West Ham United v Liverpool
Barclays Premier League
Saturday 19 September 2009
Referee: Andre Marriner
Full time - Mr Marriner blows his whistle and brings proceedings to a close.
It was an thoroughly enjoyable game that West Ham United more than played
their part in. The hosts will feel hard done by not taking anything from the
game but will be lifted by the first hour when they caused Liverpool plenty
90 min - The last throw of the dice here for the Hammers as Green pumps a
long free-kick into the Liverpool half. Sadly, the referee rules that Cole
has fouled Carragher and awards the free-kick to Liverpool. Cole's protests
to him are too strong and he is booked.
90 min - The final change sees Torres leave the field and Albert Riera
90 min - We will have three more minutes at least here. Liverpool look like
they will be trying to kill the time with one more change here.
88 min - The Hammers are pushing hard here but Liverpool are standing
strong. We just need one mistake or a bit of magic to create that crucial
85 min - Liverpool make a final change with Benayoun making way for Fabio
84 min - Gerrard fouls Parker just inside the Liverpool half to give the
Hammers a free-kick. Noble takes it but it is too long for everyone.
81 min - Torres goes for the hat-trick with a long-range drive that Green
gets down well to. West Ham are running out of time here.
79 min - The home support are still singing and doing everything they can do
roar their side on. The players are giving it their all, but at the moment
they cannot create the chance that will give them their third.
77 min - Well the Hammers have come from behind twice and they must do it
again if they are to take anything from this game. Just as I write Kovac
forces Reina into a full-stretch save with a header.
75 min - GOAL! Torres gets his second to put the home side back in front.
Babel hung a cross in the air from a right and Torres out jumped two players
to steer a header past Green.
74 min - The home support have been brilliant and are getting right behind
their team here.
70 min - Brilliant tackle from Faubert on Gerrard. The France international
slid in perfectly on the Liverpool captain over on the far side and got a
well-deserved round of applause from the home support.
68 min - Liverpool are getting a bit desperate here as Babel's first real
contribution is wild shot that flies well over. Can West Ham create just one
more chance as it seems that most things are going their way today.
65 min - Well after all of the hustle and bustle of the first 50 minutes the
game has settled a little bit. West Ham United make their final change with
the impressive Diamanti making way for Kieron Dyer.
60 min - Diamanti takes it and Reina has to reach high to get a fingertip to
the ball to stop Hines prodding it in. Liverpool make a change with Kuyt
leaving the field and Ryan Babel coming on.
59 min - Corner to West Ham after good work on the right by Faubert.
55 min - Two bits of brilliant defending by Gabbidon in the space of a
minute. First, he out-sprints Torres to clear the ball into touch and then
shows a superb bit of skill to control the ball in midair as Torres lurked
51 min - We have 34,658 inside the Boleyn Ground. Not bad considering all of
the problems most people will have had getting here today.
50 min - Hines is fouled again and once more Mr Marriner's cards are out of
his pocket. This time Mascherano is the culprit.
47 min - Well if the second half is anywhere near as good as the first we
are in for quite a treat today. Let's just hope it is the home side who have
the better of the attacking chances in this half.
46 min - The second half kicks-off with West Ham attacking the Sir Trevor
Brooking Stand end.
45 min - Four added minutes at the end of the first half will be played.
45 min - GOAL! And from the resulting corner they restore parity. Noble took
the flag kick and Cole rose highest to head past Reina. What a great first
half we have had here.
44 min - The Hammers try to hit back straight away and Hines causes more
problems for the Liverpool back line. The forward is brought down by Skrtel,
who is booked and Diamanti's free-kick is deflected wide.
42 min - GOAL! Liverpool re-take the lead as Benayoun takes a corner,
Gerrard knocks it down and Kuyt prods it in.
38 min - A massive shout from the home support for a foul as Martin Skrtel
brings down Hines as he races in on goal. Andre Marriner waves away the
protests, though. I'd like to see that one again.
36 min - Booking for Faubert as he brings down Steven Gerrard in full
flight. The foul gives Liverpool a free-kick 25 yards from goal.
33 min - Well the goal really has changed the game. West Ham are on top and
Ilunga does brilliantly to beat two on the left before attempting to roll
the ball to Hines, who did really well to win the penalty. This time though
a white shirt is there though to hack it away.
30 min - Well what a difference a goal makes as the home support break into
song. There was a slight second of worry there as Diamanti lost his footing
as he took the kick but thankfully it found the back of the net.
29 min - GOAL! Diamanti steps up and puts it down the middle.
29 min - Penalty to West Ham. Hines does superbly to take it past Carragher,
who shoves him to the ground. The defender is booked and the Hammers get a
28 min - West Ham are forced into another change as Behrami leaves the field
and Kovac comes on.
27 min - The home side need to get a grip on this game and fast as Liverpool
threaten once more. This time Torres fires a shot over the bar from
26 min - Corner to Liverpool after Faubert does well to block a cross from
25 min - The change happens as Upson leaves the field and Gabbidon comes on
to make his first home league appearance for over 18 months.
23 min - A bit more concern here as Matthew Upson is down and it looks like
he will not be playing on. Danny Gabbidon is being prepared.
21 min - The goal sets the away fans off into song and the home support into
20 min - GOAL! Liverpool take the lead through a great bit of play from
Torres. The Spanish international took it past Tomkins and smashed the ball
Green from seven yards out.
19 min - Key tackle from Upson there - his second of the afternoon - to nick
the ball off Lucas' foot.
18 min - Liverpool send a quick reminder, if one was needed, that they are
not here to make up the numbers as a clever turn and shot from Torres
flashes just wide of Green's goal.
16 min - More pressure from the hosts as Diamanti gets his first shot in on
goal. I'm pretty confident that he will hit better shots in claret and blue,
though, as it flies well wide.
15 min - The Hammers go close again as a flowing move forward involving
Cole, Diamanti and Faubert sees the latter cross into the box. It causes all
kinds of confusion and a deflected effort forces Reina into a full-stretch
14 min - The empty seats reported earlier all seem to have been filled now
and we must be close to a full house now. I will of course confirm the exact
number when we have it.
10 min - Big shout for a penalty from the away support there as a shot from
Torres hits Ilunga on the hand. Referee Andre Marriner waves it away. To be
fair to Ilunga there was very little he could do about it.
9 min - Great defending from August's SBOBET Player of the Month. Julien
Faubert uses his strength to shepherd the ball out with Benayoun breathing
down his neck.
8 min - There has been a really bright start to the game and both teams seem
determined to attack the game.
7 min - But just as I write that Liverpool come close to taking the lead.
Torres played in Benayoun and only a superb diving save by Robert Green
keeps his effort out.
6 min - West Ham have started really well here and are putting Liverpool
under lots of pressure.
5 min - Both managers are out on the touchline and the West Ham United
manager has opted for a suit today. Perhaps it is because this game marks
one year in the job for him.
2 min - What a chance! In the second minute Hines does well to pick the
pocket of Carragher on the edge of the area to leave him one-on-one with
Pepe Reina. He tries to place his shot past the Spaniard but it crashes
against the inside of the post. What a start that could have been!
2 min - There are still a few empty seats in the Boleyn Ground, much owing
to the Underground closures in place today. I'm glad to report that those
that have made are making plenty of noise.
1 min - Liverpool get us underway.
5.29pm - The teams have changed ends so Liverpool will be attacking the Sir
Trevor Brooking Stand in the first half.
5.28pm - The teams are out and the PA is reading through the line-ups. All
three former Hammers - Glen Johnson, Mascherano and Yossi Benayoun - were
all roundly cheered by the home support. The returning Behrami and Ilunga
and Diamanti were all given a great reception too.
5.25pm - Well we're five minutes from kick-off here now and the teams are
just getting ready to come out. So far, the predictions of heavy rain have
not come true but some rather dark clouds are starting to gather so watch
West Ham United manager Gianfranco Zola handed Alessandro Diamanti his full
debut as one of three changes to the team that went down 1-0 at Wigan
Athletic a week ago.
Diamanti replaced Junior Stanislas, who was sidelined with a minor back
injury, while Herita Ilunga recovered from a jaw problem to replace Danny
Gabbidon at left-back. The third change saw Valon Behrami make his first
start since 1 March in place of Radoslav Kovac.
Liverpool's only change from the 1-0 midweek UEFA Champions League win over
Hungarian champions Debrecen saw former Hammer Javier Mascherano replace
Albert Riera. Ex-West Ham players Glen Johnson and Yossi Benayoun were also
named in Rafael Benitez's starting lineup.
West Ham United: Green, Faubert, Tomkins, Upson (Gabbidon 25), Ilunga,
Behrami (Kovac 28), Parker, Noble, Hines, Diamanti (Dyer 65), Cole
Subs: Kurucz, Spector, Payne, Nouble
Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Carragher, Skrtel, Insua, Mascherano, Gerrard,
Benayoun (Aurelio 85), Lucas, Kuyt (Babel 60), Torres (Riera 90)
Subs: Cavalieri, Kyrgiakos, Degen, Dossena
Torres break Hammers hearts
A late Fernando Torres header saw Liverpool beat West Ham United by the odd
goal in five
Fernando Torres broke West Ham United hearts to clinch a pulsating 3-2
victory for Liverpool at the Boleyn Ground on Saturday. The Hammers had
twice come from behind, only for the Spain striker to head Ryan Babel's
75th-minute cross past Robert Green, clinching a hard-earned three points
for Rafael Benitez's side. Playing a full part in what was surely the best
game of the 2009/10 Barclays Premier League season so far will be of little
comfort to Gianfranco Zola and his players, who gave their all on an
unseasonably hot and humid day in east London. Twice, through an Alessandro
Diamanti penalty and a towering Carlton Cole header, the home side had
recovered from a goal down, only for Torres to settle matters with his 43rd
league goal in just 62 appearances for the Reds. Defeat was undeniably harsh
on the hosts, who hit a post through the excellent Zavon Hines after just
112 seconds and could easily have snatched a draw had it not been for
Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina. The Spaniard denied the Hammers further
goals twice, first from a wickedly curling Diamanti corner and, moments
after Torres had put the visitors 3-2 up, from a Radoslav Kovac header. The
first half was breathless, with both sets of players launching themselves
into tackles aplenty and goalscoring chances being created freely at both
ends of the pitch. After Hines had robbed Carragher and hit the woodwork,
both Yossi Benayoun and Emiliano Insua went close before Glen Johnson worked
Reina with a loose backward header. Torres finally opened the scoring on 20
minutes, powering past James Tomkins before stabbing past Green from
close-range. West Ham's misery was compounded when Matthew Upson and the
returning Valon Behrami were both forced off through injury.
The frowns turned to smiles just before the half-hour mark, however, when
Hines zipped past Carragher before being barged to the ground by the former
Diamanti immediately grabbed the ball and, despite losing his footing at the
vital moment, directed the resulting penalty past Reina. Hines was in again
seven minutes before the break when he nicked the ball off Martin Skrtel's
toe and appeared to be felled by the Slovakian, but referee Andre Marriner
waved away the protests. Liverpool went ahead again four minutes before the
break, Gerrard rising highest to head Benayoun's right-wing corner
goalwards, with Dirk Kuyt was on hand to get the final touch. The Hammers
would be level by the break, though, as Cole outjumped both Torres and
Skrtel to glance Noble's flag-kick into the bottom corner after Diamanti's
fierce free-kick had been deflected narrowly wide.
The second 45 minutes was always going to struggle to produce the thrills
and spills provided by the first, and so it proved. The 34,658 inside a
packed Boleyn Ground - many of whom had braved widespread public transport
disruption to reach the stadium - watched on as both teams searched for a
winner. Diamanti worked Reina with a dipping corner shortly before the
hour-mark, forcing the goalkeeper to palm his effort out at full-stretch.
The Italian was replaced by Kieron Dyer with 25 minutes to go, but it was
Liverpool substitute Ryan Babel - on for Kuyt - who created the game's final
goal. The Dutchman picked up the loose ball after former Hammer Johnson had
seen his shot blocked by Danny Gabbidon, crossed into the danger zone and
Torres did the rest, heading powerfully past Green from eight yards. As they
had done twice previously, West Ham responded well, but Reina was again at
his best to push aside Kovac's header after Cole had nodded back Dyer's deep
cross. With that, the hosts' final chance of completing a third amazing
recovery had gone. Zola will now re-gather his troops for Tuesday night's
Carling Cup third-round tie at Bolton Wanderers.
West Ham United: Green, Faubert, Tomkins, Upson (Gabbidon 25), Ilunga,
Noble, Parker, Behrami (Kovac 27), Diamanti (Dyer 65), Hines, Cole
Subs not used: Kurucz, Spector, Payne, Dyer
Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Skrtel, Carragher, Insua, Mascherano, Lucas, Kuyt
(Babel 60), Gerrard, Benayoun (Aurelio 85), Torres (Riera 90)
Subs not used: Cavalieri, Degen, Dossena, Kyrgiakos
Hines shines for Zola
Gianfranco Zola was pleased with his team's effort in the five-goal thriller
at the Boleyn Ground
Gianfranco Zola was full of praise for his West Ham United side as they more
than contributed to one of the games of the season on Saturday. West Ham
United twice came from a goal behind and looked set to earn at least a point
before a late Fernando Torres header stole all three for visitors Liverpool.
It was harsh on the Hammers, who had shown plenty of attacking endeavour,
getting on the scoresheet thanks to penalty from Aleseandro Diamanti - on
his full debut - and a Carlton Cole header.
One of the shining lights of a display of exhilarating attacking football
was Zavon Hines, on his first home start in Barclays Premier League. The
Jamaican-born forward was a constant thorn in the sides of the visitors -
hitting the post in the first two minutes and winning the penalty from which
"I think today he was fantastic," Zola enthused. "He did well last week but
he was even better against a difficult team. The boy is taking his chances
very well. He has been terrific as he helped the team defensively as well so
congratulations to him. He is very good and he is making himself established
in the team and that is down to his work and his attitude.
"You need to have players that can go on the pitch and make a difference. He
did that today and we are hoping a few others will do it in the next few
weeks. He is playing with a brave attitude and making an impact on the game
so that is really good."
Indeed it was fellow home debutant Diamanti that got the Hammers back into
the game after Hines had tricked Jamie Carragher into conceding a penalty in
the 29th minute. The Italian stepped up confidently, but just at the crucial
moment appeared to lose his footing. His manager explained afterwards that
it was intended, albeit with a wry smile on his face.
"We decided before the game that he would take penalties. His penalty was
very scary! He said to me that he slid but he said to me that he wanted to
do it so it's a new kind of technique so that is OK. Diamanti played a good
game, he was like Zavon and worked a lot for the team."
The result sees West Ham stay on four points, but after seeing his side lost
their first two home games by just a single-goal margin, Zola is certain his
side will soon start picking up the points that will move them up the table.
"I see what the players do on the pitch and the way they performed today was
encouraging. "I think we were unfortunate today not to pick up points. The
rest is encouraging and I am sure we will get better and it won't be long
There was also more positive news on the injury front as Zola revealed that
the injuries that forced Matthew Upson and Valon Behrami from the field were
not thought to be too serious, while Diamanti was only taken off after an
all-action hour that took its toll. "It shouldn't be too bad. For Upson,
the muscle got very tight so he had to come off before breaking it.
Regarding Behrami, because he had been working a lot in the last few weeks I
think he had a little problem with the sciatic nerve so he shouldn't be too
There will be no time to think what might have been for the squad as they
will be back at Chadwell Heath to prepare for Tuesday's third round Carling
Cup tie away at Bolton Wanderers, when they could be boosted by the presence
of Junior Stanislas and new recruit Guillermo Franco.
U18s hold Cardiff
Ten-man West Ham United U18s held on to secure a valuable draw with Cardiff
City on Saturday
Ten-man West Ham United ended a three-match FA Premier Academy League losing
run with a battling goalless draw with Cardiff City at Little Heath. The
Hammers lost right-back Filip Modelski two minutes after half-time when the
Poland youth international received a second yellow card for deliberate
handball. The defender was hugely unfortunate to see a red card, as both the
handball decision, and that to book him for shirt-pulling on the stroke of
half-time, appeared to be harsh. Despite being reduced to ten men, Tony
Carr's side produced a spirited display, and could even have nicked all
three points with a little more luck in the attacking third. In a game of
few clear-cut opportunities, it was the Bluebirds who came closest to
scoring a winner, only for Deniz Mehmet to pull of a brave stop to keep out
Nathaniel Daniels' seventh-minute shot with his head. West Ham's best moment
arrived on 22 minutes, when a sweeping move from back to front involving
Mehmet, Sergio Sanchez, George Moncur, Danny Subuola and Ahmed Abdulla ended
with Danny Purdy just unable to finish from an acute angle. Subuola also
went close himself nine minutes before the break, but his shot was well
saved by Cardiff goalkeeper Jordan Santiago with his legs. With Carr forced
to sacrifice forward Purdy for defender Callum Driver following Modelski's
dismissal, the Hammers were forced to play on the break for the remainder of
the game, with Subuola running himself into the ground up front. There were
impressive rearguard actions across the pitch, with Sanchez, Nick Barrett
and captain Jordan Brown particularly catching the eye. Substitutes Driver
and Cristian Montano also worked hard to relieve the pressure on the home
side. Turkey Under-17 stopper Mehmet took centre-stage with three minutes
remaining, brilliantly parrying substitute Soloman Taylor's shot on to the
post. West Ham broke straight up the other end, where replacement Jack
Werndly worked Santiago with a powerful left-foot shot. Having lost to Stoke
City, Tottenham Hotspur and Birmingham City in their last three matches,
Carr and his players will have taken confidence from the relative ease with
which they held off Cardiff in the second half.
West Ham United Under-18: Mehmet, Modelski, McNaughton, Sanchez, Brown,
Barrett, Moncur, Okus (Montano 64), Purdy (Driver 49), Abdulla, Subuola
Subs not used: Larkins, Craig
Cardiff City Under-18: Santiago, Edwards, Z.Evans, A.Evans, Meades, Last,
Cummings (Diallo 66), Wilding, Jarvis, Farah, Smith (Taylor 78)
Subs not used: Al-Basith, Jones
West Ham 2 - 3 Liverpool
By Mark Ashenden
Fernando Torres scored twice to help Liverpool overcome battling West Ham.
Zavon Hines hit the post before Torres poked in the opener, but Alessandro
Diamanti scored a debatable penalty that he appeared to touch twice. Dirk
Kuyt stabbed in Steven Gerrard's header and West Ham fought back with
Carlton Cole nodding in Mark Noble's corner just before the interval. With
the Hammers tiring in the second half, Ryan Babel burst forward to chip in
for Torres to head the winner. The Hammers, looking for their first win
since the opening day of the season, started off brightly and came within a
whisker of taking the lead within only two minutes. The Jamaican-born
Hines, making his second Premier League start, stole possession from the
napping Carragher on the edge of the box but could only curl his shot
against the upright. It was a wake-up call for the visitors and Yossi
Benayoun, facing his former club, dinked his way into the box but shot only
tamely into the grateful arms of goalkeeper Robert Green. The Reds though,
adopting a 4-2-3-1 formation with Torres as the solo striker, poured forward
and grabbed the opener on 20 minutes thanks to a dash of Spanish magic. The
packed West Ham midfield, always pretty but often careless, handed the ball
to Emiliano Insua and his through-ball found Torres on the left who weaved
around James Tomkins before blasting over the on-rushing Green. Manager
Gianfranco Zola, recently celebrating his one-year anniversary at Upton
Park, looked bemused on the sidelines, and his cause was not helped after 25
minutes, seeing Matthew Upson and a tearful Valon Behrami limping off.
Within three minutes of the enforced substitutes they were amazingly level
after a sloppy challenge by Carragher on the dangerman Hines down the
left-hand side of the box.
Up stepped Italian Diamanti for the spot-kick and although the ball flew
over Pepe Reina, the Liverpool bench were incensed, claiming the striker had
kicked the ball twice after slipping. Back came Liverpool and they grabbed
the lead again with Kuyt's boot getting on the end of a towering Gerrard
header from an inswinging Benayoun corner. For all of Liverpool's
possession, West Ham's frontline was always threatening and stunned the
visitors on the stroke of half-time when Cole outjumped three defenders to
nod in the equaliser. The second period was a case of West Ham hanging on
with a handful of players suffering from cramp and their substitute options
Benayoun twice went on dazzling runs and only last-ditch sliding tackles
denied the Israeli midfielder from scoring wonderful goals. Even the legs of
the battling Diamanti proved too weary for the final onslaught as he was
taken off to a standing ovation, replaced by former England star Kieron
Dyer. It was a flood of players in white desperate to break down the
resolute Hammers defence, and with 15 minutes remaining they bagged the
all-important strike. Johnson, another player up against his former
employers, stormed down the right wing and with Babel picking up possession,
the Dutchman delicately chipped over to Torres who headed down brilliantly
to regain the lead. Still the hosts were not finished as they managed one
last throw of the dice with Radoslav Kovac denied at the end by Reina's
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez: We showed character and the team has
confidence. Four wins in a row means that the team is in good shape. "It was
a very competitive game, they were working very hard too, but we gave them
hope. It was difficult, but we did enough to win."
West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola on his players: I think they gave everything,
I couldn't ask any more. It was a close game, but when you play against good
teams like them it is difficult. "The difference was that in the second half
we got tired and they took advantage. We are used to fighting against
problems, so it's no problem - we will be positive."
West Ham Utd 2 Liverpool 3
Filed: Saturday, 19th September 2009
By: Staff Writer
A late winner from Fernando Torres condemned the Hammers to a scond
consecutive home defeat in this evening's Premier League encounter at the
Torres - who had given the visitors an early lead - struck with just
quarter-of-an-hour remaining to win the game for Liverpool after the Hammers
had twice come from behind to level the match.
Despite the unacceptable situation with public transport - with the closure
of East Ham, Upton Park and Plaistow leaving many thousands of home fans
facing a 45-minute walk to the ground from the nearest open tube stations -
the Boleyn was a virtual sell-out for a game which the Hammers needed to
take something from in order to allay fears after an unimpressive start
which left Gianfranco Zola's side in the bottom six prior to kick off.
For long periods they more than matched the perennial title-chasers - but
once again fell short at the final hurdle, giving Zola and partner Steve
Clarke lots to think about as they contemplate how to add to the side's only
win of the season on the opening day at newly-promoted Wolves.
With Valon Behrami and Alessandro Diamanti handed their first starts of the
season - plus Herita Ilunga back in the side after injury - Zola was just
Luis Jimenez (muscle injury) short of a first choice XI as the Hammers
sought to add to their meagre return of just four points so far this term.
The lively Zavon Hines - handed his second successive start - almost brought
the house down within 90 seconds when he stole the ball from a daydreaming
Jamie Carragher before firing against Pepe Reina's post with just the
'keeper to beat.
The diminutive striker was left to rue his miss on 20 minutes when Torres
opened his account for the afternoon. Having received the ball inside the
area he turned James Tomkins before burying the ball beyond Robert Green to
put the visitors one up.
West Ham received two further blows within the space of two minutes when
Matthew Upson (calf) and Behrami (knee) were both forced off; Radoslav Kovac
and Danny Gabbidon providing the replacements. However the changes clearly
had little effect on Hines who, just 60 seconds later, stole into the
Liverpool area where he was unfairly shoved aside by Carragher to win a
Usual spot kick taker Mark Noble was nowhere to be seen as Diamanti, making
his first competitive home start stepped up to fire the ball beyond Reina to
level the scores. The Italian was a touch fortunate however as he slipped
during his run up and may have touched the ball twice as he fired at goal.
Stung by the goal, Liverpool continued to push on and re-took the lead three
minutes before the break. Former Hammer Yossi Benayoun, who received a
surprisingly good welcome from the home support sent in a corner that found
the head of Steven Gerrard. Herita Ilunga's lapse of concentration allowed
Dirk Kuyt to escape his clutches and stab home the ball at the far post.
Undettered, United came back at Liverpool and levelled again on the stroke
of half time. A Mark Noble corner found England striker Carlton Cole who met
the cross with a glancing downward header to send the teams in level at the
The second half was a lively encounter but neither side managed to make
their mark - until Torres won the game 15 minutes from time. Zavon Hines was
guilty of a lack of concentration for the first time in the game and lost
the ball in a dangerous position to an advancing Glenn Johnson. After the
former Hammer's initial centre was removed from danger substitute Ryan Babel
sent in a second cross that Torres connected with to power into Rob Green's
right-hand bottom corner.
As if the defeat wasn't bad enough on its own, Zola also has to contend with
further injury worries to two of his most important players - something he
can ill afford with his squad already stretched to its maximum. Hardly the
ideal preparation for next weekend's visit to high-flying Manchester City.
League worries will however be temporarily forgotten as the Hammers travel
to Bolton in midweek for a Carling Cup third round tie. Whilst the league
campaign couldn't really have gotten off to a worse possible start, Zola
will be hoping to give Hammers fans something to cheer against a struggling
Wanderers this Tuesday.
Torres brace sinks Hammers
Spaniard nets brace as Liverpool win 3-2 at Upton Park
Last updated: 19th September 2009
Man of the match: Fernando Torres
Moment of the match: Alessandro Diamante slipping over as he took the
penalty and somehow looping the ball into the net off his standing foot.
Attempt of the match: Zavon Hines hit the post in the third minute after a
mistake from Jamie Carragher. Had the shot gone in it would have changed the
Save of the match: Reina's save to deny Cole's header two minutes after
Liverpool had scored their third sealed the win.
Talking point: Should Diamante's penalty have stood? Technically he took two
Goal of the game: Torres' burst of speed, vision and superb finishing for
the opening goal proved once again that he's among the top strikers in the
Liverpool's star striker Fernando Torres bounced back to his best by bagging
a brace to sink West Ham at Upton Park. The Spanish sensation, who has been
below his top form this term, scored two fine goals in the 3-2 victory over
Gianfranco Zola's side. Zavon Hines almost put the Hammers ahead in the
second minute when he hit the post. But Torres responded with a stunning
individual goal in the 20th minute which saw the Spaniard beat James Tomkins
on the edge of the box before firing home. Liverpool defender Jamie
Carragher then brought down Hines in the box for a Hammers penalty which
Alessandro Diamanti duly despatched, although the Italian appeared to slip
before slotting home with his second touch. Dirk Kuyt then restored the
Reds' advantage on 41 minutes when getting a touch on Steven Gerrard's
goal-bound header. But the Hammers again drew level when Carlton Cole
glanced home a header from a corner in first-half stoppage time. Both sides
pressed for a winner in the second period before Torres headed home in the
75th minute to seal a vital three points for the Reds. The victory,
Liverpool's fourth successive win, lifted Rafa Benitez's side into third
place in the Premier League and left West Ham in 14th. The first half was
full of incident and it was the home side who squandered a great chance to
take the lead in the second minute. Liverpool defender Carragher dithered
over Glen Johnson's pass and let Hines in. The striker could not have asked
for a simpler chance but although he beat Pepe Reina, his shot hit the near
post before the Spanish goalkeeper gratefully gathered the rebound.
Another Carragher mistake on the halfway line gave Cole room to run at the
Liverpool goal but this time Martin Skrtel made a wonderful saving
challenge. In the 15th minute the home team had another chance, Cole
bundling the ball to Hines from Julien Faubert's cross but the chance came
too quickly and Hines' connection was minimal. Torres, meanwhile,
acrobatically volleyed wide after 17 minutes before opening the scoring
three minutes later. The Spaniard broke down the left flank, bamboozled
Tomkins and poked home at the near post. Matthew Upson was injured as he
tried to prevent the goal and was replaced by Danny Gabbidon. Torres was
proving to be a real thorn in West Ham's side and was confident enough to
try his luck from 30 yards in the 26th minute but his shot was far too high
and failed to trouble Robert Green in goal. West Ham's woes continued
moments later when Valon Behrami was forced out of the action through injury
and replaced by Radoslav Kovac. But the home side were back in the game in
the 29th minute when referee Andre Marriner adjudged that Hines had been
pushed by Carragher in the box. Diamanti, making his first start for the
Hammers, stepped-up to take the penalty and even though he put the ball into
the net, the striker appeared to slip as he connected with the ball and
touched it twice. Angry Liverpool players protested that the penalty should
be ruled out as Diamanti had touched the ball more than once but Marriner
rejected their protests. But Liverpool went back in front four minutes
before the end of an eventful opening first period. An outswinging corner
from Yossi Benayoun was headed towards the far post by Gerrard only for Kuyt
to stick out a foot and poke the ball into the corner of the net. But in
first-half stoppage time, England striker Cole rose highest in the six-yard
box to meet Mark Noble's corner and head the Hammers level for the second
time in the game.
In the second period, Hines was giving Liverpool's defence a great deal of
cause for concern. Javier Mascherano could only bring the winger down in the
49th minute and his mistimed tackle earned the Liverpool player a yellow
card. A rare West Ham corner in the 59th minute then almost caught the Reds
out. Diamanti sent an inswinging corner into the Liverpool six-yard box and
Reina had to tip the ball away for another flag-kick as it threatened to end
up in the net. Liverpool replaced goalscorer Kuyt with Ryan Babel on the
hour as the Merseysiders searched for a winner. A fabulous run into the West
Ham penalty area by Benayoun almost brought Liverpool a third but the home
defence cleared the ball at the last hurdle. West Ham were suffering from
the lack of a killer final ball. Kieron Dyer, on for Diamanti, made a superb
run deep into the Liverpool half in the 68th minute but he could not supply
the final ball to put Cole clear. Liverpool's Babel tried his luck from 25
yards but his accuracy was found wanting as the ball went high over the bar
and into the crowd. But the Reds clinched the game in the 75th minute when
Babel's cross was headed into the corner of the net by Torres from eight
20090919 Zola pleased with performance
Hammers boss draws positives from defeat
Last updated: 19th September 2009
West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola insists he was encouraged by his side's
performance despite falling to a 3-2 defeat against Liverpool. A pulsating
affair at Upton Park was decided in the second period when Fernando Torres
rose highest to head home a dramatic winner fifteen minutes from time. West
Ham more than played their part in what was one of the best games of the
season so far and Zola was quick to draw on the positives. "Today was very
encouraging," said Zola. "We were unfortunate not to pick up any points. But
we will get better and it won't be long." One of the successes for Zola,
along with new-boy Alessandro Diamanti, was the performance of winger Zavon
He had Liverpool's rearguard struggling all afternoon and he could have put
the home side in front in the opening minutes. "Zavon has done very well in
the last week but today was even better against a difficult team," said
Zola. "The boy is taking his chances very well. He helped the team
defensively and he is establishing himself, which is down to his work and
attitude. "You need to have players like him. I am hoping a few others will
do the same in the next few weeks. He is playing with a brave attitude and
making an impact."
Diamanti scored West Ham's first-half equaliser from the spot, but the
Italian appeared to touch the ball twice when he slipped as he took the
penalty. "It was decided before the game that Diamanti would take any
penalties," added Zola. "His penalty was very scary. I think he slid as he
took it, but he said that he meant to do it. But he had a good game and
worked a lot for the team."
Ashton concern for Zola
Hammers boss unsure when striker will return
Last updated: 18th September 2009
Football Betting - Man Utd v Man City
West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola still has no idea when Dean Ashton will be fit
enough to return to his first-team plans. The striker has seen question
marks raised over his career due to an ankle injury which has kept him out
of action since September last year. Former Norwich ace Ashton initially
broke his left ankle in 2006 before suffering a problem in the same area and
is still training on his own with personal coach John Green away from Zola's
squad. No comeback date has been set for the £7.25million signing and Zola
admitted the situation surrounding the 25-year-old is worrying. "The problem
he had was quite serious, it was more serious than anybody thought," Zola
said. "It has been one year and obviously I am getting concerned about it.
"I can't say 'I'll give you three months', I can't force his progress along.
But I do respect his willingness to come back and I am going to be
supportive to him, not the one who is pushing him." There have been rumours
that Ashton has considered retirement, but Zola added: "We have not
discussed that at all and anyway he knows I trust him and whatever he does I
have been trying to help and will keep trying to help him."
Ashton suffered his initial injury while on England duty and was out for a
year, before coming back and earning a place in Fabio Capello's squad after
11 goals in the 2008 season. After suffering his setback he missed the rest
of the 2008/09 campaign, which was frustrating for Zola in his rookie season
as a Premier League manager. "He is one of the players that I have had a lot
of hopes for," he said. "I have been waiting one year and I have not had
him. "According to everyone, including myself, he was one of the best
players of the team. He made my job much more difficult. "I am very sorry
for the boy and I imagine what he is going through and that he is suffering
a lot. All my thoughts are with him. I wish that he will find his way
forward as soon as possible."
Training on his own means Ashton has had limited contact with his striker.
"I have not interacted with him very much because he has been out," Zola
said. "He knows that I want him very much and he is one of the players that
if I had him on the pitch our performances would have been better."
Zola maintains top-four aim
But Hammers boss admits 'project' is a long-term target
By Elliot Ball Last updated: 18th September 2009
Gianfranco Zola insists he is as committed as ever to turning West Ham into
a side that can challenge the 'big teams'. Despite a turbulent start to life
as a league manager, Zola steered West Ham to a ninth place finish last term
and after reaching 12 months in the job this week, the Italian tactician has
targeted further progress from his young side.
But with the likes of Manchester City, Tottenham, Aston Villa and Everton
also competing to break into the top four, and with financial constraints
continuing to linger over Upton Park, Zola is realistic that his ambition
will be a lengthy process. But the Hammers boss, who welcomes Liverpool on
Saturday, hopes his team can lay down a marker against Rafa Benitez's title
hopefuls. "I believe in this project just as much as then (12 months ago),"
Zola told the London Evening Standard. "We have confidence in what we're
doing and we believe we will succeed. "I know there have been many problems
over the last year and probably that has slowed down the process but I am
patient. I am not in a hurry and I know we are going to get there. "It is a
medium or long-term project and it involves working with the young players
and one day, hopefully, challenging the big teams. "It is very difficult and
very ambitious and I don't hide this fact but I believe that, in life, you
have to be ambitious and if you try your best, work hard enough and you're
lucky, maybe you can achieve your goals."
West Ham 2 Liverpool 3 (Home)
Posted by Billy Blagg 10 hours, 56 minutes ago
West Ham's Liverpool hoodoo struck yet again as the men from Anfield came
away from Upton Park with all three points in an action packed game.
Liverpool will probably point to a period of second half domination as cause
for celebration, but the Hammers will equally bemoan some injury woes that
ensured their three substitutes would be used just to replace limping
players, at a time when they could have done with some tactical
It could have been so different though had the excellent youngster Zavon
Hines made the most of a glorious chance after only two minutes when he
robbed defender Carragher - who looked unsteady against the attacker all
evening - and shot against the post. Fair play though, Reina came out
quickly and replays later showed that Hines probably did well to even bend
the ball onto the post.
In fact it was Torres who opened the scoring against the home side when he
superbly tore the West Ham flank open, scoring at the near post from close
range. There aren't many defenders who find themselves blamed when the
Spanish striker is on this type of form but it was unfortunate that the move
started with a misplaced pass in midfield and Tomkins failing to usher
Torres wide. There was even a suggestion that Green could have stayed up
longer but, by and large, you have to give credit to Torres who seems to
terrorise the Hammers whenever he plays against us.
But West Ham were not out of the game, and they had already produced several
half-chances before Torres scored. Unfortunately, Upson had injured himself
when trying to stop Torres and the England player was replaced by Danny
Gabbidon. Shortly after, Behrami left the field in tears - nice to see
someone so dedicated to the cause - and was replaced by Kovac. Ironically,
although forced, the tactic seemed to shore up the Hammers midfield and the
home side were level on the half-hour when a penalty box burst from Hines
found Carragher all over the place, leading to him pushing the attacker in
the area to allow debutant Diamanti to score from the spot.
It was later suggested the Italian had touched the ball twice but ESPN
replays proved inconclusive and if you can't see it on slow-mo close replay
after six showings then how is the referee supposed to spot it? Studio
talking heads Kevin Keegan and Alan Curbishley later suggested that the ball
looping up and over meant the touch could not have been straight from the
spot but Curbishley in particular never seemed to know what direction the
ball should go in when he was managing West Ham so I discount the
suggestion. Mrs Diamanti celebrated in the stand with baby - you really
should be supporting his head, you know! - and the fans seem to have
acquired a new hero.
Liverpool weren't to be denied though and went back in front five minutes
later when Kuyt directed a Gerrard shot from a Benayoun corner into the
corner but the lead didn't last till half-time when the Hammers equalised
themselves from a corner with Cole directing the ball in between a clutch of
The second half wasn't quite as exciting as the first with West Ham dropping
back and allowing Liverpool too much space to play the ball in the Hammers
half but even so with Diamanti looking dangerous on corners and free kicks
there was always a scoring possibility so it was disappointing when the
limping striker needed to be replaced by Keiron Dyer. Even so, Dyer himself
went on a mazy run but was denied a shot when his pass to Cole was blocked.
Benayoun, not to be outdone, showed his old fans what they missed by his
departure to Anfield when single-handedly taking on the Hammers defence only
to be denied at the last.
Liverpool weren't to be denied either though and, just when a draw was
looking the best result for the home side, Torres rose to a Babel cross and
headed in between two defenders after 75 minutes. It was too much for the
Hammers who ran out of ideas and puff before the added injury time.
After an early season blip, Liverpool now look good for a title chase this
season and with Fernando Torres in this form anything is possible.
Nevertheless I disagreed with the ESPN commentators on West Ham's promise
for the season when I saw the match later. Injuries will always effect a
club like West Ham and when three players are injured during a game, leaving
two limping, then they will find it hard against a side like Liverpool who
are dangerous at even half pace. With Franco to come I thought there was
enough to ensure that the 'second tier' of the Premiership will find the
Hammers tough competition.
Despite that I did think the ESPN coverage was good *smiles sweetly at the
editor* but it would be even better if the insane opinions of the idiot
Geordie Chris Waddle were kept to a minimum. Can I suggest a large
sledgehammer would help?
West Ham United 2 Liverpool 3: match report
By Oliver Brown at Upton Park
Published: 7:30PM BST 19 Sep 2009
It must make Rafael Benitez shudder to wonder what he would do without
Fernando Torres. Liverpool were stumbling towards two more dropped points
now before the Spaniard contrived one of his extraordinary sleights of hand,
ghosting through West Ham United's defence for a headed winner that his team
The consensus building around Liverpool was that they lacked a lethal threat
up front, the dreaded 'X-factor'. Torres emphatically gave the lie to that
theory here, although Liverpool still betrayed a worrying susceptibility at
the back, twice allowing West Ham back into this pulsating game.
Birmingham City v Stoke City previewIndeed, Alessandro Diamanti scored a
controverisal penalty in much the same fashion as Liverpool have started
their season - uncertainly, and with an embarrasing slip. The Italian
striker, making his home debut after his £6 million move from Livorno, had
two touches on the ball, not that West Ham's supporters cared one iota. They
were content to hail him, as is the custom in this corner of east London, as
a "diamond geezer".
Liverpool's centre-halves appeared only at half-pace as West Ham, their
three-man attack spearheaded by 20-year old academy graduate Zavon Hines,
applied constant pressure. Both Carragher and Skrtel collected early
bookings as Hines ran them ragged, collecting a precise Glen Johnson pass
and hitting the near post before Jose Reina gathered the rebound.
Attempts at resistance by Liverpool were chaotic, strengthening doubts that
they have become too fragile to challenge for the title, and it was no
surprise when another Carragher error gave Cole the licence to run at
Reina's goal. Their hopes rested on their effective counter-punching,
inspired invariably by Steven Gerrard, whose neat interplay with Torres left
Yossi Benayoun in a one-on-one face-off with Robert Green. It was an
enticing chance for the Israeli to score against his former club but he
could only muster a scuffed side-footed finish.
Torres could not resist the acrobatics, going wide with an extravagant
volley, but he needed nothing so theatrical to break West Ham down. In a
move of great poise and determination the Spaniard broke down the left
flank, beffudling James Tomkins and creating space for himself to nudge a
crisp shot beyond Green.
It was not what West Ham's vibrant start deserved, and their ill-fortune
soon multiplied when Valon Behrami, who has spent six months out with knee
ligament damage, seemed to suffer a recurrence of the injury. The Swiss-born
Serb was almost in tears; Zola, his squad already ravaged by absences,
The manager at least found solace in the manner of West Ham's equaliser, as
referee Andre Marriner awarded them a fortuitous penalty, deeming that Hines
had been shoved to the ground by Carragher. Diamanti duly stepped up to
dispatch the kick but, in connecting the ball, tottered, with television
replays clearly showing that he had taken too touches.
Benitez was furious, and his players protested loudly to Marriner that the
goal should have been ruled out but the score stood. Such a perceived
injustice galvanised Liverpool, who redoubled their attacking energies, with
rapid reward. Benayoun's outswinging corner was met with a powerful header
by Gerrard, which - thanks to West Ham's inexplicable failure to station a
man on the far post - was goal-bound anyway, although a last-second poke by
Dirk Kuyt made sure.
It was enough to crush West Ham's resolve but, admirably and against the run
of play, they rallied once more. Carlton Cole had cut a frustrated figure
until his moment came late in the first half, with a Mark Noble corner
inviting the England striker to rise highest and head his team back to
parity. Torres, though, was even more impressive in the second half as he
converted Ryan Babel's cross from the right with a majestic header. He was
the one who rose highest of all.
Liverpool were suddenly the more composed in keeping possession. Diamanti
had tired worryingly for West Ham after his early heroics, although there
were suspicions of a hamstring problem. Kieron Dyer, the perennial absentee
who replaced him, was also too delicate to make an impact. Benitez's players
were the more doughty, the more durable, qualities exemplified by the
Terrific Torres strikes twice to lift Liverpool
West Ham United 2 Liverpool 3: Spanish marksman shoots down the Hammers as
Reds rise to third after end-to-end extravaganza
By Steve Tongue at Upton Park
Sunday, 20 September 2009
On a ground where they strolled to victory last season, Liverpool were
pushed all the way by an energetic West Ham, who have found goals hard to
come by but shared four with them in a thrilling first half.
Fernando Torres scored the first of the evening and had the last word too
with a winning header, his vision clearly unimpaired by the three black eyes
he has collected in the last few weeks. The home side, matching up with
their opponents 4-2-3-1 formation, played their part in a game of great pace
and vigour, but found fortune hiding as they lost two more players to injury
in the first half-hour. There was therefore some encouragment for Gianfranco
Zola, who has just completed his first year as manager with a modest total
of 13 wins from his 38 League games.
Liverpool have now scored 16 goals in six League games - five of them from
Torres - though what was surprising was the laxity in their defence. Jamie
Carragher, who conceded a penalty, and Martin Skrtel looked shaky for such
an experienced partnership and offered West Ham some hope until the finish.
Carlton Cole still carries too much of the goalscoring burden and Eastenders
will hope that Alessandro Diamanti, the flamboyant Italian forward, can
weigh in when he reaches full match fitness. The cash-strapped club could
only afford to pay Livorno £6m for him because their sponsors brought
forward a payment. He scored an equalising goal with a controversial penalty
and showed some neat touches, but Upton Park has seen too many tricky
foreign forwards who ultimately achieved little and will want to reserve
The transfer window may have banged shut but scarcely a week goes by without
another new face - generally a foreign one - popping up here. On Thursday
Guillermo Franco, a Mexican released by Villareal, joined up, too late to be
considered for yesterday's game. Last season's unsuccessful pair David di
Michele and Diego Tristan are long gone and such is the turnaround in
personnel that only five of yesterday's team began the home game with
Liverpool as recently as May. On that occasion Steven Gerrard scored after
76 seconds and there was no contest. Here they found the going tougher and
ought to have been behind after a similar period of time. In only the second
minute, Carragher was caught dwelling on the ball by the 20 year-old Zavon
Hines, who was in on goal but from 10 yards struck the post.
Glen Johnson, one of three former West Ham players in a white shirt - all
well received by the home crowd - almost headed an own goal from Julien
Faubert's cross but Liverpool had their opportunities too, even before
taking the lead. They did so in the 20th minute, when Hines was the latest
culprit to lose the ball, which Insua fed down the left to Torres. Weaving
outside James Tomkins, the Spaniard toe-poked it with his right foot past
Robert Green at the goalkeeper's near post.
West Ham would suffer two further blows before equalising, losing first
Matthew Upson and then the unlucky Valon Behrami, who was starting for the
first time this season after injury. Just before the half-hour, the
accident-prone Carragher handed them a goal, shoving Hines as the youngster
raced to the byline and conceding a penalty. Diamanti slipped as he took it,
Liverpool protesting in vain that he touched the ball twice before it flew
past Pepe Reina.
There was more, much more, to come including a headed goal each from a
corner before the interval. Gerrard flicked on Yossi Benayoun's kick for
Dirk Kuyt to slide in, but Cole then rose above Skrtel for another set-piece
goal against Liverpool's zonal marking system.
For a period at the start of the second half there was a dearth of chances,
to which Rafa Benitez reacted positively by sending on Ryan Babel for Kuyt,
who did not look pleased by the development. Babel immediately ran
threateningly at the left-back Ilunga, which was presumably the intention
and play continued to race from end to end at breathtaking pace. It was all
too quick for Diamanti, lacking match fitness, who made way for Kieron Dyer
to an ovation from the home support.
Dyer's first run summed up the second half of the game: a surging run past
three defenders, followed by a loose pass from Cole that drifted into touch.
But when a first attempt on goal for some time materialised with quarter of
an hour left, it brought a goal. Johnson, marauding forward in his favoured
fashion, had a shot blocked, the ball running out to the right for Babel to
cross and Torres, rising between Faubert and Tomkins, to head in. "He was
very cheap," Benitez said of the £22m striker who has scored 55 times in 91
games. At today's prices, who could argue?
Liverpool win despite brave West Ham fightback
West Ham 2 Liverpool 3
By Adrian Curtis, PA
Saturday, 19 September 2009
Fernando Torres scored twice as Liverpool held off a brave fightback from
West Ham to earn a deserved victory in a five-goal thriller at Upton Park.
Torres put the Reds in front in the 19th minute with a fine solo goal but
debutant Alessandro Diamanti levelled from the penalty spot. Dirk Kuyt
restored Liverpool's lead in the 40th minute but Carlton Cole levelled again
a minute before the interval. But the irrepressible Torres settled a
pulsating contest when he headed home from close range in the 75th minute.
The victory, Liverpool's fourth successive win, lifted Rafael Benitez's side
into third place in the Barclays Premier League and left West Ham in 14th.
The first half was full of incident and it was the home side who squandered
a great chance to take the lead in the second minute. Liverpool defender
Jamie Carragher dithered over Glen Johnson's pass and let Zavon Hines in.
The striker could not have asked for a simpler chance but although he beat
Jose Reina, his shot hit the near post before the Spanish goalkeeper
gratefully gathered the rebound. Another Carragher mistake on the halfway
line gave Cole room to run at the Liverpool goal but this time Martin Skrtel
made a wonderful saving challenge. In the 15th minute the home team had
another chance, Cole bundling the ball to Hines from Julien Faubert's cross
but the chance came too quickly and Hines' connection was minimal.
Torres, meanwhile, acrobatically volleyed wide after 17 minutes before
opening the scoring three minutes later. The Spaniard broke down the left
flank, bamboozled James Tomkins and poked home at the near post. Torres was
proving to be a real thorn in West Ham's side and was confident enough to
try his luck from 30 yards in the 26th minute but his shot was far too high
and failed to trouble Green. West Ham's woes continued moments later when
Valon Behrami was forced out of the action through injury and replaced by
Radoslav Kovac. It was the second enforced change for Gianfranco Zola's side
who lost Matthew Upson earlier in the opening half. But the home side were
back in the game in the 28th minute when referee Andre Marriner adjudged
that Hines had been pushed by Carragher in the box. Alessandro Diamanti
stepped-up to take the penalty and even though he put the ball into the net,
the striker appeared to slip as he connected with the ball and touched it
Angry Liverpool players protested that the penalty should be ruled out as
Diamanti had touched the ball more than once but Marriner rejected their
protests. But Liverpool went back in front five minutes before the end of an
eventful opening 45 minutes. An outswinging corner from Yossi Benayoun was
headed towards the far post by Steven Gerrard only for Kuyt to stick out a
foot and poke the ball into the corner of the net in the 40th minute. But a
minute before the half-time whistle, England striker Cole rose highest in
the six-yard box to meet Mark Noble's corner and head the Hammers level for
the second time in the game. Hines was giving Liverpool's defence a great
deal of cause for concern.
Javier Mascherano could only bring the winger down in the 49th minute and
his mistimed tackle earned the Liverpool player a yellow card. A rare West
Ham corner in the 59th minute almost caught out the Reds. Debutant Diamanti
sent an inswinging corner into the Liverpool six-yard box and Reina had to
tip the ball away for another flag-kick as it threatened to end up in the
net. Liverpool replaced goalscorer Kuyt with Ryan Babel on the hour as the
Merseysiders searched for a winner. A fabulous run into the West Ham penalty
area by Benayoun almost brought Liverpool a third but the home defence
cleared the ball at the last hurdle. West Ham were suffering from the lack
of a killer final ball. Kieron Dyer, on for Diamanti, made a superb run deep
into the Liverpool half in the 68th minute but he could not supply the final
ball to put Cole clear. Liverpool's Babel tried his luck from 25 yards but
his accuracy was found wanting as the ball went high over the bar and into
the crowd. But the Reds clinched the game in the 75th minute when Babel's
cross was headed into the corner of the net by Torres from eight yards.
Kovac was then denied at the death by a brilliant Reina save.
ARSENAL READY TO SWOOP FOR JACK COLLISON
News Of The World
By ROB SHEPHERD, 19/09/2009
ARSENAL are lining up a January transfer window move for West Ham midfielder
Jack Collison. And Arsene Wenger will also consider raiding the Hammers to
bring back Matthew Upson. The Icelandic holding company in charge of West
Ham have staved off being forced into liquidation for now but are under
increasing pressure to sell the club or cash in on players to pay creditors.
Wales midfielder Collison, 20, has rapidly emerged as one of the club's
prized assets and is just the sort of dynamic midfielder Wenger wants to
complement skipper Cesc Fabregas. Arsenal lost out to Juventus in the summer
for the signature of Fiorentina's Felipe Melo as they were not prepared to
meet the £15million price tag. And despite Collison's inexperience, Hammers
would demand a similar fee for the Welshman. That is also the sort of fee
they want for England centre-back Upson but as he is 30, the Boleyn board
need to be more realistic. Spurs tried to nab Upson during the summer
transfer window but had a £4m offer turned down. Despite their cash
troubles, a £10m offer in January would probably be enough to tempt West Ham
to sell. Upson was Wenger's first major signing in 1997 when he joined as an
18-year-old from Luton. Wenger now wants him back to shore up his defence.
Arsenal to settle for cut-price £1.5m Marouane Chamakh
By Rob Draper, Mail on Sunday Chief Football Writer
Last updated at 10:54 PM on 19th September 2009
Marouane Chamakh's tortuous transfer from Bordeaux is now likely to be
completed in January with Arsenal still the most likely club to sign him,
despite interest from Juventus.
The 25-year-old Morocco striker is out of contract next June and able to
talk to other clubs in January. Arsene Wenger, having failed to agree a fee
with Bordeaux in August, is now likely to get his man in the winter transfer
window, as Chamakh himself is desperate to move to the north London club.
However, a likely fee of £1.5million is unlikely to appease Arsenal fans,
who want to see the £40m raised by the sales of Kolo Toure and Emmanuel
Adebayor in the summer re-invested in a more significant manner. Arsenal did
try to sign Brazilian holding midfielder Felipe Melo, who instead joined
Juventus for £17m from Fiorentina, so it seems Wenger will spend big when
the right player becomes available.