Thursday, February 23

Daily WHUFC News - 23rd February 2017

Feghouli - I am happy with my form
WHUFC.com

Sofiane Feghouli says personal and collective confidence are high after
recent positive results
Algeria winger is delighted to have taken his chance since breaking into the
starting XI in January
West Ham United have won six and drawn three of their last 12 Premier League
matches

Sofiane Feghouli wants to maintain his recent run of form when West Ham
United head to Watford on Saturday. The Algeria winger has grabbed his
opportunity to shine in Claret and Blue in recent weeks, scoring twice and
assisting two more goals in the eight Premier League appearances he has made
since Boxing Day. The No7 was a surprise omission from the Desert Foxes'
Africa Cup of Nations squad, but shrugged off any disappointment by
establishing himself in Slaven Bilic's starting XI during West Ham's
Christmas and New Year renaissance – which he hopes will continue at
Vicarage Road. "I am happy, because it was important for me to take my
chance," he told whufc.com. "Before this moment, I had less opportunities to
show my worth, so when I had the chance to play it was important to take it.
"I am happy with my form and I am also happy with my stats, as I have scored
two goals and I've also contributed some decisive passes. "So, I am pleased
with my personal performance, but more important is the collective
performance and I hope we can remain in the top ten."

Sofiane FeghouliWest Ham have won six and drawn three of their last 12
Premier League matches to rise to tenth ahead of Saturday's trip to Watford,
who sit two points and three places below them. Having not lost on the road
in 2017, the Hammers have seven away matches left to play this season, with
five against teams currently below them in the table – figures which will
breathe further confidence into Feghouli and company. "We are in a good
period," the winger confirmed. "It's true that results and the mood are good
at the moment and we're playing with a good spirit. "It's always easier when
the team wins. We all have confidence and that makes things easier on the
pitch. We are now seeing our players performing at a higher level and that
permeates through the entire group in training and matches. "Our collective
spirit is really coming together and I know we will fight right down to the
final day."

West Ham's Premier League fixture at Watford will be screened live by BT
Sport 1 at 5.30pm on Saturday 25 February.

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U11s crowned National Futsal Champions
WHUFC.com

West Ham's U11s won the Premier League's National Futsal Finals in
Birmingham at the weekend
The young Hammers beat Reading 3-2 in an intense final, coming from 2-1
behind
It's the second time the age group has won the title in the last three years

West Ham United's U11s reigned victorious for the second time in three years
at the Premier League's National Futsal Finals at the weekend.

The young Hammers were 2-1 down to Reading in the final, but two goals from
substitute Harrison McMahon won the trophy in Birmingham.

The youngsters were drawn against Chelsea, Swansea, Manchester City,
Tottenham, Middlesbrough, Watford and the Royals in the group stage and
managed to top the group with five wins, a draw and a defeat.

After making it through a tough first stage, the Hammers came up against
their London rivals Chelsea in the semi finals, triumphing on penalties
thanks to two saves by Finley Herrick. The winning spot-kick was scored by
Louie Copley.

Then came the eagerly anticipated final where McMahon's goals were enough to
clinch the title for the young Irons.

Coach Dave Johnson said: "We knew it was going to be very tough because we
were up against strong opponents.

"To qualify from the regionals and win the competition for the second time
in three years is a great achievement for the boys."

Our congratulations go to the U11 players and staff for their brilliant
achievements!

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LUNCHTIME ROUND UP: ARTHUR WANTS REVENGE, HAMMERS MISSED OUT ON 'WORLD'S
BEST COACH', CHELSEA PREPARE SWAP OFFER
BY DAN CHAPMAN ON 22 FEBRUARY 2017 AT 12:44PM
TheWestHamWay.co.uk

Good afternoon Hammers, here is Wednesday's lunchtime round up.

Arthur Masuaku says West Ham want revenge on Watford this Saturday.
(Evening Standard)

We all want revenge. What happened last time out should have been avoided,
and the players need to respond and get the revenge that they want.

West Ham and Chelsea target Moussa Dembele will stay at Celtic for the
remainder of his contract, according to the players agent. (Evening
Standard)

I am not a fan of him. Yes he scores a lot of goals, but its in a pathetic
league. He is not proven in the Premier League, and I would not be willing
to pay around £40m for his services.

West Ham captain Mark Noble has said that Wayne Rooney is a massive
inspiration to him. (Express)

Wayne Rooney is a fantastic player and leader. He is an inspiration to many
players and I fully understand why Mark likes him.

Former West Ham target Scott Hogan is set to miss the rest of the season
after suffering an injury on Monday. (Football London)

As I said yesterday, Slav was right not to sign him. I cannot imagine the
uproar from our fans if this had happened if he signed for us.

Pep Guardiola says West Ham missed out on having the 'World's best coach' at
the club, when they decided against appointing Marcelo Bielsa. (HITC)

I have heard a lot of people talk about Bielsa and how good of a coach he
is. However, there is no doubt that we made the right choice appointing
Slaven Bilic instead of him in my opinion.

Chelsea are preparing to offer Michy Batshuayi to West Ham, in a swap deal
for Michail Antonio. (Playing for 90)

I like Batshuayi, and I think he has real potential to be a quality forward
in the Premier League. But, Chelsea must be absolutely crazy if they think
that we would swap our top goal scorer and probably most important player
this season for him. I don't think so somehow.

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Zaza scores a beaut - against Real [video]
KUMB.com
Filed: Wednesday, 22nd February 2017
By: Staff Writer

Former Hammer Simone Zaza couldn't hit a barn door during his six month
spell at West Ham - but scored an absolute belter within the first five
minutes against Real Madrid at the Mestalla tonight.

The Italian international opened his account for his new club against
Athletico Bilbao at the weekend with the second goal in a 2-0 win. And just
72 hours later the on-loan striker - who failed to score a single goal for
West Ham during his brief spell in London - was on target again.

As you can see from the video below, Zaza picked up the ball inside the
Madrid penalty area before twisting and firing a rocket of a shot into the
top corner. At time of writing Zaza's new club lead Real 2-0.

https://youtu.be/EgxgaHC3S1Q

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IOC executive hails Olympic Stadium legacy 'plan'
KUMB.com
Filed: Wednesday, 22nd February 2017
By: Staff Writer

The IOC Executive Director for the Olympic Games has branded West Ham
United's involvement in London's post-2012 Games legacy as a success.

Christophe Dubi, speaking in the wake of heavy criticism regarding the
condition of several venues used for last summer's Rio Games insisted that
the Brazilian city's legacy plan would take time to reach fruition - as was
the case with London's.

And praising the process that eventually resulted in West Ham becoming
long-term tenants at the London Stadium - even though football was never
considered as a potential use prior to the venu's construction - Dubi
insisted that Rio's neglected sites will not remain in a state of disrepair
for long.

"There can not be a transformation the day after the Games," he told DPA.
"You have a number of things to dismantle, to change, to adapt for
post-Games use - and that can take time."

"London - which has a beautiful park now, works very well and is very
successful - did not happen overnight. They gradually opened the park but it
took up to four years to fully realise the whole plan, including the use of
the stadium for football by West Ham.

"What they have in mind now for Rio is that by July, all the facilities in
the park that were to be dismantled will be dismantled."

Although West Ham United expressed an interest in being involved with the
development of the proposed Stratford-based stadium during the club's
previous (Icelandic) administration, their offer was rejected by the Olympic
planning committee.

Seb Coe (now Lord Coe), Tessa Jowell and Ken Livingstone claimed at the time
that the club's offer - which included significant capital investment
(£100million) on the basis that fully-retractable seating would be included
in the design - was not credible.

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Oxford still awaiting Royals debut
KUMB.com
Filed: Wednesday, 22nd February 2017
By: Staff Writer

Reece Oxford is still waiting to make his debut for Reading - more than
three weeks after moving to the Madejski Stadium on a half-season loan. The
highly-rated teenage defender joined the Royals on the final day of the
recent transfer window but failed to leave the subs bench in any of his
first three matches. And his wait to make his Reading debut will contrinue
until the weekend, at least, after he ruled himself out of tonight's trip to
Huddersfield with what the player himself described as "a minor niggle". The
19-year-old centre half has featured in just TWO competitive first team
fixtures so far this season - the 3-0 win against Domzale at the Olympic
Stadium and the 1-1 draw at Astra, both in the Europa League qualifiers last
AUgust.

* In other news, Craig Pawson has been confirmed as the referee for this
weekend's trip to Watford. Pawson has overseen 16 Premier League fixtures so
far this sseason, in which he has issued 63 yellow cards and two reds. The
38-year-old Yorkshire-born official has refereed two West Ham games so far
this season, both at the Olympic Stadium. Pawson was in charge as West Ham
beat Bournemouth 1-0 last August, then again as the Hammers succumbed to a
5-1 thrashing against Arsenal.

* Former Hammer Valon Behrami is set to return to action in this weekend's
Premier League test against West Ham at Vicarage Road. Watford have been
without the injured Swiss midfielder, who spent two-and-a-half seasons at
West Ham. since the beginning of the month.

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West Ham below Wigan in latest UEFA rankings
KUMB.com
Filed: Wednesday, 22nd February 2017
By: Staff Writer

West Ham have risen in the latest UEFA rankings - but still find themselves
outside the top 100 clubs in Europe. A brief sojourn in the Europa League's
qualifying rounds - which saw West Ham eliminated by Romanian minnows Astra
Giurgiu for the second successive season - was enough to send the Irons up
the club coefficient rankings table, but only to 109th spot. And that's
below the likes of Ukraine's Chornomorets Odesa (108th), 2013 FA Cup winners
and current Championship side Wigan Athletic (102nd) plus Cypriot side APOEL
FC - and well below teams such as the Czech Republic's Viktoria Plzen (47th)
and BATE of Bulgaria (68th). Club coefficient rankings are based on the
results of clubs competing in the five previous seasons of the UEFA
Champions League and UEFA Europa League, plus 20 per cent of the association
coefficient over the same period. Points are awarded as follows:

UEFA Champions League

First qualifying round elimination – 0.5 points
Second qualifying round elimination – 1 point
Group stage bonus participation – 4 points
Group stage win – 2 points
Group stage draw – 1 point
Round of 16 bonus participation – 4 points

Clubs are also awarded an additional point if they reach the round of 16,
quarter-finals, semi-finals or final.

UEFA Europa League points system

First qualifying round elimination – 0.25 points
Second qualifying round elimination – 0.5 points
Third qualifying round elimination – 1 point
Play-off elimination – 1.5 points
Group stage win – 2 points
Group stage draw – 1 point

Clubs are also guaranteed a minimum of two points if they reach the group
stage and are awarded an additional point if they get to the quarter-finals,
semi-finals or final.

Current standings

1. Real Madrid (Spain) 162.828
2. Bayern Munich 151.413
3. Barcelona (Spain) 146.828
4. Atletico Madrid (Spain) 133.828
5. Juventus (Italy) 126.133
6. Paris St Germain (France) 125.733
7. Borussia Dortmund (Germany) 121.413
8. Benfica (Portgual) 111.866
9. Seville (Spain) 109.828
10. Chelsea (England) 105.592
.
.
100. Guingamp (France) 19.733
101. Udinese (Italy) 18.633
102. Wiagn Athletic (England) 18.592
103. FC Zurich (Switzerland) 18.415
104. Spartak Moscow (Russia) 18.406
105. Sassuolo (Italy) 18.133
106. Qarabag (Azerbaijan) 18.05
107. Astra Giurgiu (Romania) 17.870
108. Chornomorets Odesa (Ukraine) 17.526
109. WEST HAM UNITED (England) 17.092
110. Austria Wien (Austria) 17.070

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The status of the strikers
KUMB.com
Filed: Wednesday, 22nd February 2017
By: Adam Smith

With the league break coming to a close, it seems fitting to evaluate the
Hammers squad as it stands and look towards the future as well.

Assessing the current state, the development of system youth, and looking at
potential signings will help in understanding West Ham currently stand, and
will show where the team can grow to soon.

Let's begin with the strikers.

Internal focus immediately shifts to Andy Carroll and the unbelievable
January he had to start 2017. Most impressive was the overhead bicycle kick,
on a perfect cross from Michail Antonio, which secured Carroll the goal of
the month award. The added bonus was that Carroll beat out Arsenal's Olivier
Giroud and his scorpion kick for the award. Rightfully so.

The only knock on AC has been the usual one – his health. Despite his recent
successes, Carrol missed the last match against West Bromwich Albion due to
a nagging groin injury. The matchup saw West Ham dominate possession and use
the creativity of their attacking midfielders to swing the ball into the box
at will. Carroll's prolific skills in the aerial attack surely would have
secured three crucial points against West Brom, and it is clear that injury
troubles will remain part of the package moving forward. In his 12
appearances this season Carroll has delivered six goals, three in January of
2017.

The next-in-line striker is Jonathan Calleri. The Argentinian who was a
summer signing for West Ham before the 2016/17 season has failed to find a
position in the club's attack. Totalling just nine appearance, Calleri
scored the insurance goal on the January 22nd victory over Southampton. This
marked his only tally on the season, capitalizing on an overextended and
desperate team looking for an equalizer late in the match. Calleri's goal
came after a missed opportunity by him that was fortunately cleaned up and
re-set up by Manuel Lanzini. Calleri's goal touched a defender on its way in
appropriately summing up his goal scoring abilities as he has shown them.

Calleri's future with the club appears to be all but sealed. His goal swayed
manager Slaven Billic to keep him through the January transfer window after
his selling seemed imminent. Calleri remains on West Ham purely as a depth
player and once Diafra Sakho returns, Calleri's position will be lost. This
was confirmed in Calleri's halftime substitution on against West Brom. He
failed to create offensively as he was not a threat on runs, and appeared
reluctant to shoot, taking too many touches on solid balls, spoiling the
offensive output of the team.

The return of fan favourite and historically dangerous striker Diafra Sakho
adds a new dimension to the squad attacking. Where Carroll brings strength
and size, Sakho brings versatility. A great balance between speed and skill,
Sakho can launch shots inside and outside the box with determination and
intent, but has a flair for the finesse on his ability to chip and outclass
the opposition. Sakho is also a threat to score with his head but relies on
athleticism to beat opponents, rather than size.

When healthy after rehabbing from his back-surgery, Sakho fits in the lineup
as a complimentary player to Carroll, who cannot be sat (notwithstanding
injury) playing at his current level. A striker like Sakho, who takes the
guess work out of performance, can allow Billic to relax when alleviating
Carroll of his position when needed. In his two appearances for the club
this season Sakho netted one goal. His proposed return in March is welcomed
and exciting.

Options at striker can be crucial tools for Billic to survive any injury
scares with Carroll in the foreseeable future. As a team eliminated from any
extra-curricular tournaments and play, West Ham is taking advantage of their
time off to bond, train, and mend, having returned from a training trip to
Dubai.

Previous to the break Carroll was forced to miss the West Bromwich Albion
match and with Billic lack of faith in Calleri to start, Michail Antonio
made a 'gadget' start in the middle up front for the Hammers. The move was
not overly successful, and Antonio was eventually moved to the left wing
later in the match. Despite the most recent application of Antonio in an
unnatural position, Antonio's nose for the goal and ability to use his
physicality in the box make him an option upfront for the Hammers in a
pinch. Billic continues to invest and believe in his young star as an option
to fill in and play with impact where the club needs him.

Another hole-filler for striker is record signing Andre Ayew. Fresh off of a
fourth-place finish in the African Cup of Nations, Ayew is poised to return
to West Ham and make an impact, something he has not been able to do after
suffering an injury early in the season. Ayew does slot in as a midfielder,
but with the play of Lanzini, Feghouli, Obiang, Snodgrass, Antonio, Noble
and Kouyate, there is a sizeable log-jam in the middle of the pitch. His
opening may come at striker, as position he has experience in during the
time in-between Sakho's return and Carroll's nagging groin injury.

The youth of the club also should be addressed here. First in line is
youngster Ashley Fletcher. Many see Fletcher as getting more of an
opportunity as this season plays out, and believe he has played better in
his 13 starts than Calleri has. While Fletcher hasn't notched any goals for
West Ham this season, he has subbed on eleven times primarily coming on in
situations that were not conducive to scoring. Fletcher's ceiling is unknown
as a striker for West Ham, but there is certain opportunity for his arrival.

One of West Ham's biggest up-and-coming stars is Toni Martinez. Signing with
West Ham in the summer, Martinez was lauded as a promising striker and after
being loaned to Oxford during the January window he is exhibiting his
potential as a striker. Having scored twice for his loan team, Martinez is
gaining confidence and solidifying himself as a scoring threat. Described as
opportunistic and lucky, he needs to develop his play with the ball showing
he can create chances without relying on others. Martinez has shown off his
ability to cap when the ball is on his boot, and is an exciting option
Billic will have to incorporate in the team's future.

Speculation is always fun and often gives life to opinion pieces such as
this, so let's have at it.

Firstly, let us give praise to the sage wisdom and, perhaps, dumb luck of
Billic who opted to pass on Championship striker Scott Hogan. Many
criticized Billic for his unwillingness to pay for a needed striker, but not
convinced of his skill and weary of his injury history (two ACL injuries),
Billic passed. Hogan was stretched off the pitch with an ankle injury in his
most recent game for Aston Villa. Having yet to score for his new side West
Ham may have dodged a bullet with Hogan, and Super Slav deserves credit to
show his unwillingness to overreact with a signing.

Secondly and lastly, the future for West Ham signings at striker. While many
names can be tied to the team, I believe these three players could factor
into the squad and help West Ham establish themselves as a top tier team in
the Premier league next season.

First is Lucas Perez from Arsenal. Perez has only scored twice all in all
play this season but in his defence, he plays behind Alexis Sanchez and
Olivier Giroud. Perez has stated he wants a release from his team, and his
presence on West Ham would inspire their attack with creativity and pace up
the middle, with international and top-table experience.

Second, and most far-fetched is Alexandre Lacazette. His name is often tied
to West Ham, and his skill is undeniable. In his most recent play for Lyon,
Lacazette netted two goals in a dominant 4-1 win over AZ Alkmaar in the
Europa League. His pace was unmatched as he cut through the defenders with
ease and showed great patience on both goals. However, with recent estimates
upwards of £59 million, Lacazette may only be a pipedream for the Hammers.

The third and final option is probably the most likely striker option for
West Ham to sign in the upcoming summer window. Linked with manager Slaven
Billic, Sunderland's ageless goal scorer Jermain Defoe could be set to
re-sign with the Hammers in the summer. Playing for them in the passed,
Defoe has a knack for netting goals and while advanced in age (34) he has
shown for an abysmal Sunderland side that he can create on his own. His
position on the team would most likely be as a late substitution to score a
goal either for result or security. Defoe currently has a relegation release
in his contract making him an option in the near future. His platoon role
could elongate his career if he was successful in this role, making his
landing at West Ham a mutually beneficial scenario.

Currently a position with plenty of ebb and flow, the West Ham Strikers are
at a crossroads. Current powerful and dominant play by Andy Carroll, and
upcoming youth talent like Toni Martinez seem to bookend endless injury for
the Hammers at striker. Depth in the summer can bridge these two pieces and
round out what has the potential to be a top-class striking group.

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the
author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be
attributed to, KUMB.com.

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West Ham manager Slaven Bilic admits loss of Andy Carroll is 'a big blow'
with striker set to miss trip to face Watford
West Ham striker Andy Carroll will be absent from the trip to face Watford
Carroll scored four goals in as many games before injury problems resurfaced

28-year-old has been unable to train for 10 days owing to a fresh groin
injury
Former Liverpool striker has now targeted a return against Chelsea on March
6
By OLIVER TODD FOR THE DAILY MAIL
PUBLISHED: 21:17, 22 February 2017 | UPDATED: 21:17, 22 February 2017

Andy Carroll is set to miss West Ham's trip to Watford on Saturday with the
striker's renewed injury woe leaving him unable to train for the last 10
days. Carroll is currently sidelined with a groin problem and although he
flew to Dubai with the rest of the Hammers squad for a mid-season camp he
has been absent from training. It was expected he would be fit to return at
Vicarage Road this weekend but manager Slaven Bilic says a comeback is now
not likely until the visit of Chelsea on March 6.
Speaking to talkSPORT, Bilic said: 'He is in good form. The only thing about
him is that now he is a little bit injured and he didn't train for 10 days.
'That is a big blow for us but, saying that, he is going to be back very
soon.' Carroll's groin injury caused him to miss West Ham's last game, the
2-2 draw with West Bromwich Albion 12 days ago.

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Why West Ham's Liverpool target Obiang is a better midfielder than Can and
Wijnaldum
Here's how the Hammers midfielder matches up to two of Liverpool's stars
Football London
BYALASDAIR GOLD
20:00, 22 FEB 2017

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is apparently keen on West Ham midfield lynchpin
Pedro Obiang and is eyeing up an £18m swoop this summer. So, what is it that
the German manager sees in the Hammers' Spain U21 international? Well,
according to the stats, Obiang is better than two current Liverpool
midfielders - Emre Can and Georginio Wijnaldum. Can arrived from Bayer
Leverkusen in 2014 for £10m and Wijnaldum was a whopping £25m purchase from
Newcastle United this past summer. Obiang, meanwhile, was an undisclosed –
thought to be around £3m - bargain buy from Sampdoria in June 2015 on a
four-year deal. So, the Spaniard is already ahead of the others because he
is better value for money. We've picked out seven stats in key areas where
Obiang is better or at least as good as the other two, but for the majority,
Obiang has much better statistics.

Pass completion

This is the only stat where Obiang fares worse than either Can or Wijnaldum.
In 18 games played this season, Obiang has a pass completion percentage of
81 which is the same as Can, who has played a game more. Wijnaldum, who has
played five more games than Obiang, wins this round with 88%.

Tackles won

Obiang blast the two Liverpool midfielders into the past in this area,
easily being the best of the three. The West Ham man has won 45 tackles this
season, 15 more than Can and more than double what Wijnaldum has managed
(21).


Total duels (%)

Off the on-pitch tussles Obiang has got in to this season, he has won more
than half of them, 55.85% in fact. That is better than Can (42.08) and
Wijnaldum (50.67%).

Interceptions

Once again, Obiang is the clear winner of this round. The Spaniard has made
29 interceptions this campaign, which is ten more than Can (19) and 12 more
than Wijnaldum (17).

Blocks

Obiang has blocked more shots and passes than the Liverpool duo put
together. He has seven of his own, while Can and Wijnaldum have just three
between them.

Clearances

This round is a tad closer, but it's the West Ham man who is victorious once
again. Can has made 20 clearances this season, with Wijnaldum going a bit
better with 23 but they are also beaten by Obiang – admittedly not by much –
who has managed 28, so he wins by five.

Total defence score

Finally, we come to total defensive score, which rounds up everything we
just covered plus a few other stats and, no surprise, Obiang is the winner
and it's by a massive margin as well.

His overall total is a colossal 132.61 and that absolutely batters Wijnaldum
(53.64) and Can (27.98).

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West Ham are more united without 'prima donna' Dimitri Payet, says Hammers
legend Sir Geoff Hurst
JAMES BENGE
Evening Standard

West Ham should have no regrets in dispensing with their "prima donna" star
Dimitri Payet for the good of team unity, according to Hammers legend Sir
Geoff Hurst. France international Payet went on strike to force a move back
to Marseille during January, eventually joining the Ligue 1 giants for
£25million in the final days of the transfer window. Payet's ostracising and
subsequent departure from the squad has led to a notable upswing in form;
since his final appearance Slaven Bilic's side have lost just one of six
Premier League games and moving into the top half of the Premier League
table. Whilst Payet electrified Upton Park in his first season at the club
his demeanour darkened throughout a difficult start to life at the London
Stadium and 1966 World Cup winner Hurst, who scored 242 goals in 500 games
for West Ham between 1959 and 1972, has no doubt his former club took the
right course in dispensing with their player of the year.
"West Ham handled it well by not trying to keep it under lock and key,"
Hurst told Standard Sport. "It needs to be sorted, talked about and dealt
with. As far as I can see it has been dealt with very well by the club. "It
always looked like they'd get £25m for him, that's not too bad a deal at all
considering we paid £10m for him. More importantly the unity of the team has
proven the most important thing. "In one sense it's sad to lose him but no
matter how good you are if you behave like a prima donna and don't want to
play [it's no great loss]. "If I go back to our England team we had a player
far better than Payet, Bobby Charlton. He was a very humble man, a great
player on the pitch but never a diva off it. Imagine scoring two goals in
the World Cup semi-final then the manager comes in the final and asks you to
mark somebody. Bobby took that task on in the final and marked [Franz]
Beckenbauer. Two of the best players in history marked each other out of the
game!"
Though West Ham understood Payet's desire to return to his former club with
his family unsettled in London they took a dim view of his attempt to force
his way back to France, which went as far as threatening to fake an injury
if he was selected for the squad.
West Ham captain Mark Noble revealed that the squad became a "happy place"
after Payet's departure and their improved morale has been reflected in
impressive victories over the likes of Southampton and Middlesbrough. Hurst
added: "You can't defend Payet's actions but you could at least say his
family seemed to want to go back to Marseille. That was going to be
difficult to overcome. But the way he appeared to have acted – not talking
to anybody – generated an awful lot of unease and hostility in the dressing
room. I think that was reflected in the results. "The team is always better
than any one individual, no matter how good they are."

Sir Geoff Hurst was speaking at the launch of the 2017 FA & McDonald's
Community Awards, recognising achievement regardless of age, gender or
disability. Nominate your grassroots football hero at
www.mcdonalds.co.uk/awards

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Former West Ham target Scott Hogan suffers awful injury during Aston Villa's
defeat at Newcastle
By Essex Chronicle | Posted: February 22, 2017
By Tommy Wathen

Aston Villa striker Scott Hogan is set for an extended spell on the
sidelines after suffering a nasty ankle injury on Monday [February 20]
evening at Newcastle United. The 24 year-old forward left the St James' Park
pitch on a stretcher in the closing minutes of the EFL Championship fixture
to a round of applause from both sets of fans – who were concerned for the
former Brentford star.
Hogan joined the Villans for around £12 million during the January Transfer
Window after impressing with 14 goals from 25 games for The Bees during the
first half of the season, but has failed to score in his four appearances so
far for Steve Bruce's side. Although the news is devastating for the former
Rochdale goal machine, West Ham fans will breathe a sigh of relief as Hogan
was being tracked by the Premier League side throughout the January window
right up until the January 31 deadline, when manager Slaven Bilic pulled out
of the deal.

Aston Villa confirmed via social media on Tuesday [February 21] that they
are waiting for the results of a scan on Hogan's ankle before they can
update Villa fans about how long their new signing will be out for.

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The five reasons why Pedro Obiang should stay at West Ham and ignore
interest from Liverpool
West Ham's star midfielder has been linked with an £18m move to Liverpool,
but he should keep the faith at the London Stadium
Football London
BYTOM MARSHALL-BAILEY
09:55, 22 FEB 2017

Pedro Obiang was yesterday linked with a move to Liverpool as West Ham fans'
fears grew that one of their star performers so far this season was about to
be plucked away. The Reds are reportedly eyeing an £18m move for Obiang this
summer as they look to bolster their midfield options. Jurgen Klopp is
rumoured to be a big fan of the Hammers midfielder, who has made huge
strides during a mixed season at the London Stadium. But would a move to
Anfield make sense for Obiang? The consensus is yes given it presents a step
up to a side challenging for the top four, but we think otherwise. Here are
five reasons why Obiang should ignore the Reds' interest and stay at the
London Stadium.

He won't be the main man at Anfield

When you've got the likes of Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Sadio
Mane in your starting XI, you are unlikely to establish yourself as the
leading light in that team. Obiang would have to settle for a reduced role
at Liverpool rather than the fans' favourite status he currently enjoys at
West Ham. The fans here love him and he is becoming a key part of this
Hammers side.
Whether he would be able to fit into Jurgen Klopp's system is also up for
debate, as he is not renowned for a high press; he's a much more
conservative midfielder but complements the Hammers' style perfectly.

And he's not even guaranteed a first-team place!

With the likes of Jordan Henderson, Emre Can and Georginio Wijnaldum already
competing for two midfield slots, it's safe to assume Obiang would be up
against it to work his way into the XI. He's the fulcrum of West Ham's
midfield at the moment; so much so that the debate is whether it should be
Mark Noble or Cheikhou Kouyate playing alongside him at the moment, rather
than vice versa. Henderson has established himself as a mainstay in that
Liverpool side and Wijnaldum has become increasingly important to Klopp, so
he would be trading life as a key player at West Ham for life on the bench
on Merseyside. A move to a side challenging for the Champions League looks
good on paper, but surely the guarantee of first-team football has to come
into Obiang's thought process.

Slaven Bilic can build something special at West Ham

The first half of this season was an absolute nightmare, let's not pretend
otherwise. But the Hammers' resurgence since that chastening 5-1 defeat at
home to Arsenal has been admirable and they now sit in the top half of the
table. Pushing for the top seven appears an unrealistic ambition but there's
no reason why West Brom in eighth cannot be caught despite the recent late
setback against the Baggies. The January signings of Jose Fonte and Robert
Snodgrass have given West Ham some real strength in depth and Slaven Bilic
is expected to reinforce his squad again this summer as he looks to push for
a top-six finish next year.

And he can go on to become the leader in midfield

Obiang is one of a number of young players at West Ham who can be a key part
of Bilic's project at West Ham. And with Mark Noble approaching the twilight
of his Hammers career, this is Obiang's chance to flourish in central
midfield and become one of the leaders in this West Ham side. Noble's
tigerish qualities in midfield but so too will his leadership and ability to
rally the players and Obiang represents one option for the captaincy when
his central midfield partner does depart. At Liverpool he will be just
another option to Klopp. At West Ham he will be one of the first names on
the teamsheet under Bilic.

He already has his own amazing chant

Need we say any more?

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est Ham want 'revenge' for Watford collapse, insists Arthur Masuaku
SAM LONG
Evening Standard

West Ham will be out for "revenge" when they face Watford in the Premier
League this weekend, according to Arthur Masuaku. The Hammers are currently
three places above Walter Mazzarri's side in the table but suffered a
damaging 4-2 defeat to the Hornets in September 2016. Michail Antonio's
brace fired West Ham into an early lead at the London Stadium only for the
hosts to succumb to a stunning Watford fightback in the second half. Masuaku
is still unsure why West Ham collapsed in such spectacular fashion but is
determined to ensure the scenario is not repeated at Vicarage Road. "We want
to get revenge on Saturday," he told West Ham's official website. "I
remember the game and we played so well in the first 40 minutes and should
have killed the game off. "I don't know how we lost but we want to make
amends for that defeat and hopefully we can win on Saturday."

West Ham dropped crucial points against West Brom in their last outing in
England's top tier, with Gareth McAuley's late equaliser resulting in Slaven
Bilic's dismissal for a furious reaction on the sidelines. West Ham would
have cemented their place in the top half with all three points and Masuaku
is hopeful the east Londoners can get the rub of the green on Saturday
evening. "We were unlucky not to get the three points in the last game
against West Brom and we could have got the victory if certain decisions had
not gone against us.

"Hopefully we will have more luck in the next game," he added.
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The names that West Ham United should be looking at in the summer transfer
window
Football London
BYADAM JONES
06:00, 22 FEB 2017

West Ham United need the upcoming summer transfer window to be a big one.
After a quiet January, the Hammers will need to almost fully rebuild their
squad - with quality needed in many positions around the pitch. We've picked
a few out - and come up with a long-list of names that West Ham should
really be keeping their eye on when the upcoming transfer window comes
around. West Ham need a striker in the summer. there's no two ways about it.
The Hammers probably needed another forward player in the January transfer
window - but any rumoured moves never really materialised. Slaven Bilic
could do a lot worse than going back in for Scott Hogan in the summer. His
ankle injury at Newcastle last night appears set to rule him out for the
foreseeable future as he broke down in just his fourth appearance for his
new side since a January move from Brentford. But Hogan admitted during his
time at Brentford that he doesn't want to be in the Championship for long
and given Villa's struggles this season, they won't be back in the Premier
League any time soon. If you're looking for Premier League quality, then why
not go back to Liverpool and take Daniel Sturridge? He's not been getting
enough game time for the Reds, but his goalscoring pedigree cannot be
questioned. A bit more of a left-field Premier League option would be Michy
Batshuayi, who the Hammers were also linked with in January. The Chelsea
striker has hardly been given a chance at Stamford Bridge but, when he has
been on the pitch, he's often scored.

Alexandre Lacazette
How about Andre Gray and Troy Deeney too? More players that have been linked
in the past and would definitely do a job for the Hammers.
Further afield, you get even more options. Alexandre Lacazette is a name
that's forever mentioned, but what about Ciro Immobile at Lazio? he's found
his feet again with the Serie A club - and the Hammers could give him a
chance to prove himself in the Premier league.

Goalkeeper

With Adrian's contract reportedly running down, West Ham might want a new
stopper between the sticks that's going to be able to help a push for
European football. Where better to start than Joe Hart? Obviously
out-of-favour at Manchester City, but still one hell of a goalkeeper on his
day. Don't let recent performances fool you, he'll come good again. A
somewhat forgotten man in the Premier League is Asmir Begovic - who isn't
getting enough game-time at Chelsea and could be well open to a move.
Sticking with the Premier League, Tom Heaton has been one of the most
impressive stoppers in the country this season, and would be a brilliant
summer signing for anyone. Further afield, at Juventus you find Neto.
Playing back-up to Gianluigi Buffon must be a frustrating task, and the
Brazilian stopper's quality has already attracted glances from the likes of
Everton. West Ham could nip in there. Salvatore Sirigu hasn't had the best
time over the last couple of seasons, but would still be a quality option at
30-years-old.

Full back

Cover in both full back positions is needed, if we're being completely
honest. Looking towards Manchester City, either Pablo Zabaleta or Bacary
Sagna would be decent options - and both look like they could be on their
way out of the Etihad. Maybe not strictly a full-back - but Nathan Ake would
be a very competent signing after a fantastic showing at Bournemouth. A
couple of Leicester City defenders wouldn't be bad shouts either - with
Danny Simpson and Ben Chilwell both looking very reasonable options in those
positions.
Looking towards the continent, then a stand-out name is Nelson Semedo - who
has been very impressive for Benfica this campaign. Another option for
right-back could well be Mitchell Weiser - with the ex-Bayern Munich
youngster in impressive form for Hertha Berlin.

Centre midfielder

With rumours of Pedro Obiang looking towards the exit and Mark Noble waning
somewhat - a centre midfielder or two definitely wouldn't go amiss.
Nathaniel Chalobah hasn't been getting a lot of game time at Chelsea and
could be an option - or Cesc Fabregas could too, if you wanted to think a
little bigger. Everton also seem to have a surplus of energetic centre
midfielders - so the hammers couldn't really say no to the likes of James
McCarthy or Muhamed Besic if they became availble. Hear me out, but Marouane
Fellaini really might be a good option too. Stop him fouling people, and he
could be a real presence in that West Ham midfield. In Germany, Naby Keita
has been in fantastic form in a brilliant season for RB Leipzig this season
- perhaps it could be time to give him a chance in the Premier League. If
you're looking for bite in the midfielder, then Gonzalo Castro at Borussia
Dortmund could definitely be an option - although granted that one is a bit
more ambitious.

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West Ham United's Nathan Holland shares reason behind January Everton
departure
HITC
Aiden Cusick

Holland quit Everton for West Ham United. West Ham United winger Nathan
Holland has shared with Football.London the reason behind his departure from
Everton. Holland quit the Toffees in January to link up with West Ham's
Under-23s and became the first Premier League 2 player to score at the
Hammers' London Stadium on Monday. But had West Ham's approach arrived prior
to this season, there chances are they would never have gotten their man.
"The loan system has changed and I wasn't able to go out on loan with the
new manager at Everton and I wasn't getting in the team," Holland said. "I
wanted to play more football so I came down here. Terry was very welcoming,
all the team were and I knew this was the place for me. "London is really
busy, I'm still getting used to living down here, I am in a club house at
the moment but I'm getting there."

Everton are beneficiaries of the now defunct emergency loan system, with
first team regulars Ross Barkley (Sheffield Wednesday, Leeds United) and
Seamus Coleman (Blackpool) having been borrowed Championship clubs before
making their breakthroughs. However, Fifa's decision to abolish it ahead of
the 2016-17 campaign has forced many clubs nationwide to hoard young players
they would usually send elsewhere. Loans can still take place from window to
window, though, meaning the likes of Holland, who has already scored three
goals for the Hammers' Under-23s, could gain first team experience away from
West Ham next term.

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Michail Antonio should not get delusions of grandeur at West Ham
HITC
Damien Lucas

Michail Antonio is one of West Ham United's prize assets but has been linked
with a move away. Antonio has been one of the club's key players over the
last year, with Andy Carroll recently stating the former Nottingham Forest
man is their best player even when Dimitri Payet was still with the Hammers.
His form, goals and assists resulted in England call-ups and reported
interest for West Ham's bitter London rivals Chelsea. The Sun claim
Chelsea's Antonio, Conte, wants West Ham's Antonio and will be back in for
him in the summer. West Ham are hoping they can tie him to a new deal but
the player himself cast doubt on his situation recently when he told Sky
Sports he was unsure over signing a new deal. "Right now, nothing is really
happening on the contract talks," Antonio told Sky Sports News HQ. "We'll
just see how things go. At the moment my head is not being swayed in any
way. I just want to play my football and whatever happens happens. When
asked whether he will sign a new deal, Antonio said: "We'll see."

While there is nothing to suggest Antonio is playing a game of cat and mouse
with the club to get the best possible deal or indeed to get a move, he
should be mindful of how he handles the negotiations. West Ham have endured
a difficult season culminating in Dimitri Payet's controversial exit last
month. That has coincided with a rejuvenated team spirit and the Hammers
climbing the league with an outside chance of Europe. But Antonio must not
get delusions of grandeur. Yes he has been a breath of fresh air since
bounding into the West Ham first team last winter. The ultimate grafter, his
pace, energy, effort, workrate, enthusiasm, versatility, assists and goals
have been crucial. But he must know his place. He is West Ham's main man,
idolised by supporters and playing week in week out in full view of the
England boss Gareth Southgate. He must not start getting too big for his
boots, though. West Ham are a massive club who have rewarded him well and
given him the stage to shine. They took a gamble on the raw former
non-league winger to bring him to the big time and there is no place better
for him.

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http://vyperz.blogspot.com

Wednesday, February 22

Daily WHUFC News - 22nd February 2017

Holland's London Stadium delight
WHUFC.com

Nathan Holland scored the first-ever Premier League 2 goal in London Stadium history on Monday
Attacking midfielder opened the scoring in a 2-0 victory over Fulham
Teenager joined the Hammers from Everton in January transfer window

Nathan Holland described the feeling of scoring the first-ever Premier League 2 goal at London Stadium as 'amazing'. The young attacking midfielder got the first goal of the evening as Terry Westley's West Ham United ran out 2-0 winners over Fulham on Monday evening. Holland's 20th-minute goal was a superb right-footed strike from 25 yards which curled past the Fulham goalkeeper Jesse Joronen and into the bottom corner, delighting the recent signing from Everton. "It feels amazing" said the 18-year-old. "I had a few chances before then, but to see that one hit the back of the net, I was really made up!"

Following his move from Everton in the January transfer window, Holland has now scored three goals in his last three games for the Hammers and his hoping that his purple patch can continue for a while longer: I'm getting on the pitch, playing well and working hard. Thankfully it's paying off and hopefully I can keep it up! "The coaching staff and the players have really welcomed me and helped me settle well" he explained. "I'm getting on the pitch, playing well and working hard. Thankfully it's paying off and hopefully I can keep it up!"

The win ensures West Ham remain in strong contention to secure a promotion play-off place come the end of the season and with Fulham another side chasing the same target, Monday night's result was especially important: "We're made up" said Holland, who was compared to a young Ryan Giggs after the game by Academy Director Westley. "Terry said to us before the game it's a very special occasion, we need to go out there and show everyone what we can do and I think we did that. "The lads are buzzing and the confidence is flying."

The victory over Fulham is one of three scheduled home fixtures at London Stadium for the PL2 side, and they will return to Stratford on Wednesday 8 March, when they host Stoke City. Holland is confident that West Ham can use tonight to propel them towards more positive results on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in the future. "It's a great experience [playing at London Stadium]" he explained. "It's a wonderful pitch and we're all delighted that we can play on it, so hopefully the results will follow, we can keep playing like that and when we get back on it, hopefully we can go again!"

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Joint-Chairman honours 'Mr West Ham'
WHUFC.com

Blue Plaque has been unveiled at the home of late former West Ham United manager Charlie Paynter
Paynter was involved with the Club for more than 70 years between 1897 and 1970
The ceremony was attended by Joint-Chairman David Gold and representatives from Newham Council

Joint-Chairman David Gold paid a very personal tribute at a ceremony to celebrate the life of legendary West Ham United servant Charlie Paynter. The Club's second longest-serving manager, in charge from 1932 to 1950, was honoured by Newham Council, who unveiled a Heritage Project Blue Plaque at his former home in Ladysmith Avenue, East Ham, just a goal-kick away from the Boleyn Ground. Along with Newham Council dignitaries and members of the Paynter family, Mr Gold was present at the unveiling to reflect on the 50 years of magnificent service that Paynter gave to West Ham United, as well as revealing his own first-hand experience of meeting the man himself.

"Charlie Paynter is a true West Ham United legend," he said. "We must not underestimate the part he played in building and strengthening West Ham United at that time, through two World Wars and as manager of the Club for 18 years. "More than being a manager, though, he really did build things. He built the strategy and the ethos of the Football Club that continues to this day.
"And as 14-year-old, I had the good fortune to meet him when I played for West Ham Boys at Upton Park against Portsmouth Boys. He came into the dressing room and shook everyone's hand, which was fantastic at the time and a wonderful memory to have now. "I know we now have Mark Noble as our Mr West Ham, but Charlie Paynter was the original Mr West Ham. "It's fantastic that he has been honoured in this way with the Blue Plaque and I'm sure if he is looking down he will be as proud as punch. I'm sure he would also be very proud, and very excited, about the direction that our Club is heading in now."

Charlie Paynter: 'Mr West Ham'
Born in Swindon, on 28 July 1879, Charlie and his family moved to East London when he was he was a young boy. As a teenager, he joined Thames Ironworks FC as unpaid help in 1897, having expressed an interest in physiotherapy. In 1900/01, the Club's inaugural season as West Ham United FC, he joined as a player but never managed a first-team appearance after suffering a knee injury. Aged just 23, Charlie was appointed reserve-team trainer in 1902, before being promoted to first team trainer when Syd King was appointed as manager. He helped lead the Hammers through World War One before enjoying the Club's first major milestone when they were elected to the Football League in 1919. Charlie gained international recognition when he was selected to take charge of the England team for their match against Scotland in 1924. It was the first time the two countries had met at the new Wembley Stadium and the game ended in a 1-1 draw. Charlie was no stranger to Wembley having been West Ham's trainer a year earlier in the famous 'White Horse Final' against Bolton Wanderers. When King left in 1932, Charlie was chosen as his natural replacement. In 1940, he was back at Wembley as manager of the West Ham side that won the Football League War Cup.

He remained manager until 1950 when he handed over the reins to his hand-picked successor, Ted Fenton. To mark his 50 years of service with the club, West Ham United held a testimonial match in 1950, the first such game to be hosted by the Hammers, in his honour against Arsenal, which attracted a crowd of 18,000. Among the guests was 'Forces Sweetheart' Dame Vera Lynn, who lived next to the Paynter family in Ladysmith Avenue. Charlie died in December 1970 at the grand old age of 91, having proudly witnessed the Club win their first FA Cup in 1964 and enjoy European Cup Winners' Cup glory the following year - the ultimate reward for the work he had begun 68 years earlier.

Alan Paynter, one of Charlie's grandsons, led family members at the unveiling last Thursday and said: "My grandfather was totally dedicated to West Ham all his life. The plaque is a fitting tribute to his contribution both to football and, more generally, the people of Newham." Joining Alan at the unveiling were his brother Bob, Anne Paynter - wife of Charlie's third grandson Neil, Charlie's great-grandaughters Sarah and Louise, great-grandsons Lee and Mark, and three great-great-grandchildren, George (ten), Ethan (seven) and Evie (four).

Councillor Ken Clark, Newham Council's Cabinet member for building communities, public affairs, regeneration and planning, said: "Charlie Paynter is an iconic figure in the history of West Ham United, with his career the epitome of the family club tradition it has been built on. "He showed amazing dedication to the club, helping them win their first trophy. For these reasons alone it is only right and proper that we mark his achievements with a lasting memorial. "Charlie is one of a host of famous people including sporting greats, philanthropists and political figures that have called Newham home. We want to highlight their time in the borough and blue plaques are a perfect way of doing just that."

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Academy keeper's father to run Marathon for DT38
WHUFC.com

West Ham United are delighted to hear that Scott Howes, father of 19-year-old goalkeeper Sam, will run this year's London Marathon to raise money for the DT38 Foundation.

Howes, a former medic in the Army who now works in a specialist burns unit for children in Sussex, has set himself the gruelling challenge of completing the 26.2 miles for the charity set up in name of young Hammer Dylan Tombides who sadly passed away after losing his battle with testicular cancer.

Speaking ahead of the marathon, which takes place on Sunday 23 April, Howes said: "I've always wanted to run a marathon before I turn 50, and with that milestone coming up in December, this is my opportunity to do it.

"Choosing to run for the DT38 Foundation was an easy decision, and I'm very grateful for all the support they've given me, I just hope I can raise as much money as possible and help for all the good work they do.

"I didn't know Dylan that well personally, but Sam trained and played a few games together and everyone at the Academy and the Club knows how special he really was."

With just over two months to go until the big day, Howes is looking ahead to the special occasion and is enjoying training so far: "It's a big test physically and mentally, but I'm enjoying myself. Training is going well and I'm gradually clocking up the miles.

"During my time in the Forces I obviously had to keep fit but this is a different test as it's more about endurance. As it's my first marathon I'm not too concerned about my time but I'd like to do it under four-and-a-half hours if possible.

"Clearly the most important thing is to raise as much money as possible, and I'm hugely grateful for everyone who has supported me so far and massively thankful for anyone else who can help me."

Tracy Tombides, Dylan's Mother and founder of DT38 Foundation, said: "We are very proud, grateful and in awe of Scott for running the London Marathon for DT38.

"He's a fit guy, but even the fittest of guys have to train hard to run 26.2 miles and we are so delighted he's chosen to support DT38 Foundation.

"We are also really grateful to the people that have sponsored him so far, this will make a real difference in the work that we are doing to raise awareness of the risks to men's health generally, but specifically of testicular cancer."

To support Scott's campaign in aid of the DT38 Foundation, please click here.

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Masuaku - We want revenge
WHUFC.com

ArthurArthur Masuaku says Hammers want to avenge their home defeat by Watford at Vicarage Road
West Ham United went 2-0 up before imploding at London Stadium
Left-back is fit again after a period on the sidelines with a knee injury

Arthur Masuaku is hoping to gain revenge over Watford and help West Ham United get back on the winning trail when they return to Premier League action on Saturday.

Masuaku is ready to win back his place in the squad after recovering from a knee ligament injury and wants to make amends for the disappointing home defeat by Watford back in September.

West Ham dominated the opening 40 minutes and raced into a two-goal lead after Michail Antonio netted a brace and looked the strong favourites to secure all three points.

But the Hammers suffered a bad end to the first half when they conceded two goals in the final five minutes and ended up losing 4-2.

Masuaku played in that game and says his team-mates will have a major point to prove when they line-up at Vicarage Road this weekend.

He said: "We want to get revenge on Saturday. I remember the game and we played so well in the first 40 minutes and should have killed the game off.

"I don't know how we lost but we want to make amends for that defeat and hopefully we can win on Saturday.

"We were unlucky not to get the three points in the last game against West Brom and we could have got the victory if certain decisions had not gone against us. Hopefully we will have more luck in the next game."

While Watford will form the opposition at Vicarage Road, the former Olympiacos star will see a friendly face in a yellow shirt - his former France U19 team-mate Abdoulaye Doucoure.

The duo have remained good friends and the French full-back hopes he can earn the bragging rights over the Watford midfielder at the final whistle.

Masuaku added: "We played together for the France U19s. He is a very good player and a nice guy as well. When he came to Watford he didn't feature at the beginning but he is now starting to play and I am very happy for him. He has adapted well to the Premier League.

"He is my friend, but when we play on Saturday we will not be friends!"

West Ham's Premier League fixture at Watford will be screened live by BT Sport at 5.30pm on Saturday 25 February.

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Vice-Chairman unveils new Foundation pitch
WHUFC.com

Karren Brady today unveiled the West Ham United Foundation's new all-weather 3G pitch, funded thanks to a grant from the Premier League and The FA Facilities Fund, delivered by the Football Foundation.

The Vice-Chairman was joined by West Ham United Foundation Chief Executive Joe Lyons and young Hammers defender Reece Burke, who grew up less than a mile away from the Foundation's headquarters at Beckton, where the ribbon was cut to officially open the new pitch that will serve so many members of the local community.

The state-of-the-art facility at Beckton is projected to increase overall sports participation by 78% and will see 17 new teams created. It will be home to the West Ham United Ladies, whose teams have recently been taken in-house by the Club, and players from pre-school age through to the veterans of the walking football team, whose oldest player is 84-years-old.

The new third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP) – which can be used all year-round, and throughout the winter weather – replaces a previous sand-based playing surface, and is complete with floodlights, perimeter fencing and a spectator viewing area.

The West Ham United Foundation will also use the pitch to deliver a wide range of social, educational and community-outreach programmes including Premier League Primary Stars, Premier League Kicks and inclusive disability sport.

Karren Brady said: "This is what football is all about, seeing players of all different ages and backgrounds enjoy themselves purely for the love of playing the sport.

"This new all-weather pitch will make a tremendous difference, helping youngsters across Beckton and beyond to adopt football as a real passion; a platform to make positive life choices and engage among the local community.

"These grassroots facilities are so vital in helping achieve this, providing safe and accessible sporting venues for people to stay healthy and enjoy their football. I'm delighted that the facility is now up and running thanks to our partnership with the Premier League and the generous financial support of the FA Facilities Fund."

West Ham United captain Mark Noble who, like Burke, grew up in Newham, said: "I'm so impressed with the quality of this new all-weather pitch. Having played across all levels of the game, I know how important these types of facilities are in helping nurture good football, and importantly, reaching out to the local community.

"Having grown up locally, I enjoy a special connection with the area and have seen the massive impact that West Ham Foundation make in the local community. They deliver a huge number of programmes for men, women, junior and disabled players, using the power of football to really turn people's lives around.

"I'm proud to captain my hometown team which has such a strong affinity with its community roots, and this all-weather pitch – a first-class grassroots facility – will allow the Foundation to extend their work even further. The Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund have made all of this possible, and I'd like to thank them for their invaluable investment."

Richard Scudamore, Executive Chairman of the Premier League, said: "This new all-weather pitch is a fantastic facility at which West Ham can grow and develop the already outstanding community work delivered by their Foundation.

"Beckton is sure to be a constant hub of activity and will allow people of all ages and abilities access to the club and its community programmes.

"Having a safe and modern space at which local people can socialise, stay fit and healthy, and forge a strong connection with the club, is fundamental to creating a sporting legacy for the area."

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LUNCHTIME ROUND UP: LIVERPOOL WANT OBIANG?, HOGAN SUFFERS INJURY, WHO LEADS THE WEST HAM DRESSING ROOM?
BY DAN CHAPMAN ON 21 FEBRUARY 2017 AT 1:26PM
TheWestHamWay.co.uk

Hello Hammers, here is today's lunchtime round up.

Liverpool are tracking West Ham midfielder Pedro Obiang. (Daily Star)

I'm not believing this one. I don't think Obiang is a Klopp type of player, and I also don't think that Obiang would want to go to Liverpool.

West Ham youngster Nathan Holland has been described as the new Ryan Giggs. (Daily Star)

I hope so, cause we have a real player on our hands if that is the case. He has made a very impressive start to life with us, so hopefully he can continue his progress.

West Ham have been advised to move for wantaway Arsenal striker Lucas Perez. (Football Insider)

I would happily take Perez. I think he has looked very good when he has played, but again he is another player that does not get game time. I would be very open to the idea of signing him.

West Ham will revive their interest in Moroccan Kevin Malcuit. (Daily Star)

I have never heard of him, so I am unsure on what to think of this one to be honest.

West Ham fans have reacted to the news that former target Scott Hogan has suffered a potential long term injury. (HITC)

Its a shame for Hogan that he is injured again, but it just goes to show that Bilic was right not to sign him. I admit that that I slated Slav for not signing him, but in the end I was wrong. Well played Slaven.

Slaven Bilic has revealed which players run the West Ham dressing room. (HITC)

Noble and Fonte are no surprise, but I am surprised by Snodgrass' involvement in this. It just goes to show how much the team have come together in recent months, which is such a positive sign.

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Football, family and the link to Lincoln
KUMB.com
Filed: Tuesday, 21st February 2017
By: HeadHammerShark

I hope you'll forgive me, but I'm straying a little off the West Ham garden path this week. Instead I'm going to go back in time a little.

***

In the summer of 1986, after Diego Maradona had knocked England out of the World Cup, I decided to go to my next football training session wearing an Argentina shirt. If nothing else, that should probably give you an appreciation of the job my parents had to do back in my formative years. In retrospect I don't really know why I did it, beyond a childish desire to be awkward, nor indeed where I got the shirt in the first place, but wear it I did and with predictable results.

My team was Gidea Park Rangers and, if you'll excuse the pomposity for a moment, we were a pretty serious outfit. Even at the age of eight we were good, and much better than the under ten Gidea Park team that we trained with. I think it was chastening for the older boys to constantly be made to look silly by the younger group, and so they were never shy of sorting us out. That night, as I waited to do some drill or other I suddenly got hit in the head by about four balls simultaneously thrown by the bigger kids. As my face burned and my eyes watered it occurred to me that maybe my dad had probably been on to something when he said: "Wear it if you want – you'll learn", a laissez-faire approach to parenting he would only abandon when I nearly topped myself riding a bike down the side of a ravine a year later in Italy.

But my coach wasn't having any of that. He pulled the kids out, dressed them down and told them – "You don't pick on your own team. You show people respect at all times and you don't turn on your own". It was a valuable lesson for me of both what it felt like to have someone stand up for you, and the pressure you can place on other people when you're deliberately being a wind up merchant.

That coach was a gentleman called Steve Cowley and on Saturday his two sons, Danny and Nicky, steered Lincoln City into the quarter finals of the FA Cup.

***

Certain things get better with age. Fine wine, Swiss watches, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Salma Hayek. But on a more prosaic level, to this list should also be added – "How good middle aged men think they were at sport when they were younger".

You all know the type. The guy who marked Wayne Rooney as a boy and didn't think he was all that. The kid who faced Jimmy Anderson and sniffily reckons he faced quicker elsewhere. The bloke who fought Lennox Lewis as an amateur and only lost because he'd been away on holiday the week before. All these men exist somewhere, and are united in their belief that they too could have achieved sporting greatness but for the vagaries of fortune, or their own lack of desire. Pick a pub in Britain and sit at the bar on 9pm on a Friday night. Eventually one will turn up.

I try not to be one of those men, but as I watched Lincoln defeat Burnley on Saturday I couldn't help but bask a little in the reflected glory as Steve's son and my former team mate, Danny, outwitted Sean Dyche to etch his name into FA Cup folklore. Now, Sean Dyche thinks that all Klopp and Guardiola have done to make their teams better is to encourage them to run further, so maybe outwitting him doesn't seem like much of an achievement, but it really really is. What the Cowley brothers have done and are doing is both amazing and wonderful. Not that you should need an excuse to cheer for Lincoln, but I can also tell you that the Cowley family are all West Ham fans too.

It should be said that for the first time in 103 years a non-league team has made the FA Cup quarter finals and it's actually possible that you were largely unaware of their heroics. This is because the BBC have somehow managed to let that happen without broadcasting a single one of their fixtures. They did, however, manage to screen Man Utd v Wigan, which might have been the single most boring 90 minutes of my life, beating even the solitary occasion I agreed to watch a Christmas episode of Call The Midwife. Also the fault of the BBC. Shame on them.

But, I digress.

***

I first joined Gidea Park Rangers at the age of five. I liked football but had no idea what I was doing, so my mum asked around and Rangers were just up the road from Harold Hill where we lived, and had a good reputation. Some young kid at Arsenal called Tony Adams had played for them a few years before and he hadn't even been sent to prison yet, so it ticked all the right boxes.

At the first training session someone's grandfather held a ball up off the ground and encouraged us to run in and try to head it. That was pretty much all we did for most of it, and I was a bit unsure, being five years old and a bit of a fucking know-it-all apparently. My mum and dad, however, encouraged me to go back and so I did. The next session was taken by a tall, dark haired, friendly but brilliant coach by the name of Steve Cowley and my life would never be the same again, not to be too melodramatic (whilst being quite melodramatic) about it.

Suddenly football was fun and exciting. We practiced our turns, our kick ups, our dribbling and our skills, all in the name of playing good football. Steve wanted us to play like West Ham but, you know, be successful. Nobody went long, nobody stuck it in the mixer and we never Pulised anybody.

For the next ten years, we would play in the famous Echo League in Essex and won pretty much everything in our age group, including beating the representative sides of Arsenal and Spurs. The league produced professionals by the boatload. Frank Lampard, Luke Young, Bobby Zamora, John Terry and Paul Konchesky were just some who made it to the Premier League. Plenty made the lower divisions too – less heralded names like Joe Keith, Lee Goodwin, Freddie Sears and Leon Knight. Whenever I hear the phrase "hotbed of British football" applied to the North East of England, I roll my eyes. There is more talent on the most easterly four stops of the District Line than there is in Sunderland and Newcastle combined.

Our best player was a quick footed blonde kid called Mark Gower. He was a brilliant central midfielder who would later go on to play for Spurs, Barnet, Southend and then in the Premier League for Swansea. By the time we reached the age of fourteen the entire squad was signed with professional teams, Mark was playing for England schoolboys and the team was disbanded because of the demands on everyone's time. Mark went on to be a professional, Danny went on to be manager of Lincoln, and a wiry kid in our midfield by the name of Jeff Brazier went on to present television programmes and appear on the front of Hello! magazine. It sort of puts that time I got retweeted by David Gold into perspective.

I was devastated at the end of it all. As the weakest player in the team I had the most to lose, I suppose, although I still think it's better to be the worst player on the best team than the other way around. I played for Queens Park Rangers for a bit, but I wasn't good enough to last and their youth coach was a lunatic, and eventually I drifted on playing Sunday League stuff until one day at twenty six I tore my cruciate ligament and that was the end of that. I had no regrets. I really did try my best to become a professional footballer but I didn't have the innate talent. It does make it all the more difficult to watch Michael Dawson and know that the same is true of him, but there you go. It's a funny old business.

None of which is terribly interesting, but it occurred to me recently that I never reflect on that time at all. I just park it in a corner of my mind marked "Childhood football - happy memories" and that's it. Alongside it sit other unopened mental boxes like "Childhood violin lessons – bad memories", "Childhood swimming lessons, lost my trousers in the changing room – never speak of it again" or "That time Dad wanted us to go on holiday to Auschwitz – What the fuck was that about?". It's only when events come along like Lincoln's FA Cup run that we look inwards and start to explore those memories, and truly appreciate the impact of certain life events upon us as people.

***

It's probably hard to imagine now but back in 1987, Britain was run by an unfeeling female Tory Prime Minister, the US was run by a celebrity and the FA Cup was worth watching. In that year's final Keith Houchen scored a famous diving header to help Coventry defeat Spurs 3-2, and inspired kids up and down the country to break their arms trying to recreate it. We were no different, and at training that week Steve laid out mats on the gym floor and we practised diving headers.

Try as I might, I couldn't bring myself to do it and after a third failed attempt the ball passed by me like an intellectual joke going over Piers Morgan's head. Once again the big kids had a laugh with that, and so Steve took me aside and told me we were going to do one-on-one drills and that nobody would get past me. He knew the older kids were a bit crap, but he was right and I walked out feeling like I'd have run through a wall from him. Thankfully that saying wasn't in vogue then or I'd have probably done it too, given my apparent predilection for stupid decision making as a child.


He knew me pretty well by then. I was always more prone to cry if I got injured, or self-immolating when I made a mistake, than the other boys and so I think he looked out for me. No player at Gidea Park Rangers ever got a public dressing down for a mistake or playing poorly, thank fuck, as I was apparently ahead of my time by basing my game on Malky Mackay in those days. We were encouraged to think about the game, to try and work out why we'd made mistakes and learn from them. We even used to have a debrief session every week at the end of training where we discussed the previous game, if you want to psychoanalyse the very existence of this blog.

Parents weren't allowed to scream at the kids, only encourage, and absolutely nobody was allowed to question or intimidate referees. All of that might seem like the bare minimum one might expect from a children's football team, but for those who you who played or have kids that play now, you'll appreciate that it isn't.

It was only when I really thought about it that I realised how important that time was in my life. The values that my parents were instilling in me were being reinforced by somebody I respected away from home. Most kids listen to their parents up to a point and then it becomes white noise, like the music of Sting or the sound of Nigel Farage talking.

But I was having those same messages that my parents were giving me followed up every week. Work hard, don't let yourself down through a lack of effort, don't make excuses, lose or win graciously without exception, be respectful of yourself, your opponent and your teammates at all times. I'm not suggesting I managed all of those things but I know they are worth striving for.

Those life lessons would serve me well for years, and were more important even than the time that Steve patiently took me aside one day and said "James - if in doubt, kick it out" in an attempt to stem the flow of misjudged Cruyff turns on the edge of our box that I was debuting at the time.

***

By the early 2000's there was a vast increase in the number of asylum seekers flowing into Barking and Dagenham from Eastern Europe and beyond. My mum was a social worker then and I still remember the night she came home in tears having had to turn away women and children from the temporary council shelter through lack of space.

As the government got organised, things improved and the council even got so far as to establish a football team for the kids who were new into the borough and had nothing else to do. They played on Sundays and my mum set it all up. The trouble was that she had no coach for the team.

I would have done it but I was already committed to play for a team, and we were that group that had ten players each week and used to scratch around for ringers every Saturday night. "You're playing left back, if you get booked your name is Tzarkowski, don't fuck up the spelling or we'll all be in the shit" - that kind of thing.

Also, I'd be a terrible coach. I gave my girls a fascinating 45 minute PowerPoint last week on Expected Goals and shooting locations and they barely listened. You can't help some people.

So my Mum looked up our old friend Steve Cowley, who happened to work for the same council and he suggested Danny and Nicky take the job. And they did, even though they were still just kids really and neither had finished their degrees at that stage.

It was a decent and brave thing to do. Asylum seekers were no more popular a concept in Britain then than they are now, and matches were regularly being abandoned due to the kids being racially abused by opponents and fights breaking out, but they took it on and they helped those kids integrate to England. Young teenagers from Kosovo and all over Africa were given the gift of playing football. It doesn't seem like much but when your homeland gets torn apart by a civil war, even Central Park in Dagenham can seem appealing.

I meant to come down and say hello and watch a game or two, but life took over and I never did and before I knew it they'd moved on to the FitzWimarc School, Concord Rangers, Braintree Town and now Lincoln City.

***

I went to watch my daughter play a game of football for her school a couple of weeks ago. She is a dedicated ice skater and hardly plays football, but she wanted me to go and I wanted to go, so I took the day off work and put on my winter coat with something approaching excitement.

Before the game started, I noticed that the opposition coach was warming his team up by practising corner routines. He would drill hard, head high crosses into the box and then yell something about "No desire!" at the group of ten year old girls who understandably weren't showing any interest in trying to head the ball. After the game, which my daughter's school won 5-1 and during which conceded no corners, the same guy had his team sit on the ground and yelled at them some more about a lack of passion or some other bullshit. Like a shit Phil Brown, if you will. And in that moment, a group of ten year old girls who don't play the game probably decided they still didn't want to play the game.

"He does this all the time" muttered another dad, who shared my view that the best moment of the game was when three of the girls stopped to have a chat about ponytails while the ball was up the other end, causing Coach Yeller to turn a curious shade of lilac on the touchline.

In that moment I was so grateful for what I'd had as a kid. It's taken me nearly thirty years to fully realise it but the sacrifices that people make for the grassroots game are huge. The Thursday night work drinks that have to be missed so that training can go ahead, the Saturday nights out that have to be curtailed to ensure you can get up on to take the team on Sunday morning, the summer holidays that have to be arranged around pre-season training. It's like listening to Spurs fans go on about glory - never ending and unrewarding.

Shit, even my sister had to go on tours to Bognor Regis and Prestatyn Sands one year, and that's never been anyone's idea of fun.


Danny, Steve and Nicky Cowley - the look on Steve's face here is fairly reminiscent of the time I told him I should be playing up front [pic: Echo]


***

So, why am I boring you with all this nostalgic reminiscing that could only possibly be interesting to about twelve people? Because without Lincoln City there would be no West Ham United. And without Concord Rangers there would be no Lincoln City. And without Gidea Park Rangers there would be no Concord Rangers. And without men and women like Steve and Gill Cowley, my mum and dad and my sister there would be nothing at all.

These are the silent stanchions of the English game, selflessly giving of themselves to allow people like me to breeze through a childhood of extraordinary privilege. By my rough estimate I easily played over 350 games for Gidea Park Rangers and even as I sit here now I cannot tell you if I ever scored a goal for them. I was like a less dangerous version of Steve Potts, I think. And yet I remember those training session incidents vividly, because they shaped me.

Years later when, God help them, I started to manage staff of my own I was surprised at how many of those lessons could be transferred over. Respect each other, support each other, work hard, give your best, treat people fairly, don't lose your man at corners....it all works.

I remember Danny wandering over to me during a game and putting his arm around me and telling me to keep my head up after yet another error leading to a goal. I remember him congratulating me when I made the Havering district schools team and he didn't, even though he was much better than me. I haven't seen him in twenty years, but I remember him as a kind, decent, hard working and loyal kid and when that ball scraped barely over the Turf Moor goalline on Saturday I couldn't help but think of Steve and Gill and all those hours of sacrifice to get to that point, and the heart bursting pride they must have been feeling.

***

But in truth, I wrote this column as a love letter to everyone who volunteers to help junior football in this country. Even Coach Yeller, who doesn't appreciate his kids discussing Zoella's latest Vlog on the halfway line as the opposition break away and score. Without him, and all those other thousands of coaches, referees, officials, parents and siblings who give up their time, none of it could happen.

If you do not know who this person is, I envy you


If I have any advice, it would be to channel Steve Cowley. Make everything fun. Winning will come eventually, but how you treat those kids now will stick with them forever. Use that opportunity wisely. It wasn't in Steve's gift to make me a brilliant footballer, but he gave me a brilliant footballing education and I've always been grateful to him for that.

So I can't wait to see Lincoln go to Arsenal, and I hope Nicky and Danny keep rising up the leagues until maybe one day they even manage West Ham, because when you're dreaming you might as well dream as big as you can.

Oh, and if in doubt - kick it out.

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.

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Arbeloa linked with Spanish return
KUMB.com
Filed: Tuesday, 21st February 2017
By: Staff Writer

Alvaro Arbeloa is being linked with a return to Spain - just six months after joining the Hammers on a free transfer.

The veteran full back, who celebrated his 34th birthday last month, has barely featured for West Ham since moving to England on transfer deadline day last summer.

And according to some sections of the Spanish press, Arbeloa's situation is being keenly monitored by several La Liga clubs keen to take the former World Cup-winner back home.

One potential destination is Deportivo La Coruna, whose first choice full back Juanfran Moreno is said be close to sealing a move to Barcelona - themselves in desperate need of a new right back following the season-ending injury to regular first choice Aleix Vidal.

Barca have been granted special dispensation by the Spanish FA to sign a player outside of the regular transfer window as a result of Vidal's injury, and the £8million-rated Juanfran is, according to sources, currently top of their list of targets.

Arbeloa, who spent nine years with Real Madrid has featured on just four occasions for West Ham since making the move to England last August.

He made his debut in claret and blue against Accrington Stanley in the EFL Cup before going on to play a part in the Premier League clashes with Southampton, Middlesbrough and Arsenal.

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Pedro linked with Merseyside switch
KUMB.com
Filed: Tuesday, 21st February 2017
By: Staff Writer

Liverpool are one of a number of clubs keeping a close eye on West Ham midfielder Pedro Obiang, according to media reports.

Obiang, who is one of the front-runners for Hammer of the Year following an excellent season in the heart of West Ham's midfield is being monitored by the Merseyside club, according to a story in The Sun.

And it is suggested that the former European Champions are considering an offer in the region of £18million for the Spanish star.

The 24-year-old has another two years left to run on the four-year contract he signed in 2015 when moving to England from Sampdoria.

* In other transfer news today, it has been claimed that West Ham saw TWO bids for Montpellier's Kevin Malcuit rejected in the January transfer window.

France Football claim that West Ham made two offers of €8million then €10million, both of which were turned down. It is further suggested that the Hammers have already expressed an interest in landing Malcuit this summer, with a figure of €12million mooted.

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West Ham's Nathan Holland playing like 'a young Ryan Giggs' as Under-23s win on their London Stadium debut
MARCO GIACOMELLI
Evening Standard

West Ham's Under-23s won on their London Stadium debut last night, with winger Nathan Holland playing like "a young Ryan Giggs".
The comparison between the 18-year-old and the Manchester United great was made by academy director Terry Westley after West Ham beat Fulham 2-0 in their Premier League 2 fixture. Holland, who has played for England age group teams since he was 15 and made his Under-19 debut last September, joined from Everton last month on a three-and-a-half-year contract and made it three goals in as many games as he drove in the opener. "Nathan was brilliant, particularly in the first half," said Westley. "What a talent we've got on our hands. He was skipping past players, reminding me of a really young Ryan Giggs. I think he particularly caught people eyes tonight."

West Ham's Under-23 side usually play at Dagenham and Redbridge's ground.

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West Ham's away form could spark top-half finish
By James Jones - Feb 21, 2017 0
WestHamWorld

West Ham United have staved off the threat of relegation with a strong run of form over the last six weeks, easing the pressure that has steadily grown on manager Slaven Bilic.

The Croat has managed to get his team to fire up the Premier League table, despite the departure of Dimitri Payet.

The Hammers were in danger of being dragged into the relegation battle at the start of December, while the behaviour of the want-away Payet brought further negativity to the club. However, the return to fitness of Andy Carroll has been a huge factor in their resurgence, scoring six goals in his 12 appearances in the top flight.

Bilic's men are beginning to overcome their problems at London Stadium that had haunted them at the start of the term, but it has been their form on the road that has guided them into mid-table.

The Hammers have a good following on their travels and their supporters are beginning to be rewarded for the loyalty after paying £590.90 more than they would for just backing their side at home, according to research provided by Voucherbox.

West Ham have reeled off back-to-back wins away from home over Middlesbrough and Southampton to strengthen their foothold on their Premier League status, while sending both other outfits tumbling towards the foot of the table.

The Hammers have managed to build resilience, although their solid run of form was kick-started by two fortunate results on home soil over Burnley and Hull City, securing maximum points from both fixtures despite being outplayed by both teams.

The role of the underdog has seemed to suit Bilic's men more than being the favourite, which could explain the difference in their confidence away or playing stronger teams than being made to force the issue.

Draws at Manchester United and Liverpool have highlighted this theme, while breaking down fairly solid teams on the road such as Middlesbrough and Southampton, with two thumping 3-1 victories at the Riverside and St Mary's Stadium respectively.

Carroll's return has also played a significant role due to his goal threat, whereas Simone Zaza who led the line at the beginning of the year displayed no sign of being able to transition into life in the Premier League. The England international has the strength to be the focal point of the attack, allowing Michal Antonio and Manuel Lanzini to thrive in the space behind him.

Given most teams are encouraged to attack when playing at home the opportunity for those players to thrive on the counter. As a result, Antonio and Lanzini have seen a surge in their production in and around the box, which has consequently seen an upsurge in strikes finding the net for the Hammers.

West Ham have a series of away games against teams that will be desperate for points come the end of the campaign, which should give Bilic's men ample room to pick those sides apart at the back, adding valuable points late in the season. Their away form could well yet see the Hammers finish in the top half once again.

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Liverpool tracking West Ham United's Pedro Obiang; could cost £18 million
HITC
Aiden Cusick

The West Ham United midfielder is said to have an increasing number of admirers, including Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool. West Ham United's Pedro Obiang celebrates scoring their second goal
Pedro Obiang celebrates his first West Ham goal

Liverpool are one of an increasing number of admirers of West Ham United midfielder Pedro Obiang, according to the Sun.

Obiang has been in fine form for the Hammers of late and scored his first goal for the club in this month's 3-1 win at Southampton.



And Liverpool are said to be tracking the Spaniard as they look to mount a sustained challenge for next season's Premier League title, with the return of Champions League football also on the cards.

The Reds are likely to lose Lucas Leiva when the Brazilian's contract expires this summer, while another midfielder, Emre Can, has been linked with a move to Juventus.

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp with Emre Can as he prepares to come on
Liverpool's Emre Can (right) has been linked with a move away this summer

According to the Sun, Obiang is unlikely to come cheap, however, with an £18 million fee mooted for the 24-year-old, who is said to be settled at West Ham.

Obiang arrived in East London 18 months ago from Sampdoria and has another two seasons left on his contract after this one - although it is claimed West Ham have discussed the idea of opening talks soon regarding a renewal.

The former Spain Under-21 international has played 61 times for the Hammers to date.
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West Ham fans react on Twitter as Aston Villa's Scott Hogan suffers injury
HITC
Dan Coombs

West Ham came close to signing Scott Hogan in January. Aston Villa hoped they had pulled off a coup when they signed Scott Hogan from Brentford on transfer deadline day. So far the striker has yet to look like repaying them, and now he appears to have suffered a serious injury. Hogan was stretchered off late in Villa's 2-0 defeat to Newcastle United with an ankle injury, of which the severity is yet to be confirmed. Hogan has had terrible luck with injuries so far in his career, already recovering from two ACL tears. This was one reason why West Ham boss Slaven Bilic pulled out of a deal for the striker in the January transfer window, after a month of negotiations. The Hammers may be mightily relieved that they did not pull the trigger to sign him, with Hogan's poor luck once again hitting last night. He has also not been in good form at all since signing for Villa, failing to score since his deadline day switch.
West Ham did not sign another forward instead, electing to save their money for the summer, and so far it appears to have been a smart move.

Here is a look at how Hammers fans reacted on Twitter to Hogan's injury...

West Ham Geezer ? @WHUFCGeezer
Scott hogan being stretchered off ! Looks a bad one for him ....
9:47 PM - 20 Feb 2017

?Iron In The Blood? @TheKouyateKid8
Slaven Bilic Dodged a Scott Hogan Shaped bullet. He is the One
10:21 PM - 20 Feb 2017

West Ham Fan Zone @WHUFCFZ
I slated Bilic at the time for not signing Hogan, but the injury proves that he was right. Well played Slav, well played. #WHUFC #COYI
9:56 PM - 20 Feb 2017

West Ham Italy @martelliditalia
West Ham fans still sad we didnt sign Scott Hogan???
9:38 PM - 20 Feb 2017

Brawley Darbon @brawleydarbon
Hogan looks like he's done his knee ligaments. Awful. Thankfully he's not playing for west ham
9:46 PM - 20 Feb 2017

ExWHUemployee @ExWHUemployee
Not sure y this is so hard to understand, Bilic had concerns of Hogans injury record. It may have been freak but it's still an injury?
10:02 PM - 20 Feb 2017
2 2 Retweets 29 29 likes

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Nathan Holland scouting report: West Ham U23s midfielder's performance against Fulham analysed
The January signing from Everton impressed in the 2-0 win over Fulham on Monday night
Football London
BYSAM INKERSOLE
07:00, 21 FEB 2017

0-15 minutes

A quiet start for Holland, who failed to really get involved in the game. Left-back Vashon Neufville tried to find Holland at every opportunity but found the former Everton player very tightly marshaled by Fulham right back Jack Grimmer. Holland is predominantly right-footed so more often than not, cut inside into traffic. He tried his luck from the right hand side on 15 minutes, finding himself in the box but with a tight angle, fired wide on his weaker foot.

15-30 minutes

Came to life. Showed an exquisite touch with a deft backheel to find Neufville but the left-back produced a poor cross. Had a fantastic opportunity to open the scoring, running onto Noha Sylvestre's excellent cross but fired tamely at the keeper. Third time proved a charm though as Holland picked up the ball 20 yards out, shifted onto his right foot and curled a superb strike into the far corner past Joronen to open the scoring on 19 minutes, his third goal in three games. He nearly repeated the trick ten minutes later as he checked back inside and completely fooled the defender and went far post again but this time, Joronen was equal to it.

30-45 minutes

Much quieter as the majority of the game was played in the centre of the park, with the Hammers content to sit on their 1-0 lead until the break. Holland showed an excellent range of passing with some sweeping crossfield balls, then switched a central striker role, flanked by Dan Kemp and Grady Diangana but didn't really see much of the ball before the break.

45-60 minutes

Started the second half back out on the left hand side of the front three diamond. Showed searing pace to get on to what looked like an overhit pass from Alfie Powell to force a corner. Saw more of the ball nearer the touchline but made a couple of mistakes with the ball at his feet, failing to deliver crosses when having the chance.

60-75 minutes

Starved of service as the excellent right back Kyle Knoyle saw a lot of the ball on the opposite flank. He was very accurate with his short passing but didn't see enough of the ball in threatening areas to cause much damage. Did manage to find space and go on a mazy run on 70 minutes but fired over, falling off balance when striking the ball from 18 yards.

75-90 minutes

Pushed back into a more defensive role on the left as the visitors from west London searched for an equaliser. Holland didn't shirk his responsibility whatsoever, though, helping form a solid bank of five in the latter stages to see the game out.

Verdict

A very impressive performance from a supremely confident young man. Scoring his third goal in three games gave him the platform he needed to be a factor in the game as he had started nervously. His finish for his goal was superb, a real classy strike. He has got bags of pace to beat a defender but likes to cut inside onto his right foot a bit too much, so he can become a bit predictable.
In the second half, he performed his defensive duties well as Fulham pushed hard for an equaliser. Could have done better with a couple of crossing opportunities and had an effort blaze well over midway through the second period as he lost balance. He was one of the more composed players on the park alongside centre back Josh Pask and defensive midfielder Moses Makasi and thoroughly deserved to be on the winning side.

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Slaven Bilic lifts the lid on who really runs the West Ham dressing room
HITC
Damien Lucas

The West Ham United dressing room is run by three key players according to boss Slaven Bilic. The Hammers endured a torrid start to the Croatian's second season in charge of the East London club. It was a far cry from last season's record-breaking farewell to the club's Boleyn Ground home of 112 years which saw Bilic's side record their best ever Premier League points total and first positive goal difference since the club came so close to winning the title in 1986 as they finished just four points off the Champions League places. West Ham struggled badly in the first half of the season, going out of the Europa League, EFL Cup and FA Cup and stuck near the bottom of the table lacking any kind of form or consistency.
Results have picked up drastically of late, though, coinciding with the Dimitri Payet situation and eventual exit before the January transfer window slammed shut. The Hammers brought in experienced Premier League duo Robert Snodgrass and Jose Fonte and the club has stabilised climbing to 10th in the table with raised hopes of European qualification. Now in an interview with Premier League productions published on the club's official website, Bilic says much of it is down to his own mini government of Mark Noble and his two newest additions. "We lost a world-class player in Payet but we got two players in Snodgrass and Fonte who are the those (type of) players you need around the skipper (Noble) to make your 'government' if you know what I mean!" Bilic said on whufc.com.
"Snodgrass is British and Fonte is Portuguese but he is also 'home-grown' because he has been here for ten years now, so we are more thick as a team, more mature, you know. "It's vital and crucial because, as a manager, of course you are the boss and have the power and responsibility but, especially when it comes down to small things, you can't tell the players the same thing every day, because then you are losing power. "So, the best thing is when the players sort it out among themselves and you don't have to interfere, which is why it's important for me to have a core of English or British, let's say home-grown, players. "With that, it is much easier to have a successful group of players."
It makes a nice change to hear Bilic talking about the positive influence of big names on the dressing room at West Ham after the much-publicised negative impact Payet had been having. It all bodes well for the future and with the right summer signings West Ham could really kick on with their new stadium in the next few seasons.

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New West Ham signing Nathan Holland scores history making goal
HITC
Dan Coombs

West Ham youngster signed from Everton in January. West Ham winger Nathan Holland made history last night by scoring the club's first under-23 goal at the London Stadium. The England youth international signed from Everton in January and has made a positive early impression for the Hammers even before last night. He netted the opener in a 2-0 Premier League 2 clash against Fulham, curling in a superb effort from outside the box. Holland commented on Twitter after the game expressing his delight at being able to make an impact.
The teenager is going about making an impression the right way at his new club, and is clearly a player to watch for the future.
Everton have a talented academy and are competing for the title this season, but letting Holland go could well be a decision they go on to regret, and West Ham go on to benefit from.

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