The manager has raised the expectation ahead of the visit of Wigan Athletic
following defeat at Liverpool
Avram Grant has already identified next weekend's vital visit of Wigan
Athletic as hugely significant to the season after the Hammers came up
second best in a 3-0 defeat at Anfield. Liverpool proved too strong on a
disappointing evening in front of 1,900 travelling fans who had arrived full
of hope of a first victory away to the Reds in 47 years despite the absence
of Scott Parker with a chest infection. What they saw was Glen Johnson, Dirk
Kuyt and Maxi Rodriguez fire first-half goals that put Liverpool in full
control and they were to cruise to victory. The one-sided scoreline was a
repeat of the previous trip to Liverpool back on 19 April - the last time
Parker was absent - but Grant can take comfort from the fact the Hammers
followed the 3-0 setback with a stirring 3-2 home win against Wigan seven
days later. In that pulsating contest, Parker was back in the ranks and
stole the show with an electrifying strike that proved the pivotal moment of
the campaign. "It was not a good performance," said Grant as he faced the
press at Anfield after a match in which Robert Green had to be at his best
to deny Liverpool even more goals. "In the last weeks we have performed
well, better than our opponents, but we didn't win. Today we deserved to
lose. "It was not easy but I can take some positives from the second half.
It showed that it is not easy to break us even in a bad situation. "We have
to take that spirit into the next game against Wigan because that is very
important for us. We need to win. Even if there are a lot of games left we
need to start winning now."
Although lamenting Parker's absence when asked about the impact of the No8
missing out, along with Manuel da Costa, Kieron Dyer and Valon Behrami,
Grant refused to dwell on his selection headaches for too long. "The
movement was not good. We didn't play well. We conceded in the second phase
of a corner [for the Johnson goal] and a penalty [for the second from Kuyt]
that was not a dangerous situation. "As well as Parker, we missed a lot of
players that were in good shape. Even without them we should have performed
better - as we did for the second half."
He also understood the supporters' frustration and rejected outright
reporters' questions that had suggested crowd discontent affected his
players. "The fans are always right. They came all the way. They wanted to
see a good performance and they didn't see that. That is what is important.
It was not because of the supporters that we didn't perform. They are always
right behind the team."
With Wigan's next visit to the Boleyn followed by Manchester United in the
Carling Cup quarter-finals on Tuesday week, the manager remains committed to
the task and retains the belief that the story of the season could change
quickly. "I am concerned only with my job and what I can affect. "I will not
only analyse this game but will remember the way we played in the other
games in recent weeks. We can still do a good job in this situation and take
ourselves out of it."
U18s shoot down Gunners
Dylan Tombides scored the only goal of the game as West Ham United U18s beat
Dylan Tombides scored the only goal of the game as West Ham United defeated
Arsenal 1-0 in the FA Premier Academy League. The Australia U17 striker was
on target following a flowing move down the right flank involving George
Moncur and Blair Turgott. Academy Director Tony Carr MBE was delighted with
his side's display as they followed up a 3-2 victory over Chelsea with
another outstanding result. "It was our best performance of the season. It
was a very good all-round team display and a great day," Carr confirmed. "In
terms of our togetherness, we could be faulted. Arsenal could not have
complained if we'd won three or four-nil. It all came together in terms of
our work ethic and football. I'm very pleased. "Our goal was superb. It was
a good move down the right-hand side. George Moncur played in Blair Turgott
and he squared for Dylan, who controlled and drilled a right-foot shot into
West Ham U18s have a weekend off next Saturday before travelling to Norwich
City on Saturday 4 December and hosting Aldershot Town at the Boleyn Ground
in the FA Youth Cup third round on Tuesday 7 December.
West Ham United U18s: Mehmet, Modelski (Chambers 75), Driver, Hunt, Sanchez,
Moncur, Wearen, Turgott, Lletget (Hall 80), Tombides (Hurley 82), Vose
Liverpool 3 - 0 West Ham
Maxi Rodriquez put Liverpool three goals up against West Ham in the 38th
By Chris Whyatt
Liverpool's first-half barrage secured an easy win over a West Ham side that
looked worryingly weak at Anfield. Former Hammer Glen Johnson cracked a low
shot past over-worked Robert Green to give the hosts an 18th-minute lead.
Dirk Kuyt then coolly slotted home a penalty after lively Fernando Torres
had caused Danny Gabbidon to handle. Maxi Rodriquez nodded in a simple third
before half time, while bottom-of-the-table West Ham created nothing in a
largely stale second period. Now with just one win in 14 Premier League
matches this season, Avram Grant's Hammers were desperate for something
positive from their trip to the north-west - a performance if not a tangible
result - to convince supporters that their team is not destined for
But, at a ground where the club has not won since 1963, the Irons put in a
poor show - one which could increase pressure on Grant just days after his
board backed him to steer them clear of trouble. The visitors - who have not
won a league match on the road since the opening day of last season - were
almost completely compliant, offering little resistance to a club equally in
need of some cheer. And Roy Hodgson's determined team got it, despite the
absence of injured captain Steven Gerrard, as they played with intent and
energy to claim a fifth win in seven matches. Impressive French youngster
David Ngog forced a good early stop from Green after jinking his way into
space before Raul Meireles, who appears to be winning over the Kop faithful,
just failed to release Torres.
In the 10th minute, the Spaniard got his first chance after Ngog had danced
across a line of dallying defenders. But the World Cup winner smashed a low
shot just wide of the post as the hosts set about dominating possession with
almost embarrassing ease. Radoslav Kovac did make a superb block with Torres
ready to pounce again, before Meireles's stinging shot was tipped over by
Green. But the barriers inevitably burst, and it was England right-back
Johnson who made the breakthrough. Competing for the ball under more
pressure from his team-mates than the opposition, he managed to chest a
Meireles corner into space before zipping a low drive firmly past Green with
consummate technique. Johnson then did his defensive duties with a clearing
header from a Kovac cross with Obinna lurking, but Liverpool continued to
flood forward. Torres - full of inventive running but still not yet hitting
peak form - escaped easily down the wings time after time, but failed to
find well-positioned team-mates in the box. And - when Johnson chipped a
cross to the back post - the former Atletico Madrid forward could only scuff
a volley into the ground. But Torres won the 27th-minute penalty, chipping
the ball over Matthew Upson's foot onto Gabbidon's hand to leave the
linesman flagging furiously for a spot kick. Dutchman Kuyt finished down the
middle as Green dived too early.
Full of frustration, West Ham's travelling support even began chanting the
name of former player Paulo Di Canio as Lars Jacobson frantically cleared
off the line following a desperate scramble in the box. A decent chance did
fall to Carlton Cole soon after, though the occasional England striker could
not convert Luis Boa Morte's cross despite climbing high above the hosts
captain Jamie Carragher to make a clean connection. Yet that was a rare
opening for a side seeming to lack any inspiration, and Liverpool added a
crushing third soon after. From a narrow angle, rampant Torres forced a
smart save from the feet of Green but former Hammer Paul Konchesky steered a
cross straight back into the box and Maxi angled a simple header across the
Grant did make a change at the break, bringing Victor Obinna off for Pablo
Barrera, and changed his formation from 4-5-1 to 4-4-2. But tactics seemed
to have little relevance for the ambition-free Hammers as they failed to
make any impression on the second 45 minutes, bar keeping a clean sheet and
keeping the score respectable. That tiny chink of consolation was threatened
in the 67th minute, when Maxi burst forward into the box and almost lifted
an inadvertent chip into the top corner of Green's goal from the left. But
the ball drifted just past the post before going out. Green then made a
stunning double stop when, firstly, he pushed Torres' powerful 20-yard shot
onto the bar before tipping Christian Poulsen's equally impressive effort
around the post. The rest of the action resembled a testimonial match as
Liverpool closed out a win which will put each club in contrasting moods.
Avram Grant blames injuries for West Ham defeat
West Ham boss Avram Grant shrugged off the reaction of angry Hammers fans to
blame his team's defeat at Liverpool on the absence of injured players.
Despite making their disapproval of the team's performance in the 3-0 loss,
Grant said the supporters were "great". But the Israeli added: "But they
must know it is not easy to play with so many players that couldn't play."
He cited central midfielders Scott Parker, Kieron Dyer and Valron Behrami as
key absentees from his team. Defenders Tal Ben Haim and Manuel Da Costa are
also out with injury or illness, along with Jack Collison and Thomas
Hitzlsperger, and Grant selected a team with only one recognised central
midfielder - Mark Noble - for the club's disappointing defeat at Anfield.
West Ham remain bottom of the Premier League on nine points, having won just
one of their 14 matches. "In the past few weeks we played well and we didn't
win games we deserved to win," Grant told BBC Sport after a match in which
travelling supporters chanted 'you're getting sacked in the morning' at
the former Chelsea and Portsmouth boss. "But we didn't come into the game in
the first half, though in the second I was happy with the response of the
players. "The players looked like they wanted to succeed in this game, but
something's not going well. "We didn't play well like we did in the last
"It was not like we played against Arsenal [in a narrow 1-0 defeat], maybe
because so many players were missing in the key area of central midfield.
But we'll take the second-half performance and I'm sure we can win one of
the next games, because they are games we can win."
Five points adrift of safety, West Ham face Wigan before travelling to
Sunderland in their next two league matches. Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson
said he was pleased with the way his side coped without the inspirational
qualities of captain Steven Gerrard, as the match was won comfortably thanks
to first-half goals from Glen Johnson, Dirk Kuyt and Maxi Rodriguez. "It was
important to win and I think we did it in some style," said Hodgson. "We
knew what we had to do. "We were concerned we would have to do it without
Steven and Lucas Leiva [who was suspended], but the players selected did
really well. We got the three points we needed and we got it with not only a
good performance, but a thoroughly professional performance."
Grant remains confident
Under-pressure boss brushes off sack speculation
Last updated: 20th November 2010
Avram Grant remains convinced that he can prove a success at West Ham
despite increased speculation about his future following Saturday evening's
defeat at Liverpool. The Hammers remain stuck at the bottom of the Premier
League after first-half goals from Glen Johnson and Maxi Rodriguez
sandwiched a Dirk Kuyt penalty. Grant was taunted with chants of, 'you're
getting sacked in the morning' but he brushed those aside. "The fans are
always right. They came all the way and want to see a good performance and
they saw us not so good in the first half," he said. "I am concentrating on
my job. Even now in this situation we can get out of this.
"If I can take West Ham to the place I want to take them that is what is
important. "The minute I think I cannot do my job I will not be here." He
added: "We were very poor first half. We didn't come to the game, our
movement was not good," he said. "I think we missed a lot of players who are
in good shape, we were without four players who have played well in recent
weeks. "In the last weeks we have performed well but today we deserved
Grant future under scrutiny
Speculation mounts over patience of Sullivan and Gold
Last updated: 20th November 2010
Man of the match: Raul Meireles. Pulled all the strings in midfield as
Liverpool exploited the space allowed by the Hammers.
Goal of the match: None were classics, but Liverpool's third was certainly
the best. Paul Konchesky whipped in a perfect cross from the left for Maxi
Rodriguez to score with a glancing header.
Save of the match: Liverpool looked certain to go 4-0 in front when Fernando
Torres shot from the edge of the area, but Robert Green did brilliantly to
dive full length to his right and tip it onto the bar.
Moment of the match: Liverpool's first goal set them on their way as that
familiar losing feeling returned to West Ham heads. Glen Johnson had acres
of space to chest a corner down and fire through the crowd.
The future of Avram Grant as West Ham manager was plunged into deeper
uncertainty following a horribly lifeless 3-0 defeat to Liverpool at
Glen Johnson, who was under pressure to perform on his return to fitness, a
Dirk Kuyt penalty and a Maxi Rodriguez header ensured the game was as good
as over by half-time. The three points also eased the troubles of Liverpool
boss Roy Hodgson after last weekend's defeat at Stoke, but the wider
implications focused upon the position of Grant, whose side now sit five
points from safety at the foot of the Premier League. Anfield fans chanted,
'you're getting sacked in the morning' at West Ham's boss and it remains to
be seen whether the patience of co-chairmen David Sullivan and David Gold
will remain after a winless run in the league was stretched to eight
matches. It was hardly a proper test of being able to cope without talisman
Steven Gerrard but Liverpool did more than enough to dispose of a woeful
West Ham. With the captain out for a month with a hamstring tear manager
Hodgson called for his players to step up to fill the void and the league's
bottom side provide the perfect opposition. Raul Meireles looked better in a
more accustomed central position, filling Gerrard's place, while Johnson and
Rodriguez also did well and even the much-criticised Christian Poulsen had
his best game since joining in the summer.
If there was one criticism it was that Hodgson's side eased up so much after
the break they lost all the momentum and rhythm built up in the first half.
But they never looked in danger of conceding and the clean sheet was Jose
Reina's 134th in all competitions, taking him past Tommy Lawrence into
fourth on the club's all-time list.
West Ham's league record at Anfield is woeful, as they have not won this
fixture for 47 years and scored just four Premier League goals in 16
The writing was on wall early on as David Ngog forced Robert Green into a
low save to his left before Rodriguez and Fernando Torres both fired wide.
Green's goal was being peppered even if the goalkeeper was not being
properly extended but that changed in the 18th minute when Raul Meireles'
long-range effort was tipped over by the England international. Meireles
swung over the corner and Johnson chested it down before drilling a low shot
straight down the middle of the goal with the goalkeeper unsighted by Danny
It was the first time since the opening weekend of the season a Liverpool
goal had not been scored or created by Torres or Gerrard. England full-back
Johnson, criticised by manager Roy Hodgson earlier this month for his poor
form, appeared to have got the message on his comeback from a three-match
injury absence. He was a major force down the right in the first half and
his cross set up Torres but he uncharacteristically fluff his first-time
shot. But the Spain international contributed to the second goal as it was
his flick into the penalty area which bounced off Matthew Upson on to the
arm of Gabbidon, allowing Kuyt to roll home a 27th-minute penalty.
Gabbidon was better placed to hook Torres' volley away from an empty net
after Green failed to properly clear a Meireles free-kick. The goalkeeper
did better in blocking Torres' shot with his legs but was powerless to stop
Paul Konchesky whipping in the rebound to the unmarked Rodriguez, the
smallest man in the penalty area, who guided the ball inside the far post
with his head. When Victor Obinna blasted a shot from close range into the
top tier of the Anfield Road stand despondent Hammers fans replied with,
'that's why we're going down'. The second half had much less to offer than
the first as both teams knew the game was over and while West Ham continued
to fail to pose a threat Liverpool were content to coast safe in the
knowledge the three points were already wrapped up. Had it not been for
Green the score would have been double as he tipped Torres' fierce shot onto
the crossbar at full stretch and, in the same move, then turned Poulsen's
long-range effort around his left-hand post. Substitute Fabio Aurelio,
making only his second appearance since the end of August, also drove just
over.Liverpool missed the chance to claw back another position or two in the
table by failing to improve their goal difference but that was the least of
their worries after some indifferent recent performances. For West Ham and
Grant the problems continue to mount.
Woeful Hammers provide no test
By Richard Jolly, Anfield
November 20, 2010
Humour, cruelty and piercing honesty can go hand in hand on the terraces.
The greater a club's plight, the more illuminating the insights from the
supporters can prove, and the more absurd their flights of fancy can become.
If it tends to be worth watching the side at the top of the league, it's
instructive to listen to the fans at the foot of the division.
West Ham's faithful provided more entertainment than their embarrassment of
a side mustered at Anfield. In a match that had been billed as a private
duel between the leaders of the sack race, respite for Roy represented
anguish for Avram. On the field, an impressive Liverpool side were his
tormentors; off it, his own fans were.
Taunted and mocked, it made for a harrowing 90 minutes for Avram Grant. A
manager who can look beleaguered at the best of times cut a lonely figure.
He didn't respond when the visiting supporters in the Anfield Road Stand
asked for a wave; little wonder, either.
They, rather than their Liverpool counterparts, were the ones suggesting he
would be sacked in the morning; they advocated Paolo Di Canio, loudly and
regularly, as his replacement; they chorused "that's why we're going down"
when Victor Obinna's shot landed in the upper tier of the Anfield Road
Stand; they chanted "Avram, sign him up" when referee Lee Probert
intercepted a pass from Christian Poulsen; they borrowed Barnsley's chant of
"it's just like watching Brazil" and laced it with irony.
The facts can provide a rationale to underpin the words. Grant has four wins
in 34 league games, a solitary victory in his time at Upton Park and has
spent a whole year in the relegation zone. Portsmouth, admittedly, was a
poisoned chalice of a job. West Ham represented an opportunity.
Yet, with seven signings made and a squad that, man for man, certainly isn't
the weakest in the division, the Hammers remain a one-man team. And when
that one man is missing, as Scott Parker was, it left a gaping void in the
centre of midfield. Important as the injured Steven Gerrard is to Liverpool,
West Ham's talismanic No. 8 seems still more significant to his club.
Grant, whose mumbled moanings have become a constant, accepted defeat was
justified but attempted to use injuries as an excuse, though Liverpool have
as many absentees. "The minute I think I cannot do my job, I will not be
here," he said. "If I can take West Ham to the place I can take them, that's
important to me."
The concern is that their destination is the Championship. "In the first
half, we were very poor," he admitted. They were dreadful. The opening 45
minutes amounted to a surrender. Waves of attacks yielded three goals and
could have brought more. It had been an example of Liverpool's reliance upon
their two marquee players that the last time they scored a league goal that
didn't involve Fernando Torres or Gerrard, either as creator or finisher,
was the opening day of the season. This was a game where there were plenty
of willing contributors in the final third.
"We have showed we are more than just a two-man team," said Dirk Kuyt after
his penalty was sandwiched by strikes from Glen Johnson and Maxi Rodriguez.
The opener came from a new combination, Raul Meireles' corner being met by
Johnson on his chest before the former Hammer was allowed to drill in a low
Then Kuyt converted from 12 yards after Danny Gabbidon handled a pass from
Torres before Robert Green denied the Spaniard, only for the rebound to fall
for the on-rushing Paul Konchesky. He whipped in a cross and Rodriguez
diverted his header
ohnson helps Reds shrug off the loss of Gerrard
Liverpool 3 West Ham United 0
By Simon Hart at Anfield
Sunday, 21 November 2010
Avram Grant once came to Merseyside to study Bob Paisley's methods when
Liverpool were dominating English football in the 1970s. If that visit
provided illumination, this trip will have only brought dark thoughts as
Liverpool's comprehensive victory underlined the size of the task he faces
to lift West Ham United off the bottom of the table.
And that is if the Israeli is given the chance. Despite vice-chairman Karren
Brady's words of support for Grant in midweek, West Ham have won only once
in the Premier League this season and this defeat, which ended a run of
three draws, had the away fans chanting: "You're getting sacked in the
morning." Liverpool were out of sight by the interval, the hosts' bright
display in the first half having been rewarded by goals from Glen Johnson,
Dirk Kuyt, from the penalty spot, and Maxi Rodriguez.
"We were very poor first half," admitted Grant, though he was defiant about
his ability to revive the Londoners' fortunes. "The minute I think I cannot
do my job I will not be here. But I am sure I can do a good job and take the
While Grant rued the absence of Scott Parker – victim of a chest infection –
along with Valon Behrami, Kieron Dyer and Manuel da Costa, for once
Liverpool did not miss Steven Gerrard, sidelined by the hamstring injury
sustained on England duty, as they bounced back from last weekend's
disappointment at Stoke City, climbing to ninth on the back of this third
straight home victory.
Liverpool's manager Roy Hodgson said: "We were concerned to some extent we
would have to do it without Steven Gerrard and [the suspended] Lucas Leiva
but luckily the players selected today did really well."
Johnson set the tone for Liverpool's performance with a surging run into the
box in the opening minute that won the game's first corner.
David Ngog, starting alongside Fernando Torres, had a low effort saved by
Robert Green soon after and Liverpool's early pressure paid off through
Johnson's opening goal.
After Green had tipped over Raul Meireles's strike, the midfielder swung
over a corner that Johnson, emerging from a cluster of players, took on his
chest before firing low past Green.
Hodgson had been critical last week of Johnson's performances this season
but he was full of praise for the defender on his return from injury. "I
thought he was full of running, and he scored a very important goal."
Liverpool's second came when Danny Gabbidon handled in the box as Torres
sought to burst through. Kuyt, following a tip from Gerrard, beat Green down
Liverpool's third came from Rodriguez. Although Green foiled Torres with his
feet, Paul Konchesky crossed the ball back into the middle where the
unmarked Argentinian steered a header inside the far post.
West Ham created only one chance in the second half and that was in injury
time when Frédéric Piquionne headed wide from Pablo Barrera's cross. Pepe
Reina's only save of the half came when Piquionne's cross almost dipped
beneath the crossbar.
Green managed to spare West Ham further embarrassment with two flying stops,
first turning a searing Torres strike on to the crossbar, then tipping
behind Christian Poulsen's 20-yard drive.
Referee: Lee Probert
Man of the match: Johnson
Match rating: 7/10