Barclays Premier League
West Ham United v Arsenal
Sunday 25 October
Referee: Chris Foy
FT - West Ham United 2-2 Arsenal
94 mins - We've got about a minute to go. Will we see any late drama? Hines
does well, winning the ball in midfield before belting it deep into the
Arsenal half. Seconds later, Hines battles hard again before Tomkins
completes the clearance. Referee Foy brings proceedings to a close and his
final whistle is met with a loud cheer from all corners of the Boleyn
Ground, followed by a rousing chorus of 'Bubbles'. That point could really
be a turning point for West Ham's season. Confidence will be much higher now
ahead of next week's trip to the Stadium of Light to face a Sunderland side
beaten by Birmingham City on Saturday.
93 mins - West Ham are still pressing hard for a winner of their own. Cole
wins the ball on the left wing and finds Collison. The midfielder passes to
Diamanti, whose first touch is superb, but his second sends the ball flying
high into the Bobby Moore Stand.
92 mins - Kovac replaces Behrami for the last couple of minutes.
91 mins - We're going to have four added minutes at least. They start with a
bang as Green makes a brilliant save with his legs from van Persie. That was
so, so close! Green was right on his goal-line when he blocked the effort.
90 mins - Superb play from Diamanti, who sends Cole clear down the left with
a magnificent pass. The striker cuts inside Vermaelen, but loses his footing
at the vital moment.
89 mins - Mystery still surrounds the reason for Parker's second yellow
card, but there is speculation that it may have been for handball.
88 mins - Diamanti does superbly to maintain possession in midfield before
finding Spector. The Arsenal defence momentarily parts in front of the
American, but Vermaelen closes him down and blocks his shot. Wenger replaces
Diaby with Eduardo.
86 mins - Ilunga sets off down the left and does well to win a free-kick on
the touchline. West Ham send forward all the big guns as Diamanti curls the
ball over. The ball drops to Collison, but he volleys well wide.
85 mins - Parker is sent-off for a second bookable offence. I'm not entirely
sure what for. He made a challenge on Fabregas but appeared to get the ball.
84 mins - West Ham are pushing on for a winner here. They need to get the
balance right between attack and defence. A point from 2-0 down against
Arsenal is a good result in anyone's book.
82 mins - Arsene Wenger makes his first change, replacing Eboue with Nicklas
81 mins - There is a real cauldron-like atmosphere here now. Can West Ham go
on and win it?
80 mins - GOAL! Diamanti doesn't succumb to the gamesmanship, burying his
spot-kick low to Mannone's left. The keeper dived the right way, but he got
nowhere near it.
80 mins - Mannone attempts to slow things down by walking up to Diamanti. He
is booked by referee Foy.
79 mins - Penalty! Cole receives Spector's throw and attempts to turn before
going down under Song's challenge. Diamanti immediately grabs the ball.
77 mins - Diamanti has made a difference here. There is no doubt about that.
He whips another ball into the area from wide on the right. Parker brings
down Eboue as he races clear and follows Collison into the book.
76 mins - Big shouts for a penalty as Parker drove into the area and went
down as he rounded Gallas. Referee Foy gives nothing. Replays are
75 mins - The home crowd are in full voice now. Arsenal kick-off and win a
free-kick down the left which also leads to a booking for Collison.
74 mins - GOAL! Not quite, but who cares are Cole stabs in from close-range
to put the Hammers right back in it. Diamanti's free-kick curled over the
wall, fellow countryman Mannone was only able to parry the ball into the
six-yard box, and Cole was in the right place to slot home.
73 mins - Determined play from Hines wins a free-kick just outside the
Arsenal penalty area. Diamanti scored from almost exactly this position on
his debut for the reserves. Can he repeat the trick?
72 mins - Good save by Green. Fabregas dropped his shoulder and scooted past
Ilunga before feeding Arshavin. The Russian took a touch before hammering in
a shot that Green did well to claw behind for a corner. Van Persie crosses
and Tomkins heads powerfully clear.
71 mins - Hines is booked for sliding in late on Clichy as the Frenchman
cleared the ball. Seconds earlier, the striker had seen his shot blocked
after being sent in by a neat scooped pass from fellow substitute Diamanti.
69 mins - Interesting play from Eboue, who skips past Ilunga before smashing
the ball miles wide of the near post.
67 mins - Better from West Ham. Behrami finds Collison inside the centre
circle. The Welshman breaks forward before clipping the ball into Hines, who
controls on his chest. Cole picks up possession, but can only lash wide on
64 mins - Arsenal's movement and passing are very impressive at times. Zola
makes his second change, sending on the newly-capped England Under-21
striker Zavon Hines for Franco. Hines netted twice on his U21 bow. If he can
do so again this afternoon, he'll be an absolute hero.
62 mins - A loose defensive header from Gallas falls to Cole. He appears to
mis-control, but the ball drops into the path of Diamanti. Again the Italian
lets fly, but again the ball bounces wide of the post. Fabregas responds
with a rasping effort of his own from long-range which flashes inches wide
of Green's top corner.
60 mins - Diamanti fires in a shot from about 35 yards that bounces wide of
Mannone's goal. His effort is met with a cheer. West Ham haven't given up,
59 mins - A long spell of Arsenal possession is ended when Collison fouls
Sagna. The home fans break out into song with a verse of 'Come on you
Irons'. Fine sentiments.
57 mins - The Italian is immediately into the action, sending Ilunga off
down the left flank with a clever reverse pass, only for the DR Congo
defender to overhit his centre.
56 mins - Noble is the man to go off. Diamanti, sporting a new crewcut hair
style, is on.
54 mins - Arshavin teases Spector before rifling the ball across the
six-yard box, but there are no Gunners around to apply the finishing touch.
Diamanti is stripped and ready to enter the fray. Who will be the man
53 mins - Stanislas, Hines and Diamanti are all warming up on the touchline.
Will manager Zola go for broke and throw on a third or even fourth forward
to support Franco and Cole?
51 mins - West Ham are definitely in the ascendancy at the moment and there
is a loud cheer when Song brings down Cole 35 yards out and Foy gives a
free-kick. Noble clips the ball in, but Vermaelen heads clear. Behrami's
follow-up shot is blocked too and Arsenal eventually clear.
49 mins - Behrami is penalised for a foul on Fabregas, He is not too
impressed with the decision, nor is he seconds later when he is blocked off
by Clichy and the referee gives nothing.
47 mins - Noble's corner is too short and headed clear. The ball comes back
to him, but again he fails to beat the first defender. Today's attendance is
announced as 34,442.
46 mins - Cole gets the second half off and running and appears to be fouled
a short time later. Foy gives nothing and Arsenal break through Eboue, who
wins a corner off Ilunga. West Ham clear and the balls is fed to Franco, who
beats one challenge before winning a corner himself off Clichy.
West Ham are the first of the two teams to re-take to the pitch here at the
Boleyn Ground. They are welcomed by a rendition of 'Bubbles' from the home
faithful. The home side are going to need some support if they are to get
back into things after the break.
HT - West Ham United 0-2 Arsenal
48 mins - West Ham are handed a late chance when Cole is fouled wide on the
left, but Noble's free-kick is too short and is easily headed clear. The
Hammers are going to have it all to do after the break.
47 mins - Green is forced into a smart save by Eboue. The Ivory Coast man
showed some neat feet after being set up by Clichy.
46 mins - We're going to have at least three minutes of added time. Can West
Ham find a morale-boosting goal before the break?
45 mins - Cole controls well and finds Franco, who slips the ball to
Behrami. The Switzerland midfielder shoots from the corner of the penalty
area, but his effort is blocked.
44 mins - The visitors are ending the first half on the offensive. Spector
heads behind for another Arsenal corner. Van Persie delivers to the near
post and Green claims.
42 mins - Superb play from Vermaelen, who embarks on a buccaneering run down
the left flank. He gets into a decent crossing position, but the ball flies
long and high and Ilunga is able to clear.
40 mins - West Ham win another corner, but Mannone is alert and claims the
ball when Noble crosses into the penalty area.
37 mins - GOAL! Arsenal double their lead through a William Gallas header.
Fabregas had won a corner when his shot was deflected wide by Noble. Van
Persie whipped over the set piece and Gallas rose highest to power his
effort into the roof of the net via Scott Parker.
35 mins - Cole received a bit of treatment after hurting his knee
challenging for that header, but he's back on the pitch now as Green claims
another high ball into his penalty area.
33 mins - Not yet. Noble's free-kick hits the wall and flies out to the
right wing. Spector curls over a good cross, but Cole can only head wide of
the far post. Replays show he was offside when the American delivered the
32 mins - Franco is a proper handful. The Mexican is giving Vermaelen some
real problems, and is winning more than his fair share of headers. Another
strong piece of play from the 32-year-old ends with Noble being fouled by
Diaby 30 yards from goal. This is a shooting chance for the former England
Under-21 captain. Can he find an equaliser?
29 mins - Arsenal win a corner as Clichy's cross is deflected behind by
Spector. Arshavin curls the ball over and Green punches before Noble
completes the clearance.
27 mins - Nice football from Arsenal. Clichy gallops down the left and swaps
passes with Arshavin. The Russian curls in a cross, but van Persie can only
glance his header wide under pressure from Upson.
24 mins - Mark Noble gifts Arsenal possession midway inside the West Ham
half. Van Persie looks for a second as if he is in on goal, only for Upson
to make a superb sliding challenge and divert the ball out for a corner,
which Cole then hacks clear.
22 mins - Noble's corner is cleared to Parker 30 yards out, but his shot is
deflected behind for another flag-kick. Noble crosses again from the left,
but the ball in is too high for Upson and Tomkins and the Gunners clear.
21 mins - Good work from Cole, who spins away from his marker and runs a
throw-in deep inside Arsenal territory. The striker works hard to keep
possession on the edge of the penalty area before the ball squirts wide to
Noble, whose low shot is scrambled behind by Mannone.
19 mins - This will be a real test of character, now. West Ham win a
free-kick down the right when Behrami is fouled, but Arsenal are able to
clear through Diaby.
16 mins - GOAL! Arsenal take the lead out of nothing. Sagna gets to the
by-line and curls in a cross that is just out of Green's reach, and the
unmarked van Persie side-foots home at the far post.
15 mins - Tomkins rises highest from Noble's corner, but cannot direct his
header goalwards. Collison wins a throw-in wide on the left and plays a
one-two with Franco before shooting into the net at the second attempt.
Unfortunately, the Mexico striker was flagged offside and the goal is ruled
out. Replays suggest Franco was not offside.
14 mins - Tomkins gets close to van Persie and forces the forward to concede
a throw-in. It is important that West Ham don't give Arsenal any space this
afternoon. The Hammers break down the right and Cole wins a second corner of
12 mins - West Ham are certainly not going to lose this game through lack of
effort. The players in claret and blue are throwing themselves into every
challenge with real gusto. Arsenal claim a penalty for handball when van
Persie shoots straight at Upson, but Foy ignores the protests.
9 mins - Ooooh! Mannone nearly makes a right hash of Vermaelen's back-pass.
Carlton Cole got a foot to the ball as the goalkeeper tried to clear, but it
flew safely out to Clichy, rather than to a West Ham player. The chance was
created when Franco cleverly flicked on a firm pass from Ilunga. Signs that
West Ham are really up for this.
8 mins - After nearly two minutes of running repairs, Mannone is ready to
continue and boots the free-kick up the field. Van Persie is felled by
Behrami, Fabregas lifts the ball into the penalty area and the assistant
referee raises his flag for offside.
6 mins - The Hammers keep up the pressure, with Ilunga winning a corner off
Sagna. Noble launches the ball into the danger zone, Mannone comes and
collides with Cole. Referee Foy blows for a foul by the big forward, and the
Italian receives some treatment.
5 mins - Good hold-up play from Franco before Collison slips Noble in behind
Gallas. The midfielder stabs the ball towards Cole in the centre, but
Vermaelen is in the right place to clear.
4 mins - Fabregas curls in the corner, but Green is out smartly to punch the
ball out for a throw-in. It is important West Ham hold firm in the early
3 mins - West Ham respond strongly, with Cole holding off two challenges
before sending the Hammers forward. Collison eventually works an opening for
the England striker, but his shot is blocked and goes out of play. Within a
minute, van Persie gets in behind Spector down the Arsenal left, and Robert
Green has to be alert to palm his rising shot over the crossbar.
1 min - Arsenal come forward early on and could easily take the lead. Alex
Song clips the ball into the area and West Ham try to scramble the ball
clear. Van Persie backheels goalwards, but the ball bounces off James
Tomkins before going out for a goal kick off the Dutchman.
4.18pm - After receiving the go ahead from his fourth official on the
touchline, referee Chris Foy gets us underway. Fabregas and van Persie
kick-off, with Arsenal attacking the Bobby Moore Stand end of the stadium.
4.16pm - Franco receives a rousing round of applause on his home debut. The
mascots join Herbie the Hammer in the centre circle for their pre-match
photographs, and we're nearly ready for kick-off.
4.10pm - The players have left the field now and have gone back to the
dressing rooms for their final briefings.before the game gets underway.
4pm - Well we are just 15 minutes from kick-off here at the Boleyn Ground
and the tension is building. Both sets of players are out wearing the Kick
It Out (racism) message during the warm up. Alessandro Diamanti is looking
sharp with his new shaven head but the real talking point is the first
apperance of Franco in a West Ham United shirt.
Gianfranco Zola made three changes to the West Ham United beaten 2-1 at
Stoke City eight days ago for the Barclays Premier League visit of Arsenal.
Mexico striker Guille Franco was handed his full debut, replacing Alessandro
Diamanti in attack. Jonathan Spector replaced Julien Faubert at right-back,
while Scott Parker returned from a one-match ban to take Radoslav Kovac's
place in defensive midfield.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger named the same XI that started Tuesday's 1-1
UEFA Champions League Group H draw with AZ Alkmaar in the Netherlands.
In a change to the official matchday programme, Chris Foy has replaced Steve
Bennett as referee for this afternoon's fixture. It is the third time Foy
has officiated a West Ham match this season, having previously been the man
in charge in the opening-day win at Wolverhampton Wanderers, as well as the
3-1 defeat at Manchester City.
The Hammers are searching for their first victory over the Gunners in five
matches, during which time today's hosts have failed to score a single goal.
West Ham's last victory over Arsenal came on 7 April 2007, when a Bobby
Zamora goal saw them win 1-0 at the Emirates Stadium.
West Ham United: Green, Spector, Tomkins, Upson, Ilunga, Behrami, Parker,
Noble (Diamanti 56), Collison, Franco (Hines 64), Cole
Subs: Kurucz, Faubert, Da Costa, Kovac, Stanislas
Arsenal: Mannone, Sagna, Gallas, Vermaelen, Clichy, Eboue (Bendtner 82),
Song, Diaby (Eduardo 88), Fabregas, Arshavin, van Persie
Subs: Almunia, Silvestre, Nasri, Gibbs, Ramsey
Comeback stuns Gunners
West Ham United sealed a valuable point after fighting back from two goals
down against Arsenal
West Ham United staged a hugely impressive comeback from two goals down to
earn a 2-2 Barclays Premier League draw with Arsenal on Sunday. Robin van
Persie opened the scoring in the 16th minute when he slotted home from eight
yards. The hosts then had what appeared to be a legitimate Jack Collison
goal ruled out before William Gallas added a second for the Gunners with a
header just before the break. After a worrying start ,the Hammers could have
crumbled, but a stirring second-half display saw them earn the point through
a Carlton Cole header and an Alessandro Diamanti penalty. And just to add to
the drama, Scott Parker was sent-off late on for two bookable offences. West
Ham United's starting XI saw three changes from the side that faced Stoke
City. Mexico striker Guille Franco was handed his full debut in attack,
while Jonathan Spector was preferred to Julien Fabuert at right-back. Parker
was back from suspension to take his place in midfield with Radoslav Kovac
dropping to the bench. After a flurry of early goalmouth activity, which saw
Cole's shot deflected wide at one end and Robert Green tip over a van Persie
effort at the other, the game settled. That was until it burst back into
life in the 16th minute when West Ham thought they had taken the lead.
Collison exchanged passes with Franco on the left and after his low shot had
been parried by Vito Mannone, he reacted quickest to fire home. The
referee's assistant, though, was to halt the celebrations prematurely by
flagging for an apparent offside, although replays suggested the decision
may have been wrong. To rub salt into the wounds, Arsenal took the lead less
than a minute later when Bacary Sagna crossed from the right and van Persie
gleefully prodded the ball into the net from eight yards. After the early
setback, and knowing they had not beaten Arsenal in any of the last five
attempts, the West Ham players could have let their heads drop but this was
far from the case. They nearly got level in the 22nd minute when Noble's
shot at the near post was turned around by Mannone. Noble was involved again
eleven minutes later when he was tripped 30 yards from goal. He took the
free-kick himself and, after it was cleared as far as Spector on the right,
the United States international's' inch-perfect cross was headed just wide
by Cole. Eight minutes before the break Gallas doubled the lead for the
visitors when he smashed a header in from a van Persie corner to round off
an impressive first half for the north Londoners. It could have been worse
for the home side shortly after the break when Green was called into action
by Andrey Arshavin, but the England No1 was able to parry the Russian's shot
out for a corner. The home side gave themselves a lifeline with 16 minutes
to go when Cole bagged his fifth league goal of the season. Zavon Hines, who
had impressed since arriving as 64th minute substitute for Franco, won a
free-kick 25 yards out. Diamanti, who himself had come for Noble eight
minutes before Hines' introduction, forced Mannone into a diving save. The
ball only came back out as far as Cole, who headed into the net from
close-range. Collison and Parker were both booked as the tempo on the pitch
increased and then, just moments after a big penalty shout for a trip on
Parker by Gallas in the area was ignored by referee Chris Foy, the official
awarded West Ham a spot-kick for Alex Song's foul on Cole. After a melee in
the area which saw Mannone booked for trying to delay the penalty, Diamanti
stepped up and comfortably beat his fellow Italian from 12 yards to send the
home support among the 34,442 fans inside the stadium into a state of
The drama was far from over, though, as Parker saw red for his second
booking after Foy had seen him handle the ball on the floor. Parker's exit
prompted Zola to bring on Kovac for the tireless Behrami. Green denied
Arsenal and, in particular, van Persie, an added-time winner when he somehow
blocked the Dutchman's header right on his own goal line, and West Ham
survived to pick up a valuable and emotional point. The huge cheers that
greeted Foy's whistle at the end signified just how much the home players
had impressed in the second half. Now, they must try to take that form with
them when they travel to Sunderland next Saturday.
Zola hails 'fighting spirit'
Gianfranco Zola has praised his West Ham United team after Sunday's
thrilling comeback against Arsenal
Gianfranco Zola lauded the never-say-die spirit of his West Ham United
players after they stormed back to secure a 2-2 Barclays Premier League draw
with Arsenal. The Hammers looked outsiders to avoid anything other than a
defeat as they trudged back to the Boleyn Ground home dressing room two
goals down at half-time. A little over an hour later, the frowns had turned
to smiles after goals from the superb Carlton Cole and substitute Alessandro
Diamanti saw the hosts battle back from the dead against Arsene Wenger's
high-flying Gunners. Zola, who had likened himself to a 'warrior' rather
than a worrier in the run-up to Sunday's game, hailed the fighting attitude
displayed by his players. "The spirit shown by the team was the best thing
about today's game, along with the participation and the support the crowd
gave us. They were the best things that I have seen today. It's not a
victory, but it sounds like it. "That's what I was looking for because, no
matter what, the fighting spirit has to all the time be there. It is
something that we can't really do without, so I was pleased with that. "I
repeat that last week I saw something changing and that is very important.
Today, I have seen something more and it's very encouraging for me, to be
honest. "Trust me, it was very difficult in that situation. They did it
really until the end and I am very pleased and proud of them. "It was
difficult and we did it, so that means we can do it all the time. With that
spirit and with the qualities we have got in the team, I think we can do
important things, starting today, and I hope we can continue like that."
Having shown such tenacity against one of the Barlcays Premier League's 'big
four', West Ham will go to Sunderland next Saturday hoping to secure the
victory that could carry them out of the bottom-three. "I don't want to take
any credit for the comeback. It's just the players wanted to react. We said
to each other that no matter what, we fight until the end. No matter what,
we fight until the end, we give everything and, at the end of the day, we
see what happens. "That was the difference. We went there, we never gave up,
the crowd gave us something extra and we made it happen. "That's the story
of life. No matter the difficulty you through, you fight until the end. "We
have the quality. I am sure that this team has got quality. It just needs a
little bit more confidence because in this moment it's not great. At the
moment, every time we have a mistake, they score. It doesn't help. We need
to fight, fight, fight and then we'll see in the end."
Two players who could start at the Stadium of Light are Diamanti and England
Under-21 striker Zavon Hines, who both made a hugely positive impact after
appearing as second-half substitutes. "Diamanti made a big difference, and
Zavon as well was very positive when he came on. They did very well for us
and I'm pleased because Alessandro is a player who can give us something
extra. "Don't forget him and also [Luis] Jimenez are important players. They
are coming from a championship [Serie A] that is different and is easier
than this, so they need some time to adapt. They have got qualities and
those qualities will be important for West Ham."
Another player who showed his qualities was England goalkeeper Robert Green,
who displayed his international class by keeping out seemingly goalbound
Robin van Persie's 91st-minute header. "It was an unbelievable save. That
was the goalkeeper of the national team. It was a like a goal scored for us.
He's made a great save." The only negative moment in what was an otherwise
hugely positive second half was the 85th-minute sending-off of Scott Parker.
The midfielder, who had been booked eight minutes earlier for a foul on
Emmanuel Eboue, was shown a second yellow card for handball. However,
manager Zola believes the England man was hard-done-by, having initially won
the ball cleanly from Cesc Fabregas before accidentally touching the ball
with his arm. "I might have something to say about that, because Scotty went
for the ball with his head and he's been pushed and then tapped the ball
with his hand. He didn't mean to touch the ball with his hand. "It's a pity
because Scott was playing well and he's an important player for us. I think
he got the ball with his head and then he was pushed and touched it with his
hand. He didn't mean that. He was just rolling around. He said he really
didn't mean to touch it and I trust him."
Winning start for Mehmet
Deniz Mehmet kept a clean sheet as Turkey began their FIFA U17 World Cup
challenge with a win
Deniz Mehmet got off to a winning start at the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in
Nigeria on Sunday. The Academy goalkeeper, who turned 17 in September, kept
a clean sheet as Turkey beat Burkina Faso 1-0 at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium
in Enugu. Highly-rated Muhammet Demir, who plays for Bursaspor in his
homeland, ghosted in at the far post to nod in the only goal of the game
after just three minutes. Mehmet was forced into action regularly by the
Africans, making a good diving save from Abdoulaye Ibrango before half-time.
Turkey contest their second Group D fixture on Wednesday, when they take on
Costa Rica in Enugu. The Central Americans got their campaign up-and-running
with a 1-1 draw with New Zealand at the same venue on Sunday. Their final
group stage fixture will see them face New Zealand in Calabar on Saturday.
West Ham 2 - 2 Arsenal
By David Ornstein
Late goals from Carlton Cole and substitute Alessandro Diamanti saw West Ham
come from 2-0 down to claim a deserved draw with Arsenal. Robin Van Persie
tapped Arsenal ahead after an error by Rob Green and William Gallas headed
in Van Persie's corner. But West Ham rallied in the second half and Cole
nodded in after Vito Mannone could only parry Diamanti's free-kick. Alex
Song then felled Cole and Diamanti scored from the spot but Scott Parker was
sent off late on for two bookings. The result sees Arsenal move above
Tottenham into third on goal difference but manager Arsene Wenger will rue
his side's failure to see out the match and move to within three points of
leaders Chelsea with a game in hand. West Ham remain second from bottom and
are still yet to win since the season's opening day, but should take
confidence from an outstanding fightback. Boss Gianfranco Zola introduced
Diamanti and Zavon Hines in the second half and those decisions turned the
game on its head. But the euphoria surrounding the Hammers comeback should
not disguise their defensive frailties. There were early signs that all was
not well in the hosts' back four when, inside a minute, Van Persie raced on
to Alex Song's chip and mistimed a header from a completely unmarked
position eight yards out.
Moments later, the Dutchman ran unchallenged on the left before seeing a
rasping drive from an acute angle tipped over the bar by Green. West Ham
were an altogether different proposition going forward, the quality of their
passing and movement making it difficult to believe they had previously
collected just one point at home all season. With Parker driving them
forward from the base of a midfield four, Mark Noble, Jack Collison and
Valon Behrami were able to push forward and support strikers Guillermo
Franco and Carlton Cole, who failed to seize on an early sight of goal.
Collison then drew a fine save from Mannone and his rebound looked set to
squirm over the line - only for referee Chris Foy to halt play for an
offside flag against debutant Franco. West Ham looked comfortable and were
enjoying plenty of possession but their good work was undermined by a woeful
piece of defending which enabled Arsenal to open the scoring.
Green came for a Bacary Sagna cross but ended up colliding with team-mate
James Tomkins, allowing Van Persie an easy finish for his fourth goal in as
many league games.
West Ham, who were without a goal in their last four meetings with Arsenal,
responded positively and worked hard to restore parity. Noble's
cross-come-shot was deflected narrowly wide and Cole should have scored from
Jonathan Spector's right-wing cross but glanced his close-range header off
target. For the second time, however, the hosts' defensive frailties were
exposed all too easily as Gallas outjumped both Tomkins and Herita Ilunga to
head home Van Persie's corner via a despairing Parker on the line. West Ham
looked to be hurtling towards defeat but with Diamanti replacing Noble on 55
minutes, Zola replaced a midfielder with a striker and indicated his
intention to go for the jugular. Hines soon came on for the ineffective
Franco and West Ham looked a team reborn. The 20-year-old striker was sent
through on goal by Diamanti's scoop over the top but was foiled by Gael
Clichy and, after Andrey Arshavin had a drive well saved by Green, the hosts
struck. Hines was felled by Clichy and Mannone palmed Diamanti's superb
curling set-piece straight onto the forehead of Cole. Arsenal were on the
ropes and, with West Ham swarming forward, an equaliser seemed inevitable.
Parker had a strong penalty appeal rejected when he appeared to be tripped
by Gallas but Foy had no hesitation as Song needlessly bundled Cole down
from behind. Diamanti sent Mannone the wrong way with an assured spot-kick
and West Ham went in search of a winner. The only blemish for Zola was the
dismissal of Parker, for fouls on Eboue and a handball, but West Ham's
evening ended on a high when Green saved brilliantly with his feet deny Van
Persie's goalbound header from six yards out.
Wenger laments 'sickening' draw
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was left bitterly frustrated after his side
let a lead slip for the second time in six days as they were held 2-2 by
West Ham. The Gunners, who saw AZ Alkmaar come back from a goal down to draw
1-1 in the Champions League on Tuesday, were 2-0 up against West Ham at
Upton Park. "It's very sickening because it doesn't reflect the quality of
our game," Wenger told BBC Sport. "We need to learn from our mistakes and
the quicker the better."
The draw sees Arsenal leapfrog Tottenham into third on goal difference but a
win would have seen them move three points behind leaders Chelsea with a
game in hand. Wenger's side took the lead through Robin van Persie and the
Dutchman then turned provider as his corner was headed in by William Gallas
to make it 2-0. "We played very well in the first half and we have to keep
the positives of our game," said Wenger. The Gunners appeared to be cruising
towards victory but West Ham rallied in the second half and appeared to grow
in confidence as the visitors squandered a number of chances to finish them
off. After Abou Diaby fouled Zavon Hines, Vito Mannone could only parry
Alessandro Diamanti's fierce free-kick and Carlton Cole headed home. West
Ham then equalised as Alex Song felled Cole in the penalty area and Diamanti
lashed home the resultant spot-kick. "It (the free-kick on Hines) was a
very generous decision," Wenger argues. "The penalty was super generous.
"It was a very physical game with a lot of fouls made on us. But we had
plenty of opportunities to score a second goal but we didn't and we have to
learn. "We shouldn't have even have been tempted to give away a free-kick
for their first goal."
West Ham's comeback follows Alkmaar's in midweek, when David Mendes Da Silva
struck late on to cancel out Cesc Fabregas's opener and earn his side a
point. But Wenger rejected suggestions that Arsenal's recent failure to hold
a lead was down to any deep-rooted problem. "There is no lethargy, the team
wants to win and it focused," the Frenchman insisted. "There's no lack of
concentration. "When you lead 2-0 away the game is never one. West Ham
fought for their life, they never gave up. When a team never give up you
know they can come back. "We had it in the Champions League but this is more
West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola admitted to doubting whether his side could
get back into the match at 2-0 down but was full of praise for the way they
responded. The Italian introduced Hines and Diamanti in the second half and
both players played a large part in turning the match on its head, while
Cole was superb throughout. "Never say never," Zola commented. "The reaction
surprised me because it was looking pretty bad for us. "But at half-time we
had a chat and and said the only way to react is to fight to the end. They
did and it turned out to be a great point for us - it feels like a victory.
"The substitutes were great and the crowd were like a 12th man on the pitch.
"That is Diamanti - we know he is capable of those things - but also Zavon
was alive and made a great contribution. We need everyone's best performance
now and to come off the bench and do that makes a big difference. "Today we
got a point that I value at three points. No one will give you anything in
this championship - you need to perform at your best."
Zola praises fighting spirit
Filed: Sunday, 25th October 2009
By: Staff Writer
Gianfranco Zola has hailed his 'fighters' after West Ham came back from the
dead to snatch a point against Arsenal. Zola's side went into the half time
break in today's London derby two goals adrift after defensive lapses
allowed the visitors to rack up what seemd to be an unassailable lead.
However a late comeback - inspired by England striker Carlton Cole - saw
Zola's side take a deserved point. "The reaction we had suprised me,"
admitted Zola. "It was looking pretty bad for us but we had a chat in the
changing room [at half time] and said 'the only way to react to this
situation is to fight until the end.' So we did, and it turned out to be a
great point for us which sounds like a victory. "The players that came on
made a difference - and the crowd were fantastic, they were our twelth man
on the pitch. My appreciation and thanks go to them. It was good because we
need everyone's best performance right now."
One player who, despite the poor results, has performed consistently well
this season is Cole, who scored the first goal and won the penalty which led
to Diamanti's 80th minute equaliser. "The biggest compliment I can pay to
him is not for the goal, not for winning the penalty but for the way he
conducted himself," said Zola. "He led by example and can achieve whatever
he wants if he keeps that attitude. I really have no words to express how
pleased I am with him today."
Meanwhile Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger - whe celebrated his 60th birthday
last week - was understandably less than impressed at seeing his side throw
two points away.
"It was a very physical game where a lot of fouls were made against us," he
said. "But we had plenty of opportunities to score a third goal - which we
didn't do. "When you lead 2-0 away from home the game is never won. The team
we played today were fighting for their lives and they never gave up. When a
team never gives up there is always the opportunity to come back."
We'll have more from Gianfranco Zola on today's game soon.
CBH to seek fresh investment
Filed: Sunday, 25th October 2009
By: Staff Writer
CB Holdings have revealed plans to seek further investment in West Ham
United. The club's owners have confirmed that they are to seek new revenue
streams as the battle to take control of the club hots up. Despite the
interest of parties such as David Sullivan and the Intermarket Group-fronted
consortium CB have revealed that they are seeking fresh investment whilst
suggesting that they may be in a position to finally invest in the club
In a story that has appeared in a number of the Sunday papers today, West
Ham's non-executive Chairman Andrew Berndhart confirmed that he is set to
appoint investment bank Rothschild and the South African-based Standard Bank
to seek parties willing to either invest in or purchase the club. "This is
part of a process consistent with what we announced in the summer," he told
the Times. "Appointing professional advisers was always part of that
process." An unnamed source, quoted in the same article added: "They are
looking to bring in a strategic partner to take the club forward, though if
a serious offer is made for the whole club, it will be considered."
Despite claims last week by the Jim Bowe-led consortium, Berndhart has
denied reports of meetings between the two parties. However today's News of
the World claim today that a third party - a 'potential Arab investor' - has
also contacted CBH with regards to a possible purchase within the last week.
In another article, the Times also claim that Straumur have 'been sitting on
a take-over offer valued at about £100m from an American investor'; whether
or not that relates to the Bowe news of last weekend is unknwown.
Gianfranco Zola, whilst preparing his team for this afternoon's visit of
Arsenal admitted that the off-field circus was affecting his players.
"Obviously I would love to see a little bit more tranquillity around this
club," he said. "We dealt very well last season with the problems and the
reason was because we focused on the pitch, worked on the pitch and made
things easier for everybody. That's what I believe in. "If you play
football on the pitch, if you make things happen there, everything comes
easier. If we play like that, who knows what can happen? Maybe a billionaire
can buy us. Everything can happen but it goes through the process of playing
West Ham Utd 2 Arsenal 2
Filed: Sunday, 25th October 2009
By: Staff Writer
Seven years ago a missed Freddie Kanoute penalty against Arsenal at the
Boleyn was the catalyst for relegation. Had Alessandro Diamante suffered a
similar fate today West Ham fans would perhaps be forgiven for fearing a
similar predicament - but instead the Italian's converted spot kick was
enough to earn United an impressive point, having come from two goals
This current season has mirrored 2002/03 in many ways already. In Zola, West
Ham have a young, inexperienced manager coming off the back of a good first
season having seen his squad stripped to the bare minimum - much as Glenn
Roeder did in the summer of 2002.
Kanoute's missed penalty that day - which would have put West Ham 3-1 up and
in a virtually unassailable position (the game was eventually drawn 2-2 with
Thierry Henry snatching a late equaliser) - led to West Ham going until the
end of the following January without a home win, a situation that virtually
condemned Roeder's team to relegation.
Whilst Diamanti's 80th minute spot kick failed to provide that vital first
home league win - and with Christmas being just eight weeks away - the
Hammers aren't exactly out of the woods yet. But United will no doubt draw
plenty of encouragement - and dare say it, renewed confidence - having come
from two goals behind to take what was in the end a well-deserved point.
For long periods of the game that outcome had seemed most unlikely; Arsenal,
comfortable having opened the second half with a two goal advantage rarely
needed to leave second gear and were dealing with everything West Ham threw
at them with comparative ease.
But Carlton Cole's fifth goal of the season 16 minutes from time sparked a
revival - a revival that was completed just six minutes later when
substitute Diamanti's spot kick levelled the scores.
Arsenal started the game with the same team that played in Russia on
Tuesday, whilst West Ham reverted to a 442 formation with Guillermo Franco
and Jonathan Spector brought in for their first league starts of the season.
The change in philosophy appeared to pay dividends as the Hammers more than
matched Arsenal during the opening exchanges, but once again it was a
defensive error that led to the visitors taking the lead 16 minutes into the
Full-back Bacary Sagna left Herita Ilunga for dead with a clever one-two on
the right byeline before centreing for Robin Van Persie to nod Arsenal
ahead. Not for the first time this season Robert Green was left with egg on
his face having come for the cross and missed it, leaving Van Persie an
empty net in which to score.
The visitors' lead was doubled on 37 minutes when William Gallas converted a
Van Persie corner from close range. Once again there were question marks
over Green who this time failed to come for the ball - despite it being
pitched inside his six yard box.
The second half was to follow a similar pattern to the first, with West Ham
huffing and puffing but, as has been the case for much of 2009, failing to
hit the opposition where it hurts. That was until Cole stabbed home a
mistimed punch by Vito Mannone (diverting a Dimanti free kick) from close
range on 74 minutes to reduce the deficit to one.
Clearly bouyed by the goal, West Ham pushed forward in search of an unlikely
equaliser and it arrived just six minutes later to the delight of the home
crowd, some of whom had booed United off at half time.
The busy Cole, who was excellent once again went down under a challenge from
Alex Song and referee Chris Foy, in as a late replacement for Steve Bennett
pointed to the spot. No doubt the fact that Foy had dismissed a similarly
strong penalty appeal just four minutes earlier when Parker appeared to be
felled by goalscorer Gallas was weighing heavy on his mind.
As in the aforementioned 2002 fixture, Arsenal resorted to their usual
delaying tactics in an attempt to put off the spot kick taker. But the
freshly shaven Diamanti - on as a 56th minute replacement for the
ineffectual Mark Noble - was having none of it, and a full two minutes after
the penalty had been awarded drove his effort into the right-hand corner of
Mannone's post, sending the Boleyn into raptures.
The away fans - who numbered around 3,000 and had made more noise than a
crowd 20 times their number ever make at the Emirates - were silenced for
the first time in the afternoon and duly taunted with chants of "2-0 and you
f***ed it up" which no doubt came across loud and clear on TV with the game
being broadcast by SkySports.
The final few minutes saw the game reach a frenetic pace as both sides burst
forwards whenever possible in search of a winner. West Ham had Rob Green to
thank for making a stunning point-blank range save from Van Persie to keep
the scores level, whilst Cole had a great chance during injury time which he
squandered by delaying a possible shot.
During all of that there was a red card for Scott Parker; quite why was a
mystery as his challenge on Cesc Fabregas has appeared to be a perfectly
legal one, although speculation suggested that his second yellow card of the
afternoon (his first being given for a foul on Eboue) may have been awarded
for deliberate hand ball.
Despite the setback, ten-men West Ham managed to hold on for the point - and
then some, for it was they, backed by a rejuvenated home crowd, who appeared
the more likely to score a winning goal in the closing stages despite having
the man disadvantage (not withstanding Van Persie's aforementioned chance).
Although credit will naturally go to the players, full marks should also be
given to Gianfranco Zola and Steve Clarke for their part in the turnaround.
Zola has been oft-critcised for his propensity to delay making
substitutions, but today both goalscorer Diamanti and youngster Zavon Hines
were introduced well before the hour mark in an attempt to spark life back
into the team - which they duly did.
Although the point leaves the Hammers in the bottom three of the Premier
League and without a home win in the league, the team's morale will receive
a welcome boost from the result which although being worth just one point,
felt a little like three - unlike in 2002 when Kanoute's missed penalty,
combined with Henry's late leveller was a massive setback.
Although Scott Parker's dismissal will result in his temporary absence, Zola
also has the benefit of a virtually full-strength squad from which to
choose. Battle recommences at the Stadium of Light next Saturday afternoon
where the Hammers will be looking to continue their revival.
West Ham Utd 2 Arsenal 2: match facts
West Ham United: Green, Spector, Tomkins, Upson, Ilunga, Behrami (Kovac 90),
Parker, Noble (Diamanti 56), Collison, Franco (Hines 64), Cole.
Subs not used: Kurucz, Faubert, Da Costa, Stanislas.
Goals: Cole (74), Diamanti (pen 80).
Booked: Hines (71), Collison (75), Parker (78).
Sent off: Parker (85).
Arsenal: Mannone, Sagna, Gallas, Vermaelen, Clichy, Eboue (Bendtner 82),
Song, Diaby (Eduardo 88), Fabregas, Arshavin, van Persie.
Subs not used: Almunia, Silvestre, Nasri, Gibbs, Ramsey.
Goals: Van Persie (16), Gallas (37).
Booked: Eboue (77), Mannone (80).
Referee: Chris Foy (3/10).
Next three fixtures
Sunderland: Stadium of Light, Saturday 31st October
Aston Villa: Boleyn Ground, Wednesday 4th November
Everton: Boleyn Ground, Sunday 8th November
Hammers earn unlikely draw
West Ham come from two-goals down to draw with Arsenal
By Richard Bailey Last updated: 25th October 2009
Man of the match: Carlton Cole continues to prove that he is West Ham's key
Goal of the match: William Gallas showed good strength to head home Robin
van Persie's corner.
Save of the match: Robert Green slightly redeemed himself as he used his
legs to stop Robin van Persie's close-range header.
Moment of the match: Alessandro Diamanti's introduction changed the flow of
this match in West Ham's favour.
Talking point: Can this point kick-start West Ham's season?
Arsenal threw away a two-goal lead against West Ham at Upton Park on Sunday
in a game they looked certain to win. Hammers goalkeeper Robert Green gifted
Robin van Persie the opener on 16 minutes when he palmed a cross into the
path of the Dutchman leaving the striker the simplest of tasks of tapping
home into an empty net. The visitors doubled their lead eight minutes before
the break when William Gallas rose highest to head in from a corner. Arsenal
looked the likeliest to extend their advantage after the break but it was
the introduction of Alessandro Diamanti, now minus the dreadlocks, and Zavon
Hines that turned the game on its head. It was Diamanti that swung in a
vicious free-kick from the left that Vito Mannone could only parry back into
the six-yard box and Carlton Cole was on hand to head in on 74 minutes. Cole
was involved in the second when Arsenal's Alex Song was, harshly, adjudged
to have bundled over the striker in the area to give Diamanti the chance to
smash home from the spot six minutes later. The Hammers held onto their
precious point despite captain Scott Parker being dismissed for two bookable
offences with five minutes remaining. Gianfranco Zola's men had shown
plenty of early promise, when Cole's drive was charged down before again
being undone by some poor defending. Arsenal slowly started to get
themselves on top, with Green standing up well at the near post to palm Van
Persie's angled drive behind for a corner. At the other end, Mannone - again
preferred in goal to Manuel Almunia - needed treatment after being clattered
by James Tomkins when coming to collect a corner. Arsenal felt they had a
strong shout for a penalty when, on 11 minutes, Van Persie's strike appeared
to hit Matthew Upson, the former Gunners defender, on the arm, but referee
Chris Foy thought otherwise. Eventually, though, the visitors took the lead
on 16 minutes.
Abou Diaby fed full-back Bacary Sagna on the overlap down the right. The
French defender whipped the ball across the six-yard box, where Green came
to palm it away, only to collide with James Tomkins, leaving Van Persie free
to slot into an empty net for his sixth goal of the season. Despite the
setback, West Ham remained positive. Cole continued to ask questions of the
Arsenal defence, with Gallas getting across to clear after another powerful
run down the right. Arsenal, though, weathered the period of West Ham
pressure, and slowly took charge of midfield again. Upton Park was subdued,
with the home fans starting to get restless before Arsenal doubled their
lead on 37 minutes. A 25-yard shot from Cesc Fabregas was deflected behind
for a corner. Van Persie whipped the ball across towards the far post, where
Gallas got up to thump a header past Parker on the line.
Italian Diamanti, sent on just before the hour mark, at least injected some
life into the West Ham attack, as he fired a 35-yard effort wide. Cesc
Fabregas then almost drilled in a third from distance, but the ball flew
just wide of the top right corner.
This was a good spell for the Hammers, as Clichy made an important block
when Hinds looked to get away his shot from eight yards. Fabregas broke
quickly, before feeding Arshavin and Green was at full stretch to beat away
the Russian's 20-yard effort. Diaby then wrestled Hinds to the ground,
giving away a needless free-kick in a dangerous position, five yards outside
the area on the left. Diamanti smashed the ball goalwards, which Mannone did
well to keep out, but pushed it back to the six-yard box where Cole headed
in to give West Ham a life-line on 74 minutes. The home fans were screaming
for a penalty when Parker went down after running into Gallas, but the
referee waved play on. However, a spot-kick was given with 10 minutes left
when Song tripped Cole. After Mannone had been booked for not going back on
his line, Diamanti levelled to send Upton Park into delirium. West Ham were
reduced to 10 men when Parker, already booked, was shown a second yellow
card for deliberately falling on the ball as Fabregas charged clear. Diaby
was substituted for Eduardo as Wenger went for the win. However, the Hammers
were not to be denied during four minutes of stoppage time, when Green
somehow kept out van Persie's header.
Zola proud of players
Hammers manager pleased with side after two-goal comeback
By Richard Bailey Last updated: 25th October 2009
Gianfranco Zola admitted he was pleased and proud of his West Ham players as
they came from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Arsenal. The Hammers looked
dead and buried after Robin van Persie and William Gallas had given the
Gunners, what seemed at the time, an unassailable lead. However an inspired
half-time team-talk from Zola seemed to do the trick and goals from Carlton
Cole and Alessandro Diamanti earned the hosts an unlikely point. The Italian
highlighted that he needed to lift his players at the interval as they
appeared to be heading to their eighth Premier League game without a win.
"We were well in the game then we made a mistake that was very costly and
then after that perhaps the confidence went down," he said. "But I said in
the changing room at half-time I saw they were willing to react and that
made the difference really. "No it wasn't an angry changing room, it was at
the beginning a little bit low but we had a chat and I think everybody
realised that the only way to get out of the situation was to react, so they
did and I'm pleased and proud for them."
Agent - Behrami going nowhere
Behrami staying at Upton Park until next summer at least
Last updated: 24th October 2009
Valon Behrami's agent says the coveted West Ham star is staying put at Upton
Park until next summer at least. The Swiss international's performances for
the Hammers since his £5million move from Lazio last year have alerted
several clubs, with Arsenal, AC Milan, Juventus and Roma thought to among
the sides keeping tabs on him. But the 24-year-old's agent, Alessandro
Beltrami, insists the versatile player wants to stay at Upton Park until
next summer at least so as not to jeopardise his place in the Swiss squad
for next summer's World Cup finals. Beltrami said in the Daily Star: "It is
possible for him to move after the World Cup next year but not before then.
"He doesn't want anything to affect his place in the Switzerland squad."
Meanwhile, Gianfranco Zola insists he is a warrior who can lift the Hammers
out of their current predicament. The Hammers currently sit second from
bottom of the Premier League after only taking five points from their
opening eight games. But Zola believes he can turn it around, saying: "It's
very difficult because I care about the players and the club. It hurts me.
"But I am a warrior - I don't look like it but I am one. "I am someone who
never gives up and my determination to succeed is stronger than anything.
"The job keeps me awake at night. You are always trying to find answers. But
I want the players to look for solutions, rather than worry."
Vinny's Arsenal Report
Vinny - Sun Oct 25 2009
West Ham Online
West Ham United 2 Arsenal 2
West Ham mounted a superb second half comeback against Arsenal at Upton Park
with goals from Carlton Cole and a penalty from Alessandro Diamanti giving
the home side a deserved share of the spoils.
We have been pretty awful this season and although this result does little
to move us away from the relegation zone (and we still haven't won since the
first game of the season) we can be proud of the way the team came back
against one of the best sides in the country.
I didn't think the players had it in them to come back from two goals down
with confidence hitting rock bottom but they kept going and got exactly what
I felt we deserved. The turnaround was all very dramatic and had me leaving
Upton Park as if we had got a victory such was euphoria of those six second
I am not that naïve to think that are problems will now disappear because we
fought back against Arsenal and I fully expect us to lose against Sunderland
next weekend but I can't say I wasn't delighted with the reaction of the
team and a draw against Arsenal is never a poor result.
Gianfranco Zola made three changes to the side which were beaten by Stoke
City last weekend. At right back Julien Faubert was (rightly) replaced by
Jonathan Spector with the French winger/full back/waste of space dropping to
In midfield Scott Parker returned from suspension to replace Radoslav Kovac
and up front Alessandro Diamanti the £5million signing was dropped to the
bench in favour of Guillermo Franco who was making his full West Ham debut.
This saw us go to 4-4-2 which many have been crying out for and it seems as
though Zola has woken up to the fact that his silly attempts to play 4-3-3
diamond things do not work and have not worked since he has been at the
club. This formation is the way to go.
The player we were 'basing our team around', Luis Jimenez was not even on
the bench (injured presumably). Fit again Kieron Dyer was also not even on
the bench (injured presumably) and Danny Gabbidon was also missing yet again
It was quite a even first fifteen minutes with both sides looking dangerous
going forward without really threatening on goal. Cole saw a shot get
deflected wide for a corner and Van Persie saw a shot tipped over the bar by
I thought we were looking quite comfortable and just as likely as Arsenal to
draw first blood but as we have found in recent weeks mistakes will cost you
and any mistake that we make seems to be instantly punished.
It was a mistake from Robert Green yet again which cost us and saw the
visitors take a lead with their first meaningful chance. It was typical to
conceded at this point as we had looked as though we were about to get in
front ourselves when a shot from Collison was parried and he then reacted
quickest to bundle the ball home but the flag for offside had gone up long
Arsenal went straight up the other end and took the lead with a cross from
Sagna finding Robert Green doing his flapping routine and Robin Van Persie
has the easy task of smashing the ball into the goal.
Heads dropped after this and Arsenal looked strong in possession as many
would have expected them to be. We tried our best to move forward in numbers
but never seemed to have a player in space to pass to.
Mark Noble found a bit of room on the right hand side and his low cross was
deflected towards goal but hit the side netting when the deflection nearly
caught the keeper out.
Noble would be involved a few minutes later when his free kick was head
clear only as far as Spector who put in an inviting cross for Carlton Cole
to head wide. Even if Cole had have scored it would have been ruled out for
Our defensive frailties were exposed once again moments later as a corner
swung in by Van Persie was met by William Gallas who powerfully head home
from a few yards out with our defenders looking on in bewilderment. It was a
really poor goal to concede which I accept most goal seem to be but really
from a corner to be able to get to that point was not good enough.
Going in at half time I did not feel angry, surprised or even disappointed.
I felt as though the game had gone exactly as I had thought it would with us
showing lots of effort but being exposed at the back as we just are not good
Ilunga was playing like a man who has got the contract he wanted as is happy
to go through the motions on his big wage that he can now boast. The centre
halves looked shaky and Spector although playing as well as he can looked
out of his depth.
I don't know about anyone else but I hate Sunday games. It doesn't really
matter what time they kick off they always seem to be lacklustre in
atmosphere and interest. Half the crowd in the West Stand seemed to be
downstairs as the second half kicked off and no one (including myself)
seemed to have any confidence in us getting anything out of the game.
Arsenal had taken their foot of the gas a little and although were again in
possession of the ball we had nothing to offer when going forward. Carlton
Cole was working hard and some of his hold up play was wonderful but even
with Franco alongside him nothing really came about.
On 55 minutes Mark Noble was replaced with Diamanti as Zola looked to give
us more of an attacking edge. Noble had once again laboured and struggled to
make any impact on the game. Diamanti who I was surprised to not see start
(given the money we had spent on him).
Andrei Arshavin who had up to that point been pretty quiet for the visitors
forced Robert Green into a smart stop with a powerful instinctive shot as
Arsenal looked to further their lead.
It looked very unlikely that we would get anything from the game and anyone
who says they thought we would come back at this point is lying.
Zavon Hines came on from the ineffective Franco and it would not take Hines
long to make an impact as he was awarded a free kick on the left hand side
after a foul by Clichy.
The free kick was taken by Diamanti who whipped in an excellent shot which
was parried by the keeper Mannone and Carlton Cole was on hand to head into
the goal for his fifth goal of the season.
The atmosphere turned up a notch as the home crowd sensed that maybe all
hope was not lost and with that push from the supporters the players seemed
to believe themselves that an impossible comeback was not so impossible.
With Arsenal on the ropes it seemed that something would go for us soon and
that is exactly what happened when the quite brilliant Cole was bundled over
in the area by Song with the ref pointing to the spot to the sheer delight
of the fans.
We had been denied a very strong penalty appeal a few minutes earlier when
Parker seemed to be tripped in the area but this time the ref Chris Foy had
no hesitation and Diamanti stepped up to take the penalty.
The Italian forward whose only other goal for the club had also come from
the penalty spot made no mistake with a powerful left foot shot into the
goal. It took the roof off Upton Park as the ground erupted in euphoria with
the chant of "Two Nil and you fucked it up" being hurled toward the Arsenal
I thought we were going to go on to win the game after that as everything
seemed to be going for us and confidence was at a high but that hope was put
pay to when Scott Parker tracked back and seemed to go for a challenge and
handle the ball. This saw him receive a second yellow and of course the red
Arsenal should have won the game near the end when a cross found Van Persie
but from just a few yards out saw his header somehow saved by Green in what
was really a truly wonderful save to ensure we came out of the game with
It seemed unlikely at times but that final twenty minutes saw a real
fighting spirit which I feel we will need to see more of to stop us from
getting relegated this season.
For the third game running he made a mistake which cost us a goal. This is
not good enough and he will not be playing for England on this form. Saying
that his save at the end was fantastic and without it we would have lost but
the mistakes have got to stop.
This was better than I had expected from Spector who is usually found
wanting every time he starts a game. With the dismal form of Faubert
recently it came as no shock to see him play and he got stuck in and made
some decent tackles throughout. His distribution of the ball was not great
but he was solid enough.
No disastrous mistake which had seemed to be creeping into his game more and
more in recent weeks so that was a plus. The way the game went meant that
Arsenal did not have wave of attacks which put him under pressure and with
their passing game there was little for Upson to do in the air.
A battling performance from Tomkins who has had a hard time of it so far
this campaign. This was a solid showing although he like all the other
defenders will be concerned that for the fifth game running we have conceded
two or more goals.
A big concern. His form has deteriorated and he is looking a shadow of the
player who won the WHO Hammer of the Year last season. Is it because he not
has a contract and does not have to play for his career? Has he become
lethargic and so laid back he feels he doesn't need to try to play to his
best? Whatever has happened Ilunga is not playing well and we have no other
Starting to get back to his full fitness and completed the full ninety
minutes. Hard work is the name of his game and he will run and run all day
long. Did not really do much when in possession which was a little
disappointing but this was still a decent display from Behrami.
Not in the game and correctly taken off on the 55th minute. Although I do
think Noble does have a bit of quality about him I do not think it will be
too long before we see him starting from the bench at some point.
Very unlucky to have been sent off and I still can't quite believe he was
shown that second yellow card. I also don't get why you can't appeal yellow
card decisions. It makes little sense to me and we will now be without
Parker for yet another game. His overall performance though was excellent
and we are a worse team without him.
Never really had the impact you would have hoped. Disappeared for large
chunks of the game and even in the second half when we pressed forward I
cannot recall seeing much of Collison who still is yet to really get hold of
a game this season.
I was happy to see us start with two up front but Franco did very little to
prove he is anything by a Kepa Blanco or a Diego Tristan. Good to have as
cover but Hines is the one who should be playing and it seems more and more
obvious every week.
Outstanding once again and he continues to excel. Scored his fifth goal of
the season and has scored in every home game this season in the league. His
hold up play was brilliant and he was a constant danger to Arsenal and our
only real threat.
Alessandro Diamanti (on for Noble 55 mins)
It was obvious that his introduction changed the game. He looked good and
found space to play some nice passes. His free kick made the first goal and
he scored the penalty. Certainly he is an impact player and it would be nice
to see him make an impact over the 90 mintues because he changed the game in
Zavon Hines (on for Franco 64 mins)
Like Diamanti he made a real difference and his introduction turned us into
a threatening attacking force. Hines is very unlucky not be starting as we
need to play 4-4-2 and he is the best option to play with Carlton Cole.
Radoslav Kovac (on for Behrami 92 mins)
On to waste some times.
Subs Not Used: Kurucz, Da Costa, Faubert, Stanislas
Bookings: Parker (6th), Hines (3rd), Collison (2nd)
Red Cards: Scott Parker
Man Of The Match: Carlton Cole
Being two goals down against anyone is bad enough but when it is against one
of the top four teams then you know it is going to be an uphill struggle, so
to come back and get a draw is a good result whichever way you look at it.
We are still in big trouble and if we pick up three points from the next
three games then I would consider that to be decent.
My confidence level is still at a real low and I have next to no expectation
of us picking up a win any time soon but I came away from Upton Park today
in a buoyant mood.
Next Game - Sunderland (a)
We picked up all three points here last season after we had gone on a
terrible run of results. We need things to go the same way this time around
too but I just don't see it happening. Sunderland are the type of side who I
feel we will roll over against and we would need to give a real top
performance to get anything out of the game.
Zola still doesn't know what type of formation he wants to play. It was
positive to see him start with two up front but I think we can all see that
Hines simply has to start as he seems to cause the opposition no end of
problems when he plays.
The hope of course is that this result will gavalnize the team giving them
the confidence that they have been lacking over the last few weeks and you
never know it may well do just that.
But despite the good fight back I'll wait and see how we fare against
Sunderland before I begin to think that our season has taken a turn for the
"The spirit shown by the team was the best thing about today's game, along
with the participation and the support the crowd gave us. They were the best
things that I have seen today. It's not a victory, but it sounds like it.
"That's what I was looking for because, no matter what, the fighting spirit
has to all the time be there. It is something that we can't really do
without, so I was pleased with that.
"I repeat that last week I saw something changing and that is very
important. Today, I have seen something more and it's very encouraging for
me, to be honest.
"Trust me, it was very difficult in that situation. They did it really until
the end and I am very pleased and proud of them.
"It was difficult and we did it, so that means we can do it all the time.
With that spirit and with the qualities we have got in the team, I think we
can do important things, starting today, and I hope we can continue like
"I don't want to take any credit for the comeback. It's just the players
wanted to react. We said to each other that no matter what, we fight until
the end. No matter what, we fight until the end, we give everything and, at
the end of the day, we see what happens.
"That was the difference. We went there, we never gave up, the crowd gave us
something extra and we made it happen.
"That's the story of life. No matter the difficulty you through, you fight
until the end.
"We have the quality. I am sure that this team has got quality. It just
needs a little bit more confidence because in this moment it's not great. At
the moment, every time we have a mistake, they score. It doesn't help. We
need to fight, fight, fight and then we'll see in the end."
"Diamanti made a big difference, and Zavon as well was very positive when he
came on. They did very well for us and I'm pleased because Alessandro is a
player who can give us something extra.
"Don't forget him and also [Luis] Jimenez are important players. They are
coming from a championship [Serie A] that is different and is easier than
this, so they need some time to adapt. They have got qualities and those
qualities will be important for West Ham."
West Ham United 2 Arsenal 2: match report
Read a full match report of the Premier League game between West Ham United
and Arsenal at Upton Park on Sunday Oct 25 2009.
By Jeremy Wilson at Upton Park
Published: 6:30PM GMT 25 Oct 2009
Redemption Sunday for Rafael Benítez but, come May, an equally important
narrative from the weekend's football could be Arsenal's sloppiness in
failing to punish slips from so many rivals in the Premier League title
Since back-to-back away defeats in Manchester, Arsenal had quietly and
efficiently put together a run of four consecutive league victories to
support Arsène Wenger's rather bullish claim that he is "convinced" his team
will win a trophy. The reward for such consistency had been a golden
opportunity to move within three points of Chelsea, with a game in hand. Yet
familiar weaknesses were again evident as they allowed West Ham United to
scramble to a 2-2 draw despite trailing by two goals with just 16 minutes
West Ham United 1 Tottenham Hotspur 2: match reportAfter gifting AZ Alkmaar
a late equaliser in the Champions League last Tuesday, the frustration was
written all over Wenger's face and he reacted with criticism of the referee
and, much more unusually, even his own players. "It is a major missed
opportunity," said Wenger. "In our job, you don't have the luxury to miss
opportunities. You need to get points when you deserve to get points and
sometimes when you don't deserve to get the points.'
"The title race is open and that is why I am convinced that it will be tight
until the end. We have a great chance this year but you cannot repeat this
kind of performance we had and not come out with three points. We are an
intelligent team and an intelligent team makes the maximum result with the
game they produce. That is what we did not do. We missed the final ball as
we wanted to be a bit too complicated and that is what we have to learn."
Both West Ham goals arrived following set-pieces, but Wenger also accused
referee Chris Foy of mistakes in awarding what he called "extremely
generous" fouls for a challenge by Abou Diaby and then a penalty when Alex
Song had clearly connected with Carlton Cole's ankle.
The frustration was compounded by the way Arsenal were initially so incisive
in front of goal. Having had one shot controversially blocked by the arm of
Matthew Upson, Robin van Persie scored in his fourth consecutive league game
with a simple finish following an error from Robert Green.
Bacary Sagna had exchanged passes with Abou Diaby and crossed into the West
Ham penalty area but, with James Tomkins ready to head the ball clear, Green
succeeding only in impeding his defender to leave Van Persie with an open
Poor defending again contributed when Arsenal doubled their lead as Herita
Ilunga was easily out-jumped by William Gallas. Wenger had admitted on
Friday that he would have to be unfair on someone with his selection as
goalkeeper and, once again, it was Manuel Almunia who missed out, leading to
the assumption that Vito Mannone is genuinely now his first choice.
Mannone's shot-stopping ability is clear but, at just 21, erratic moments
are also always likely and it was his mistake that handed West Ham their
lifeline when he parried Alessandro Diamanti's free-kick into the path of
Cole. "You might have expected him to parry it away, not in the middle of
the goal, but you must see the flight to see whether it moved inside," said
West Ham were then denied a penalty when Gallas tripped Scott Parker as he
surged into the penalty area. Moments later, Song made his clumsy and
unnecessary challenge on Cole and, this time, Foy was satisfied there had
been contact. "If you count how many times he [Cole] goes down in a game,
you expect him to go down," said Wenger. It took an age for the kick to be
taken but, even after Mannone had been booked, Diamanti smashed the ball
into the right-hand corner. There was further drama as Parker was rather
harshly sent off for a second bookable challenge and was guilty of an
Arsenal had one final chance to clinch victory, but Green made up for his
earlier slip by blocking Van Persie's goal-bound header with an outstretched
leg. "It was an unbelievable save at the end," said Gianfranco Zola, "it was
like a goal scored for us."
Alessandro Diamanti makes Arsenal pay penalty
West Ham 2 Arsenal 2 Russell Kempson
Would anyone like to win the Barclays Premier League? If so, please stand
up. Arsenal became the latest of the title contenders to squander an
opportunity to pile on the pressure at the top when they conceded two late
goals against West Ham United at Upton Park yesterday.
Of the leading six teams on Saturday morning, only Chelsea raised their
hands and bellowed: "Yes, we would like to win the championship. Very much,
actually." They cruised to a 5-0 win over Blackburn Rovers, Tottenham
Hotspur and Manchester United lost, while Arsenal, Manchester City and Aston
With Liverpool, the supposedly dead-and-buried Liverpool, beating United at
Anfield, small wonder that Arsène Wenger reflected ruefully on what might
have been. At 2-0 ahead and, apparently, in complete control, the sloppy
manner in which his team conceded possession, lost their composure and threw
away two points does not bode well.
"It is tight and it is open [the title chase]," the Arsenal manager said.
"That is why I am convinced that it will be tight right until the end. We
have a great chance this season, but you cannot repeat the kind of
performance we had today and not come out with three points.
"You need to get points when you deserve to and sometimes when you don't
deserve to. "Today, we never got them when we deserved them, and that means
we have not made the maximum of what we should have done."
An extra hour in bed must have delighted both camps. Footballers like
nothing better than a nice kip. Yet there was no slumber, no sluggishness
about the opening stages, with the passing crisp and the instincts
razor-sharp. West Ham did not look like a team who had not won in the league
since the opening day of the season; Arsenal did look like a team who had
suffered only two defeats in 14 matches in all competitions.
It made for bright, inventive fare. Hardly as incident packed or emotionally
charged as the viewing from Anfield, on the television screens in the Upton
Park concourses, but it was largely enjoyable.
Gianfranco Zola had vowed not to sacrifice style for solidity, despite a
plight that appears to worsen by the week, and the West Ham manager was true
to his word.
All had seemed well for Zola. Carlton Cole was roughing up William Gallas
and Thomas Vermaelen in turn and Arsenal had threatened only briefly, mainly
through Robin van Persie, their lone striker. Robert Green had coped
comfortably with one effort from the Holland forward, a Matthew Upson arm
unintentionally blocked another. The home fans even felt moved to indulge in
the occasional chanting; it could be their day.
Maybe not, to judge by two split-seconds of defensive mediocrity, both in
the first half. Stand up Green and Hérita Ilunga, the culprits. Green clawed
at a cross from Bacary Sagna and could only touch it on to Van Persie, who
guided in his sixth goal of the season.
Although Green's list of errors are growing by the week, he still has plenty
of time to shape up before Fabio Capello announces his England World Cup
squad. And he did partially atone when, in stoppage time, he blocked a
close-range header from Van Persie with his left leg. "It was an
unbelievable save," Zola said. "It was like a goal scored for us."
If Green's mistake was blatant, Ilunga's was less obvious. Yet the way in
which he allowed Gallas to jump alone, to nod in Van Persie's corner, was
bordering on the criminal.
Scott Parker, standing on the goalline, was unable to keep it out.
Yet, from cantering into third place above Tottenham by two points, Arsenal
had to rely on goal difference to rise beyond their North London rivals.
Zola had described himself as a "warrior" in the pre-match skirmishes and,
from nowhere, his fellow tribesmen suddenly found the same battling spirit.
The home fans found their voices, too.
Vito Mannone, the Arsenal goalkeeper, could only weakly parry Alessandro
Diamanti's fierce free kick and Cole stooped to head in his fifth goal of
the season. Parker, behaving more like a madman than a warrior, collected
his sixth booking of the campaign for a foul on Emmanuel Eboué and then
screamed blue murder when not awarded a penalty after he had fallen under a
challenge from Gallas.
Chris Foy, the referee, did oblige soon after — perhaps the result of a
guilty conscience — when Alexandre Song merely ankle-tapped Cole. Diamanti
thundered in the penalty, Parker harshly received his seventh yellow card of
the season — and a red to go with it — for handling the ball as he fell when
tussling with Cesc Fàbregas.
West Ham remain second from bottom. "It was not a victory but it felt like
it," Zola said. "The players gave me everything." Arsenal, like most of the
other title pretenders, must stand up and be counted.
West Ham (4-1-3-2): R Green 5 - J Spector 4, M Upson 4, J Tomkins 4, H
Ilunga 4 - S Parker 4 - V Behrami 5 (sub: R Kovac 90min), M Noble 4 (sub: A
Diamanti 7, 56), J Collison 5 - C Cole 6, G Franco 4 (sub: Z Hines 5, 65).
Substitutes not used: P Kurucz, J Faubert, M Da Costa, J Stanislas. Booked:
Parker, Collison, Hines. Sent off: Parker.
Arsenal (4-5-1): V Mannone 4 - B Sagna 7, W Gallas 6, T Vermaelen 6, G
Clichy 5 - E Eboué 5 (sub: N Bendtner, 82), F Fàbregas 6, A Song 6, A Diaby
6 (sub: Eduardo da Silva, 88), A Arshavin 5 - R van Persie 7. Substitutes
not used: M Almunia, S Nasri, A Ramsey, M Silvestre, K Gibbs. Booked:
Referee C Foy Attendance 34,442
Arsene Wenger: Referee's Decisions Cost Us Against West Ham United
Gunners boss disappointed as Arsenal undone by set pieces...
Oct 25, 2009 6:40:18 PM
By Edward Pearce
Arsene Wenger was unhappy with the refereeing decisions that allowed a
resurgent West Ham United to claw back a two-goal lead to draw with visitors
Arsenal at Upton Park on Sunday. After seeing his side concede twice in the
closing 20 minutes, the Arsenal manager questioned both the free kick that
led to the Hammers' first goal and the penalty referee Chris Foy awarded
against Alexandre Song after he brought down Carlton Cole. The Gunners had
been 2-0 up before half-time, as van Persie tucked home after Robert Green's
error and William Gallas headed a second from the Dutchman's corner. West
Ham attacked well and had chances of their own in an entertaining contest,
but looked to have missed their chance once Arsenal doubled their lead. The
Arsenal manager told Sky Sports: "It is disappointing because we had a good
game and get away with the minimum. "I believe we were a bit unlucky today
with decisions and in their kind of circumstances West Ham did fight for
their life and made it very difficult. "I believe we had many disadvantages
in the game but overall we played a good game and unfortunately we couldn't
finish the third goal off. "We had plenty of opportunities in the second
half and in the end when the other team comes back to 2-1 and any little
decision goes against you, you can pay for it," he added. The result leaves
Arsenal in third place in the Premier League, five points behind leaders
Chelsea with a game in hand.
Arsène Wenger left fuming over referee's 'generous' decisions
Arsenal concede two goals from set-pieces
Criticism of free-kick and penalty awarded to West Ham
David Hytner at Upton Park guardian.co.uk, Sunday 25 October 2009 20.46 GMT
Arsène Wenger lamented a "major missed opportunity" as Arsenal lost a 2-0
lead to draw 2-2 at West Ham United today but the manager reserved most of
his ire for the referee Chris Foy, whom he accused of making "extremely
generous" decisions for the home team.
The Frenchman could not understand how Foy could have penalised Abou Diaby
for a challenge on the West Ham substitute Zavon Hines, which produced the
free-kick that led to West Ham's first goal. And, after Foy had waved away
strong penalty appeals for a tackle by the Arsenal defender William Gallas
on Scott Parker, Wenger complained at the penalty that Foy did award.
Alex Song nibbled at Carlton Cole's heels and saw the West Ham striker go to
ground to win the kick. Alessandro Diamanti, another substitute, beat Vito
Mannone to the bottom corner to send Upton Park into a frenzy.
"Frankly, look at how many times he [Cole] went down in the game," said
Wenger. "I think Cole played very well but do you expect him to go down
then? No. We were in control but as long as we didn't score the third goal,
the game was not over.
"West Ham continued to fight and we conceded two goals on two set pieces,
two generous set pieces. West Ham is happy tonight and I can understand
that. The free-kick and the penalty were extremely generous. I don't think
either should have been given. West Ham fought until the very last and the
crowd got behind the referee's decisions.
''It's a major missed opportunity and, in our job, you don't have the luxury
to miss opportunities. You need to get points when you deserve to get them
and, sometimes, when you don't deserve them. We didn't get them here when we
Gianfranco Zola, the West Ham manager, felt that Foy ought to have pointed
to the penalty spot earlier than he did. "It looked, from my position, that
the first one [Gallas on Parker] was more of a penalty but I haven't seen
the replays yet so I can't be precise."
Zola could also take issue with Foy for his controversial decision to
dismiss Parker for a second bookable offence in the 85th minute. Parker was
penalised for a deliberate handball, after sliding in to tackle Cesc
Fábregas. "I have something to say about that," said Zola, "because Scottie
got the ball with his head. He was pushed as well."
Zola felt that, having entered the game with only one point from the
previously available 15, this draw "felt like a victory". "Last week [at
Stoke City] I saw something had changed and today, I have seen something
more and that is very encouraging," he added.
Lack of finishing touch leaves Arsene Wenger to rue missed opportunity
Arsène Wenger voiced his anger at Chris Foy, the referee, but saved his
strongest criticism for his Arsenal side after they failed to kill off a
spirited West Ham United yesterday.
Arsenal were coasting at 2-0 but conceded late goals from set-pieces that
Wenger felt should not have been awarded. Nonetheless, Arsenal leapfrogged
Tottenham Hotspur, whom they meet on Saturday, into third but wasted an
opportunity to move closer to Manchester United. West Ham remain second from
bottom and without a league victory since the opening day of the season.
"It is a major missed opportunity," Wenger, the Arsenal manager, said. "You
don't have the luxury to miss opportunities in our job."
With Arsenal two goals to the good, Foy adjudged that Abou Diaby had fouled
Zavon Hines, despite the fact that the West Ham forward had appeared to run
into his opponent. No matter, Carlton Cole headed in after Vito Mannone had
parried Alessandro Diamanti's subsequent free kick. Within two minutes,
Scott Parker reacted angrily after William Gallas appeared to have clipped
the midfield player as he surged into the area. But, moments later, Foy
awarded a spot kick when Cole went down after Alexandre Song kicked the
heels of the forward. Wenger, however, felt that Cole's tumble typified his
"The free kick and penalty were extremely generous and West Ham [are] very
happy," Wenger said. "I don't think that either should have been given but
we cannot influence the decision of the referee. Cole played well but if you
count how many times he goes down in a game, so you expect him to go down.
The crowd got behind the referee's decision and then it is always difficult
away from home."
However, Wenger was also critical of his players for failing to extend their
lead for the second time this week. They conceded a goal in stoppage time to
draw 1-1 away to AZ Alkmaar in the Champions League on Tuesday. "We are an
intelligent team that should make the maximum result with the game they
produce," he said. "That is what we did not do. We missed the final ball and
were too complicated.
"We need to learn to finish these games off, [that is] the most important
lesson today. We were in control but, as long as you don't score the third
goal, the game is not won. It is very frustrating."
Gianfranco Zola, the West Ham manager, believed the draw could be a turning
point despite more sloppy mistakes. "It's not a victory but it sounds like
it and that's what I was looking for," he said. "Every time we make a
mistake they score. That doesn't help. But we need to fight, fight, fight.
We just need a bit more confidence. Last week I saw something, a change.
This gives a signal we are there and we are fighting. We can do better
things starting today."
Parker will miss the match against Sunderland on Saturday after he was
dismissed for a second yellow card, his seventh of the season. Zola argued
that Foy had failed to see that Parker had used his head, not his hand, to
clear the ball on the floor as Cesc Fàbregas raced clear. He added that
Green's save from Robin van Persie, the Arsenal forward, in stoppage time
will boost his confidence. "It was an unbelievable save," Zola said. "That
was the 'keeper of the national team."
Arsene Wenger accuses his players of blowing great title race chance
Published 23:00 25/10/09 By John Cross
Arsene Wenger last night accused his players of blowing a glorious chance in
the title race. Frustrated Wenger saw Arsenal throw away a two-goal half
time lead as ten-man West Ham staged a brave fight back to snatch a point at
Upton Park. Gunners boss Wenger said: "It is a major missed opportunity of
course. In our job you don't have the luxury to miss opportunities. "You
need to get points when you deserve to get points and sometimes when you
don't deserve to get the points. "Today we didn't get the points when we
deserved them, and that means we have not made the maximum of what we should
have done. "It is tight and open and that is why I am convinced that it will
be tight until the end. We have a great chance this year but you cannot
repeat this kind of performance we had today and not come out with three
points. "We have to keep the positives as we played well and are a strong
team. We want to learn to finish these games off which is basically the most
important lesson of the day."
Wenger admitted he was frustrated with rookie keeper Vito Mannone after his
mistake gifted West Ham a way back into the game but also claimed referee
Chris Foy got decisions wrong on both the home team's goals. Wenger added:
"You might have expected him (Mannone) to parry it away, and not in the
middle of the goal but you must see the flight of the ball to see whether it
moved in the last second. "West Ham is very happy tonight and I understand
that. The free-kick and penalty were extremely generous. I don't think that
either should have been given."
West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola praised his players' spirit as he also
insisted midfielder Scott Parker should not have been sent off. Zola said:
"It was very difficult to come back from that but we did it and I'm very
pleased and proud of them. It give a signal we are there and we are
fighting. "With that spirit and with the qualities we have in the team I
think we can do better things starting today. "I might have something to say
about the sending off. Scotty went for a header with the boy (Fabregas) but
he was pushed and then he touched it with his hands. It's a pity because he
was playing well and is an important player for us."
Hammers in need of a saviour
By Harry Harris
October 25, 2009
The credit crunch is biting deep at Upton Park. All credit to Franco Zola's
team for fighting back to earn a valiant point against Arsenal, but
speculation is mounting that the club's value is rapidly declining. Still
without a win at home this season in the Premier League, the fightback from
two down might have felt like a victory, but the reality is that the one
point leaves the unhappy Hammers second from bottom of the table. And while
their Premier League status remains in doubt, the value of the club might be
plummeting to a new low, at least that's how those stalking the club view
ESPN Soccernet has been informed that West Ham will need to drop their
asking price to as low as £15m to find a buyer for the stricken east London
club, because the new owner would need to take on debts of £85m.
That shock figure is revealed by an intermediary seeking a buyer to rescue
the club. The insider told ESPN Soccernet: "The clubs debts are £85 million
and a realistic price would be £100 million including that debt. The price
for West Ham started at £150 million but they are going to have to
drastically re-adjust their thinking. They could come down to £100 million,
but no one is going to pay even that price unless it includes their £85
million worth of debt."
There is once again speculation of a fire sale of talent in January, and
Carlton Cole, who would have impressed the on-looking Fabio Capello with his
man of the match display, is one of the few players who might raise a
reasonable transfer sum.
But my insider is sceptical that even that would resolve the problem. He
tells me: "They have a few good players left, like Carlton Cole, Matthew
Upson, but while Cole is young Upson is not. You will not get crazy money
for these players.
"Worse still is the football side. They are in danger of going down unless
someone steps in, so the they need to bring down their final figure. I would
say £100 million all in, including the debt, is rapidly becoming more of a
realistic price, but as yet the banks who effectively own the club are
trying to get a much as they can, understandably. They are going to have to
West Ham's tradition deserves the right kind of investor to come to the
club's aid, and Zola has the makings of a promising management team
alongside Steve Clarke.
When the Gunners cruised into a two-goal lead with little effort and even
less resistance from the Hammers, co-commentator and ex-Gunner Alan Smith
ventured that the home team "look like a beaten team already".
It felt as if Arsenal would roll out a bag full of goals, but in yet another
unexpected turn around West Ham fought back and ended up deserving a point,
while Arsene Wenger will be furious that the Gunners' title chances took
such a knock in a game that should have waltzed through.
The Hammers are fighting a relegation battle, much as I predicted two months
ago, and while they fight for survival they are vulnerable to a cheap
Early indications are that West Ham are attracting potential investors,
seeking a bargain. David Sullivan says West Ham's "huge debts" have deterred
him from mounting a takeover bid following his preliminary discussions with
Sullivan and former Birmingham co-owner David Gold are seeking another club
after selling their stake in City to the Hong Kong businessman Carson Yeung.
West Ham are the club Sullivan supported as a boy, but he was put off by a
possible £100 million asking price.
Sullivan said: "The debts that appear to be at West Ham seem huge. I'm not
sure I could face what is going on there, but West Ham do need help and
quickly. I hope someone gets involved in the next week or next month or two;
otherwise they could be in the Championship or bust, or both."
West Ham are currently controlled by CB Holdings who, in turn, are owned
largely by the Icelandic investment bank Straumur-Burdaras.
Initial talks revolved around a cash injection, but a complete takeover is
still a possibility. "As one door shuts another one opens," said Sullivan.
"West Ham is a club close to my heart, and I would love to be involved with
Jim Bowe claims that the Intermarket Group is going to rescue West Ham was
greeted with derision within City circles. Worse, it was being described as
a blatant publicity stunt. A City expert on Premier League club takeover
deals told ESPN Soccernet: "As far as I can make it this is a company with a
£1,000 share capital started only recently. I suppose its better than
internet advertising to say your going to mount a £100 million takeover of a
club like West Ham!"
Bowe was once a Wall Street financier, now turned chief executive of
Intermarket of a mere one month standing.
Intermarket is actually a Canary Wharf-based financial analysis company.
Their link with the Hammers gained them a sack full of free publicity and
they were quite content to talk openly about their plans for the unhappy
A spokesman for West Ham's owner, Straumur, hinted that there was nothing in
Bowe's claims. But it won't do Intermarket's two director-shareholders,
David Byrne and Iain Mortley, any harm to be talked about as £100 million
bidders. Little to nothing has been heard of them since they enjoyed the
limelight, their 15 minutes of fame.