changed in the last match against Everton, from 4-2-3-1 to 4-1-4-1. They played very well.

‘I think the position in the table of West Ham is not reality.

He believes his job is made tougher by a schedule of matches which gives clubs involved in Champions League so little time between their commitments at that and PL level.

His preparations for the LS match have been disturbed by a late return to England after adverse weather affected his departure from Greece.

He said: “In Italy if you are playing in the Champions League you can ask to play the match before on a Friday or Saturday,’ the former Napoli boss said.

The former Napoli boss didn’t expect such an impressive string of results to his start in England but know he can certainly not take the Hammers lightly.

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Rice ready to hurt club that kicked him out

(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Declan Rice was kicked out of Chelsea as a kid being told he wouldn’t make it at the club.

But tomorrow he’s likely to step out at the London Stadium ready to show just how wrong that decision has turned out to be.

Rice is now arguably the most discussed young prospect in the game and produced an amazing performance against Everton last weekend.

Now, hopefully he will make another team in blue suffer as he sets out to prove a point or two in the high profile Premier League clash.

And ahead of the game he declared: ““One hundred per cent I’d love to be involved “The manager sees different things for different games but to play against Chelsea would be special.

“We got a great point away there last season. They’re doing well as well but, with that result, we’re going in with momentum and we want to win the game.

“Chelsea at home is a massive derby and we’re going to be fired up for it.”

“There have been lots of questions asked of me recently in the media and the papers, but I just want to play my football and enjoy myself and you could see I had a smile back on my face last Sunday,” he said.

“That’s when I’m happiest, when I’m playing on a football pitch and we’re winning. The feeling after with the lads is such a great moment. I had many of them last year and I just want to keep on going now.”

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Chesea star claims he’s fit for Hammers

Chelsea winger Pedro has declared himself fit and ready to meet the Hammers tomorrow despite his clash with the PAOK keeper while on Champions League duty this week.

Announcing the player was set to miss the game his manager  Maurizio Sarri had said after the game: “He’s a doubt for the West Ham game… a doubt for both of the Liverpool games.”

But the player has since said: “”Everything’s OK despite the incident at the end of the game.”

However, it’s probably not wise to see that as a confirmation as players are always upbeat about injury conditions and finally such decisions rest with the manager.

The Chelsea squad however, only arrived back in England yesterday afternoon after their plane had been delayed out of Thessalonika because of bad weather and are believed to have missed a training session.

That means Sarri has just 48 hours to get his players rested and prepared for their trip to the London Stadium.

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Squad vision presents Pelle with new challenge

It was David Moyes who established Arthur Masuaku as his preferred left sided option after switching Arnie to centre forward.

He moved Aaron Creswell into a more withdrawn role in central defence whilst this season the former Hammer of the Year finds himself very much second choice to our Arthur and failing to find an alternative role given the summer arrivals.

He’s in much the same sort of position as Adrian – once untouchable as the No 1  and now probably looking for alternative employment at the end of the season.

For Cresswell, however, there are three years left on his current deal and no immediate route out of the London Stadium where once there were even rumours that Manchester City and Chelsea were keen.

It’s a significant situation and demonstrates how serious Pellegrini was when on his arrival he declared that he was not building a team but a squad.

(Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

The current ‘victims’ of the new way forward are of course Cresswell, Antonio, Fredericks or Zaba, Ogbonna, Snodgrass, Perez, Sanchez and Chicharito.

Winston Reid and Andy Carroll will join them in the Hammers waiting room in all probability on their return.

Ok, it’s a problem for the players but more importantly a challenge for Pellegrini although he has been there before at virtually every club he has managed.

He will soon be facing up to the issue of how he keeps big name players happy at West Ham  – a situation very new at this club where for too long we have been able to name the team while on the way to the game.

I have no doubt he will manage the situation with his usual mix of calm, charm and ability ut the situation demonstrates one thing very seriously.

Things are changing rapidly at the club – there’s real pressure for places – and as the results start to flow, I am sure they will, we will have to become accustomed to this being a very different WHUFC to the one we have been following for so long.


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Snoddy may be back in ‘window’

West Ham could entertain offers for Robert Snodgrass in the January transfer window with Manu Lanzinie due back from injury early in the New Year.

With Declan Rice, Mark Noble, Pedro Obiang, Michail Antonio, Andriy Yarmolenko available along with Manu as front line operators, and with a (hopefully) recovered Jack Wilshire back in the frame, Snoddy may yet be surplus to requirements if the club receive the right offer.

The club is in no hurry to sell anybody but with the options opening up in the New Year it’s likely there could be offers from clubs for the Scot.

He has done really well to make an impact on the team this season but the competition for the midfield places will become fiercer and fiercer as the season progresses and that could see him slip down the pecking order.

A source told ClaretandHugh: “Robert has done well and January is some way away – we will need to assess our options at that time.”

Villa are continuing to keep a watching brief on the situation as they again push for promotion from the Championship after their near miss last season.

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‘Hollywood’ Arnie waits to step on stage

We love him but there’s no question that our Arnie perhaps has a bit of Hollywood about him!

And why not?

It hasn’t gone unnoticed that the top man has made a habit of disappearing from the action any time from the 70th minute when not unnaturally he usually receives thunderous applause as he leaves the action.

This week of course the ‘star’ aura surrounding every Hammer’s favourite Austrian will have stretched from last Sunday to this one given his ‘injury.’

There’s nothing wrong with being a seeker of attention if you have the talent to do so and that’s why – and hey I can be wrong  lol- I would have a very large bet on the Hammer of the Year being fit for Sunday.

It’s not all based on supposition, scepticism and opinion by the way!

I have talked to several sources today who reckon that Arnie is looking in good nick, smiling, happy, and looking forward to the game.

He passed an amusing aside to one of them when asked about Chelsea saying: “I play – we win.”

You really do have to love the man but let’s remember that amid all the intense “will he, won’t he be fit ” discussion there are other elements at work.

In my world and that of several inside the club I fully expect to see him step onto that pitch at 12.30pm on Sunday!


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Chelsea fans fear Irons could ‘wreak havoc’

Chelsea have received a warning that the Hammers could wreak havoc on them via the wings if they under-estimate the team’s potential.

A Blues blog www.chelsea-news.co  seems deeply worried that Felipe Anderson and Andriy Yarmolenko will have more than the leaders’  measure.

In their match preview they say: “They bought Felipe Anderson from Lazio and Anriy Yarmolenko from Borussia Dortmund, both for big fees.

Those are to truly top players, who were playing at Champions League level. Both had been linked with moves to the very biggest teams in Europe at some point.

So Chelsea, who have won 6 on the spin now, must be very careful not to underestimate the Hammers, especially playing at the London Stadium.

That dangerous pair out wide could wreak havoc, especially down Marcos Alonso’s side as we saw against Arsenal.

Both looked to be finding their feet in the last set of fixtures, and it would be just our lucky if they step it up again against us.”

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Irons v Chelsea: The analysis



CandH match analyst Mike Manera looks at Sunday’s game


I can’t remember a time when the Hammers have had so many options in so many positions but Manuel Pellegrini should ignore most of them on Sunday and stick with last week’s team.

The Marko injury question is still hanging over his team selection and I’m told he will be making a final decision on Sunday morning.

I’ll come to that later but with everybody else be fit they should all start with Zaba holding his place over Ryan Fredericks and Declan Rice of course now our nailed on defensive midfielder.

Many words have been published about him this week but I don’t think anybody could have expected him to make such an impact on his first team return.

He was great in midfield and being a natural defender he was forever slipping into the back four whenever Diop or Balbuena moved forward.

It’s a shame that Jack Wilshere’s injury was responsible. No player deserves that but Declan simply settled in to the manner born and it’s hard to argue with the view that he shouldn’t be the man around whom the manager builds this team.

There was a calmness and composure from him which spread through the team and I believe with game time and more training under his belt we will also see improved passing and performance from the Mark Noble against Chelsea.

The manager is getting his messages through and what’s clear is that he prefers Masuaku to Cresswell, has stuck with a central defensive pairing which is starting to look good, has now seen the Rice potential and can be very pleased with Pedro Obiang’s contribution.

If Obiang can add consistency to his game we may not need to venture too heavily into the January transfer market, if not I think we will because if I was backing either Rice or him to have an off day it would be him.

Getting things sorted was always going to take time. In fact in one of my weekly pieces I remember saying: “Don’t be surprised if we are 16th after four games!”

It now looks a lot better since last weekend but were Arnie to be missing that would be a blow although as I mentioned earlier we do have more options than for many years.

I think I’d start with Perez should that be the case because he drifts around and drags defenders out of position although much will depend on his match fitness.

Antonio is the other obvious candidate although he may not have the sort of football brain as the former Arsenal man.

Yarmo and Anderson have also shown they can make a real impact and if we can look after Hazard – whom I think should be marked zonally – I fancy us

Sure it’s a hard game but we look to be developing a real team pattern and I’m confident of a win.

I’m going for a 3-2.

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Chelsea suffer new blow ahead of Irons clash

Chelsea suffered another blow after Pedro was injured in the game against PAOK last night when their flight was delayed because of weather conditions.

Sky Sports report that the Blues were scheduled to fly home late on Thursday night, but the flight was delayed as a result of the adverse conditions

It’s bad news for manager Mauritzio Sarri (right) and his squad who could now see training ground time cut well short ahead of the game against us on Sunday.

The League leaders a had been expected to be back in London by this afternoon but it could be even later now.

Everything helps at this stage and although it’s not major, the problem is another little Hammers bonus.

Pedro – as reported earlier – is unlikely to make the game after suffering what appears to be a shoulder injury in a collision with the PAOK keeper late on in the Champions League tie in Thessalonika.

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Noble tells how Pelle’s three little words sorted things

Mark Noble has revealed how three words from manager Manuel Pellegrini sorted things out against Everton last weekend,

The captain explained in his London Evening Standard column he said: “What pleased me most was the way we reacted in the second half after Everton scored to make it 2-1 right on half-time.

We had played well in the first 45 minutes and the manager said, “Relax, calm down” and told us to keep playing the way we had been – and we did that.”

Nobes was also pleased with the personnel in the middle of the park saying: ” I felt we had a real firm base in midfield with myself, Pedro Obiang and Declan Rice. We knew our jobs.

Against Everton, though, we felt like a team, with Andriy Yarmolenko and Felipe Anderson defending at the back post, in addition to great stuff going forward. That’s how you have to play in the Premier League.

” I got kicked by one of their defenders and was on the ground appealing for a free-kick, even as Andriy scored a great goal. It was a brilliant decision by the ref, Martin Atkinson, to allow play to go on!”

Of Sunday’s game he said: We’re looking forward to playing Chelsea, the form team in the Premier League with the form player, Eden Hazard.

I’ve read some suggestions he is the best player in Europe. He’s certainly one of them, but I watched Barcelona during the week, where Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick.

But Eden is one of the best I’ve played against. He’s so strong, so quick, he’s sharp in the mind and he can often do whatever he wants to do, despite all your efforts to try to stop him.

One thing that is a shame is that when Eden is in the side, Ross Barkley obviously has fewer chances — you always want to see a good, young English player in Chelsea’s team.

How do we approach Sunday’s game, though? With a lot more confidence, a lot more belief, if I’m honest. We know, though, we have to play well because if you don’t, against a team like Chelsea, there’s every chance you’ll be beaten convincingly.