West Ham United v Manchester United
Barclays Premier League
Saturday 5 December
Referee: Peter Walton
Final score - West Ham United 0-4 Manchester United
94 mins - Diamanti ends the game with a curler that bounces into Kuszczak's
stomach. The Pole clears and referee Walton blows for full-time.
93 mins - United are finishing on top, knocking the ball around the pitch
with a bit of a swagger. Let's hope West Ham can get this result out of
their systems on the training pitch this week ahead of the trip to
91 mins - West Ham start the first of three added minutes by winning a
corner. Diamanti can't beat the first defender, though. The Italian rolls
Parker in down the right channel seconds later, but the captain's cross
loops harmlessly into the hands of Kuszczak.
90 mins - Giggs is now playing at left-back!
89 mins - This has been a strange game. United haven't actually played well.
You wouldn't say they have dominated possession or territory, but they have
a four-goal lead. They also only have ten men, as Brown walks off with an
87 mins - Collison clips a pass over the top for Franco, but the Mexican's
volley slides off the side of his boot into the advertising board behind the
85 mins - Diamanti tries to find Franco, but his pass is overhit. It's just
West Ham's day here.
83 mins - Good tackle there from Gabbidon to halt Valencia just when it
looked like the Ecuadorean might latch on to Berbatov's through pass.
81 mins - No. Diamanti's shot hits the ball and bounces back to him. The
Italian finds Franco, but his cross is too close to Kuszczak, who claims
high above his head.
80 mins - Giggs threatens again, but this time his cross is headed clear by
Tomkins. Diamanti breaks and is fouled by Scholes 25 yards out. The former
England midfielder reacts angrily and is booked for dissent. Can the Italian
find a bit of magic to get the Hammers on the scoresheet?
77 mins - So close to a consolation for the home side. Diamanti slid a neat
pass through to Ilunga, whose cut-back found Franco. The Mexican laid the
ball out to Stanislas, but the winger's first-time shot rolled just past the
73 mins - Rooney is replaced by Michael Owen. Green is heading off, with
Peter Kurucz on to replace him. It is the young Hungarian's debut.
72 mins - GOAL! Oh dear, oh dear. Valencia lays the ball across and Rooney
slots in from six yards out.
71 mins - GOAL! That is probably that. Anderson ends a superb move by firing
the ball across the face of goal, where Valencia ghosts in to side-foot into
68 mins - Evra comes within a whisker of making it 3-0 to the visitors,
playing a one-two with Rooney before dragging his shot inches wide of the
67 mins - Changes for both teams. Kovac is replaced by Dyer, while United
send on Dimitar Berbatov for Gibson.
66 mins - Two bits of news. The first is the crowd, which is 34,980. The
second is that Kieron Dyer is going to enter the fray shortly.
65 mins - Good football again from the visitors, who threaten through
Scholes. Valencia's cross is poor though, and Green catches with ease.
63 mins - Diamanti comes close to getting a goal back for the hosts, curling
a free-kick that Kuszczak can only divert over the crossbar for a corner.
United clear the set piece easily enough.
61 mins - GOAL! Fantastic goal from the visitors. Giggs swaps passes with
Rooney before powering towards the West Ham penalty area. He lays the ball
into the path of Gibson, and the Irishman lets fly with an unstoppable
60 mins - Green has the physio on. I'm not sure what's wrong with him, but
it might be his finger. He has a quick drink and seems to be ok.
59 mins - West Ham win a free-kick 40 yards from goal. Diamanti goes for
goal and it flies an absolute mile over the crossbar.
57 mins - Fletcher fouls Stanislas wide on the left. Diamanti slams a superb
free-kick 45 yards to the far post, where it is met by Tomkins, but his
header is too close to Kuszczak.
56 mins - United have a long spell of possession inside the West Ham half,
but Anderson wastes all the good work by passing the ball out for a goal
54 mins - All of a sudden the game springs into life with chances at both
ends. First, Franco's attempted through ball to Stanislas is blocked, then
Gibson breaks and finds Giggs, whose poked shot is held by Green at the
53 mins - Ilunga slides in to win the ball from Valencia, but only at the
expense of a corner.
52 mins - More good work from Kovac nearly forces a mistake from Fletcher,
but his back-pass is just strong enough to elude Franco and reach Kuszczak,
who hacks the ball upfield.
50 mins - Fine football from United. Gibson latched on to Giggs' pass and
crossed to Rooney, who cut in front of his marker, but could only screw his
shot wide of the near post.
48 mins - Green gets a bit fortunate there. His clearance to Ilunga was
under-hit and fell to Valencia, who turned and ran into the box, only for
his cross to hit Gabbidon and fall into the goalkeeper's hands.
46 mins - Collison and Franco get us underway again... 30 seconds into the
second half, Franco turns and rolls a pass in between the central defenders
for Stanislas, but it is inches too strong and rolls through to Kuszczak.
The two sides are back on the pitch for the second half. Diamanti is on for
Hines. The Italian is sporting a goatee beard,
Diamanti is obviously keen to be involved as he already has his tracksuit
top off and is warming up in his No32 shirt with Frank Nouble and Josh
Payne. Meanwhile, on the sidelines, Stephanie Moore is presented with two
cheques totalling nearly £50,000 for the Bobby Moore Fund for Cancer
Research UK. The first is the money raised at the pre-season Bobby Moore Cup
tie against SSC Napoli, while the second is from the club's principal
Alessandro Diamanti is being put through his paces by fitness coach Antonio
Pintus, so it appears almost certain that he will be on at the start of the
second half, presumably in place of Hines.
Half-time score - West Ham United 0-1 Manchester United
46 mins - GOAL! 20 seconds before the whistle, and West Ham concede.
Gabbidon heads Giggs' cross straight to Scholes, who skips around Kovac and
rifles a left-foot shot into the top corner via Green's right hand.
45 mins - Diamanti is out to warm up on the touchline. The reason could be
Hines, who appears to be struggling with a knee injury. We're going to have
at least one added minute.
43 mins - Fletcher appears to haul down Stanislas, but Walton is unmoved.
Valencia works the ball to Gibson 25 yards out, but he can only drag his
shot well wide.
42 mins - Tomkins gives himself a 'touch test' by hoofing a clearance miles
up into the air. While every other player stands watching, he runs over,
brings the ball down perfectly and completes his clearance. Very impressive.
41 mins - It's all gone a bit quiet at the Boleyn Ground. Giggs attempts to
liven things up, but his header from 15 yards floats harmlessly over the
37 mins - Green signals to Franco to go wide-left to receive a long
clearance. The Mexican does just that and forces Gibson into conceding a
throw-in. Good teamwork, that.
36 mins - Alert goalkeeping there from Green, who rushed to the edge of his
penalty area to dive at the feet of Rooney before completing the clearance
with his feet.
33 mins - Neville is going to have to come off. He signals to Kuszczak to
throw the ball straight out. The defender, who appears to have hurt his
right groin, is not at all happy as he leaves the pitch. Michael Carrick is
on in his place. It looks like Carrick is going to play at centre-back.
32 mins - Parker's attempted through ball to Hines is too strong, but
Neville appears to injure himself shepherding the ball back to the
31 mins - Brilliant defending from Tomkins to head Evra's cross out for a
corner. The ball drops to Scholes, whose powerful shot is blocked behind by
Kovac. The next corner is headed clear by Spector to Gibson, whose
first-time shot hits the corner flag!
28 mins - Brown brings down Hines wide on the right, handing Stanislas the
chance to curl a free-kick into the area. He does just that, and the ball
somehow eludes everyone and bounces out for a throw-in.
26 mins - Good play from Franco to hold off Scholes and launch a cross into
the area. The ball falls to Stanislas, who cuts inside but sees his shot
half-blocked and the ball rolls through to Kuszczak.
25 mins - Kovac wins a round of applause for forcing Gibson to launch a long
ball back to his own goalkeeper, who then hacks the ball into the stand.
Fine work from the Czech, who looks really fired up this afternoon.
24 mins - Audacious effort from Rooney, who takes a touch 35-plus yards from
goal before launching a volley at goal. Green watches the ball sail a few
yards over his crossbar.
23 mins - Interesting defending from Gabbidon, who heads the ball high into
the air inside his own area. Green comes and claims above the leaping
20 mins - Giggs' corner is cleared by Kovac, only for the Red Devils to
regain possession and win yet another corner. Giggs crosses and Kovac heads
clear. Scholes' volley is blocked and, when Giggs is flagged offside, West
Ham finally have a chance to clear their lines.
19 mins - United are turning up the heat here. Evra gets free down the left
and wins another corner off Spector. West Ham need a spell of possession to
relieve the pressure that is building up.
18 mins - United work it short before Giggs finds Anderson, whose shot is
blocked by Tomkins before Collison completes the clearance.
17 mins - Good defending there from Spector, who stayed on his feet long
enough to block a low Giggs cross. The ball hits Collison and goes out for a
corner. Giggs curls the ball in and Brown heads down to Gibson, whose shot
is deflected wide for another flag-kick.
14 mins - Alert goalkeeping from Kuszczak sees him run out of his box to
head clear as Hines attempted to latch on to a long through-ball.
13 mins - Fine challenge from Kovac to rob Gibson in midfield. The Czech
tries to find Hines, who appears to be fouled by Neville, but Walton gives
12 mins - A superb run from Giggs takes him into the penalty area before
Kovac's tackle diverts the ball out for a corner. Giggs takes and Valencia
flicks the ball on to the roof of the net with his head.
10 mins - So close to an opening goal for Collison. Hines picks up a loose
ball inside the penalty area and rolls the ball across the face of the
six-yard box. Collison appears odds-on to finish, only for fellow Welshman
Giggs to get the merest of touches and divert the ball out for a goal kick
off the youngster.
9 mins - There is an air of expectation here. Both sides are feeling each
other out, as they say, with no clear-cut chances created as yet. West Ham
are probing in the shape of a succession of throw-ins in United's half.
7 mins - Ilunga wins the ball in a sliding challenge on Valencia. The
referee gives nothing, but the assistant referee flags and United have a
free-kick in a dangerous position. Giggs curls the set piece into the area,
but Franco heads clear.
5 mins - Gabbidon miscontrols a clearance, allowing Rooney to gain
possession inside the penalty area. The England man's cross is headed back
to Robert Green by James Tomkins.
3 mins - Ryan Giggs springs the West Ham offside trap, but his cross is
blocked by former team-mate Jonathan Spector before Radoslav Kovac launches
a counter-attack. Junior Stanislas runs at the United defence, but is
crowded out by Neville.
2 mins - The Hammers have made a bright start, with Guille Franco showing a
couple of neat early touches.
1 mins - Manchester United get us underway. The champions are shooting
towards the Bobby Moore Stand end of the stadium.
2.59pm - There is a decent atmosphere inside the Boleyn Ground this
afternoon, with not a spare seat to be had anywhere in the stadium.
Gianfranco Zola takes his seat in the home dugout following a friendly
handshake and a hug from Sir Alex Ferguson. The visiting manager also has a
few words with fellow Scot Steve Clarke.
2.57pm - 'Bubbles' is blaring out over the PA system as the two sides emerge
from the tunnel. It's a grey afternoon in east London, but the Hammers could
certainly brighten the mood with a victory. Manchester United have injury
problems at the back, with Scotland midfielder Darren Fletcher filling in at
right-back and Gary Neville playing as an emergency centre-back. The hosts
will surely be looking to exploit those areas.
2.55pm - Both teams are back in their dressing rooms making their final
preparations for today's game. We've got a few big names in attendance, as
you might expect for the visit of the champions. 1966 FIFA World Cup winner
Martin Peters is here, as are Hammers legend Paolo Di Canio and Russell
Gianfranco Zola has made two changes to the side that beat Burnley 5-3 last
Saturday, replacing the injured Carlton Cole with Zavon Hines, while Manuel
da Costa's place is taken by James Tomkins.
Kieron Dyer could make his first Barclays Premier League appearance since
the visit of Liverpool on 19 September after recovering from hamstring
problems to take his place on the bench. Alessandro Diamanti, back following
a hip injury, is also among the substitutes.
Former Red Devils defender Jonathan Spector lines up against his former
For the champions, ex-Hammer Michael Carrick is on Sir Alex Ferguson's
bench. The starting lineup shows two changes from the 4-1 league victory at
Portsmouth a week ago. Darron Gibson keeps his place after scoring twice in
the Carling Cup quarter-final victory over Tottenham Hotspur in midweek,
replacing Carrick. Nemanja Vidic is absent, with Gary Neville expected to
move to the centre of defence and Darren Fletcher filling in at right-back.
West Ham United: Green (Kurucz 73), Spector, Tomkins, Gabbidon, Ilunga,
Kovac (Dyer 67), Parker, Collison, Stanislas, Hines (Diamanti 46), Franco
Subs: Faubert, Da Costa, Payne, Nouble
Manchester United: Kuszczak, Fletcher, Neville (Carrick 33), Brown, Evra,
Anderson, Gibson (Berbatov 67), Valencia, Scholes, Giggs, Rooney (Owen 73)
Subs: Foster, De Laet, Park, Nani
Champions too good
Manchester United secured a convincing victory over West Ham United at the
Boleyn Ground on Saturday
Champions Manchester United proved too good for West Ham United, scoring
three second-half goals to run out 4-0 winners at the Boleyn Ground.
Paul Scholes had given the visitors the lead with seconds remaining of an
opening period in which neither side had really been on top. After the
break, however, Sir Alex Ferguson's side took control and added further
goals through Darron Gibson, Antonio Valencia and Wayne Rooney. The match
began in an intriguing, if not action-packed, manner, broken only by a
chance for the hosts after Giggs had given the ball away carelessly to Zavon
Hines on the edge of the area. The England Under-21 international, recalled
for the injured Carlton Cole, rolled a teasing ball across the goal which
Ryan Giggs just managed to divert away from the onrushing Jack Collison.
The visitors suffered a blow when captain Gary Neville was forced off with a
groin injury, allowing Academy graduate Michael Carrick to return to the
Boleyn Ground pitch in the unfamiliar position of centre-back. The Red
Devils were struggling to assert themselves but had Robert Green not been so
quick off his line to beat Rooney to a through ball they might have taken
the lead even earlier. They were to go ahead just before the half was out,
however. Danny Gabbidon headed away Ryan Giggs' cross as far as Scholes,
whose touch took him away from Kovac and into the space to beat Green with a
powerful left-footed drive.
Hines had been struggling with a knock towards the end of the half and the
break allowed Gianfranco Zola to introduce Alessandro Diamanti, back from a
hip injury, to the action. The Italian was warmly welcomed by the claret and
blue contingent among the 34,980 inside the Boleyn Ground. In the driving
rain in east London, the Italian was straight into the action and his superb
45-yard free-kick was headed straight at Tomasz Kuszczak by James Tomkins,
who was preferred to Manuel Da Costa at centre back. The champions doubled
their advantage when Giggs and Rooney exchanged passes on the left. The
Welsh winger then fed Gibson, who beat Green with a fine drive from the edge
of the area.
Despite the two-goal deficit, the Hammers did not give up and Diamanti
forced Kuszczak to tip over his free-kick from 25 yards a minute later.
Further attacking impetus was attempted with the introduction of Kieron Dyer
for Radoslav Kovac. If the Red Devils' second goal was all about the sublime
finish, the third was about the delivery, as Anderson's teasing cross was
swept home by Valencia. The Ecuadorian then turned provider a minute later
as his ball across the six-yard box was tapped home by Rooney. It was to be
the England striker's last contribution as he was taken off for Michael
Owen. Peter Kurucz was handed his West Ham United debut with 17 minutes to
go as Green was taken off with a knock.
West Ham continued to press for a consolation and good work from Guille
Franco gave Junior Stanislas a good opening but he dragged his shot wide of
the far post. After two consecutive home games, the Hammers hit the road
with a trip to Birmingham City next weekend.
Zola on difficult day
The champions turned on the style in the second half, dashing any hopes the
manager had after a positive first 45 on Saturday
Gianfranco Zola conceded West Ham United had lost to the better side
following Saturday's 4-0 Barclays Premier League defeat at the hands of
Manchester United at the Boleyn Ground.
The Hammers restricted the champions to pot shots until Paul Scholes broke
the deadlock with a goal just 20 seconds before the half-time whistle. The
strike, the former England midfielder's 99th Barclays Premier League goal of
a glittering career, paved the way for an improved second-half display from
the visitors. Further goals from Darron Gibson, Antonio Valencia and Wayne
Rooney gave the scoreline a harsh, one-sided appearance, but Zola said his
team had given their all.
"Their finishing was excellent, especially their first two goals. Their
first goal was the one that changed the story of the game, really, because
we were defending quite well. We worked all week to defend against them and
it was working. We just needed one more minute.
"After that, the second goal was a fantastic strike. After that we tried to
chase the game and they took advantage of that. We knew the game was going
to be like that. We just needed to stay solid until the end and maybe take a
counter-attacking opportunity but it didn't happen and that's it.
"I can't be too hard on the players. They gave everything again so there is
nothing to say, nothing to complain about."
West Ham gave as good as they got before Scholes' opener, with Jack Collison
and Junior Stanislas both going close to giving the home side the lead.
Defensively, James Tomkins and Danny Gabbidon stood firm, while captain
Scott Parker and Radoslav Kovac worked hard to stifle the combined threat of
Scholes, Gibson and Anderson.
"We tried [to get at Manchester United] but the gameplan was just to wait
for them. They were playing with five midfielders so they were playing three
midfielders and two wingers. I know they were expecting us to go there and
play counterattack so we wanted them to come and do the same to them. It was
working quite well but their goal changed everything.
"The only thing I can say is that we didn't pose too much threat to them.
That's fair enough, but don't forget that they are the champions and we had
a lot of young players in our team, and so it wasn't easy." Already without
the injured Matthew Upson, Valon Behrami, Carlton Cole and Luis Jimenez, as
well as the ill Mark Noble, Zola was forced to reshuffle his pack again when
Zavon Hines was forced off with a knee problem at half-time.
Things got even more difficult when goalkeeper Robert Green was withdrawn
after falling unwell, handing Hungarian youngster Peter Kurucz a first-team
debut in difficult circumstances. "Robert came off because he was feeling
sick. He felt sick at the beginning of the second half and just before the
goal and that's it, really. We didn't take him off straight away because we
thought he could carry on but I don't think it affected the goals we
"Zavon gave everything and we felt sorry for him because he gave everything
and he was excellent in the first half. He felt the knee again and he had to
come off. I don't know what it's going to be but it's not looking good."
With a number of important players sidelined, Zola was keeping his cards
close to his chest regarding possible activity in January. "I have to give
credit to the players because they are giving everything but we'll see. We
need to consider that."
Montano fires U18s
Cristian Montano scored a memorable individual goal as West Ham United U18s
beat Norwich City
West Ham United Under-18s returned to winning ways with a fine 3-1 FA
Premier Academy League victory over Norwich City. Cristian Montano netted a
brace, including a mesmerising individual effort, and Nicky Barrett his
second goal of the season to close the gap on the Group A leaders. Academy
Director Tony Carr said the result would also serve as a morale-booster
ahead of Wednesday evening's FA Youth Cup third-round tie at Plymouth
Argyle. "It was a good win in very heavy conditions," Carr said. "The rain
this week hadn't helped the pitches, but in the first half we played as well
as we've played all season. "We scored early on when Nick Barrett finished
after Robert Hall had squared the ball. Cristian Montano then doubled our
lead with a header from a corner to put us in a commanding position. "We had
chances to score more goals before half-time, which unfortunately Nick and
Cristian could not convert. We went in 2-0 up so I was quite pleased with
the first-half performance. "In the second half they came out and had a
little go at us and pulled a goal back to make it 2-1, but Cristian then
scored a solo goal straight from our kick-off. The ball was touched to him
and he literally ran through their whole team to score. It was unbelievable,
like Diego Maradona. It was really a terrific goal. "They had a player
sent-off with 20 minutes remaining when he brought down Robert with only the
goalkeeper to beat, so they finished with only ten men. "I'm really pleased
with the result, really pleased with the first-half performance and it puts
us in a good frame of mind ahead of Tuesday's game."
West Ham United U18: Loveday, Modelski (Smith), Craig, Sanchez, Brown
(Driver), Barrett (Subuola), Moncur, Wearen, Purdy, Montano, Hall
Hammers paired in draw
England will face Jonathan Spector's United States in their opening game at
the 2010 FIFA World Cup
West Ham United's England contingent will hope to be involved when Fabio
Capello's side open their 2010 FIFA World Cup campaign against Jonathan
Spector's United States.
The two teams, who will compete in Group C alongside Algeria and Slovenia,
will meet on Saturday 12 June. Robert Green, Matthew Upson and Carlton Cole
all helped Capello's men to qualify, meaning there could be four Hammers
involved in what promises to be a mouth-watering tie. Spector is a regular
for his country, usually at right-back.
The fixture comes a day after the finals get under way with Guille Franco's
Mexico having the honour of taking on the hosts straight after the opening
ceremony. Group A is completed with Uruguay and France. The draw was held in
South Africa on Friday night, with David Beckham among those conducting
Valon Behrami and Switzerland will need to get past Spain, Honduras and
Chile in Group H if they are to progress to the second stage. Luis Boa
Morte's Portugal could face a challenge to qualify from Group G after being
put together with Brazil, Ivory Coast and North Korea, with Manuel da Costa
hopeful his form could yet take him into national-team consideration.
England's group fixtures
Saturday 12 June v United States, Rustenberg
Friday 18 June v Algeria, Cape Town
Wednesday 23 June v Slovenia, Nelson Mandela Bay, Port Elizabeth
Draw in full
Group A: South Africa, MEXICO, Uruguay, France
Group B: Argentina, Nigeria, South Korea, Greece
Group C: ENGLAND, UNITED STATES, Algeria, Slovenia
Group D: Germany, Australia, Serbia, Ghana
Group E: Netherlands, Denmark, Japan, Cameroon
Group F: Italy, Paraguay, New Zealand, Slovakia
Group G: Brazil, North Korea, Ivory Coast, PORTUGAL
Group H: Spain, SWITZERLAND, Honduras, Chile
West Ham 0 - 4 Man Utd
By Mark Ashenden
Injury-hit Manchester United ran riot in the second half to see off West Ham
and keep the pressure on Chelsea. A sloppy Ryan Giggs backpass almost let in
Jack Collison before Paul Scholes hammered in the first on half-time. Giggs
set up Darron Gibson to smash home a thunderous second goal before
Alessandro Diamanti went close. Wayne Rooney and Anderson linked up well for
Antonio Valencia to score a third, and Valencia then crossed in for Rooney
to add to the Hammers misery. Despite collecting three points Sir Alex
Ferguson will be concerned with an injury list now totalling eight
first-team defenders after Wes Brown and Gary Neville both picked up knocks.
After a lacklustre opening from both teams with Darren Fletcher starting at
right-back, the Red Devils were grateful for their eventual lead as Giggs
and Michael Carrick were forced to finish the match at the back. Both
Fletcher and Carrick are likely to continue their makeshift defensive roles
in the final Champions League qualifier at Wolfsburg on Tuesday from which
United need a top point to win Group B. Considering there had been more
goals at Upton Park than at any other Premier League ground this season, the
first half was a relatively subdued affair between two sides desperate for
three points at opposite ends of the table. It was Giggs, so outstanding in
recent games, who surprisingly created the first chance for the opposition.
A poor backpass from the Welsh veteran opened the door for Zavon Hines to
cross from the left for Collison at the back post, but Giggs made amends by
battling back to make a last-ditch tackle. Hines, in for the injured Carlton
Cole, spent much of the first half menacing the unfamiliar defence which
included Fletcher because of Nemanja Vidic's illness. Injuries and players
in unusual positions were all set to dominate the talk at the interval until
Scholes picked up the ball on the edge of the box with the last kick of the
half. The 35-year-old, who revealed this week his Old Trafford career may be
in its final phase, chested down a cleared Danny Gabbidon header around
Radoslav Kovac and blasted in brilliantly with his left foot from the edge
of the box. The former England midfielder's 99th Premier League goal was a
dazzling and unexpected way to conclude what was largely a disappointing 45
minutes of football.
West Ham were forced to bring on Diamanti for the injured Hines up front,
but it was not long before his defence was undone for the second time. Giggs
combined with Rooney and burst forward with a typical counter-attack and set
up Gibson on the edge of the box to score his third belter of the week after
his brace in the Carling Cup against Tottenham. Diamanti almost pulled one
back with a curling free-kick but the alert Tomasz Kuszczak palmed the ball
to safety. West Ham were being overpowered by this stage and Rooney and
Anderson worked brilliantly together on the left to leave Valencia to tap in
United's third. Valencia then turned provider and crossed in from the right
for Rooney to make no mistake from six yards moments later. It was a
clinical showing from United and the result means West Ham remain too close
to the bottom three for comfort.
Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson:"It's always a hard place to come
to. Scholes's strike was a great goal to get at an important time. He's
capable of scoring outside the box. It was a wonderful hit."
West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola:"The first goal changed the story of the
game. We were defending well and they didn't create much. "We have no
complaints - our players gave everything. When you play the Champions it's
always difficult and if you give them something they will exploit it. The
second goal killed us."
West Ham Utd 0 Man Utd 4
Filed: Saturday, 5th December 2009
By: Staff Writer
West Ham went down by four to the reigning champions at the Boleyn this
afternoon - just seven days after scoring five.
Alan Curbishley, the predecessor to current boss Gianfranco Zola who is set
to be awarded vast sums of cash as a result of his 'constructive dismissal'
case could never quite fathom why supporters complained about his team's
performances given that the results were, on the whole, positive (including
no less than three wins against today's opponents).
Those complainees registered their disapproval mainly on the basis that the
football was dour, unexciting and not befitting a West Ham team. They got
their wish when Curbishley departed in a fit of pique and the club appointed
Zola, a manager more entrenched in the club's traditions of open, attacking
Yet here we are 15 months on and West Ham are, quite frankly, in a shambolic
state both on and off the field. Zola's attacking philosophy is fine in
principle - but when he is reduced to filling his team with naive
youngsters, bargain-bin finds and cast-offs it is rendered utterly
ineffective, as was the case today when the Irons were embarrassed by a
Manchester side missing a number of key players themselves.
Unfortunately Zola, whose patched-up team had come through 45 minutes
anything but second best was master of his own downfall when he opted to
keep the injured Zavon Hines on the pitch as the opening period drew to a
Hines - who unconfirmed reports claim requires a knee op that would entail a
lenthy post-Xmas lay-off - could barely move, let alone run as the first
half entered added-on time but was instructed to remain on the pitch by
Zola, who was presumably hoping to keep Hines' half-time replacement under
Whatever the reason, the decision backfired as West Ham had no outlet and
the visitors were allowed to keep possession deep in United's half. After a
couple of scares as the ball fizzed across the Irons' box, Paul Scholes
finally broke the deadlock with a 20-yard drive that beat Rob Green at his
right post - much to the displeasure of Zola, who was clearly furious on the
sideline (possibly at his team, himself, or both).
The goal was a massive blow to West Ham, who had given a good account of
themselves in a reasonably even first half. Confidence visibly drained,
their second half performance was a shadow of the first - not for the first
time this season. It's not often that a West Ham team can be accused of
lacking fight when playing the current Premier League champions, but today
was, rather worryingly, one of those occasions.
At the break those not lured to the various in-house bars were treated to a
rare sighting of formerly camera-shy chairman Andrew Bernhardt handing over
a cheque to Stephanie Moore for the Bobby Moore Cancer Fund. Whether the
shock of seeing our current Chairman hand over a cheque was greater than the
appearance itself will forever remain unknown, but following recent
interviews it is clear that the man charged with selling the club to someone
who actually wants to own it is keen to take on a more public persona.
(Rumours that CEO Scott Duxbury had been locked in a cupboard along with
Terry Brown's model boat are thought to be wide of the mark...)
Back to on-pitch affairs, and once the reds doubled their lead on the hour
mark through a thumping drive from Darron Gibson there was only going to be
one outcome - the only question being how bad would it be? Perhaps mindful
of Arsenal's mini-collapse here earlier in the season Man Utd continued to
push on and found little resistance as they went on to score through
Valencia (70 minutes) and Rooney (72) with goals that were reminiscent of
training ground drills, such was the ease at which they cut through West
Ham's hopeless rearguard.
West Ham, spurred on by a dimished Boleyn crowd rallied as the game drew to
its inevitable conclusion and went close to grabbing a consolation first
through James Tomkins' header and an Alessandro Diamanti free kick. Bar
those efforts there had been very little for stand-in 'keeper Tomasz
Kuszczak to do - but West Ham will not be the last team to be outclassed by
their opponents this season.
There will be few crumbs of comfort for Zola on this showing; that's seven
goals now that the Hammers have conceded at the Boleyn without reply - and
all within 90 minutes. Following such a hapless display it would perhaps be
pointless to dwell on the negative aspects, of which we're all painfully
aware, and reflect instead on Peter Kurucz's debut appearance.
Kurucz, who came to England from Hungary earlier this year entered the fray
when number one Rob Green was forced to retire after 73 minutes (the England
goalkeeper had been sick in his goalmouth earlier in the game). The
21-year-old, who has worked closely with coach Ludo Miklosko since moving to
London had little to do but looked reasonably assured between the sticks.
Kurucz was one of no less than five academy products to play against the
current world champions today, with a further two on the bench. With Matthew
Upson, Luis Jimenez, Mark Noble and Carlton Cole (not to mention Dean
Ashton) all absent, Zola's squad is being stretched to its absolute limit -
something that should be considered when the inevitable questions regarding
the manager's ability to do his job arise.
Filed: Wednesday, 2nd December 2009
By: Staff Writer
Carlton Cole is likely to be out of action until early February, it has been
A scan on the knee injury sustained during Saturday's 5-3 win over Burnley
revealed that the England striker had suffered ligament damage - an injury
that is likely to keep him sidelined for around six to eight weeks.
* Swiss midfielder Valon Behrami has undergone surgery this week and is
expected to be out of action until Christmas as a result. There is better
news regarding Matthew Upson however, with the club captain expected to
return in time for the trip to former club Birmingham on December 12th, if
* Also on the road to recovery are Kieron Dyer and Alessandro Diamanti, both
of whom are back training with the first team. Dyer, who featured for the
reserves at Birmingham earlier this week could feature against Manchester
United at the Boleyn this weekend although Diamanti may have to wait a week
later until the trip to St Andrews.
* Mark Noble, who was benched for last weekend's win over Burnley is also
back in contention. The young midfielder was sidelined with a calf injury
before contracting a virus. The 22-year-old former England under-21 could
replace Radoslav Kovac for this weekend's visit of the reigning league
Zola identifies turning point
West Ham manager rues United opener
Last updated: 5th December 2009
Gianfranco Zola felt conceding on the stroke of half-time was pivotal to
West Ham's 4-0 defeat at home to Manchester United. The Hammers had battled
hard to contain the Premier League champions in the first 45 minutes but
they were unable to quite make it to half-time on level terms. Paul Scholes
lashed home a stunning strike from outside the area and there was a much
wider gulf between the sides after the interval as United turned on the
style. Zola was proud of the efforts of his players but left to rue what
might have been had Scholes not scored when he did. "I think the first goal
completely changed the story of the game," he told Sky Sports. "We were
defending very well and they were not creating very much. That goal at the
end of the first half made the game go in a different way.
"No complaints because the players gave everything and when you play the
champions it is always difficult. If you give them something they will
"I think 4-0 was too much but that is the way it is. I think the second goal
killed us a little bit as well. Goalkeeper Robert Green was taken off after
the fourth goal went in because he had felt unwell all day. West Ham have
struggled with injuries all season and Zola admits something needs to be
done to keep all the players fit, although he did not feel Green's condition
contributed to the defeat. "The fact he was ill obviously did not help,"
said Zola. "We have a lot of problems fitness wise at this moment and we
need to find a solution."
United stroll past Hammers
Second-half performance secures easy win
Last updated: 5th December 2009
Man of the match: Ryan Giggs. The Welshman carried United's greatest threat
and was involved in all their best moments.
Goal of the match: All four were good but DarronGibson's was a little bit
special. He curved the ball into the corner of the net with the outside of
his boot after a flowing move involving Giggs and Wayne Rooney.
Save of the match: Tomasz Kuszczak had little to do but did produce an
acrobatic stop high to his right to keep out an Alessandro Diamanti
Moment of the match: United enjoyed a purple patch when they made the game
look beautifully simple and Rooney added a fourth from close range to
complete the scoring.
Talking point: Are West Ham too good to be relegated? Can Manchester United
overhaul Chelsea at the top of the table?
Manchester United kept the pressure on at the top of the table with an
emphatic 4-0 victory away to West Ham. An uninspiring contest exploded into
life on the stroke of half-time when Paul Scholes crashed a powerful volley
past Robert Green from the edge of the area, and United then produced a
superb second-half performance. Darron Gibson then put the Red Devils in
total control with a magnificent goal just after the hour mark and there was
no way back for the Hammers in the closing stages. Antonio Valencia and
Wayne Rooney also struck in quick succession, although Sir Alex Ferguson
will have been concerned to see both Gary Neville and Wes Brown pick up
Ferguson had sent out a makeshift defence to start with, after seeing Rio
Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Jonny Evans all sidelined through injury.
Midfielder Darren Fletcher filled in at right-back with Neville and Brown in
the middle. Yet after half an hour Neville pulled up, clutching the right
side of his groin. It brought the biggest cheer of the afternoon from an
unsympathetic home crowd, saw an angry remonstration between Neville and his
dugout as they pondered a substitution, and led to a reshuffle which saw
midfielder Michael Carrick come on to shore up the centre of midfield. But
Carrick and Fletcher played as if they had defended all their lives in a
match which was long on midfield industry and short on goalmouth thrills
until the visitors took total control in the second half. Of course,
Ferguson, back on the touchline after his two-match ban for criticising
referee Alan Wiley, never fields a side not prepared to shed every last drop
of sweat in the team cause. And with Chelsea threatening to open an
unbridgeable gap at the top of the Premier League before Christmas, this was
a must-win match. But if Scholes caught the eye with that screamer which
goalkeeper Robert Green got his hand to but could only divert into the net,
then United owed this victory as much to Ryan Giggs.
It seems as he nears the end of his career his performances are better than
ever. His surge deep at the heart of the West Ham defence on the hour mark
was a perfect example, skipping past defenders and releasing his pass
perfectly into the stride of Gibson who powered a brilliant strike past
goalkeeper Green to extend United's lead. The strike was as true as that of
Scholes. It might even have been better. True, Tomasz Kuszczak had to make a
superb save a few minutes later when Alessandro Diamanti curled a free-kick
which appeared bound for the top corner. But after that it was all United. A
bright run from Anderson produced a cross which gave Valencia an easy tap-in
after 71 minutes. And more good work from Scholes a minute later sent
Valencia away and his pinpoint cross was steered home by Rooney for the
fourth. It was a trifle harsh on West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola, whose
philosophy apparently remains attack at all cost. But it was also an example
of what being champions really means. Ferguson even saw Brown limp off at
the end, with Giggs finishing the game at left-back and Carrick and Evra in
the centre of defence. Some sides might have buckled with so many defensive
problems. Adversity, as always, seems to bring out the best in United. The
bottom line is that the victory kept them in touch with Chelsea. For West
Ham the relegation fight goes on.
Harry's bid to capture crock Cole
Redknapp homes in on Carlton
Harry Redknapp will ignore Carlton Cole's knee injury and try to sign the
West Ham striker in the New Year. Cole, 26, is out until the end of January
after sustaining knee ligament damage, but that will not put off the Spurs
boss, who has asked chairman Daniel Levy to seal a deal. The Hammers do not
want to lose their star man and have slapped an £11million price-tag on his
shoulders. But they remain in financial turmoil and Tottenham hope to take
advantage by striking an agreement closer to £9m. Former Chelsea striker
Cole has resurrected a career which threatened to veer off track at Stamford
Bridge since moving to West Ham three years ago. And such has been his
coming of age in the last couple of seasons that he has now established
himself as an England squad member and is in contention to be named as Fabio
Capello's fourth striker at next summer's World Cup finals. Injury has
jinxed Cole's season, but a rest between now and the end of January will
leave him fresh for the business end of the campaign.
Attentions Spurs will try to use defender Alan Hutton as a makeweight in any
deal for the player, who would form a fearsome foursome with international
teammates Jermain Defoe and Peter Crouch, and Robbie Keane. If a deal cannot
be done to take Cole -dubbed 'My Lion' by ex-Chelsea boss Claudio Ranieri
-to White Hart Lane, then Redknapp will turn his attentions to 24-year-old
Wigan striker Hugo Rodallega. Either scenario spells the end for Russian
hitman Roman Pavlyuchenko, who will be off-loaded at the first attempt.
Rodallega has bagged six league goals for Wigan this year and would follow
Wilson Palacios's trail from the DW Stadium.
Arsenal set to make January move for West Ham striker Carlton Cole -
Published 23:00 05/12/09 By Steve Stammers
Carlton Cle is the number one target for Arsenal as manager Arsene Wenger
looks to bolster his strike force in next month's transfer window. West Ham
striker Cole is seen as the ideal man to add strength and physical presence
to a forward line that has been left lightweight by the absence through
injury of Robin van Persie and Nicklas Bendtner. And while Danish
international Bendtner will be back within weeks, Van Persie will be lucky
to play any part in Arsenal's season after a severe ankle injury he suffered
while playing for Holland against Italy in an international friendly. Wenger
has conceded he needs to find another front man in January – and Cole fits
the bill. He has improved immensely under Gianfranco Zola's management and
has emerged as a strong contender for the England World Cup squad that goes
to the finals in South Africa next summer. The 26-year-old is out of action
at the moment with a knee injury but should be fit in four weeks. Zola will
not want to sell Cole but cash-strapped West Ham will find an offer of
£15million difficult to resist. The added attraction for Arsenal is that
Cole will be available for the Champions League – and his presence will
allow Wenger to ensure that Bendtner is not over-used in the taxing months
to come. Cole has now developed into one of the most formidable front men in
the Premier League. His career began at Chelsea but stalled on the launchpad
and he had loan spells at the likes of Wolves, Aston Villa and Charlton. But
since Zola took over at Upton Park, Cole has found consistency and is rated
highly by England manager Fabio Capello. Wenger, meanwhile, has hailed
veteran defender Mikael Silvestre for being a huge influence on the club's
young players. "Mikael is a quiet leader," he said. "He is highly respected
in the dressing room. "He's a positive guy who helps the young players. The
best help, of course, is if we can keep winning. For me, he doesn't get
enough praise for both his attitude and his quality. "But he has a job of
marshalling the team. He has an important role to play. He was absolutely
fantastic in our match against Manchester City. His commitment to the cause
in that game was absolutely fantastic."
Stroll in the park as Manchester United cruise past West Ham
David Hytner at Upton Park
guardian.co.uk, Saturday 5 December 2009 17.29 GMT
Paul Scholes has been scoring goals like this for the best part of two
decades and the midfielder's 99th in the Premier League, a trademark shot
from the edge of the penalty area, ensured that Manchester United would not
come unstuck at a ground that had held a few horrors for them over the
The manner, however, of United's pressing home of their advantage served as
a statement of intent that would have been read with most interest at
Stamford Bridge. If Sir Alex Ferguson's team have been erratic, at times,
this season, flattering to deceive with some of their performances, this was
a return to the slickness of old. West Ham, booed off at half-time and
full-time and, on this evidence, contenders for relegation, had no answer.
Robert Green, the goalkeeper, admitted defeat in his personal battle against
illness and went off after the fourth goal, having earlier vomited in his
six-yard box. He was not the only queasy figure in claret and blue. While
Scholes' goal stirred memories of the past, United's clinching second hinted
at what could lie ahead. The impressive Darron Gibson followed his two-goal
performance in the Carling Cup victory over Tottenham Hotspur last Wednesday
with an even more irresistible strike from distance. Lessons have clearly
been learned from the master. Gibson's right-footed first-time blast
climaxed a swift United counter and dumped West Ham on to the canvas.
Ferguson's team showed no mercy and two goals inside a minute added the
gloss to the scoreline. First, Anderson's driven centre from the left
presented Antonio Valencia with a tap-in and then a wonderful move involving
Scholes, Wayne Rooney, the substitute Dimitar Berbatov and Valencia,
finished with Rooney rolling home his 11th club goal of the season. The only
disappointment for Ferguson was a deepening of his defensive injury worries.
Nemanja Vidic was his latest pre-match casualty, with a virus, and so he had
been forced to play the midfielder Darren Fletcher at right-back and Gary
Neville in the middle. Neville, however, lasted only 34 minutes after he
felt his groin tighten. On came Michael Carrick, the former West Ham
midfielder, to fill in at centre-half. United would finish the game with 10
men when, with all three substitutes on, Wes Brown was forced off. Ferguson
said he hoped to have Vidic back for Tuesday night's Champions League tie
against Wolfsburg and added that he was likely to ask Carrick to reprise his
defensive role alongside him. It was incumbent on West Ham that they
examined United's makeshift backline. Their failure grated with their fans.
by Guardian Chalkboards Manchester United were forced to field a makeshift
back four, with Gary Neville at centre-back and Darren Fletcher at
right-back. After Neville's injury, Michael Carrick covered in the centre of
defence. Yet West Ham failed to capitalise, mustering just two shots on
target. An opportunity missed.
West Ham have made strides of sorts since they came back to draw 2-2 here
with Arsenal in October and they might have opened the scoring following a
rare error from Ryan Giggs. His misplaced pass invited Zavon Hines to cross
but Giggs atoned with a saving challenge on Jack Collison. West Ham's
afternoon did not get any better. The United goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak was
required to make only one serious save, from the substitute Alessandro
Diamanti's free-kick in the 62nd minute.
"It was a great performance from us, especially in the second half," said
Ferguson. "Scholes was incredible, he has been doing that for so many years.
West Ham are a very young team and when they went 2-0 down, it was difficult
The reaction of the Upton Park crowd to the half-time whistle reflected the
manner in which United had gradually taken control. United got the goal that
their probing hinted at in first-half injury-time. Giggs weaved on the left,
he crossed and Danny Gabbidon headed clear only as far as the edge of the
penalty area. Radoslav Kovac seemed to have Scholes covered, yet he somehow
allowed the veteran to bring the ball under control and, in one movement,
squeeze past him. Scholes' shot proved too powerful for Green to keep out.
West Ham flickered at the beginning of the second half yet their hopes were
extinguished by Gibson's rocket. Thereafter, it became a question of how
many United would score. The answer brought misery to West Ham's supporters.
West Ham United 0 - 4 Manchester United
Stadium: Upton Park, England
Match Time: 15:00 UK
Peter Walton (Referee)
Updated: December 5, 2009, 8:14 AM UK
Paul Scholes came up with the sort of strike which has been his signature
throughout a fabulous career as Manchester United gave notice that they are
in no mood to give up the chase for their title with a 4-0 win over West
And the way his team-mates slapped his back and ruffled his hair after the
20-yard left-footed thunderbolt had rippled the West Ham net must have gone
some way to end his own doubts.
Only 24 hours before, 35-year-old Scholes had been bemoaning his lot. He
even hinted he might not seek to renew his contract when it runs out at the
end of the season.
Typically honest, he said: "I wouldn't say I was playing some of my best
football. I don't always feel I am making as much of a contribution as I'd
Well, there are few Premier League midfielders who could have bettered the
strike which came in the dying seconds of stoppage-time in the first half of
a contest which was beginning to fray around the edges for Manchester United
boss Sir Alex Ferguson.
Further goals from Darron Gibson, Antonio Valencia and Wayne Rooney made it
comfortable for the visitors after the break.
Ferguson had sent out a makeshift defence to start with, after seeing Rio
Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Jonny Evans all sidelined through injury.
Midfielder Darren Fletcher filled in at right-back with Gary Neville and Wes
Brown in the middle.
Yet after half an hour Neville pulled up, clutching the right side of his
It brought the biggest cheer of the afternoon from an unsympathetic home
crowd, saw an angry remonstration between Neville and his dugout as they
pondered a substitution, and led to a reshuffle which saw midfielder Michael
Carrick come on to shore up the centre of midfield.
Let's give United credit, Carrick and Fletcher played as if they had
defended all their lives in a match which was long on midfield industry and
short on goalmouth thrills until Manchester took total control in the second
Of course, Ferguson, back on the touchline after his two-match ban for
criticising referee Alan Wiley, never fields a side not prepared to shed
every last drop of sweat in the team cause.
And with Chelsea threatening to open an unbridgeable gap at the top of the
Premier League before Christmas, this was a must-win match.
But if Scholes caught the eye with that screamer which goalkeeper Robert
Green got his hand to but could only divert into the net, then United owed
this victory as much to Ryan Giggs.
At 36, Giggs is a contender for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year
award, as much for the longevity of his career at Old Trafford as what he
has done in 2009.
Yet it seems as he nears the end of his career his performances are better
His surge deep at the heart of the West Ham defence on the hour mark was a
perfect example, skipping past defenders and releasing his pass perfectly
into the stride of Gibson who powered a brilliant strike past goalkeeper
Green to extend United's lead.
The strike was as true as that of Scholes. It might even have been better.
True, Tomasz Kuszczak had to make a superb save a few minutes later when
Alessandro Diamanti curled a free-kick which appeared bound for the top
But after that it was all United. A bright run from Anderson produced a
cross which gave Valencia an easy tap-in after 71 minutes.
And more good work from Scholes a minute later sent Valencia away and his
pinpoint cross was steered home by Rooney for the fourth.
It was a trifle harsh on West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola, whose philosophy
apparently remains attack at all cost. But it was also an example of what
being champions really means.
Ferguson even saw Brown limp off at the end, with Giggs finishing the game
at left-back and Carrick and Evra in the centre of defence. Some sides might
have buckled with so many defensive problems. Adversity, as always, seems to
bring out the best in United. The bottom line is that the victory kept them
in touch with Chelsea.
For West Ham the relegation fight goes on.
Sir Alex Ferguson joked that he had to play the "smallest centre half in the
world'' after Manchester United had shrugged aside an injury crisis to beat
West Ham 4-0 at Upton Park.
Ferguson said: "Evra must be the smallest centre half in the world. but he's
a good reader of the game. He's quick and determined. I don't know where I'm
going to get a back four for Wednesday. Probably Nemanja Vidic will be back
from flu and I'll probably play Carrick alongside him.''
It is tribute to the tenacity of the champions that they were able to
overcome an injury list of such debilitating proportions. The casualty list
now includes Rio Ferdinand, Jonny Evans, Vidic, Neville, Edwin van der Sar,
Brown and long-term casualty Owen Hargreaves.
Ferguson added: "The injuries in defence are becoming a bit of a headache to
us. Carrick stepped in and did very, very well. He's got the composure and
the pace and it was a good performance in the second half. We used out
West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola saluted United's quality and revealed that
England goalkeeper Robert Green had been substituted in the 72nd minute
after vomiting in the goalmouth. Zola said: "Their finishing was excellent,
especially the first two goals.
"The first goal changed the game and the second was a fantastic strike. We
tried to chase the game but I cannot be too hard on my players. They gave
everything. Robert Green was feeling sick in the second half and he came off
just before the third goal but I don't think it affected the goals
Zola also revealed that Zavon Hines was substituted at half-time with a knee
problem which "doesn't look good''. The former Chelsea star, who has lost
leading striker Carlton Cole until the New Year, even quipped: "I might have
to put my boots on again. Right now we are short. We didn't pose enough
threat to them. But remember they are the champions and we had young players
in our team.''
West Ham United 0 Manchester United 4: match report
Read a full match report of the Premier League game between West Ham United
and Manchester United at Upton Park on Saturday Dec 5 2009.
By Gerry Cox at Upton Park
Published: 4:45PM GMT 05 Dec 2009
It was men against boys at Upton Park as Wayne Rooney and Ryan Giggs
inspired Manchester United to a thumping victory over a West Ham side now
fighting for Premiership survival. Even though Manchester United had injury
problems of their own, which led to midfielder Michael Carrick playing as an
emergency central defender against the club where he started his career,
they were too strong for Gianfranco Zola's young side. Having thumped
Portsmouth 4-1 at Fratton Park last week, United continued their demolition
of the relegation candidates without ever having to get into top gear.
Rooney played as a lone striker for the first hour or so, and the only
surprise was it took 44 minutes to break down an injury-hit West Ham United.
Paul Scholes made the breakthrough in first-half stoppage time, hitting a
half-volley from the edge of the penalty area with his left-foot after the
home side failed to clear the ball repeatedly.
Robert Green got a hand to the ball but could not stop it, and the England
goalkeeper had to be replaced in the 73rd minute, by which time his side
were dead and buried. Darron Gibson, keeping his place in midfield after
scoring the two goals that beat Tottenham in the Carling Cup on Tuesday,
smashed home another spectacular strike from 25 yards to make it 2-0 on the
hour, Antonio Valencia made it three when he tapped in Anderson's cross from
close range ten minutes later. Within a minute, the Ecuador winger crossed
for Rooney to sidefoot home from six yards, prompting West Ham supporters to
register their protest at their team's plight by leaving in droves. The
result moved United to within two points of Chelsea, before their match at
Manchester City, but leaves West Ham only a point above the relegation zone.