Saturday, August 27

Daily WHUFC News -

Bilic makes no excuses for Euro exit
WHUFC.com

Slaven Bilic was making no excuses after West Ham United were knocked out of
the UEFA Europa League by Astra Giurgiu for the second season in succession.
The Hammers were edged out 1-0 on the night and 2-1 on aggregate by the
Romanian champions, with Filipe Teixeira's counter-attack goal just before
half-time the difference between the two sides. Bilic gave a frank
assessment after a disappointing night at London Stadium, admitting Astra
had deserved to progress to the group stage over the two legs. "I would like
to congratulate Astra as they deserved it," he began. "It is a huge
frustration because I said before the game that this was one of the most
important games of the year for us. "I said after the Bournemouth game that
in the Premier League you can make it up, but this was like a final because
you need to win to go through, therefore the disappointment is massive. "OK,
we can always find excuses like missing players and that we should have
scored the chances we created and all that, but we didn't play good. In the
first half, we didn't play with desire as a team, it was all individuals and
we were second best. "I said before the game in Romania that if you give
their players the time to turn and play, they can pass the ball, of course,
and we were doing plenty of that. There was not enough movement, we played
very slowly and we didn't take the few chances we should have taken. ?"They
took their chance with a goal on the counter-attack. From our point of view,
we lost the ball in a very strange way and they took advantage of the
situation."

Bilic threw on strikers Enner Valencia and Ashley Fletcher to no avail,
despite an improved second half display, as further chances went begging and
Astra goalkeeper Silviu Lung produced a succession of saves to further
frustrate the Hammers. "To be fair, we changed a bit in the second and
thought we had to change the system and one or two players but deep down you
know it's not about the system, but about the way we played," he continued.
"We created a few chances, to be fair, and those chances you have to score.
It wasn't that we missed the chances, but that we didn't play good. "Of
course I am angry and frustrated and everything but I'm much more
disappointed than angry, because we really wanted to go through to the
Europa League. That's why we tried so hard last season, to have this
opportunity."

On a deflating evening, the one positive to report was the signing of Swiss
midfielder Edmilison Fernandes – a 20-year-old who Bilic believes can
contribute to the Claret and Blue cause this season. "He's a good player who
we've been watching for a whole year," Bilic revealed. "He's very young, a
good midfielder and is not only for the future. "We are not expecting him to
come now and change the game for us, but we didn't buy him as a talent to
loan; we want him to be part of the squad and play this year. "He's very
talented and can play in a few positions. He has good pace, good legs, good
physique, good skill and a great mentality. He's a good signing for us."

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Hammers secure Swiss star Fernandes
WHUFC.com

West Ham United are delighted to announce the signing of Swiss midfielder
Edimilson Fernandes on a four-year contract for an undisclosed fee. The
20-year-old joins the Hammers from hometown club FC Sion, where he scored in
the 2015 Swiss Cup final and featured regularly in the UEFA Europa League
last season. Despite his relative youth, Fernandes has made 66 first-team
appearances for Sion, and is looking to make an immediate impact at London
Stadium. "I am really happy to be here at West Ham United," said Fernandes,
who was presented to the Claret and Blue Army ahead of the UEFA Europa
League play-off round second-leg tie with Astra Giurgiu. "It is a new
challenge for me and now it is down to me to work hard to become a top
player. "I am a player capable of getting the game going and adding
excitement to the action on the pitch. I spoke to the manager [Slaven Bilic]
and the conversation was very positive and I appreciate this opportunity. "I
had never been to this stadium before, but it is a really magnificent
stadium and I will be working to my best to get to the top. It is a large
stadium, I have also played at Anfield here in England, but this stadium is
really impressive."

Of Cape Verde and Portuguese descent, Fernandes started his career with FC
Fully in Switzerland as a schoolboy. He is the cousin of former Manchester
City and Switzerland midfielder Gelson Fernandes. There, he was spotted by
the Sion's owner and president Christian Constantin, a former goalkeeper for
Swiss side Lugano and renowned architect, and signed by the Super League
club. There, he has thrived in recent seasons, making his first-team debut
against FC Zurich at the age of 17 years and two months in June 2013. The
2014/15 season was Fernandes' breakthrough campaign as he totalled 19
appearances and netted twice in three Swiss Cup ties as Sion defeated FC
Basel 3-0 to win the competition for a 13th time. Last season, still aged
just 19, Fernandes featured 39 times in all competitions, including all
eight UEFA Europa League ties as Sion finished second in a group behind
Liverpool before being edged out 4-3 by Portuguese club Braga in the Round
of 32. Fernandes has been a regular for Sion again this term, starting all
five Super League matches and helping his club to a 6-1 Swiss Cup win over
Romontois.

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West Ham bow out of Europe
WHUFC.com

West Ham United suffered heartbreak as Filipe Teixeira scored the only goal
of the game to help Astra Giurgiu record a 1-0 victory and secure their
place in the group stages of the UEFA Europa League. Despite coming away
with a 1-1 draw from the first leg and securing a crucial away goal, Slaven
Bilic's side failed to build on that result and suffered their first
competitive defeat at London Stadium. For the second consecutive year, the
Romanian champions managed to knock the east London club out of the
competition and it was bitterly disappointing that the Hammers failed to
book their place in the draw for the group stage which will take on Friday.
Former West Brom midfielder Teixeira netted the crucial winner on 44 minutes
and despite a battling display from the home side in the second half, they
failed to find a way back into the game. The night had started on such a
positive note after new signing Edimilson Fernandes was introduced to the
crowd just before kick-off. The Hammers could have opened the scoring after
just nine minutes when Reece Burke played the ball into Jonathan Calleri who
only had the goalkeeper to beat but he saw his close-range shot kept out by
the legs of Astra Giurgiu keeper Silviu Lung. The home side continued to
create the best openings and came close again on 15 minutes when Pedro
Obiang fired a shot from the edge of the box which produced a fine save from
Lung diving low to his left hand side. Cheikhou Kouyate was the next Hammers
player to come close on 32 minutes when Michail Antonio picked out the
Senegal midfielder and he headed the ball just over the bar. The Hammers
were made to pay for those missed opportunities when Astra caught West Ham
on the counter attack and opened the scoring on the stroke of half-time. The
ball fell to Teixeira and the former West Brom forward fired a left-foot
shot into the corner of the net. The home side tried everything to get back
on level terms and Angelo Ogbonna saw his header well saved by Lung on 51
minutes.
The Astra keeper was having the game of his life and made another superb
save to deny Calleri's close-range header on 54 minutes. Just seconds later
the Hammers had another great chance when Sam Byram's fierce cross was
headed wide by Antonio. You sensed it was not going to be West Ham's night
and they missed another great chance on 61 minutes when Gokhan Tore's corner
fell perfectly for Winston Reid but he directed his header inches past the
post. Having introduced Enner Valencia at half-time, Bilic used another
attacking option from the bench in an attempt to turn the game around and
Ashley Fletcher certainly impressed. The summer signing from Manchester
United almost made an immediate impact on 72 minutes when he picked up the
ball from Ogbonna and saw his close-range effort kept out by the legs of
Lung. Antonio finally had the ball in the back of the net on 77 minutes but
his effort was ruled out after the Hammers winger was adjudged to have
committed a foul on the half-way line. The Romanian side held on for another
big victory against the east London Club and Bilic will be hoping his side
can show an immediate response when they play Manchester City at the Etihad
Stadium on Sunday.

West Ham United: Randolph; Byram, Reid, Ogbonna, Burke (Collins 88);
Nordtveit (Valencia 45), Obiang, Kouyate; Tore, Calleri (Fletcher 60),
Antonio
Subs not used: Adrian, Oxford, Browne, Diangana
Bookings: Reid, Collins, Antonio, Byram

Astra Giurgiu: Lung, Alves, Fabricio, Seto, Alibec, Morais (C), Lovin
(Florea 87), Niculae (Oros 57), Sapunaru, Ionita (Stan 74), Teixeira
Subs not used: Gavrilas, Raileanu, Moise, Balaure
Bookings: Morais, Lung

Attendance: 56,932

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Ten Fast Facts - Edimilson Fernandes
WHUFC.com

Find out more about our tenth summer signing from the Swiss Super League
club FC Sion...

Edmilison Fernandes was born in the town of Sion in south western
Switzerland on 15 April 1996
Fernandes is the cousin of former Manchester City and Switzerland midfielder
Gelson Fernandes, former Everton and Portugal midfielder Manuel Fernandes
and ex-Sunderland midfielder Cabral
The youngster was born in Switzerland of Portuguese and Cape Verdean descent
Fernandes was just 17 years and two months old when he made his first-team
debut for Sion in a 4-2 Swiss Super League win over FC Zurich on 1 June 2013
A first senior goal arrived in a 2-2 draw at home to FC Luzern on 1 March
2015 – one of two he scored in 48 Super League appearances
Fernandes lost just one of the nine Swiss Cup ties he played in and scored
in the 2015 final victory over FC Basel
The central midfielder assisted both goals on his European debut – a 2-1
UEFA Europa League victory over Russian club Rubin Kazan in September 2015
Fernandes played every minute of Sion's Europa League campaign last season,
when they finished second in a group containing Liverpool before being
knocked out by Portuguese side Braga in the Round of 32
Fernandes chalked up an assist in his final game for Sion – a 2-1 Super
League defeat at Grasshoppers on Sunday
In total, the 20-year-old played 65 times for Sion's first team and 41 more
games for the club's U21 side in the Promotion League

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The Insider
WHUFC.com

The transfer window closes next Wednesday and there have been some major
developments at West Ham United over the last 24 hours. I can reveal the
Club are hoping to announce the imminent signing of a highly-rated young
midfielder after he successfully underwent a medical today. The youngster
has been one of the star performers for his Club and will become the eighth
major signing of the summer. The news will come as a major boost to Bilic
who wants to strengthen the squad and add more quality as the Club prepare
for a number of games in both domestic and European competition. The Hammers
have been struck by a number of major injury problems particularly in the
striking areas and Slaven Bilic has made it clear that he would like to
bring in another forward. The Club have been strongly linked with moves for
Wilfried Bony, Loic Remy and Simone Zaza and my sources have confirmed to me
that the Club are at an advanced stage of negotiations to sign a top
international forward. It is my understanding that the Club will discover in
the next 48 whether the deal will be finalised and they are 75 per cent
confident of getting their man.

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Fletcher - I cannot wait to play more games
WHUFC.com

Fletcher wants to show the West Ham fans what he is capable of
The former Manchester United forward is keen to put one over Manchester City
Fletcher is already settled in London and is loving his time at West Ham

Ashley Fletcher says the players are determined to bounce straight back from
their Europa League disappointment when they face Manchester City on Sunday.
Fletcher admits he was devastated to miss out on a place in the group stages
of the competition after Astra Giurgiu recorded a 1-0 victory at London
Stadium. For the second consecutive season, the Hammer failed at the final
hurdle to reach the group phase and were beaten by the Romanian side once
again. But despite the setback, Fletcher says there is still everything to
play for and hopes the players will have a major point to prove when they
travel to the Etihad Stadium on Sunday. Fletcher said: "It is a sickener for
a massive club to go out at this early stage and we are all disappointed.
"It wasn't our night. I had a great chance which I should have scored and
other players have had chances. "I cannot put my finger on why it happened
and it is hard to accept, but we have to move on. "We felt in the first leg
that we didn't put on a performance that we are capable of, but it was a
positive result. "We came back to the London Stadium expecting to play them
off the park, but it didn't turn out like that and it wasn't our night. "We
will go again on Sunday and try to do our best in the league and the other
cup competitions."

One of the major positives to come out of the night was the performance by
Fletcher when he appeared as a second half substitute. The talented forward
produced an oustanding display and was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet.
Fletcher added: "It is a small thing that I can take from the game, but it
is a team effort and unfortunately we have not got the right result.
"I am just happy to get out there and get more minutes under my belt and
show the West Ham fans what I am about. Hopefully I can put the next one
away."
Having arrived from Manchester United during the summer, Fletcher has extra
reason for wanting to do well against their arch rivals Manchester City on
Sunday. The Hammers recorded a famous 2-1 win at the Etihad Stadium last
season and Fletcher sees no reason why they cannot cause another big upset
against the Premier League leaders. "I watched that game last year and it
was a massive win for West Ham. Hopefully we can go up there and repeat it.
"Having played for United, it would be nice for me to put one over City as
well! I am sure the United fans will want me to do that, as well as the West
Ham fans and it is a game I am looking forward to. "I am loving my time here
and the players, staff and fans have made me feel very welcome. I cannot
wait to show the West Ham fans what I can do. "I have settled in really well
and cannot wait to play more games."

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Adrian receives first Spain call-up!
WHUFC.com

Adrian receives first-ever senior Spain call-up, James Collins is set to
earn his 50th Wales cap
Havard Nordtveit and Martin Samuelsen included in Norway squad
Enner Valencia's Ecuador face Brazil and Peru in South American World Cup
qualifying

Adrian, James Collins, Dimitri Payet, Enner Valencia, Havard Nordtveit and
Martin Samuelsen have all been called up by their respective nations for
2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

Goalkeeper Adrian has been included in the Spain squad for the first time
for a friendly with Belgium in Brussels on Thursday 1 September and the
opening World Cup qualifying Group G fixture at home to Liechtenstein in
Leon on Monday 5 September. The No13, who was a stand-by for UEFA Euro 2016,
is named alongside Manchester United's David de Gea and Napoli's former
Liverpool stopper Pepe Reina.

Collins has been named in the Wales squad for their opening 2018 FIFA World
Cup Group D qualifier with Moldova. The West Ham United centre-half is in
Chris Coleman's 23-man selection for the tie, which will take place at
Cardiff City Stadium on 5 September at 7.45pm BST. Should he feature,
Newport-born Collins will earn his 50th cap for his country. The defender,
who turned 33 on Tuesday, helped Wales to reach the semi-finals of UEFA Euro
2016, where they were edged out by eventual winners Portugal. The Dragons
have not reached the World Cup finals since 1958, when they reached the
quarter-finals in Sweden. However, following their recent success, Coleman,
Collins and company will be hopeful of qualifying from a group that also
includes Austria, Georgia – both of whom Wales face in October – Serbia and
Darren Randolph's Republic of Ireland.

Martin O'Neill has yet to name the Irish squad for the Boys in Green's
opening qualifier against Serbia in Belgrade on Monday 5 December. Ireland
also host Oman in a warm-up fixture at the Aviva Stadium on Wednesday 31
August.

Norway pair Nordtveit and Samuelsen have arguably the toughest opening
qualifying job on their hands, as they host Germany at the Ullevaal Stadium
in Oslo on Sunday 4 September. To prepare for the visit of the Germans,
Belarus will visit the same venue on 31 August. Nordtveit has 28 caps and
two goals to his name, while Samuelsen made his senior debut against Iceland
in June – both will hope Norway can emerge from a Group C that also includes
Czech Republic, Northern Ireland, Azerbaijan and San Marino.

Elsewhere, Dimitri Payet is in France manager Didier Deschamps' selection
for a friendly with Italy in Bari on Thursday 1 September and their opening
World Cup Group A qualifier against Belarus in Borisov on Tuesday 6
September. France face a tough qualifying campaign, with the Netherlands,
Sweden, Bulgaria and Luxembourg also vying for one automatic qualifying
place.

Angelo Ogbonna's Italy will continue on from Bari to Haifa, where they will
take on Israel in their own Group G opener on 5 September.

Further afield, Enner Valencia has been called up by Ecuador for
mouth-watering fixtures with Brazil in Quito on 1 September and Peru in Lima
on 5 September. Ecuador have made a fantastic start to South American World
Cup qualifying, winning four of their opening six fixtures to sit second to
Uruguay only on goal difference. The top four will automatically reach
Russia 2018.

In Africa, World Cup qualification Round 3 does not commence until October,
but Cheikhou Kouyate's Senegal will be in action in 2017 Africa Cup of
Nations qualifying instead. The Lions of Teranga host Namibia in their final
Group K fixture, having already won five out of five to cement their place
in Gabon in January.

Elsewhere, Sofiane Feghouli's Algeria have also secured qualification from
Group J with a match to spare, but the winger will miss their closing
fixture with Lesotho through injury.

At age-group leve, Reece Oxford is in the England U20 squad for a friendly
with Brazil in Kidderminster on 4 September, while new boy Edmilison
Fernandes is in the Switzerland U21 squad for a European Championship
qualifying double-header with Kazakhstan and Bosnia/Herzegovia.

Finally, former West Ham manager Sam Allardyce will name his first England
squad for his opening game in charge – a FIFA World Cup Group F qualifier
with Slovakia – on Sunday.

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Stat's a Fact - Fantastic Fletcher
WHUFC.com

One of the few bright spots to emerge from Thursday's UEFA Europa League
play-off round second leg defeat by Astra Giurgiu was the performance of
young striker Ashley Fletcher.

Of West Ham United's seven shots on target, the 20-year-old forward had two
of them, despite the fact he was only on the pitch for 35 minutes.

Tall, strong and able to carry the ball, Fletcher was a constant threat to
the Romanians, who somehow clung on to secure a 1-0 victory on the night to
progress 2-1 on aggregate.

West Ham enjoyed 65% possession, had 17 attempts at goal to Astra's four and
forced ten corners to the visitors' one, but Astra held out to go through to
the group stage.

Fletcher, for one, did everything he could to try and score the equaliser
the Hammers craved, repeatedly coming short or pulling into wide areas to
receive possession before laying the ball off to a teammate, linking up the
play or turning and running at the over-worked Astra defence.

Twice, the former Manchester United youngster came agonisingly close to
equalising – first when he collected Angelo Ogbonna's shot before seeing his
own effort saved by the foot of goalkeeper Silviu Lung, then with a low
20-yard shot that the Romania international did well to tip around the post.

It was not just his willingness to shoot that excited the London Stadium
crowd, though, as he twice slalomed past a succession of defenders. The
first time, a third came across and Fletcher went down in the box, but no
penalty was given, while the second he beat his man before being fouled a
yard outside the Astra area.

All in all, Fletcher looked by far the most likely West Ham hero on a night
when one was sorely needed. Unfortunately, despite his best efforts, a goal
just would not come.

Casting that disappointment aside, the Yorkshire-born forward impressed both
his manager and the Claret and Blue Army hugely.
Ashley is a very bright lad, he believes in himself, he is ready to work,
willing to learn and train and sacrifice and I am sure we're going to
benefit from him in the future
Slaven Bilic
Manager Slaven Bilic summed up his performance by saying: "He was really
good, not only last night when he came on but when he came on against
Bournemouth. He made a big impact, not in terms of scoring or creating
assists, but he was one of the reasons we won that game.

"He makes the pitch smaller because he is there in no time with that energy
and quality. He did a really good pre-season with us and scored a couple of
goals against really decent opposition and then last night, when he came on,
he did really well and showed he has that quality.

"We had a few chats, me and him, during pre-season and he's a very bright
lad, he believes in himself, he is ready to work, willing to learn and train
and sacrifice and I am sure we're going to benefit from him in the future.
He's really good and I like him."

Bilic confirmed on Friday that more opportunities are set to come Fletcher's
way and, if he approaches his work the way he did against Astra, the
likelihood is that his fortune in front of goal will soon change.

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Slaven Speaks - Manchester City
WHUFC.com

Manager reveals Dimitri Payet or Manuel Lanzini could feature at Manchester
City on Sunday
Slaven Bilic also lifts the lid on a potential move for Juventus and Italy
striker Simone Zaza
Hammers travel to the Etihad Stadium looking to build on a home win over AFC
Bournemouth

Slaven Bilic has revealed that West Ham United stars Dimitri Payet or Manuel
Lanzini return for the Premier League trip to Manchester City on Sunday. The
Hammers will take on Pep Guardiola's table-toppers looking to build on a
home win over AFC Bournemouth - and overcome the disappointment of a UEFA
Europa League exit at the hands of Romanian side Astra Giurgiu.
Bilic was also asked about the Club's seemingly imminent move for Juventus
and Italy striker Simone Zaza, and the exciting introduction of young centre
forward Ashley Fletcher.

Slaven, can we start with team news ahead of Sunday's Premier League fixture
at Manchester City?

SB: "We had a game on Thursday night and Havard Nordtveit got a kick on his
foot. He got a kick a few days before but he played a couple of games, but
in the first half against Astra he got a kick in the same spot and he's very
likely to be out on Sunday.

"Mark Noble should be all right. After training we're going to know more
about whether he's going to be available for Sunday.

"Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini, we're going to know more on Saturday.
Maybe one of them will be in the squad for Sunday's game. We still have one
training session, but the situation is that after this game we have a couple
of weeks and the temptation is not to play them because is it worth the
risk?

"Of course if there is no risk, of course we would pick them, but there is a
big question-mark. Only if there is no risk are we going to use them, and
then only one of them."

With your injury issues and Manchester City's talented squad and playing
style under Pep Guardiola, can you hope to repeat last season's win at the
Etihad Stadium?

SB: "It wasn't very likely last year because they had started great and had
15 points from five games without conceding a goal, but we played a really
good game. We scored twice in the first half.

"In the second half they put us under pressure and were really dominating
and creating a few chances, but they missed them and we were good in
defending the box. Then we made that huge win.

"There's no reason why we shouldn't do it this season. We know it's a big
challenge, not only regarding our injury situation, but we are hoping and
our whole plan is to have a good game and to get something out of it.

"Pep has new tactics which are a little bit different than last year's and
they're not very common tactics, with the full-backs playing with the ball
in areas that are not normal. We can live with that because it's far away
from the goal, but we have to stop them being free with time and space in
front and in our box.

"It's going to be hard, of course. They've shown already they are top-class
players and they've gelled. They were the most impressive in their Champions
League game against Steaua in Bucharest, but what gives us hope is that
Sunderland made it hard for them and so did Stoke – the result was 4-1 but
it was not that easy and the game was very even for a long period.

"Man City were Man City last year and we can do it again."

Reports suggest your move for Juventus and Italy striker Simone Zaza is
nearly complete – what can you tell us?

SB: "With the Zaza situation, it looks very likely that it is going to
happen today, but until it happens you never know! As far as I know, the
deal is agreed between the clubs, his personal terms are also agreed, but
it's still not signed.

"I think he is coming to London today in the early afternoon and hopefully
we're going to do it today.

"It is a boost. It was our plan for a long time now to get a top-quality
striker and there were a few of them on our list, and Zaza was always
mentioned there, so let's see what's going to happen today."

Ashley Fletcher impressed on Thursday evening – what did you make of his
performance?

SB: "He was really good, not only last night when he came on but when he
came on against Bournemouth. He made a big impact, not in terms of scoring
or creating assists, but he was one of the reasons we won that game.

"He makes the pitch smaller because he is there in no time with that energy
and quality. He did a really good pre-season with us and scored a couple of
goals against really decent opposition and then last night, when he came on,
he did really well and showed he has that quality.

"We had a few chats, me and him, during pre-season and he's a very bright
lad, he believes in himself, he is ready to work, willing to learn and train
and sacrifice and I am sure we're going to benefit from him in the future.
He's really good and I like him."

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West Ham United Statement
WHUFC.com

West Ham United condemn unreservedly the behaviour of individuals involved
in incidents captured on video during the fixture against Astra Giurgiu.

This behaviour has no place in football and we will work with the police and
other stakeholders to identify the individuals involved. Once identified,
they will be banned from attending any West Ham United fixture for life and
we will request the courts serve a banning order to prevent these
individuals attending any football.

More than 200,000 supporters have already attended our opening at the London
Stadium and the West Ham United fans have been magnificent during the first
four games. With more than 10,000 Under-16 Season Ticket Holders, we are a
family-friendly Club and our priority is maintaining an inclusive
environment for all home and away supporters. We will not allow one isolated
incident to damage our supporters' and the Club's reputation, hence our zero
tolerance approach to this matter.

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Adrian's pride at Spain selection
WHUFC.com

Adrian has been named in the Spain squad for the first time in his career
Goalkeeper is picked alongside David de Gea and Pepe Reina in Julen
Lopetegui's selection
No13 has made 106 appearances since joining West Ham United in summer 2013

Adrian says being called-up by Spain for the first time is the proudest
moment of his career.

The Seville-born West Ham United goalkeeper has been included in the squad
for a friendly international in Belgium and opening 2018 FIFA World Cup
qualifier with Liechtenstein.

The Hammers stopper, who has been rewarded for three outstanding seasons in
Claret and Blue, revealed that he had received hundreds of messages from
family, friends, teammates and fellow professionals.

"I was on the standby list for a couple of squads before Euro 2016, but this
time around I didn't ask my agent if I was included, then when I finished
training on Thursday I got back to the dressing room and checked my phone, I
had 360 WhatsApp messages, emails, texts and missed Facetime calls!" he
smiled.

"It's great news and a great moment. For me, for my family, my friends, my
wife, my baby and for West Ham United, I am really happy for this news. It's
so exciting to go there and train with all the international players and to
give my best, as I always do here.

"My grandfather recently passed away and he was probably the proudest person
of all about where I have got to, and he was always looking after me and
called me after every game. This is a great moment for him, also, and I'll
give everything to play in the national team.

"The work has paid-off for me because I work hard. I made my debut in Real
Betis and after a season I came to West Ham and have played most of the
games in the starting XI.

"It's a great moment for me. I'm still only 29, which is so young for a
goalkeeper who can play for a long time, so with the new manager [former
Barcelona goalkeeper Julen Lopetegui] he has given opportunities to new
players to show they are ready for the national team."

To be named in the Spain squad is some achievement for Adrian, as the
country is in possession of a host of top stoppers, including Manchester
United's David de Gea and Napoli's former Liverpool star Pepe Reina, who
have been called-up alongside the Hammers man.

The vastly-experienced Iker Casillas, Sevilla's two-time UEFA Europa League
winner Sergio Rico and Villarreal's recently-capped Sergio Asenjo have been
left out in favour of Adrian, showing how highly thought of he is among his
fellow countrymen.

"I am really, really proud of this – to be one of the three best goalkeepers
in the national team," he confirmed. "It's so, so hard to be named in the
national team because we have so many goalkeepers playing at the top level.

"The manager has a different decision to pick just three, so I am so proud
of this. I'll give 150 per cent in the training and, if I have the
opportunity to play, of course in the game."

Before he had even made his first-team debut for Betis, Adrian met Reina
randomly in Spain's capital, Madrid, where the pair chatted about the art of
goalkeeping. They remained in touch, and Reina was one of the first to
congratulate the No13 on his historic call-up.

"Pepe was one of the first to text me and congratulate me, and I
congratulated him again because he has gone a long time without a call to
the national team," he said. "He is a great man and I have a good
relationship with him and also with De Gea, as we have played against each
other many times.

"I think we'll train very well together and will give our best in every
session."

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
FT - Swansea City 2-0 West Ham United PL2
WHUFC.com

FT: Swansea City 2-0 West Ham United

FT: And that's it for the action at the Liberty Stadium. Swansea run out 2-0
winners but it could have been different had the luck been on the visitors'
side. It was a game that always looked likely to be won by the first
scorers. Nathan Trott in goal impressed, saving a penalty late on, and
Marcus Browne looked the most dangerous going forward. The Hammers have the
chance to bounce back quickly, though - they face Coventry City in the EFL
Trophy on Tuesday night. Stay tuned next week on whufc.com for live action
of that tie. Over and out from south Wales.

90+4: Hector-Ingram has a chance to cut the deficit, but heads wide from
Sylvestre's lovely cross from the left. Perhaps West Ham's best chance of
the night?

90+1: We're into four minutes of injury time and Martinez lashes one wide on
the volley from outside the box. A slightly frustrating evening for the
Spaniard.

89: Swansea grab a second. Botti Bia Bi goes clear and comfortably slips one
past Trott from 12 yards. That should be the points for the hosts.

88: Dan James smashes one against the post for Swansea. Trott seemed sure it
wasn't goalbound.

86: Saved by Trott! Emnes' penalty is poor, but Trott does well to get down
and push it away! They're still in this, the Hammers!

86: Penalty for Swansea. Hector-Ingram bundles over a white shirt. Chance to
seal the points for Swansea.

85: Chance for West Ham! Either Akinola or Hector-Ingram - we're not sure
which - rose at the back stick and headed just wide from a Browne free-kick!


83: JHI is introduced and Grady Diangana makes way. On the pitch now for
West Ham is Browne, Martinez, Gordon, Kemp and Hector-Ingram.

82: Jahmal Hector-Ingram, who scored two in pre-season is being redied here.
Another forward for West Ham.

79: Great strike from Browne from 25 yards, but Birighitti is equal to it,
low to his right. The Hammers are doing their best to test Swansea's back
line.

77: Final Swansea sub - goalscorer Jones is replaced by Alex Bray.

75: Free-kick for Browne in a dangerous area here, but his deep cross comes
off Jaanai Gordon and rolls off for a goal kick.

74: Swansea looking to keep possession and see out this game now. West Ham
have plenty of attacking flair still on the pitch and coupled with fresh
legs, they remain dangerous. Come on you Irons!

71: Subs here. Jaanai Gordon replaces Alfie Lewis and Dan Kemp comes on for
Joe Powell, while Neil Taylor makes way for Aaron Lewis in all white.

66: Delicious delivery from Browne from the left, but Diangana, racing in at
the back post, can't get on the end of it. West Ham are probing here,
looking for the so far elusive equaliser.

63: Superb stop from Trott again! The ball finds its way to Emnes on the
left of the penalty area, and Trott denies the Dutchman with his legs. Good
goalkeeping again to keep the Hammers in this!

61: West Ham twice go close but twice it's a Swansea player who nearly
converts into his own net. First a deflected free-kick, then an attempted
corner clearance. They get lucky, and it remains 1-0.

57: Goal for Swansea. Owain Jones smashes a Tyler Reid cross into the roof
of the net from close range. Harsh on the Hammers.

55: WHAT A BLOCK! Declan Rice heroically throws himself to the ground to
volley a Swansea attempt off the line. He crashes into the first but
receives a warm reception after rising to his feet again. Superb by the
skipper!

53: Double save from Nathan Trott! The stopper denies Jones from point blank
range before diving on a second Swansea attempt. Brave work by the No1!

50: Ryan Blair, who took to the field one minute ago, takes a piece out of
Marcus Browne and goes into the book.

49: Best chance of the game falls to City. Jones is again the man it falls
to, as Emnes' cross from the left finds the forward in the box, but he heads
wide unmarked. A missed opportunity.

48: Strike from Swansea's Dan Jones flies just wide of Nathan Trott's right
hand post. Good chance for the hosts.

46: We're back underway and West Ham are straight on the front foot - there
were a few chances to shoot in the box but Claret and Blue shirts got in the
way of each other!

HT: And that's it for the first period. The Hammers have looked more
dangerous on the balance of play, but Swansea have held their own so far and
had one or two opportunities themselves. Let's see what words of inspiration
from Terry Westley provides at half time! 0-0.

45+1: Browne hits another attempt, and it's low to the keeper's left. He
saves well. Marcus Browne is getting plenty of space on the edge of the box.

45: Powell curls one round the wall but it goes wide for a goal kick.

44: Booking for Swansea, as Maric hacks down Browne. Free-kick for the
Hammers 30 yards out on the left-hand-side. Chance to shoot...

42: To be fair, Swansea look very dangerous from set pieces tonight. To not
give too many away in the second half will surely be a priority for Terry
Westley's men. The Hammers still the most dangerous going forward, however.
Just three minutes remain in this first half.

40: Save from Nathan Trott! Marvin Emnes powers one towards goal, and Trott,
blocking the first attempt, collects at the second time of asking. Good
goalkeeping from the Bermudian youngster.

38: Martinez is proving to be a real handful up top. He has won a number of
free-kicks and certainly looks dangerous when the ball nears the box. Can he
get a fourth of the season tonight?

34: Alex Pike has some space down the right, and his cross collects a nick
on the way to the box. It causes Birighitti a few problems, but Swansea get
lucky. Still goalless in Wales.

32: End to end stuff here! Martinez lets one drop in the box but his volley
is blocked, and Swansea race clear and shoot against Alex Pike at the other
end. Entertaining stuff at the Liberty!

30: Jones breaks for Swansea, but fires well over from a tight angle.
Probably the Swans' best opportunity yet.

28: Close! A rasping drive from Toni Martinez swishes against the side
netting from 20 yards. A inch or two the wrong side of the post, but
encouraging signs again for the Hammers.

26: Decent football from Swansea, as they work an opening on the edge of the
box. Emnes strikes, but his shot is high, wide, and definitely not handsome.

25: Browne again is at the heart of another West Ham attack, as he finds
space 25 yards from goal, before firing just over the top. A decent effort
from the match's most dangerous player so far.

23: Strong break from West Ham, as Marcus Browne cleverly lets it run across
his body before driving forward. He feeds Joe Powell, but the left-sider
blasts over.

21: Marvin Emnes, previously of Middlesbrough, is starting to look dangerous
out here. He hasn't had any opportunities yet, but he's looking to get in
front of Rice and Akinola at the back.

16: If we had possession stats for this clash so far, they'd certainly be
well and truly in West Ham's favour. We saw from Liverpool's defeat to
Burnley that possession isn't everything, but Terry Westley's men carry a
genuine threat up top tonight. Martinez and Browne have four goals in two
games between them.

14: It's cleared, but the visitors come again and Alfie Lewis' cross finds
Diangana at the back stick. He can't connect properly though, and Birighitti
collects.

13: Again, excellent passing from West Ham and Joe Powell earns the side a
corner on the left hand side...

11: Another opportunity for the Hammers! Toni Martinez - the other half of
the side's dynamic forward duo - has a second attempt after his first is
blocked. Birighitti is foreced to turn it behind, but he claims the
resulting corner.

9: Owain Jones' shot is blocked and from the resulting corner, the Hammers
deal with Marvin Emnes' poor delivery.

7: Great chance for Marcus Browne! He steals possession at the back from
Swansea and races clear, but the bouncing ball causes problems and he fires
over. Encouraging start here from West Ham!

4: First attempt on goal of the evening comes from Grady Diangana, who was
on the first team bench last night. His curled effort was a decent effort,
but Birighitti in goal saves comfortably.

3: The Hammers are enjoying plentey of early possession here. Some great
passing leads to a chance, too - Noha Sylvestre breaks down the left but his
cross is intercepted.

1: And we're underway in Swansea. The Hammers are kicking from left to right
wearing their home strip, but with blue shorts to distinguish themselves
from the hosts' all-white strip.

7pm: The teams are out! There is a decent sized crowd here at the Liberty
tonight, so Terry Westley's men can expect plenty of noise. A few loyal
Hammers have also been spotted...

6:50pm: We're just ten minutes away from kick off in this Premier League 2
top of the table clash? Can one of these sides come away with three wins
from three? Stay with us over the next couple of hours to find out!

6:30pm: The Hammers have had a long journey across the UK this afternoon,
but they're here and raring to go now. Swansea are fielding a strong side,
with Wales full-back Neil Taylor lining up on the left hand side of defence.
He was vital for Dragons at Euro 2016 this summer. It will be an interesting
clash this evening!

Swansea City: Birighitti, Reid, Taylor (Lewis 71), Holland, Davies, Rodon,
James, Maric (Blair 49), Bia Bi, Jones (Bray 77), Emnes.

Subs not used: Zabret, Byers.

Goals: Jones 57, Bia Bi 89

Bookings: Maric 43, Blair 50

PL2: Trott, Pike, Akinola, Rice, Sylvestre, Makasi, Lewis (Gordon 71),
Diangana (Hector-Ingram 83), Browne, Powell (Kemp 71), Martinez.

Subs not used: Ford, Scully.

Bookings: Hector-Ingram 85

6pm: Good evening! Tonight the Hammers have travelled to south Wales to take
on Swansea City in their third Premier League 2 fixture of the season. Both
sides have 100 per cent records in the league so far, so it's sure to be
cracker at the Liberty Stadium tonight. Team news is to follow shortly!

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
SUN, 28 AUG 2016PREMIER LEAGUE
16:00
Venue: Etihad Stadium
Manchester City v West Ham United
BBC

TEAM NEWS

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says new signing Claudio Bravo will not
make his debut on Sunday, so Willy Caballero is likely to start in goal.

Striker Kelechi Iheanacho is available despite an injury scare in their
midweek Champions League play-off tie.

West Ham's Mark Noble should be fit despite missing Thursday's defeat by
Astra but Havard Nordtveit is likely to miss out with a foot injury.

Fellow midfielders Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini will be assessed.

MOTD COMMENTATOR'S NOTES

Guy Mowbray: "To misquote Monty Python - what have the Romanians ever done
for us?

"Well, Steaua Bucharest have given Manchester City two nice easy training
games to hone their playing style under Pep Guardiola.

"Wednesday's 1-0 win was achieved with ease. It was practically an impromptu
testimonial match for Joe Hart.

"A day later it was a very different story, as Astra made West Ham's star
fall with a win at the London Stadium that did for the Hammers' European
hopes. Slaven Bilic was right to be "angry and frustrated".

"With some big players out and less time to prepare, it would be an even
bigger surprise than last year's first win at City in 11 visits if his team
does it again."

Twitter: @Guymowbray

WHAT THE MANAGERS SAY

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola on being drawn to play Barcelona in
the Champions League: "I cannot deny this was special for me. I grew up in
Catalonia. I was 13 years old when I went to their academy and promoted to a
professional player and trainer.

"I spent most of my life there. I know the people there, most of the players
are still there. The emotion is there."

West Ham manager Slaven Bilic: "We are all disappointed because it was a big
blow [going out of Europe].

"But we have to pick ourselves up and show character and quality. It wasn't
very likely for us to win there last season as Manchester City had started
great with five wins, 15 points and no goals conceded.

"There's no reason why we shouldn't do it again this season."

LAWRO'S PREDICTION

I fancy City to win this one. West Ham have been hit by a few injuries and
were pretty ordinary for long spells against Bournemouth last week, although
the most important thing for them was winning the game.

Prediction: 2-0

Read Lawro's full predictions v four-time Olympic cycling champion Laura
Trott.

Think you can do better than Lawro? Predict the score for this match and the
rest of this round's Premier League fixtures in our Predictor Game.
Pep Guardiola
MATCH FACTS

Head-to-head

Manchester City have only won one of their last four league games against
West Ham (D1, L2).
The Hammers won this fixture 2-1 last season - claiming their first league
victory at City since 2003.
Manchester City

Defeat would be Manchester City's 250th loss in the Premier League.
Sergio Aguero has 19 goals in his last 18 league games.
He has been involved in eight goals in his last seven Premier League matches
against West Ham (six goals, two assists).
Kevin de Bruyne has 14 assists in all competitions since debuting for
Manchester City, four more than any other player at the club.
Pep Guardiola has lost only eight of his 128 top-flight home league matches
as a manager, winning 110 and drawing 10 (a win ratio of 86%).
West Ham United

The Hammers claimed 30 points last term against the sides who ended in the
top half of the table (W8, D6, L4) - more than any other club.
Michail Antonio has scored seven headed goals in the Premier League since
the start of 2015-16, a joint-high with Olivier Giroud (prior to this
weekend's games).
They have scored in their last 15 Premier League games - the longest such
current run in the top flight.
SAM's verdict
Most probable score: 1-0 Probability of draw: 20%
Probability of home win: 68% Probability of away win: 12%
SAM (Sports Analytics Machine) is a super-computer created by @ProfIanMcHale
at the University of Salford that is used to predict the outcome of football
matches.

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
HAMMERS CLOSING IN ON ZAZA CAPTURE
BY DAVID BOWDEN ON 26 AUGUST 2016 AT 11:20AM
TheWestHamWay.co.uk

West Ham boss Slaven Bilic has confirmed the club is closing in on the
signing of Juventus forward Simone Zaza. His arrival will be a boost to the
Hammers after being embarrassed by Astra Giurgiu last night at the London
Stadium. Missed opportunities were the crux of the problem for the Irons
last night and the impending arrival of the Juventus man will be a welcome
one.

It is thought that he will initially join on a season-long loan deal with a
view to a permanent transfer next summer, which would smash the current
record fee paid by the Hammers. The fee will be in the region of 25 million
pounds for the Italian international. The 25-year-old had a stuttering start
to his career at Atlanta starting just three games before being transferred
to Sampdoria in 2010, where despite receiving many first team call-ups, he
would only make two appearances for Il Doria before being sent out on loan
to numerous Italian clubs. His first competitive goal came in the lower
echelons of Italian football for minnows Viareggio based in Tuscany. The
forward enjoyed a prosperous time bagging 11 goals in 18 appearances. That
record ensured he went up a few leagues to Ascoli, where his form continued
to improve scoring 18 goals in 35 games.

Juventus then bought the Italian outright after impressive loan spells, but
Zaza signed a co-agreement with Sassuolo, where he would ply his trade for a
couple of seasons. He went on to make 64 Serie A appearances for I Neroverdi
scoring 20 goals before moving to Turin permanently. He has, though, perhaps
unsurprisingly found first team chances limited at the Old Lady just
appearing in 19 matches scoring five goals, he has of course already scored
at his potential new home in the Hammers inaugural 'opening' against
Juventus, so Zaza should have good memories of the London Stadium.

After flitting around Italy, Zaza now looks set to make the East End his
home and is likely to go straight into the squad for Manchester City on
Sunday should he sign the paperwork in time. He is a player that Bilic has
admired for a long time having tried to welcome the Italian to Upton Park
last year only for the 25-year-old to decide he wanted to try and battle for
his place in the Juventus first team, but now it finally seems that Slaven
has his man.

In his pre-match Presser ahead of Sunday's clash against Pep Guardiola's
Manchester City, Bilic had this to say on the Zaza transfer. He said, "With
the Zaza situation, it looks very likely to happen and should happen today.
As far as I know the deal is agreed between the two clubs. "The personal
terms are also agreed and he is due into London today, so we hope it will be
done. "It's very positive and a boost. We've been trying for a long time now
to get a top-quality striker and he was always mentioned."

Another forward who might see his opportunities around the first team become
more frequent is Ashley Fletcher, who was one of few to impress for the
Irons last night. The former Manchester United man has seen opportunities
limited thus far, but his bright displays against Bournemouth and Astra have
not gone unnoticed by Bilic. The Croatian said, "Fletcher did really well
last night, and he also made a really big impact against Bournemouth. He's
one of the reasons we won. "He makes the pitch big. He did a really good
pre-season with us and scored goals against good opposition. "He is a very
bright lad and is willing to work, to train and to learn and to make
sacrifices and we'll benefit from him in the future."

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
Life bans for fighting fans
KUMB.com
Filed: Friday, 26th August 2016
By: Staff Writer

West Ham United have issued a statement in the wake of further crowd
disturbances at the Olympic Stadium during the Europa League clash with
Astra Giurgiu.

The club, who are already under scrutiny following previous ugly incidents
at the Olympic Stadium have confirmed that anyone involved in Thursday's
night's fracas will be banned from attending football matches for life.

"West Ham United condemn unreservedly the behaviour of individuals involved
in incidents captured on video during the fixture against Astra Giurgiu,"
began the statement, posted at whufc.com on Friday evening.

"This behaviour has no place in football and we will work with the police
and other stakeholders to identify the individuals involved.

"Once identified, they will be banned from attending any West Ham United
fixture for life and we will request the courts serve a banning order to
prevent these individuals attending any football.

"With more than 10,000 Under-16 Season Ticket Holders, we are a
family-friendly Club and our priority is maintaining an inclusive
environment for all home and away supporters.

"We will not allow one isolated incident to damage our supporters' and the
Club's reputation, hence our zero tolerance approach to this matter."

Small pockets of violence were witnessed around the stadium during the game
which Astra unexpectedly won 1-0, thereby confirming West Ham's exit from
the competition in the qualification rounds for the second season in
succession.

The most notable incidents, one of which was caught on video and posted to
social media appeared to occur in home areas of the ground in which a number
of away fans were also situated.

The clear need for more suitable security was also highlighted, with the
existing stadium team clearly ill-equipped - both professionally and
physically - to cope with the demands of a potentially-volatile football
crowd.


* The Met have confirmed that one man was been arrested as a result of last
night's unrest.

"A man was taken out of the stadium by stewards and arrested on suspicion of
ABH," read a statement. H"e was initially taken to hospital as a precaution,
but now is in custody at an east London police station.

"Enquiries continue to trace any other people who were involved in the
disturbance. Anyone found to have committed an offence will be dealt with by
police and football banning orders will be sought where appropriate."

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
Zaza arrives in England
KUMB.com
Filed: Friday, 26th August 2016
By: Staff Writer

West Ham United's potential new record-braking signing jetted into London
this lunchtime ahead of talks and a medical.

According to gianlucadimarzio.com, Simone Zaza arrived in the capital
earlier today along with his father Antonio and Vincenzo Morabito, who often
accompanies Italian players abroad and will broker the deal.

Zaza arriving in London this lunchtime [Pic: Di Marzio}

According to Di Marzio, West Ham have agreed to pay around £28million to
sign 6'1"-tall Zaza, who has represented his country on 14 occasions.

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
Must do better
KUMB.com
Filed: Friday, 26th August 2016
By: Sir_Trevor

First game at the Olympic Stadium for me. A short summation - a fantastic
stadium fit for nights of great European football - and a team worthy of wet
Wednesday nights in the Conference.
The longer version: the club as a whole have messed up royally in Europe for
the second season running by trying to muddle through qualification before
putting together a team capable of competing. A striker was the single-most
important purchase of the close season and the club has failed to attract
one (at time of writing). Not having someone who could be a focal point for
attacks and put the ball in the net has cost us tonight. When will they
learn? Slav has to take some blame as well. I haven't seen much of Ashley
Fletcher before tonight but noticed he scored a couple in pre-season. But,
as soon as he came on, it was evident to everyone that he is by far the best
fit striker we have available and the most likely to create something.

Why has Slav been so reluctant to use him until now?
Ashley Fletcher should have started ahead of Jonathan Calleri. Several
people said after Sunday that they could see something in him, but I have
seen nothing from him yet other than a couple of missed chances he really
should have put away. I won't write him off yet, but there is no way that
he is ready to lead the line in the Premier League. The other new signings
(and Pedro Obiang) all need to show far much more to prove that, as a team,
we are not a one man team that can cope without Dimitri Payet. Also, as
Burnley showed against Liverpool and Hull have shown in their two games,
regardless of injuries, it should be possible for a Premier League club to
put out 11 players and organise them sufficiently well in an effective
formation, to get a result.

German referee Manuel Gräfe was appalling. He bought all their play-acting
and time-wasting and kept giving free kicks every time we put the ball in
the box, just because the 'keeper or a defender threw themselves to the
ground. Teams and referees like that do make me think we're better off out
of that competition - and tonight showed we haven't got the squad to cope
with a Europa League campaign anyway. I was disappointed when I realised
that I had missed out on a season ticket but I think the club have messed up
big time because, walking away, I just felt embarrassed. We have this
wonderful new stadium but have not put together a team worthy of playing in
it. I thought to myself that, with many more displays like that, I'll soon
enough be able to get a ticket, but I'll just be rattling around in a
half-empty stadium with a few other diehards.

If the club truly want to move to the next level and want to make a success
of the stadium then the first priority is to get the playing side sorted
and, so far, this summer's activity is looking deficient. I hope we keep
Fletcher and Reece Burke and don't loan them out as they look better bets at
the moment than many of the more senior players. However, Burke looked
uncomfortable on the left last night and we need to get in a versatile
defender who can cover the right and left. This and the striker, as so many
have said, should have been dealt with before the other positions we've
filled so far. All in all the report card for the whole club reads 'Must do
better'.

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
Fans call for OS security overhaul
KUMB.com
Filed: Friday, 26th August 2016
By: Staff Writer

Supporters have pleaded with West Ham United to introduce effective security
at the Olympic Stadium after yet more disturbing scenes inside the ground
last night. Stadium security - which is controlled by the arena's operators,
not West Ham - has been panned by Hammers fans this morning after the Europa
League clash with Astra was marred by yet more fights and disagreements.
Supporters posting on the KUMB Forum and social media post-match revealed
how a number of angry incidents took place inside thew stadium, whilst
inexperienced stewards either failed to intervene or in some cases, refused
to assist. As a result, a number of supporters have urged West Ham United to
raise the issue with the stadium operators as a matter of urgency, before a
serious incident occurs. "I have some significant experience in this field
and what I am seeing currently is going to end very badly," wrote KUMB
member AMC1964. "The incident in the East Stand could have been dealt with
very quickly if the stewards knew what they were doing. "Unfortunately
though, these folks are the bottom end of SIA [Security Industry Authority]
licensed staff and have very little experience in looking after football
crowds. They may have done brilliantly with the athletics and rugby lot, but
football is a very different game/crowd. "The bag searches were appalling,
the young steward with the search wand at Turnstile F hadn't even got it
turned on properly. Meanwhile there appeared to be about 200 away fans
un-segregated in the STBL - and whilst that may have been fine last night,
they need to up their game massively for a League game. "30 or 40
well-organised trouble-makers will cause absolute havoc in this ground at
present. I saw the response team on Sunday and they are going to get
destroyed if it kicks off."

Meanwhile the partner of a former Boleyn Ground steward revealed via the
KUMB Forum that it isn't just supporters who harbour major doubts about the
present security team's ability to deal with any type of large-scale
problem. "My partner was a steward for many years in the BMU, often in the
disabled section as that linked with his full time job," they wrote.
"He was prepared to give it a try at the new stadium and did actually work
as a steward at the first match, despite everything pointing towards the
organisation being somewhat lacking to say the least. "Suffice to say he
has decided to hang up his hi-viz jacket. He is not the only one. The
stewards he worked with were all well trained and had worked at West Ham for
many years, but a lot of them have not carried on."

"I don't think this lot have an utter clue what they're doing - and it's
getting to a point where something dangerous could now happen" - KUMB member
hammers92

In addition to the unsuitability of the current security team to effectively
police major football matches, fans were also disappointed that security
checks were not being carried out upon entering the stadium..

Further, the stadium's post-half time 'open door policy' - which has seen
ticketless fans enter the ground for the final 45 minutes of some games -
was also questioned.

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
Slaven Bilic fumes as West Ham crash out of Europa League
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 26/08/16 8:49am
SSN

Simone Zaza will arrive too late to salvage West Ham's European dream after
they were dumped out by Astra Giurgiu. For the second year running, the
Romanian side ended West Ham's Europa League adventure in the qualifying
rounds, and to rub salt in the wounds inflicted their first defeat at the
London Stadium. A goal from 35-year-old former Barnsley and West Brom
midfielder Filipe Teixeira secured a 1-0 victory for the team currently 11th
in Romanian Liga 1. It meant a 2-1 aggregate defeat and no place in the
group stage for Slaven Bilic's side.
Italy striker Zaza is close to joining from Juventus, with boss Bilic
revealing: "I don't know the details, but we were in talks and it was quite
close. I would love it to happen."
But in the meantime, Bilic was left frustrated and angry as the Hammers
exited the competition before it had even really begun. He added: "We said
before that this was one of most important games for us this year. It was
like a final that we had to win to go through, so the disappointment is
massive. "I'm angry and frustrated, but I'm also disappointed because we
really wanted to go through. That's why we tried so hard last season, to get
this opportunity. "We wanted to play in Europe, we came so close and we
wanted to have that experience as a club, a club that is not often in
Europe."
A desperate evening had begun on a high note with West Ham announcing the
signing of young Swiss midfielder Edimilson Fernandes from FC Sion, but once
again it was evident a striker is what they desperately need. Instead, it
was left to rookie Argentinian forward Jonathan Calleri, then substitute
Ashley Fletcher and, by the end, centre-half James Collins to try, and
ultimately fail, to break down the visitors. They paid the price for an
uninspiring first half on the stroke of half-time when Sam Byram's
cross-field ball gave Reece Burke too much to do and left both Hammers
full-backs hopelessly out of position. Teixeira was able to stride into the
penalty area and slide the ball past Hammers goalkeeper Darren Randolph.
Astra keeper Silviu Lung was kept busy, but by no means under siege, as West
Ham huffed and puffed to no avail after the break. Jubilant Astra coach
Marius Sumudica, who only returned from a UEFA ban for betting on matches in
last week's home leg, beamed: "It was our evening. "We were also very lucky,
but in football you need a bit of luck to win and luck is on the side of the
strong ones. "This is one of the three best days in my life, pretty much the
same level as when my children were born - because I knew they were mine."

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
Don't blame me, says fight steward
KUMB.com
Filed: Friday, 26th August 2016
By: Staff Writer

The steward who was recorded standing by whilst a fight broke out in front
of him during last night's Europa League clash with Astra had defended his
actions.

Tunveer Teey Ch took to Facebook earlier today after videos of him failing
to intervene in the ugly scenes spread across social media.

The steward was accused of idly standing by whilst the fracas erupted in
front of him. However he has since taken to social media to refute
suggestions that he refused to act.

"I am the steward in orange," wrote Teey. "That's the fourth fight the
Indian guy had within two-and-a-half minutes. There's not much you can do.

"The guy started on everyone and I was in the midst of many punches thrown,
he was begging for it. My response team took ages to come and I don't have a
license to touch anyone.

"I told the Indian guy to go, but he had unfinished business."

The steward also explained how the fight - just one of many witnessed inside
the stadium since the move from Upton Park - began.

"The guy was standing up shouting random things aggressively and a supporter
behind him told him to sit down and not to swear. He swore at the lad in
front of his children, who received multiple punches.

"I broke that up but he got into another fight - and then another, with the
guy in a reddish top. Finally he got knocked down the stairs by the guy you
all see in the video."

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
Manchester City v West Ham preview: Claudio Bravo will not start for City
Last Updated: 26/08/16 3:54pm
SSN

New Manchester City goalkeeper Claudio Bravo will not go straight into the
team for the Super Sunday clash against West Ham.

Willy Caballero, who has played the first two league matches, is therefore
expected to feature again, even though Joe Hart kept a clean sheet in the
midweek Champions League play-off win over Steaua Bucharest.

Slaven Bilic believes West Ham United can pick themselves up after their
Europa League elimination by Astra Giurgiu and prove their character by
getting a result against City.

For the second year in a row, West Ham failed to make the competition's
group stage after being eliminated by Astra, following up a 1-1 draw in
Bucharest with a 1-0 defeat at the London Stadium on Thursday - their first
loss at their new home.

Despite the disappointment, Bilic believes his side can lift themselves and
get a result from Pep Guardiola's City, having masterminded a 2-1 victory in
the corresponding fixture last season.

"We are all disappointed because it was a big blow last night," Bilic told
reporters on Friday. "But we have to pick ourselves up and show character
and quality."

Team news

Striker Kelechi Iheanacho has been cleared of serious injury after being
carried off against Steaua, but captain Vincent Kompany, right-back Bacary
Sagna and midfielders Leroy Sane and Ilkay Gundogan are not yet fit.

For West Ham, Bilic has recently been without his main creative threats,
Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini, but hopes at least one of them will be fit
to face City.

Skipper Mark Noble should be available after he rested a minor knock against
Astra, but fellow midfielder Havard Nordtveit is set to miss out.

Opta stats

City have lost only one of their last 10 Premier League meetings with West
Ham on home soil (W8 D1), though it did come last time out in September 2015
(1-2).

West Ham have beaten Man City just twice away from home in the Premier
League (D2 L11), 1-0 at Maine Road in 2003 and 2-1 at the Etihad in
September 2015.

Sergio Aguero has been involved in eight goals in his last seven Premier
League matches against West Ham United (six goals, two assists).

Aguero has scored 37 goals in 47 Premier League games against London teams
and six in eight league apps against West Ham United.

The Argentine striker is the fourth player to score a penalty in each of the
first two matchdays of a Premier League season (Duncan Ferguson in 2001/02,
Frank Lampard in 2012/13 and Roberto Soldado in 2013/14). None of those
players managed to continue the run into MD3.

West Ham have now scored in 15 successive Premier League matches - the
longest such current run in the competition.

Merson's predictions

West Ham fell over the line in their first league game at home and City
haven't really done anything wrong yet. They won well at Stoke and I think
they will be a bit more efficient this season.

West Ham have a tricky game on Thursday which could take a bit out of them.
Also, you can't work on team shape as much with a Thursday game so they
won't have as much time to prepare as City.

I didn't see too much change in City's first game against Sunderland but
since then they have scored four and five, so you can't really complain.
Guardiola is a winner and he gets teams going. I said at the start of the
season it's out of City, Manchester United and Chelsea and I can't see any
different.

PAUL PREDICTS: 2-0 (Sky Bet odds 13/2)

Betting

Manchester City are just 2/7 with Sky Bet to secure the points on Super
Sunday, with West Ham up against odds of 9/1 for the win and 9/2 just to
secure a draw.

Aguero heads the first goalscorer betting at just 5/2 while the market in
wide open on the Hammers' side as Enner Valencia and Diafra Sakho are
considered their main threat at 11/1 apiece.

All of the Soccer Saturday pundits are backing Aguero to net in a City win,
including Charlie Nicholas' 28/1 fancy for the Argentina star to score twice
in a 3-1 home win.

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West Ham condemn London Stadium violence after arrest confirmed
By Andy Charles
Last Updated: 26/08/16 5:47pm
SSN

The Metropolitan Police have confirmed the arrest of one man filmed fighting
inside West Ham's London Stadium on Thursday.

The incident took place during the Hammers' 1-0 defeat by Romanian champions
Astra Giurgiu, a result that saw the Premier League side knocked out of the
Europa League before the group stage.

A video was posted on social media which showed one man punching another
before being escorted away from the seating area by stewards.

A statement from the Met Police read: "A man was taken out of the stadium by
stewards and arrested on suspicion of ABH [actual bodily harm]. He was
initially taken to hospital as a precaution, but now is in custody at an
east London police station.

"Enquiries continue to trace any other people who were involved in the
disturbance. Anyone found to have committed an offence will be dealt with by
police and football banning orders will be sought where appropriate."


The reaction from West Ham was swift, as well, with the club issuing a
statement of their own promising tough action against any individuals found
guilty.

"West Ham United condemn unreservedly the behaviour of individuals involved
in incidents captured on video during the fixture against Astra Giurgiu,"
their statement read.

"This behaviour has no place in football and we will work with the police
and other stakeholders to identify the individuals involved.

"Once identified, they will be banned from attending any West Ham United
fixture for life and we will request the courts serve a banning order to
prevent these individuals attending any football."

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West Ham set to sign Simone Zaza from Juventus
By Andrew Dickson
Last Updated: 26/08/16 4:35pm
SSN

West Ham hope to complete the signing of Italy international forward Simone
Zaza from Serie A champions Juventus on Friday. The London club's manager
Slaven Bilic has confirmed the striker has agreed personal terms over a move
to east London. Zaza will move initially on loan with an option to buy, but
he only arrived in England for his medical on Friday afternoon - too late to
make the West Ham squad for their Premier League fixture away to Manchester
City on Sunday. Bilic said on Friday morning: "With the Zaza situation, it
looks very likely to happen and should happen today. "As far as I know, the
deal is agreed between the clubs. The personal terms are also agreed and he
is due in London today, so we hope it will be done. "It's very positive and
it's a boost. We've been trying for a long time now to get a top-quality
striker and he was always mentioned."

Zaza was in and out of the Juventus team last season but still scored eight
goals in 24 appearances and has spent one campaign with them after a
previous loan spell there when he was at Sampdoria. The 25-year-old was also
in the Italy squad which reached the quarter-finals of Euro 2016 under new
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte. Zaza was ridiculed in some quarters for his
unconventional run up to take a penalty in the shoot-out of their last-eight
defeat to Germany.
After taking several small steps, he put the ball over the crossbar in
Italy's eventual 6-5 defeat after a 0-0 draw in Bordeaux. Zaza has already
played at the London Stadium this season, scoring Juventus' winner in their
3-2 friendly victory against West Ham earlier this month.

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Spain: Casillas out, Adrian in
By Football Espana staff

Iker Casillas' Spain career looks to be over as West Ham United's Adrian is
picked over the Porto goalkeeper in Julen Lopetegui's first squad. Casillas
had lost his No 1 jersey to David de Gea at Euro 2016, and the veteran's
fall sees him lose out to former Real Betis shot-stopper Adrian, despite the
presence of Lopetegui – the Coach who took him to Porto last summer – at the
helm. Elsewhere, there are returns in defence for Dani Carvajal, Javi
Martinez and converted full-back Sergi Roberto, while a youthful midfield is
headed by call-ups for Saul Niguez and Marco Asensio. Finally, a revamped
forward line boasts Diego Costa, Paco Alcacer and Vitolo, with only Alvaro
Morata, Lucas Vazquez and Nolito surviving from the summer's European
Championship. The Lopetegui era officially begins against Roberto Martinez's
Belgium in a friendly on September 1, before La Roja get their 2018 World
Cup qualifying campaign under way versus Lichtenstein four days later.

Spain squad in full: De Gea (Manchester United), Reina (Napoli), Adrian
(West Ham United); Pique (Barcelona), Bartra (Borussia Dortmund), Sergi
(Barcelona), Carvajal (Real Madrid), Martinez (Bayern Munich), Alba
(Barcelona), Azpilicueta (Chelsea); Saul (Atletico Madrid), Asensio (Real
Madrid), Busquets (Barcelona), Thiago (Bayern Munich), Koke (Atletico
Madrid), Silva (Manchester City), Vazquez (Real Madrid), Alcacer (Valencia),
Nolito (Manchester City), Morata (Real Madrid), Costa (Chelsea), Vitolo
(Sevilla)

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Slaven Bilic explains what role Edimilson Fernandes will play at West Ham
United this season
HITC
Michael Stevenson

The promising midfielder will be involved with the first-team. Slaven Bilic
has shed light on the role that he expects new signing Edimilison Fernandes
to play, in an interview with the club's official website. The 20-year old
midfielder comes highly-rated from Switzerland and Bilic wants him to make a
first-team impact this season. "He's a good player who we've been watching
for a whole year," said the Hammers boss "He's very young, a good midfielder
and is not only for the future. "We are not expecting him to come now and
change the game for us, but we didn't buy him as a talent to loan; we want
him to be part of the squad and play this year. "He's very talented and can
play in a few positions. He has good pace, good legs, good physique, good
skill and a great mentality. He's a good signing for us," he added.
Fernandes faces a tough challenge to break into an attacking midfield that
boasts the likes of Dimitri Payet, Manuel Lanzini and Sofiane Feghouli but
he will be hopeful of making an immediate impact. Bilic was speaking after
last night's disappointing defeat to Astra Guirgiu, a result that denies the
club the chance to enjoy European football in their first season at the
Olympic Stadium. West Ham were without a host of key men for the crucial
encounter and failed to break down a stout Astra defence after conceding a
sloppy goal on the stroke of half-time. Bilic's men improved in the second
half but couldn't find the net with any of their 17 attempts on goal. New
signing Jonathan Calleri missed two guilt-edged chances and fans will hope
that isn't a worrying sign of things to come. Fellow new boy Ashley Fletcher
provided some cause for optimism with an exciting cameo but it ultimately
turned into a night to forget for the East London club.

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
GRRR…. BOO… BOOOO ….. BOOOOOOOO!
By Terence Bates 26 Aug 2016 at 06:37
WTID

'Get off the pitch you muppet!'… 'You're shite mate!'… 'My effing Nan can
play better than that!'… 'What a donkey!' Booooooooo…… and on it goes….

Whoaoh everyone. Talk about doom and gloom. we lost to Astra again, yes it's
painful, but let's get some perspective…

1. Astra are not Real Madrid, but they are not Accrington Stanley either.
Astra won their league last season, there is good football in Romania, they
are a useful side.

2. We could have scored 6/7/8 goals such were our chances, and whilst luck
played a big part in this, we didn't take those chances. This was a very
one-sided game. We could have won even with a second string filled with
young prospects, but we didn't. That's life, move on.

3. Their goalkeeper had the game of his life.

4. Out injured Payet, Lanzini, Noble, Carroll, Sahko, Ayew, Cresswell
Sofiane Feghouli etc… almost all our first choice players.

5. Astra scored with virtually the only one chance they had, a sucker punch
against the run of play. It happens.

6. Did we really need the distraction of the Europa League at the moment? We
are not ready, are we? We do not have a high enough quality squad to foray
into Europe and succeed on the domestic front at the same time coping with
inevitable injuries, few teams do. Let's be realistic, this will take time
and money.

For me the most noticeable aspects of the Astra game was how we missed Noble
and just like in the game against Bournemouth we lacked a killer finisher.
Of course this is ignoring the absence of Payet. This is a carry on from
last season where we achieved a lofty position, yet we still lacked that
killer striker that could have really elevated us in the top four. When
Payet was out last season we couldn't score for toffee, but did grind out a
succession of draws. As unpopular as this is I wish we had buried the
hatchet and signed Jermain Defoe. This was one of those frustrating games
and had we played for a month of Sundays we may still not of scored, yet a
player like Defoe can make the difference as he has shown at Sunderland.

And new boys Tore, Calleri and Nordveit? Before we execute them after three
games shall we take a step back?

Tore hasn't made an impact yet and yes maybe, he won't. His strengths are
passing and running with the ball to create chances (There wasn't this
berating noise after he flighted in a beautiful cross for Antonio to score
against Bournemouth… was there?). His weaknesses are in challenging for the
ball and as a result any defensive contribution, it is noticeable, it could
be a problem.

Nordviet? He was a constant in Gladbach's team for 200 games in the
Bundeslige over 6 seasons. Last season they qualified for the Champions
league, he arrived on the back of being out of contract with Gladbach. He is
a ball winner and has good stats for passing accuracy and completion, he put
in some inch perfect long balls to set up attacks against Astra. He needs
time to settle, I think he is a good player but clearly not a great player.
His weaknesses are when he goes forward he loses concentration and can lose
possession. However, you don't play 200 games in the Bundeslige consistently
for one club without being a useful player.

Calleri, is a rookie striker and what I would call a punt. He is on loan and
like Lanzini it is a punt based on showing promise and potential that could
lead to a permanent transfer. His stats for scoring are around 1 goal per 3
games. He is not prolific in the goal scoring department, it is there for us
all to see, this player is unlikely to score more than 12 goals per season.
But he still needs time to prove himself and those statistics wrong, he is a
young apprentice after all.

One other note my seat is within touching distance of the subs and coaches
seating. It is an interesting position to watch the players expressions. If
you really want to see us struggle this season then continue getting on the
back of players like Valencia, Calleri, Tore and Nordviet, berate them
destroy their confidence, make them scared to try, force them out and also
show the other players sitting next to them what they have in store for them
should they have a bad day at the office. Let's create a horrible
environment for all West Ham players to both play in and sit close to the
spectators.

Confidence is a huge part of success and even the best players can lose
confidence and have bad runs, look at Valencia. Bilic is a good motivator,
yet all his good work could easily be screwed up by the boo boys and
impatience of certain supporters that kill players confidence.

So let's not morph into a poor man's Arsenal… let's be smart and mature,
let's be the 12th man, not the bogey man.

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http://vyperz.blogspot.com

Thursday, August 25

Daily WHUFC News - II 25th August 2016

Opposition View - Astra Giurgiu
WHUFC.com

Astra Giurgiu manager Marius Sumudica says his side have come to London to attack ahead of Thursday's UEFA Europa League play-off round second-leg tie with West Ham United. The Romanian champions need to score if they are to progress to the group stage, after the first leg finished 1-1, and the enigmatic Sumudica is not one to go on the defensive. Speaking exclusively to whufc.com, the Astra boss also paid tribute to the strength in depth of their opponents ahead of another exciting match at London Stadium.

Marius, last year you brought Astra Giurgiu to the Boleyn Ground and this season you bring your team to London Stadium, so are you relishing the experience?

"It's a bit of a strange feeling when you train in an empty stadium, as we did on Wednesday evening, but on Thursday it will be a very hot atmosphere!

"We know how it was at the Boleyn Ground with the fans standing behind their team and pushing them, so we expect the same here, but we are ready and well-prepared.

"We have a good team, with experienced players, most of whom are around 30-years-old and well prepared to take their chance again this year."

You obviously beat West Ham a year ago. Will that have any effect this time around?

"Obviously it helps that we're unbeaten in three games against West Ham, but on Thursday they will be the favourites playing on home soil with all their fans behind them.

"They have a great manager in Slaven Bilic and a great team, but we will try our best to win."

Are there any West Ham players you are particularly wary of?

"There is no one particular player who I would mention, because every player in West Ham's squad has the value and the worth to make a big difference here.

"We have to concentrate to neutralise their entire eleven, rather than concentrating on only one particular player. That's what we're aiming to do."

How will you approach the game, knowing you need to score after it finished 1-1 in Romania?

"We know we will not qualify if it finishes 0-0 on the night, so we're here to attack. We can't come to defend because we have to score.

"We also know that we need to keep a clean sheet if possible, so if we then score a goal we will progress, but it's very difficult not to concede a goal here at West Ham."

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Samuelsen joins Blackburn on loan
WHUFC.com

Martin Samuelsen has joined Blackburn Rovers on a season-long loan
The winger signed a new four-year deal with the Hammers this week
He joins West Ham teammate Stephen Hendrie in Lancashire

West Ham United winger Martin Samuelsen has joined Sky Bet Championship side Blackburn Rovers on a season-long loan. The 19-year-old, who this week signed a new four-year contract with the Club, will link up with fellow Hammer Stephen Hendrie, who is also on loan at Ewood Park, for the 2016/17 campaign. Having joined the east Londoners in June 2015, Samuelsen made his first team debut within a month, playing in both legs of the side's UEFA Europa League second qualifying round tie against Maltese outfit Birkirkara. Last Novemeber, after impressing for the Hammers' Development Squad, Samuelsen joined League One side Peterborough United, and went on to make 20 appearances for Posh in league and cup. He scored once for Peterborough; his side's third in a 3-2 win over Sheffield United at Bramall Lane. Earlier this summer, Samuelsen made his first senior international appearance for Norway, turning out in the nation's 3-2 friendly victory over Iceland. Blackburn are looking to bolster their squad after enduring a difficult start to the campaign under new boss Owen Coyle, and Samuelsen will hope to make an instant impact in Lancashire. The club have strong traditions of signing Norwegian players, and Lars Bohinen, Henning Berg, Martin Andresen, Stig Inge Bjornebye, Morten Gamst Pedersen, Egil Ostenstad and, more recently, Joshua King have all gone before their newest recruit. West Ham will have the option to recall Samuelsen – who is eligible to play in the EFL Cup for Rovers – in January if they wish to do so.

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Hammers will play Accrington Stanley
WHUFC.com

West Ham United will face League Two side Accrington Stanley in the third round of the EFL Cup. The Hammers have been drawn at home and the tie will be played week commencing 19 September 2016. Accrington Stanley caused one of the big upsets of the second round against Premier League opposition when Matty Pearson scored a last minute extra-time winner against Burnley. Having been knocked out of the Capital One Cup in the third round by Leicester City last season, Slaven Bilic will be keen to see his side progress to the latter stages of the competition.

Full fixture details and ticket prices will be announced in due course.

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Noble - We have a special team spirit
WHUFC.com

West Ham United captain Mark Noble has nothing but praise for the special team spirit that has been created throughout the squad and hopes it will help them qualify for the group stages of the UEFA Europa League. Despite missing a number of key players through injury, Slaven Bilic's side still managed to come away with a memorable victory over Bournemouth in the first ever Premier League game to be played at the new Stadium. Dimitri Payet, Manuel Lanzini, Aaron Cresswell and Club record signing Andre Ayew have all been forced to miss the start of the season through injury while Andy Carroll has also been ruled out for four to six weeks with a knee injury. But the players who came into the side showed once again the fighting spirit that saw the Hammers enjoy one of their best ever seasons last year and secure their first Premier League victory of the season. After making the long journey back from Romania just 48 hours before the game, Noble feels the players will only grow stronger as the season progresses and predicts big things for the Club in both domestic and European competition. Noble said: "When you miss seven of your best players it starts to hurt you but I thought against Bournemouth the lads were fantastic. "When you lose good players like Payet, Lanzini, Cresswell, Carroll and the lads can still pull off a victory like that, it makes it even more special. "In this league you are not just going to roll over teams. We hardly did that last season and it was some of the best football we have played for a long time. 1-0 is the greatest win in football and you keep a clean sheet. We scored a late goal and the fans are buzzing. We probably deserved it in the end. "We made a couple of mistakes last season against them and they punished us. We have had a few players back in the team who have not played a lot, like Gokhan Tore, Sam Byram and we still got the victory. "I loved being out there and it was really enjoyable. It is different because we got back late Friday morning from the Europa League tie but when you are playing a team who have rested all week, it makes the victory even more special and we have a great team spirit. "We have this fantastic new Stadium but we needed to get points on the board, otherwise you could be in trouble. We can now go to Manchester City with confidence."

Noble is hoping new signing Jonathan Calleri can get off the mark sooner rather than later and can already see the quality that he is bringing to the squad. The Argentine forward had a header cleared off the line against Astra Giurgiu in the first leg last week and almost netted his first Premier League goal last Sunday when he burst clear of the Bournemouth defence and fired his shot inches past the post. Noble added: "I was gutted that Jonathan could not make it 2-0 right at the end. I have watched YouTube videos of him scoring goals and he is a good finisher. I have also seen that in training. "Coming to a new country it would have been nice for him to get off the mark in the Premier League but I am pretty sure he will score goals for us."

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Enner stays, Zaza set for loan move
KUMB.com
Filed: Thursday, 25th August 2016
By: Staff Writer

An audacious bid by Championship side Aston Villa to land out-of-favour Enner Valencia has failed - for now. Following reports by Villa Chairman Dr Tony Xia that he was in the process of signing a 'world class striker', rumours have been rife that Valencia could be the player in question (although it's likely few Hammers fans would agree). And the Telegraph's Jason Burt claimed tonight that the Hammers had indeed rejected an approach by Villa, as United will not allow the Ecuador international to leave until a replacement has been found. That replacement has been strongly tipped to be either Manchester City's Wilfried Bony or Juve's Italian international Simone Zaza, who famously fluffed his lines from the penalty spot at Euro 16. And overnight David Amoyal - writing for gianlucadimarzio.com - reported that West Ham have launched a bid for the 25-year-olf Italian, who is being allowed to leave Juve.

West Ham are said to have offered to take Zaza on loan for the season with an obligation to make the deal permanent at the end of the 2016/17 campaign, with the fee set at €28million. Links with Wolfsburg and Napoli have previously failed to beat fruit and Zaza is said to be willing to try his luck in the Premier League. Manager Slaven Bilic - who is said by Amoral to have spoken with Zaza yesterday - is believed to prefer Zaza, although Bony is a long-term favourite of co-owner David Sullivan who is leading the club's summer recruitment programme.

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Simone Zaza may be on way to West Ham 'on Thursday night'
By Paul Vinnell
Last Updated: 25/08/16 11:40am
SSN

Juventus striker Simone Zaza could be on his way to West Ham as early as Thursday night, according to Sky in Italy. Hammers boss Slaven Bilic confirmed on Wednesday that he is interested in signing the Italy international as well as Manchester City striker Wilfried Bony. Sky in Italy are reporting that the deal will be initially on loan, but West Ham can then buy him permanently for £24m. Bilic is desperately trying to bolster his strikeforce before the transfer window slams shut next week as Andre Ayew, Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho are all currently sidelined through injury. Zaza's father has claimed his son has a "concrete offer" from the east London club. When asked about the duo, the West Ham manager said: "We have a couple of players we are trying to do a deal with. We have injuries and we are short of numbers. "In terms of signings, if something good quality-wise comes up, we are going to act.
"We were linked with [Zaza] last year and he is a top player. We were in contact with him last year and will see what happens."

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West Ham transfer news: £5m Pedro Obiang chased by AC Milan, Fiorentina and Torino
PIETRO LAZZERINI
Evening Standard

Pedro Obiang could be on his way back to Serie A, with three Italian clubs interested in the West Ham midfielder. The former Spain Under-21 international joined from Sampdoria last summer but is not central to Slaven Bilic's plans. Obiang is open to a return to Italy and AC Milan, Fiorentina and Torino are all keeping an eye on the situation. Milan manager Vincenzo Montella is keen but general director Adriano Galliani has indicated that the club are interested in a loan deal, while West Ham are looking for a permanent move and value Obiang at £5m. Fiorentina were the first club to express an interest and director of football of Fiorentina Carlos Freitas said: "Everyone knows that we need a midfielder. We are working to buy one as soon as possible". Torino boss Sinisa Mihajlovic knows Obiang from their time at Sampdoria and believes the 24-year-old is suited to his team's game.

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West Ham transfer news: Hammers closing in on £25m deal for Simone Zaza but Juventus striker could initially arrive on loan
KEN DYER
Evening Standard

West Ham are edging closer to a £25million deal to sign Simone Zaza although the Juventus striker could initially arrive on loan. Manager Slaven Bilic is desperate to bring in a front man following the long-term injury to £20million new signing Andre Ayew and has been tracking Zaza for some time. Manchester City's Wilfried Bony and Chelsea striker Loic Remy have also been mentioned as possible signings. However, Bilic's No1 choice is Zaza, who is keen to come to London and negotiations with West Ham are already advanced. It is understood that the Italy international will join initially on loan but the move will become permanent after he plays a specified number of matches, with a five-year deal rising to £25m and the player earning around £3m a year. Zaza has already scored at the London Stadium when he came on as a second-half substitute in the pre-season friendly against the Hammers. The 25-year-old recently rejected an opportunity to move to German Bundesliga club. Napoli have also expressed an interest in Zaza but Juventus are reluctant to sell the player to their Serie A rivals.
"We were linked with him last year also," said Bilic. "He's a top player and I like him. We were in contact with him last year, it didn't happen but we will see this year. "We will do something if we can in the next few days but only if it makes our squad stronger." Meanwhile, Aston Villa have failed with a move for striker Enner Valencia. The Hammers are searching for a striker themselves and will not let Sakho, who they value at £12million, leave until they have found a replacement.

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David Gold hails West Ham winger Michail Antonio as 'the most exciting player in English football'
Talksport
By Alex Varney - @lexvarney
Thursday, August 25, 2016

David Gold has tipped Michail Antonio to force his way into the England squad, hailing the West Ham winger as 'the most exciting player in English football'. Antonio has been a big hit at Upton Park since moving from Nottingham Forest 12 months ago. Gold believes it is now only a matter of time before the 26-year-old, who also been used as a full-back boss Slaven Bilic, gets a chance to prove his worth at international level. In an exclusive interview with talkSPORT, the West Ham co-owner said: "One player I really think will emerge in due course is Antonio. I think he is a special player. "He has been playing at right-back, He hates playing there but he plays for the team and for the manager. He has now been pushed back into an attacking wide role and there is nobody in English football that is more exciting than Michail Antonio."

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West Ham vs Astra Giurgiu: Slaven Bilic wary of Denis Alibec threat as Hammers eye group stage spot
KEN DYER
Evening Standard

Slaven Bilic believes Romanian striker Denis Alibec is the man West Ham must watch out for as they attempt to reach the group stages of the Europa League. West Ham led 1-0 against Astra Giurgiu in the first leg a week ago until Alibec, who has been out injured since representing his country in the Euros, came on in the second half to score a late equaliser. The 25-year-old was also a second-half substitute at the weekend when he came on in the 68th minute as Astra lost 5-1 to CFR Cluj in a Romanian league match. And although Alibec could start on the bench again tonight, Bilic is wary of the threat he carries. "He has been out since the Euros," said Bilic. "His first game back was against us and he made a difference. "He is their best player and I would expect him to play tonight. Astra are the Romanian league champions and you have to respect that because any league is hard to win."

Dimitri Payet could be a substitute for West Ham after missing Sunday's Premier League win over Bournemouth while Manuel Lanzini may also soon be involved, if not tonight then at Manchester City on Sunday. "We will put out the strongest possible side because for us the game is top priority and we want to qualify," said Bilic. "We are just one game from the group stages and we are not thinking about the Manchester City game and resting players but we have to see who will be available."

Left-back Arthur Masuaku is cup-tied so youngster Reece Burke looks likely to come in, with Sam Byram keeping his place at right-back. The Newham-born 19-year-old was a big success on loan at Bradford City last season and is keen to go out on loan again if he is not playing regularly. Argentine striker Jonathan Calleri is likely to start, as is Italy centre-half Angelo Ogbonna. "We were not totally happy with our performance in the first leg but we still came away with a 1-1 draw," said Bilic. "We should be confident and I expect us to win."

Unsettled striker Diafra Sakho is again missing due to a back injury and Bilic said: "He is working hard in the gym and hopefully he will be back soon on the pitch. He was meant to be going to West Brom but he didn't pass the medical. He is our player and I can't see him leaving now because he's not training on the pitch. "It did affect his mind at the time because he was meant to go but then he failed the medical but he is still a young player with a good future. With his quality he is going to have offers."

Also missing is Andy Carroll, who injured his knee in last week's first leg and is out for at least a month. "Andy knows how much I rate him and love him as a player and a person," said Bilic. "But it's very hard for a manager and his staff when you're really counting on someone because he's someone you trust and he brings you quality in every game — and then suddenly he is out. "I'm never going to give up on Andy and I like to stick with the players who are giving me everything."

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ASTON VILLA WILLING TO PAY £15M FOR ENNER VALENCIA
MICHAEL OLIVER
ReadWestHam.com

According to Ecuadorian journalist Roberto Bonafont, Aston Villa are ready to pay $20m (£15m) to sign wantaway West Ham striker Enner Valencia. The Telegraph report that the Midlands side launched a bid for Valencia only for it to be quickly rejected with Slaven Bilic keen to add strikers before letting others leave. It is said that Bilic is keen to bring Wilfried Bony to East London on loan until January with Juventus striker Simone Zaza also being considered. Valencia has scored just 10 goals in 61 appearances for West Ham since his 2014 arrival, and perhaps a move would be best for all involved. With the Ecuadorian striker giving his consent to a move to Turkey, it's now up to Galatasaray to agree a fee for the striker.

It has been no secret that Valencia has been eager to secure a move away from East London this summer following two less than successful seasons with the club following his £12m move from Pachuca. For a long time a move to Lazio was on the cards with Valencia already agreeing to the move but West Ham struggled to agree a deal with the Serie A side, with Lazio favouring a loan deal and the Hammers eyeing a permanent sale. Valencia is likely to leave the club in order to help push through deals for other strikers.

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Slaven Bilic: 'I don't want to have to drag players to West Ham'
ESPN

Slaven Bilic looks ahead to West Ham's Europa League third qualifying round second leg against Romanian side Astra Giurgiu. West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic insists he will not beg players to join the club ahead of next week's transfer deadline. It is no secret that the Hammers are still searching for a striker to add to their ranks before the transfer window closes on Aug. 31. Bilic said on Wednesday that he sees Manchester City striker Wilfried Bony as an option while he also refused to rule out a bid for Juventus forward Simone Zaza.
West Ham have already broken their transfer record by bringing in Andre Ayew from Swansea, but he has been ruled out for up to four months with a thigh injury suffered on his debut.
Fellow forwards Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho are also absent for Thursday's crunch Europa League playoff clash against Astra Giurgiu at the London Stadium, with a place in Friday's group-stage draw still in the balance following the 1-1 draw in Romania last week.
A whole host of other names have been linked with the club, with the likes of Michy Batshuayi -- now of Chelsea, Alexandre Lacazette and Carlos Bacca, with all three starting the season in fine goalscoring form. Columbia international Bacca scored a hat trick in AC Milan's 3-2 Serie A win over Torino at the weekend and Bilic admits he was someone who was close to signing -- but that West Ham pulled the plug when the player began to drag his heels over a move. "We tried. It was close. It became a saga a little bit,'' Bilic said. "I think Bacca is impossible. He scored a hat trick. Also I was the one who called it off three weeks ago in Austria. I wanted him, of course, but I don't want to have to drag players to West Ham. "We are not Real Madrid or Manchester United but we are a good club and a proud club with players who are proud to play for us. "Lots of players want to come to West Ham, believe me. They are calling me every day. So I was the one who said there was no point continuing with Bacca. We are not going to beg anyone to play for us. "I wasn't angry at him. He is at a great club on great money and he wants to stay on that level. And of course we are not at that level. We want to be in a few years but we are not there yet. I keep saying that just having a stadium, ambition and money that match those clubs, does not make you one of them.''
Slaven Bilic has been frustrated by West Ham's failure to land most of their attacking transfer targets. Bilic joked that any striker seemingly linked to his club has hit a purple patch in front of goal: "Good targets, eh? We knew before everybody and were already watching all those players,'' he said. "We should get something from those clubs! We are better than any preseason. Want your player to score a hat trick? Here's West Ham's number!'' Despite making no secret of his desire to bring in more attacking options, Bilic said he will never lose faith in Carroll -- even though the England forward has been hit with another injury. The 27-year-old has been plagued with injury problems since joining from Liverpool and could now be out for up to six weeks with a knee issue. But Bilic believes the former Newcastle man is worth keeping around for when he is fit enough to play. "I'm never going to give up on Andy, he is so good and I like to stick with the players I feel are giving me everything,'' he added. "I like and love him as a player, even as a person. He is trying, he is doing everything. "He passed the whole preseason and he trains like he plays. But it was the movement of the knee. He just came on. It was not fatigue. A bad move on a bad pitch, bad kind of grass that caused that. "He is bringing you quality in every game, you count on him and the suddenly he is out.''

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