Hammers beaten in a game crying out for VAR


Man City 4 Hammers 1

By Hugh Southon

The scoreline says situation normal …the reality was somewhat different!

The Hammers – looking fitter and more up for it than in several seasons – enjoyed a thoroughly good work out, scored via a Nobes pen to take the lead, were denied another clear spot kick and were on the end of another dodgy decision for City’s penalty  and what looked a clear offside for a Raheem Sterling goal.

Beyond that I lost a score having backed us to win at 9/2 against a City team which should – but weren’t jet lagged after their delayed Thomas Cook flight delays. So I hope I’m not talking through my pocket.

Nobes – scored from the spot

We were probably just the better team in the first half when we looked particularly dangerous down the right through Ryan Fredericks whilst young Ben Johnson was particularly mature on the other side.

But our goal scoring problems were obvious and we will all be mightily relieved of course at Seb Haller’s arrival was announced officially just before kick off.

However, despite that without question VAR would have made a big difference with the result probably running at at 2-2.

It was really pleasing to see the fitness levels during a game which was played at a Premier League pace and those who caught the eye included Fredericks, Johnson, Lanzini (at times), Diop and Anderson with Yarmolenko looking determined in the second half.

But we have to give another special mention to Jack Wilshere who pulled a lot of strings in the first half and should he remain fit is already looking something like the player we remember from his best days.

All in all most will be relatively happy  as we head into the third place game against Newcastle on Saturday after the Geordies were beaten by Wolves in an earlier kick off.

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Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!"

Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon


  • Dom says:

    VAR will ruin the game in my opinion and I really don’t think we’ll see a benefit points wise. We lost because of our still obvious weak positions, DM and wing backs. Particularly when Sanchez came on, it was evident he shouldn’t be near the first team this season. His passing and link up play is decent but he just dawdles on the ball time and again between the half way line and the penalty area. Every time we get pressed, he’ll lose it there and we’ll concede. Diop also threw away another goal. Two bad errors that were our undoing.

    We also saw how good our technical players are in the first half and how it breaks down when less technical players get involved like Fredericks and Antonio, we simply must improve in these areas, not necessarily world beaters but players with good technique. Snodgrass is a solid player with decent technique, he links up well with our better players. We must improve our wing backs and get a decent sitting midfielder. I hope there are obscure players out there who can come in for low fees or failing that a free transfer or loan. But we need more strength in the first team.

    Good warm up but we flattered to deceive, a lot of pretty football with no end product. The clear difference between us and an elite team like Man City is decision making, speed of thought. We take too long to decide what we want to do and then usually choose the wrong option.

    I don’t think we were terrible by any means but it’s clear just how much we need to do to get anywhere near the top teams. Newcastle will be a much better measurement of where we are. Hopefully Cullen will get some game time also.

    • Hammersone says:

      Like Hugh said it should have been more like 2-2. Poor decisions by officials, we know we are not nearly as good as city and don’t have the finances. Bar Sanchez we have good midfield players and options defensively and offensively. That is not an area we need to improve and not a reason to say we lost the game. Another striker or two to replace what we have lost. By the way Cullen is not good enough. Let’s not start moaning and groaning because we lost a preseason friendly against Man City.

  • mark wiggins says:

    Hi Hugh after this game so you see a weakness in CDM and CF . Hopefully Haller will help with the scoring but CDM is a worry for me personally . What are your thoughts .

  • Greg E says:

    VAR can only HELP smaller clubs like ours get the decisions we SHOULD have. I’m tired of seeing someone in a Manchester or Chelsea jersey take a flying obvious dive, but get the call anyway. Those “big 6” teams are scared as hell right now because they will actually have to compete. They will still end up as the big 6 because they spend enough to buy the very best from everyone else, but at least the name on the shirt won’t matter as much anymore, and we can see if that name was REALLY worth that money

  • hammers64 says:

    Why have we taken Obiang and Sanchez and to some extent Cullen over gifted young players like Holland,Kemp and Browne is the question i am asking myself.The 1st 2 are up for sale so why would they put in a shift anyhow,and i have yet to see what Cullen actually offers us.?

    • Lanzini says:

      I agree and I’m worried that Cullen doesn’t play in a high power game like this.We have to see if he can handle it.A must start against Newcastle.I also think Browne is better than Diangana,he has more skill and is stronger.Think he could be the man to play alongside Haller.Holland is similar to Anderson.
      Would like to see this against Newcastle

      Johnson-Fedricks 45
      Diop-Ogbonna 45
      Cresswell-Zabalatta 60
      Rice-Sanchez 60
      Wilshire-Noble 60
      Yarmelenko-Diangana 45
      Antonio-Hernadez 60
      Lanzini-Anderson 45

  • Oliver Burns says:

    Defensively naive again. Balbuena return will help this. However, my concern (alongside LB) is Lanzini. He continues to be muscled off the ball far too easily. If he doesn’t toughen up, he’s surplus and his sale fee can be used to strengthen our weak areas

  • Blimey! says:

    Pre-season tournaments are not a good indicator of where the squad is, only the 2nd game and I thought looked good against arguably the best in the world.
    Poor officiating and finishing done for us on the day.
    I’m heartened more than anything!!

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