The manager was delighted with the way his men kept going to earn a battling
point against Everton
Avram Grant was left to lament a little on what might have been after seeing
his side earn a battling point in a 1-1 draw against Everton in challenging
circumstances. While the visitors arrived on the back of an eight-day rest,
the Hammers took to the immaculate Boleyn Ground pitch little more than 48
hours after a gruelling 3-1 victory at Fulham on Sunday. As a result, the
manager was thrilled with the effort of his players, especially as he had to
make four changes before kick-off and then saw two more - Herita Ilunga and
Frederic Piquionne - limp off with muscle problems. "We have just played two
games in three days," said Grant. "I am delighted and impressed by the boys'
effort. They gave everything and their movement and pressing was good
throughout. I am very pleased with their commitment."
The Hammers had opened the scoring after Radoslav Kovac's hooked volley had
forced a Tony Hibbert own goal only for Seamus Coleman to level just before
half-time as he struck to finish off a superb team move. That said, Carlton
Cole - the two-goal hero at Fulham - spurned a tremendous second-half
opportunity after Freddie Sears had provided a perfect cross. "We could have
won the game with a big chance of Coley at the end to score. We had chances
to win but the most important thing was that you saw the players give
everything from start to finish. It is not easy to do what they did,
especially against a team that was so fresh. "Normally we would prefer to
play Everton with equal preparation. The fact we looked so fresh was because
of the effort of the players. We started well because we have been working
hard all week. Unfortunately when you have a chance to kill, you have to
take it. We didn't this time but this is football and in our best moment
they scored a goal. "I would have taken four points from two games before
the Fulham and Everton matches but of course when you are playing well you
always want more. We are improving and it is not easy when we are having to
change the squad every week. I am very impressed. We even needed to make
changes during the match but we kept going."
The manager will hope to have Valon Behrami back in contention on Saturday
after a couple of days solid training at Chadwell Heath while Mark Noble has
also stepped up his return and it is hope he is not too far away. January
will also bring the transfer window and the possibility of one or two, or
even three, new faces. Whoever pulls on the claret and blue, the manager is
confident that the spirit will see the side through. "The confidence is
growing in the players, although the were like this before. I said many
times they saw the difference between losing and taking points was only
small because we dominated so many games. We had a good win two days ago and
with a bit more freshness we could have taken the points again. We will do
our best against Wolves."
Parker keeps on going
Inspirational midfielder Scott Parker was on top of his game in the 1-1 draw
with Everton on Tuesday
Scott Parker has spoken of the confidence flowing through the West Ham
United ranks after another man of the match display. The peerless midfielder
was singled out by Sky Sports for his box-to-box brilliance in the 1-1 draw
against Everton that saw him tireless from start to finish. Parker summed up
the spirit in the camp by saying the team were actually disappointed to only
get a point against a team that had beaten high-fliers Manchester City in
their previous outing. He said: "Obviously after going one-nil up, we are a
little bit disappointed. We needed to win today. But in saying that, we have
come off a good result against Fulham and we have been unbeaten. We have not
lost the game."
After 1-1 draws against Blackburn Rovers and Everton sandwiched the terrific
3-1 away win at Fulham, Parker said the team would be on a high for the
visit of Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday. "We have got an important game
against Wolves at the weekend and this is something to build on. There were
definitely some positives in the game and only a little bit of a lack of
concentration at the end of the first half saw them score. "We have
confidence definitely and it has been there all year although there are
times when it gets a bit edgy and it is bound to when you are bottom of the
league. You aren't going to be flowing all the time but every one of us is
confident that we can get ourselves out of this."
West Ham 1 - 1 Everton
Seamus Coleman capitalised on some slack West Ham defending to score
By Phil McNulty
Chief football writer at Upton Park
West Ham United remain in the Premier League relegation zone after they were
held to a draw by Everton at Upton Park. Avram Grant's side hoped to build
on their Boxing Day win at Fulham and took an early lead when Everton
defender Tony Hibbert turned into his own net for the second successive
season at West Ham. David Moyes's side responded in spirited fashion and
fully deserved the equaliser that came from Irish youngster Seamus Coleman
three minutes before the interval when he converted Tim Cahill's cross. Both
sides then had opportunities to claim three points as West Ham substitute
Carlton Cole wasted a glorious opportunity and Hammers keeper Robert Green
saved well from Cahill and Marouane Fellaini late on.
Grant will ultimately be satisfied with a point against an Everton team
coming into the game off the back of an outstanding win at Manchester City
and who were also rested after their Boxing Day game against Birmingham City
at Goodison Park was the victim of the big freeze. West Ham's boss has now
completed the three games that were believed to be crucial in deciding his
future and has hauled in five points - which he will hope is enough for him
to be entrusted with the task of freshening up his squad in January. Everton
boss Moyes will once again curse his side's desperate lack of cutting edge
as they failed to turn the majority of possession to goals. And his lack of
faith in his strike force was betrayed by the decision to play Cahill up
front and leave Yakubu, Jermaine Beckford and Louis Saha on the bench at the
start. Cole's reward for his match-winning two-goal performance at Craven
Cottage was relegation to the bench while Everton suffered a blow when
England defender Phil Jagielka was ruled out with a thigh injury suffered at
Everton settled more quickly and Sylvain Distin was let down by poor control
when presented with a good early chance, his first touch making his angle
too tight before he shot across the face of goal. It was West Ham who took
the lead after 16 minutes in scrappy circumstances. Everton keeper Tim
Howard could only push out James Tomkins' header as captain Phil Neville
appeared to obscure his view and when Kovac turned the ball back in Hibbert
unwittingly diverted the ball into his own net. West Ham enjoyed a brief
period of superiority, but Everton's composed approach play deserved a
reward and it came with an equaliser three minutes before the interval.
Mikel Arteta, back after a three-game ban, found Cahill in space on the left
and his accurate cross to the far post was met by the unmarked Coleman, who
had no trouble beating Green with an accomplished finish. Scott Parker, as
ever, was the architect of most of West Ham's good work and he almost
restored their lead immediately with a delicate chip that caught Howard off
his line but drifted just over the top.
West Ham, who lost Herita Ilunga to injury in the first half, made another
change after 56 minutes when striker Cole was introduced in place of
Frederic Piquionne. Everton made a change of their own just after the hour
when Yakubu, a summer transfer target for West Ham, replaced Jack Rodwell as
Moyes opted for a move positive approach. West Ham then created the best
opportunity of the second half when Freddie Sears picked out Cole at the far
post, but the sure touch he showed at Fulham deserted him and he directed a
tame finish off target with only Howard to beat. Everton's shortage of goals
has been their Achilles heel this season as they have developed an
over-reliance on Cahill. The Australian almost did the trick again with 11
minutes left with a close-range effort that brought Green to his knees to
save. Green followed this up with a reaction save from the giant figure of
Fellaini as the Belgian directed Leighton Baines' corner towards goal. It
was the final opportunity of the game as both managers were forced to settle
for a share of the points.
Grant: Sidwell to sign 'this week'
Filed: Wednesday, 29th December 2010
By: Staff Writer
Avram Grant has confirmed that a deal to bring midfielder Steve Sidwell in
on loan is almost complete. The 28-year-old Aston Villa player is set to
complete a six-month loan switch to the Hammers ahead of the opening of the
winter transfer window, which starts this Saturday (1st January). Speaking
tonight after West Ham's 1-1 draw with Everton in reply to a question
regarding possible transfer window business, Grant said: "I will not speak
about names while we are checking everything. We analyse our situation all
the time with the various injured players. "But it's not a secret that one
of our targets is Steve Sidwell - we are hoping to complete the transfer
The Wandsworth-born midfielder began his career at Arsenal but failed to
make a single first team appearance for the Gunners before joining Reading
in 2003. Under the tutelege of Steve Coppell, he became an integral part of
the team that fired the Royals into the Premier League for the first time in
their history. Such a success was he at the Madejski Stadium, Chelsea
snapped him up on a free transfer in the summer of 2007. However his career
at Stamford Bridge lasted for just a year and after 15 appearances for the
Blues, he joined Villa for a fee of around £5million. Since Gérard Houllier
succeeded Martin O'Neill at Villa Park a month into the current campaign,
the out-of-favour Sidwell has made just four Premier League appearances -
plus two in the Carling Cup. Grant also confirmed that he will be looking to
make several further signings during January - with no players expected to
Grant on... Everton
Filed: Tuesday, 28th December 2010
By: Staff Writer
Avram Grant reflects on a hard-fought draw against Everton - and looks ahead
to the January transfer window...
Avram: not many chances tonight, was a draw a fair result?
First I want to say that it's a sad day for me. One of my friends, Avi Cohen
- who played for Liverpool, Rangers and captained the Israeli national team
- passed away this week in tragic circumstances, a car accident. I want to
give my sympathy to his wife Dorit, his son Tamir who is playing for Bolton
and all his family. It's very sad; he was a great man, a great person who
was always very lively and with a smile on his face. For me it's very sad.
About the game today; I think that in the first half we were on top of them.
We scored a goal, we could have scored more, we passed the ball very well
but in one of our best moments they scored a goal. We always think that it's
our mistake. In the second half we had a big chance to win the game from
Coley who didn't do it.
But the most important thing of all [is that] I'm very, very pleased with
the boys and their effort. It's not easy to play two games in 48 hours, this
is the only country that plays two games in 48 hours [during the] Christmas
period. I like it; when I was a child I came to see the games, now I'm
really, really pleased to be part of it.
But I think they need to think about equal chances because if you're
involved in sport - it doesn't matter what, basketball, athletics - you know
that to play two games in 48 hours is difficult, but it's okay if both teams
have equal chances.
When one team needs to play and the other comes fresh it's a big advantage,
so I think they need to think about this because as you can see with our
players, at first we needed to change the team - put players who played well
on Sunday on the bench or not play at all. Becuase of this I'm very pleased
with their efforts, everybody gave 100 per cent.
Is that why Carlton [Cole] was on the bench?
Yes, because he played fantastic at Craven Cottage and gave fantastic
effort. When I picked the team in this situation, also speaking with the
[sports] science and medical people for their advice, we knew that because
of his history it could cause him damage - so he was on the bench.
Four points from two games over Christmas; is that as good as you expected?
Are you happy with that?
I think yes, it's good. You know, you always expect more but to win at
Fulham; Fulham is a difficult [place] to win [at], they got a good result
today and they're a good team. Blackburn won today and we drew with them.
I think the most important [thing] is that we close the gap between good
games two points because we've played many games [where we were] better than
the other team but didn't take points. Now I think we are more efficient,
even though we didn't win today. But I think that, if you think about the
circumstances, it was a good point and a good effort from the guys.
Saturday's game [against Wolves] perhaps more important than today's?
I think it's very important but you, the media, [have been] asking me this
question for three or four months! My target is for you to continue to ask
me this question [as] it means we are in a place where we can be safe - and
this is our target. I think that we are on the right track, in the last
three games we've seen a lot of improvement by taking points. It's good, but
we need to win [on] Saturday against a team that are a very good team.
I don't think that there are any weak teams in this league. It is maybe the
first year that there's not even one weak team. We play against Wolves and I
think they owe us something because we scored a goal against them that was
disallowed in the last minute.
Having gone in front tonight were you disappointed at the way the equaliser
came? The defending?
Always when you concede a goal you think you could do better, you know. In
every goal for every team you can defend better, but I think it was a little
bit... It was a few minutes after Ilunga - who played well today after a
long time injured - [was substituted] and it was maybe a little bit of
confusion. I think the defence have been doing a very good job in the last
Come January, players like Piquionne, Obinna, Parker and Upson may leave. Do
you know if the owners want to sell them to bring money in?
Look - come January there are the January stories. At the beginning of the
season there were a lot of stories for the next few weeks - not even one of
them was true, from our point of view.
So they'll all be staying?
Yes. Unless someone will offer around £25million for Piquionne, then we'll
think about it. I'm not sure we will do it, but we'll think about it...
Can you clarify about Carlton Cole - was he just too tired to play tonight,
or was he injured?
No, he wasn't injured - but we want to avoid injury because we know that
it's difficult for him to play two games in 48 hours. Also we ask the
players; four or five players didn't play today because of this and I hope
we haven't picked up one more injury with Freddie Piquionne.
Carlton wanted to play but you just rested him?
All the players want to play all the time, do you see any players that don't
want to play?
One thing nobody can take from you - Robert Green. Under your management you
have brought his confidence back?
I think he started the league [campaign] not so good. I told Robert that
[in] every press conference at the beginning of the season 20 minutes was
about him - and not because he's very handsome! Now I say 'because you are
playing well, nobody asks me about you'.
If you remember, all the games at the beginning of the season you were
critical of him - and I understand it because it was after the World Cup.
But I say it again - sport is good because you can always answer on the
pitch. In the last two months you've not asked even one question about him;
it means that he's doing his job on the pitch. It's good.
Is Saturday possibly one of the biggest games in your managerial career?
I don't think like this, all games are big games. If you remember, three
months ago you were saying 'this is a big game, this is a big game'... As
long as we are in a place where we can say it's a big game. The game against
Wolves will be a big game as will the game against Newcastle. But I think
that when we are playing at home and have the momentum, even though they are
good teams our target is to win the game.
The fact that Wolves are so close to you; the outcome, if they win, means
they go further ahead of you and it could be quite difficult to come back?
You know, I was speaking with the players [and asking them] to think
positively and not think what happens if not. Wolves would be three points
behind us if the referee's decision at Wolves was good - it was one of our
best games, at Wolves. So we want to win.
Have you had assurances from the owners that you will have money to spend to
strengthen your squad in January?
I don't need to tell you that we have £100million of debt - it's not small
money and they are trying to do everything to stabalise the situation. But
even with this, they know that we need to make the team stronger. For
example, today we didn't have one midfield player on the bench. It's not
easy. They know that we have a lot of long-term injured players and that we
need to make the team stronger as we are facing a lot of games now.
I think the squad needs to be bigger and stronger. Even when everybody is
fit I saw that we needed one player, maybe two - but now I think we need
more. They know that, they are trying their best to find a financial
solution for this.
Is there one name you can think of?
Of course I will not speak about names while we are checking everything. We
analyse our situation all the time with the various injured players. But
it's not a secret that one of our targets is Steve Sidwell - we are hoping
to complete the transfer this week.
Moyes on... West Ham United
Filed: Tuesday, 28th December 2010
By: Staff Writer
Everton chief David Moyes looks back at a game he believes his side deserved
What did you make of the game David?
Okay. I thought that if any team was going to win it was going to be us -
but I don't think that we looked as if we really believed we could score the
goal. I thought we played some good football, I thought we had some really
good bits of play at times but we didn't have the final bit - and we've been
looking for that. So in the end it's a point, but I'd have liked it to have
Do you think West Ham are a better team than their position suggests?
Well I think when you're at the bottom whether you're a good team or a bad
team doesn't matter - that's where you are and you have to try and get out
of that. We're not that far ahead of it ourselves so we've got to make sure
we're away from that as well.
Do you think you could have won it late on? Fellaini and Cahill both had
I thought we should have won it earlier on, never mind late on. I thought we
got to the byeline two or three times in the first half but we didn't pick
anybody out. The thing about it is Robert Green had no saves to make really.
I think he had a save from the header but I accept that. I think our
approach play was good enough but we just couldn't find the final pass to
try and get the goal.
Is it a reflection of where your problems lie that you used Tim Cahill up
front and left three strikers on the bench?
Yeah - I think that everbody who has seen us would say that. Tim Cahill is
third top goalscorer in the Premier League so there's no problem playing Tim
as a centre forward.
Did you expect a bit more from West Ham given the position they're in? In
the second half you almost totally dominated.
Yeah - as I said, I thought we had all the game really in the second half.
There was the odd breakaway, corner kick where we were always going to be
short because we were playing a right back at centre half today. It was
always going to be hard to get away with something like that [but] we got
away with it. I thought we had the ball, but were never able to open them up
WIth Tim Cahill away on international duty in January do you think one of
those guys on the bench can step up?
We need them to step up, yeah.
Were you tempted to start with Beckford, Yakubu or Saha today?
A manager's perogative, isn't it. I thought that Tim was a goalscorer, I
thought that my best players were midfield players - Rodwell and Arteta -
I'd have needed to leave Pienaar, Rodwell or Arteta out of the team to
accomodate one of the other players and I didn't see that was right - I
thought my better players were on the pitch today.
I ask because there is an argument that says Cahill can drift forward...
Yeah that's right, I take that argument but today we tried to play him a
little bit higher and tried to play Jack Rodwell and Mikel Arteta advanced.
There's no doubt we had plenty of the ball and lots of opportunities but we
never took them.
How frustrating is it, I think you're unbeaten away from home for about
three months but you're not winning many?
No, we're not. As I said, I thought we probably did enough to get something
but I don't know if we believed enough that we could win the game. We just
couldn't get that goal.
Will you be looking to make more signings [in the January transfer window]?
Would you not be looking to take more players on loan? Michael Owen -
reports from United say that he might want to go to another club?
I'll look at the loan market. That's where, if we were looking - I've been
saying it to the local press - we'll be looking, if that's possible.
How frustrating is it for you though to have such an obvious problem that's
undermining a season that could be so promising - and yet you don't appear
to be able to do anything?
I think we've got a really good team. I think we've got a very good team and
good players in the team - we've just not been able to turn our good
football into goals. So we need to try; we'll have another look, try
something else and see if we can.
We tried something today - the football was good, you can't say that we
didn't play well - but what we didn't get was what we've had problems with
in other games this season as well; we still didn't score today. Our scoring
efficiency. I thought we scored a really good goal by the way - a good
West Ham Utd 1 Everton 1
Filed: Tuesday, 28th December 2010
By: Staff Writer
The Hammers blew a golden opportunity to escape the relegation zone by
failing to beat Everton at the Boleyn this afternoon. A win for Avram
Grant's side would have lifted West Ham above both Birmingham and Wigan -
albeit temporarily due to most other teams in and around the drop zone
having games in hand. However Seamus Coleman's first half equaliser
cancelled out Tony Hibbert's own goal to leave the Hammers languishing in
19th spot - with just Wolves, who visit the Boleyn next weekend, below them.
West Ham, missing a number of key personnel also rested Carlton Cole, whose
brace just 48 hours earlier at Fulham had given United their first league
win on the road since August 2009. Freddie Sears made his second
consecutive start since returning from a loan spell cut short at Scunthorpe,
whilst fellow non-first team regulars such as Radoslav Kovac and Herita
Ilunga also featured. Despite starting with a fair few reserves it was West
Ham that began the brighter, and the goal - a Hibbert deflection from an
attempted scissors kick from Kovac - was well deserved following a sustained
period of pressure. But being in possession of such a poor defensive record
it was imperative that United found a second goal to complement the opener -
something they paid a heavy price for failing to do when Coleman stole in on
the blind side to equalise in the closing moments of the first half.
Herita Ilunga - restored to the team in place of a rested Tal Ben Haim - had
been forced to withdraw through injury on the half hour mark. The Congolese
full-back, a shadow of the player who enjoyed an excellent first season in
east London to be replaced by Jonathan Spector. It was at left back that the
quiet American had struggled so badly last season under Gianfranco Zola -
and it was from the left side that the Everton goal arrived today. Yet
despite a number of supporters citing Spector as being at fault for failing
to pick up the Blues youngster, it should perhaps be pointed out that he was
tucking inside as the result of a request from head coach Wally Downes
moments earlier. The second half was a much closer affair with the visitors
probably edging it. However the best chance to win the game fell to West Ham
- a wonderfully slick passing move involving Kovac and Sears - and Carlton
Cole, who failed to find the target when he should have scored.
Despite enjoying a healthy share of possession Everton failed to really test
Hammers 'keeper Rob Green, who also happened to be named as the sponsors'
Man of the Match. Yet they were well deserving of a point that keeps them
above the relegation zone - but still in some trouble themselves. West Ham
have another chance to lift themselves out of the mire when basement club
Wolves visit the Boleyn next weekend. Should Grant's side manage to secure a
win, the manager will no doubt look back on a Christmas haul of eight points
as a job well done.
Defeat? Well that really is unthinkable...
Hammers stuck in drop zone
Coleman equaliser spares team-mate Hibbert's blushes
Last updated: 28th December 2010
Man of the match: Seamus Coleman. The youngster was outstanding going
forward and chipped in with the equaliser.
Goal of the game: Coleman's strike. The approach play from Everton was neat
as Arteta pushed through the centre and sprayed a fine pass out wide to
Cahill. The Australian hit a wonderful diagonal cross to the far post that
was poked into the back of the net by Coleman who had glided in unmarked.
Moment of the match: Hibbert's own goal. West Ham took a deserved lead in
the 16th minute as Tony Hibbert diverted the ball past Tim Howard into the
back of his own net.
Save of the match: Rob Green. The West Ham goalkeeper kept out an
81st-minute close-range header from Fellaini with a sharp reflex save.
Talking point: Benching Carlton Cole. Avram Grant 'rewarded' the striker for
his brace on Sunday by relegating him to the bench. West Ham looked much
better once Cole was introduced in the second half.
West Ham United missed the chance to move out of the Premier League's
relegation zone after being held to a 1-1 draw at home to Everton. Tony
Hibbert's own goal gave the hosts the lead before Seamus Coleman ensured the
Toffees remain unbeaten away from home in the league since August.
The Hammers were in front in fortunate circumstances on 16 minutes when
pressure from a set-piece resulted in Hibbert eventually diverting the ball
into his own net. James Tomkins' header was beaten out by Tim Howard and,
after Radoslav Kovac had hooked the loose ball back towards danger,
Hibbert's outstretched leg crucially deflected the ball beyond his own
keeper. But Everton levelled four minutes before half-time when Tim Cahill,
who started in the role of striker, found Coleman unmarked at the far post
for a confident side-foot finish. The best chance of the second half arrived
20 minutes from time when Freddie Sears rolled the ball across the box to
Carlton Cole, but the Hammers substitute failed to show the sharpness which
had brought a brace against Fulham as he tamely side-footed wide. Cahill
then fired straight at Robert Greenbefore the West Ham keeper produced a
reaction save to keep out Marouane Fellaini's header as both teams were
forced to settle for a deserved point. Curiously opting to play Cahill as a
lone frontman and leave three strikers on the bench, the visitors
nevertheless went close to an early opener when Sylvain Distin ghosted in
behind the Hammers defence but his touch took him too wide to shoot on
Slice of luck
West Ham, who rested Craven Cottage hero Cole, had enjoyed more than one
slice of luck in that 3-1 win at Fulham and they got another to take a 16th-
minute lead. Howard parried a Tomkins header from a corner to Kovac, whose
overhead kick looked harmless but took a huge deflection off Hibbert and
into the net, instantly cranking up the noise levels at Upton Park. Distin
blazed over and the fit-again Victor Obinna also drilled wide in what was a
lively opening quarter from both sides. Although there were flashes of the
defensive uncertainty that have dogged them this season West Ham started to
boss proceedings, with Obinna their biggest threat. Matthew Upson headed
over the on-loan Inter Milan forward's free-kick under real pressure.
Everton began to get back into it and the home side suffered a blow when
they were forced to replace injured left-back Herita Ilunga - playing for
the first time in a month - with Jonathan Spector in the 34th minute. It
proved costly as Everton equalised eight minutes later when Coleman got in
behind the substitute to side-foot home Cahill's far-post cross. Upson
nodded a difficult chance off-target from a corner and Scott Parker sent a
25-yard chip narrowly over as West Ham tried to regain the initiative, while
Coleman arced a stoppage-time effort wide.
Fit-again Toffees midfielder Steven Pienaar brought a low-key start to the
second half to life when he curled narrowly over in the 52nd minute. But
neither side were able to impose themselves, and West Ham boss Avram Grant
made his second change in the 56th minute when Cole came on for Frederic
Piquionne. With Cahill ineffective as a makeshift striker, Everton finally
brought on Ayegbeni Yakubu for Jack Rodwell just past the hour mark. Kovac
picked up the game's first yellow card for fouling the increasingly
influential Pienaar but both goalkeepers continued to prove mere spectators.
That should have changed in the 70th minute when Obinna brilliantly sent
Sears clear on the break and the winger's cross found Cole, who made a
complete hash of his left-foot finish. Basic errors continued to flow from
both sides but Everton had several chances in the space of three minutes to
score a late winner. First Cahill steered Pienaar's cutback straight at
Green, Parker then produced a last-gasp tackle to thwart Yakubu before Green
repelled Fellaini's bullet header from the resulting corner. Cahill did then
slide the ball into the net but he was well offside after being found by
Yakubu's mishit scissors kick. Zavon Hines came on for Obinna for the final
five minutes, Jermaine Beckford followed for Pienaar in the final minute and
Diniyar Bilyaletdinov for Mikel Arteta in stoppage-time
Grant waits on Sidwell deal
Hammers boss pleased with effort in Everton draw
Last updated: 28th December 2010
Avram Grant is waiting to finalise a deal for Steve Sidwell as the West Ham
United manager looks to strengthen his midfield options. The Hammers were
short on cover in the centre of midfield for Tuesday's 1-1 draw with
Evertonwhich kept Grant's side in the Premier League relegation zone. A deal
has been lined up for Aston Villa'sSidwell to join West Ham once the January
transfer window opens for business. Grant is unsure how close the club are
to completing the Sidwell signing, but stressed the importance of improving
"I don't know, it's not my area," Grant told Sky Sports when asked about the
Sidwell situation. "I want Steve Sidwell because today we didn't have one
midfielder on the bench. "We need to be a little stronger in some areas,
especially as we have some long-term injuries. We are doing everything to
sign a few players to make the squad stronger." Grant was pleased with the
effort of his players on the back of Boxing Day's 3-1 win at Fulham,
particularly as Everton's scheduled game against Birmingham City had been
postponed. He added: "I'm very pleased with the effort of the boys, it's not
easy to play two games in 48 hours when half the squad is injured. "A few
players played today who, in normal time, wouldn't play, but they gave
everything. "It's not fair that one team played two games in 48 hours and
the other team did not."
Behrami sets January deadline to seal Roma move
Published 23:00 28/12/10 By Neil McLeman
Valon Behrami has given Claudio Ranieri's Roma until January 10 to reach a
deal over his transfer from West Ham. The Swiss midfielder is desperate to
return to Italian football after an injury-hit spell in the Premier League.
The Hammers want £5m for the 25-year-old - signed from Lazio for £5m in 2008
under the previous regime - who earns £40,000-a-week. Roma are close to
finalising the sale of former Arsenal midfielder Julio Baptista to Malaga
but their financial problems mean they still want Behrami on loan for the
rest of this season.
West Ham's survival strategy gathers speed
West Ham United 1 Everton 1
By Mark Fleming at Upton Park
Wednesday, 29 December 2010
West Ham United looked out on their feet at the final whistle, but their
exertions were worth it, with a valuable draw yesterday that gave Avram
Grant's side four points in three days. West Ham were bottom of the Premier
League at Christmas, but couldy be out of the bottom three on New Year's
Day, should they beat Wolverhampton Wanderers at Upton Park and other
results go their way.
Although this was far from a convincing performance by Grant's side, at
least they did not stumble and let their good work go to waste. West Ham,
keen to build on their victory at Fulham on Boxing Day, started with
purpose, despite Grant's decision to make four changes from the team that
won at Craven Cottage. Carlton Cole, who scored two goals at Fulham, was
deemed not up to playing twice in three days and was left out, replaced by
Victor Obinna. The changes did not disrupt West Ham's rhythm, however, and
Obinna's energy and enthusiasm up front gave them something extra.
It came as no surprise when they went ahead after 16 minutes. Everton
goalkeeper Tim Howard palmed away a corner and Radoslav Kovac's overhead
kick was diverted into the goal by a hefty deflection off Tony Hibbert.
Obinna smashed a shot wide and Scott Parker chipped just too high as the
home side went in search of a second.
Everton responded by sticking to their precise passing game. Without a
recognised striker on the pitch, they lacked the traditional spearhead but
their movement proved too much for West Ham at times.
With 42 minutes on the clock the visitors drew level. Mikel Arteta ran
crossfield with the ball, passed it to Tim Cahill on the left wing and his
cross found Seamus Coleman ghosting in unmarked at the far post to score
West Ham appeared to tire in the second half, perhaps a consequence of
playing twice in three days over Christmas. Everton's game against
Birmingham on Boxing Day was cancelled, presenting the visitors with a far
less taxing build-up to the game.
The Everton manager, David Moyes, withdrew the impressive Jack Rodwell and
replaced him with a striker in Yakubu in the hope of pushing for a victory.
However, it was West Ham who created the best chance to win with a flowing
move. Obinna found Freddie Sears dashing down the right and his low centre
was picked by Carlton Cole, on for Frédéric Piquionne who suffered a groin
injury. Cole's scoring touch deserted him, however, as he dragged his shot
horribly wide of the far post.
Tim Cahill could have stolen the points late in the game, but after Steven
Pienaar found him with a low cross he could only poke a tame shot straight
at West Ham goalkeeper Robert Green.
The England keeper also pulled off a fine save to deny Marouane Fellaini's
header from a corner as Everton put West Ham under late pressure.
West Ham United (4-4-2): Green; Faubert, Tomkins, Upson, Ilunga (Spector,
34); Sears, Kovac, Parker, Boa Morte; Piquionne (Cole, 56), Obinna (Hines,
85). Substitutes not used Boffin (gk), Reid, Barrera, Stanislas.
Everton (4-1-4-1): Howard; Neville, Hibbert, Distin, Baines; Fellaini;
Coleman, Rodwell (Yakubu, 62), Arteta (Bilyaletdinov, 90), Pienaar
(Beckford, 89); Cahill. Substitutes not used Mucha (gk), Saha, Duffy,
Man of the match Parker.
Referee H Webb (S Yorkshire).