Sunday, February 23

Daily WHUFC News - 23rd February 2014

Hammers go marching on
West Ham United secured a fourth straight win as Southampton were defeated
3-1 on Saturday

West Ham United 3-1 Southampton
Barclays Premier League

West Ham United continued their climb away from the Barclays Premier League
danger zone with a fourth straight win on Saturday. Southampton were the
latest victims, as they saw the early lead given to them by Maya Yoshida get
wiped out by an excellent West Ham fightback. Two goals in three minutes
started the turnaround, as Carlton Cole quickly backed up Matt Jarvis'
leveller, before the Hammers punished their visitors again in the second
period. Kevin Nolan's acrobatic effort 19 minutes from time set the seal on
the three-point haul as the Hammers moved up into the top half of the table.
West Ham went into the contest having not conceded in four games, but their
goal was breached within eight minutes as Maya Yoshida got up above George
McCartney to nod Steven Davis' free kick home after James Tomkins felled
Adam Lallana in the right channel. Southampton's intention of holding on to
possession was clear and they proceeded to see the majority of the ball in
the opening stages as the Hammers took their time to get doing. But with 20
minutes on the clock they drew level as Kevin Nolan clipped a ball over a
static Saints backline for Jarvis to dart onto and poke through Artur
Boruc's legs as the visiting keeper advanced from his goal. The Saints
wanted offside, but a flag from the assistant referee was not forthcoming
and the lead had been erased. Indeed, it would get worse for Southampton
just three minutes later as the Hammers won a corner down the left and
Stewart Downing's delivery picked out Carlton Cole, whose header thumped
against the post but fell kindly for the No24 to smash home on the rebound.
The all-action nature of the game continued as the Saints went desperately
close to a 32nd minute leveller when Rickie Lambert rose highest in the area
and planted a header against the base of the left-hand post with Adrian

Southampton came again at the start of the second period, with Luke Shaw's
pace down the left flank providing a useful outlet from full-back. With 64
minutes played, his burst took him away from James Collins and he looked to
to cut back for Adam Lallana, but the ball had just too much on it and the
visitors' captain could not convert. A minute later substitute Gaston
Ramirez left Collins standing on the edge of the area before lifting the
ball over the top. Lallana then prodded wide after racing through the the
Saints were left to count the cost of those missed opportunities when
Nolan's seventh of the season - and his fifth in the last four games -
stretched West Ham's advantage 19 minutes from the end. Downing was the
goal's architect, whipping over a cross from the right which Carlton Cole
nodded back for Nolan to acrobatically hook home from close range. Mohamed
Diame struck the top of the crossbar with a long range blockbuster, but the
Hammers' work was done as they withstood Southampton's late pressure to
ensure their fine run would go on.

West Ham United: Adrian; Demel. Collins, Tomkins, McCartney; Nolan (Reid
73), Noble, Taylor; Jarvis (Diame 57), C.Cole, Downing
Subs: Jaaskelainen, Armero, Collison, J.Cole, Nocerino
Goals: Jarvis 20, C.Cole 23, Nolan 71

Southampton: Boruc; Chambers, Fonte, Yoshida, Shaw; Schneiderlin, Cork
(Ramirez 63); S.Davis (Ward-Prowse 78), Lallana, Rodriguez; Lambert
(Gallagher 78)
Subs: K.Davis, Clyne, Lovren, Guly
Goal: Yoshida 8

Booked: Lallana
Referee: Mark Clattenburg
Attendance: 33,148

Big Sam thrilled with Hammers quality
Manager Sam Allardyce is pleased to see West Ham's clinical edge returning

West Ham United made it four wins on the spin by defeating Southampton 3-1
on Saturday and manager Sam Allardyce was delighted with his side's
performance. He had praise for the clinical edge shown by his attacking
players, which sat in contrast to the visitors, who spurned opportunities
through Rickie Lambert, Gaston Ramirez and Adam Lallana. Instead, Matt
Jarvis, Carlton Cole and Kevin Nolan all scored to wipe out Maya Yoshida's
early opener for the Saints and send the majority of the Boleyn Ground crowd
home happy. The three points lifted West Ham up into the top half of the
Barclays Premier League table - just three games after they occupied a
position in the division's bottom three - and even means they have now
picked up more points this term than at this stage 12 months ago. It came as
little surprise, then, that Big Sam wore a broad smile at the final whistle
on Saturday. He told West Ham TV: "It's four wins on the trot, and one
against a side of Southampton's quality, which has been praised a huge
amount this season and, as ourselves, has been in particularly good form.
"That made for an intriguing game and what we saw is that we ended up having
better quality finishing than Southampton. "We all know how much praise has
been heaped on Lambert, Rodriguez and Lallana about the goals they've scored
and they way they've scored them, but it's our lads up front - it's Kevin
Nolan, Carlton Cole, Matt Jarvis and their quality which has outshone
Southampton. "That's the reason why we've won 3-1, because we all know how
good we are at defending. We had a big disappointment after just a few
minutes when we gave away a free-kick and lost a goal, but in the end it's
an outstanding victory."

The manager says the improvement in the Hammers' finishing is the reason
behind their recent improvement in form. He continued: "You always need
something a bit special at this level and we're producing something a bit
special in every game we're playing right now. "We know how to do the
nitty-gritty, the hard work of stopping the opposition playing. We all
believe in doing that and now the quality players that are good on the ball,
who can create and cause the opposition did brilliantly today, and got us
back from 1-0 down to win 3-1. West Ham now have 31 points from their 27
league matches - one more than from 27 last term - and Allardyce believes
the recent run has been the perfect riposte to the critics. He added: "It's
a fantastic stat considering the amount of criticism we've had to suffer
over the last few months. It shuts everybody up and makes them say 'wow, I
didn't know that one'. "Nobody would have gone away from here thinking that
we've got more points that at this stage this year. It's an outstanding
spell that we never had last season - we never won back-to-back games last
season but finished tenth. "Everyone thought we had a fantastic season,
which we did, everyone thinks we've had a diabolical season now, but now
we're one point ahead of where we were last year."

Cole 'over the moon' with form
Carlton Cole was thrilled with his part in Saturday's impressive turnaround
against the Saints

Carlton Cole is riding the crest of a West Ham United wave, as he scored one
and made a second in Saturday's 3-1 Barclays Premier League win over
Southampton. With the sides level at one apiece, Cole saw a powerful header
cannon back off the upright, before slamming the loose ball into the
opposite corner to bag his 50th career top-flight goal. Leading from the
front for a third successive outing, the Hammers No24 was instrumental in
the hosts' third goal too. Cole nodded Stewart Downing's centre across goal,
paving the way for Kevin Nolan to volley home. While there was much to
admire about Saturday's latest triumph at the Boleyn Ground, the 30-year-old
was particularly pleased to see the Hammers recover from an early setback.
"That's four games in a row that we've won now and that's our best run since
2007," he told West Ham TV. "Everyone's over the moon with the result,
firstly, and the form that we're showing. "The manager pointed out that this
is the first time this season that we've come from behind [in the league] to
win. It just shows the grit, courage and the team spirit in the dressing
room at the moment. "The manager has got everyone pulling in the same
direction and helping each other out and digging ourselves out of trouble,
like we did on Saturday. "Nobby [Kevin Nolan] and I shared the spoils today
with the goals and the assists, but it's a team effort and we wouldn't have
been in that position to get the goals if it weren't for the other players
as well, so credit to everybody."

In the absence of the suspended Andy Carroll and injured Marco Borriello,
West Ham's attacking ambitions lay largely at Cole's door, responsibility
that he took in his stride. As for his side's supreme run of results, the
former England international reckons that the return of key figures, along
with Lady Luck, has helped Sam Allardyce's men turn the corner. "Of course
I know what's going to be asked of me and I'm experienced enough to deal
with it," he continued. "I'm happy with my form, obviously, but first and
foremost I just want to win games. "It was looking dodgy for us at the start
of the season, but now we're on a good run of form and the tide has turned.
We're getting the rub of the green and the luck that we deserve now. "We
all knew that when we got a few players back from injury that we could start
doing stuff and get on a good run of form. That's what we were banking on
really. Now we've got competition for places and everyone just wants to get
in the team and in training everything's fiery."

Much of that training was set against a Dubai backdrop, with the Hammers
last week embarking on a four-day trip to the UAE. Cole insists Saturday's
win is already vindication of the trip's worth and can only foresee a bright
future with Carroll and Borriello to stake a claim in the coming days and
weeks. He added: "People were criticising us for going away, but that
doesn't affect anything. We were going away to have a bit of warm-weather
training. We're still training, not on a jolly up! So as long as we come
back and we put in the results, that's all we can do and I think it
benefitted us. It's a team effort. Andy and I are vying for the same spot
and Marco as well. Competition for places pushes everyone to do better and
that's all you can do. When Andy's back, training's going to be fierce, with
everyone wanting to start. That's how it goes!"

Maguire loaned to Sligo
Sean Maguire has joined League of Ireland side Sligo Rovers on loan until 31

West Ham United can confirm that striker Sean Maguire has joined SSE
Airtricity League of Ireland club Sligo Rovers on loan. Maguire, 19, will
remain with the three-times Irish champions until 31 July 2014. Sligo, who
won the title in 2012 and competed in the UEFA Champions League qualifiers
before finishing third last season, start the 2014 season with a Setanta
Sports Cup tie at Crusaders on Monday 24 February. The Development Squad
forward, who joined West Ham from Waterford United in January 2013, has made
five Barclays U21 Premier League appearances this season.

Maguire is one of six West Ham players out on loan, joining Jordan Spence
(MK Dons), Ravel Morrison, Modibo Maiga (both Queens Park Rangers), George
Moncur (Partick Thistle) and Paul McCallum (Heart of Midlothian).

West Ham 3 Southampton 1
22 February 2014
Last updated at 17:13
By Nabil Hassan
BBC Sport

In-form West Ham earned their fourth consecutive league victory after coming
from behind to defeat Southampton. Maya Yoshida headed Southampton in front
from Steven Davis's free-kick but Matt Jarvis levelled after tapping past
Artur Boruc. Three minutes later, Carlton Cole made it 2-1 for West Ham
before Rickie Lambert hit a post for Saints. "Southampton had so much of the
ball but Adrian had so little to do with Saints putting so many of their
opportunities off target. They had more than enough chances to score but the
problem is they didn't take any of them."

Kevin Nolan made the game safe with a volley from close range and Mohamed
Diame also hit the bar late on. The result continued West Ham's renaissance
and moved them further away from the relegation places, with Sam Allardyce's
side now sitting comfortably in 10th position on 31 points. It was
Southampton's first league defeat in seven games, having won three of their
last six, with any faint hope of qualifying for Europe now surely over. The
result was harsh on the visitors, who carved out 25 opportunities but only
managed to get five on target against a West Ham side who clinically
punished such wastefulness. It also meant consecutive defeats for
Southampton after they lost in the FA Cup last weekend at Sunderland.

Manager Mauricio Pochettino was heavily criticised for fielding a
much-changed team in that game and spoke during the week at being hurt by
that criticism.
Perhaps with that in mind, his side started as if they had a point to prove.
The unmarked Yoshida took advantage of poor defending to head home Davis's
free kick from close range and record his first Premier League goal. West
Ham responded well to the setback and Jarvis benefited from a tight offside
call to break clear and level with a neat finish past the onrushing Boruc
after a fine Nolan pass from deep. Buoyed by that, West Ham then went ahead
three minutes later. Cole smashed in from six yards after his initial header
from Stewart Downing's corner cannoned back off an upright and Yoshida
failed to clear. Lambert headed against a post for Southampton before the
end of an entertaining first half at Upton Park and Saints felt they should
have had a penalty in the early stages of the second period following a
handball by James Collins. However, referee Mark Clattenburg waved away
their appeals in the first Southampton match he had taken charge of since
the club made an official complaint accusing him of insulting captain Adam
Lallana in December.

West Ham goalkeeper Adrian was then equal to Luke Shaw's low shot from 25
yards, and the defender continued to threaten by outpacing Collins and
almost finding Lallana with a cross. At the other end, Collins headed a
Downing corner over the bar. Pochettino turned to his bench in an attempt to
get his side back in the game and it almost paid off immediately. Gaston
Ramirez replaced Jack Cork and within minutes the Uruguayan produced a
wonderful piece of skill on the edge of the area to nutmeg Collins before
blazing over from 12 yards. Lallana then dragged a shot wide and, within
minutes, it was 3-1 to West Ham. Another Downing cross caused mayhem in the
Southampton box before Cole's header found Nolan in the six-yard box. He
volleyed home on the stretch for his fifth goal of the month. Diame then hit
the bar with a fierce dipping strike but the visitors refused to give up.
Lallana forced a fine low save from Adrian at his near post and Jay
Rodriguez sent a half volley just wide but the Hammers held on.

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce: "It has been a fantastic run for us. "The four
wins on the trot from where we were is an outstanding performance by the
players. "I thank them for their efforts and the quality they are showing at
the moment. "In the Premier League it is all about the resilient qualities
in defence and you have to score a goal, which today contributed massively
in us winning this game. "The three goals we scored were excellent and that
got us back after going 1-0 down so early on. Credit to all the players."

Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino: "I am very disappointed with the
defeat today. I thought we fully deserved to get something more from that
"We had full control in the game and that even led us to go 1-0 up. It is
clear that the 1-1 goal came from an offside position and that was unlucky
for us.
"Then the team struggled to recover from going 2-1 down and that made
everything quite difficult for us as well. "In the second half we created
many good chances and were unlucky not to get the 2-2, which actually
changed the game. "Overall today, I thought we were quite unlucky with the
refereeing decisions and to have not scored more goals."

West Ham Utd 3-1 Southampton
Filed: Saturday, 22nd February 2014
By: Staff Writer

Sam Allardyce must be a shoo-in for the Premier League's Manager of the
Month award after his West Ham team secured a fourth successive win against
a toothless Southampton at the Boleyn this afternoon. It's been eight years
since Alan Pardew became the most recent West Ham manager to receive that
particular accolade but Allardyce - whose record for February reads played
four, won four with a goal difference of nine to one - must surely be poised
to receive the latest award when it is announced. Today was a typical
Allardyce performance in that Southampton enjoyed a colossal 69 per cent of
possession yet left Upton Park on the wrong end of a 3-1 result, as the
Hammers made the most of the scant opportunities they were awarded by a
Saints side who, prior to today, had conceded just 13 goals from 14 away
fixtures in the BPL this season. And despite enjoying 25 shots at goal, the
visitors failed to work West Ham's in-form 'keeper Adrian who had very
little to do as 80 per cent of Southampton's efforts on goal ended up
everywhere but their intended destination.

Although they went on to squander a whole host of opportunities during the
game, the Saints took the lead after just eight minutes when Maya Yoshida
rose unmarked to nod home a Steven Davis free kick - awarded for a Adam
Lallana dive - from the right of the penalty area. However the Hammers were
back on level terms just 12 minutes later when a delicious through ball by
Kevin Nolan was converted by Matt Jarvis. The winger, who has endured a
frustrating season took Nolan's lofted pass down with a sublime first touch
before toe-poking the ball under the advancing Artur Boruc. Just three
minutes later West Ham took the lead for the first time in the game when
Carlton Cole, enjoying an extended run in the side due to Andy Carroll's
suspension scored from inside the six-yard box having seen his initial
effort crash back off the woodwork. Having survived a string of scares after
the break, West Ham scored the killer third when Kevin Nolan pounced from
close range to register his fifth goal of the month with a volley from three
yards out, after Carlton Cole's header fell perfectly for the Hammers
captain. The captain's return to form - Nolan has scored five of West Ham's
nine goals this month - couldn't have been better timed. This latest win
takes United back into the upper half of the Premier League and, just as
importantly, some seven points clear of the relegation zone.

Pochettino on... West Ham United
Filed: Saturday, 22nd February 2014
By: Staff Writer

They may well "play on the floor", but they also shipped three goals today.
Saints boss Mauricio Pochettino does his best to explain this afternoon's
defeat - via his interpretor...

Mauricio: I know you're not a huge fan of statistics but you did had 25
shots today. Can you believe you lost the match?

I do like statistics today! To justify the defeat today. I'm very
disappointed with the defeat, I felt we deserved to get something out of the
game. We had full control of the game to go 1-0 ahead and it's clear their
equaliser came from an offside position. That was unlucky for us.

The team struggled to recover at 2-1, that made everything quite difficult
for us. I felt that in the second half we created many good chances and were
unlucky not to get back to 2-2. which would have changed the game. Overall I
thought we were quite unlucky with the refereeing decisions and were unlucky
in the sense that we didn't actually score more goals.

It was the first game back for Mark Clattenburg, a lot had been made of that
- do you feel he didn't have the greatest of games - and his assistants as

The refereeing decisions actually influenced the game today. We were unlucky
in that sense. We don't want to make anything more out of it. It seems that
the stars are not with us whenever Mr Clattenburg referees for us.

Defensively you looked a bit sloppy at times. What did you make of that?

I thought we were unlucky for the first goal so we can leave that one to one
side, because it shouldn't have counted. For the second goal there were
three of our players who were unable to clear the ball, it was just one of
those moments where there was indecision in the box.

Then we were looking for the equaliser and they came out strong on a counter
attack. We know of Cole and Nolan's strength, they're very strong players.
but I thought the team worked very well today. We knew it was going to be a
tough game against very good opposition. and I think today we lacked exactly
what they had - effectiveness.

Were you surprised the Premier League allowed Mark Clattenburg to referee a
Southampton game so soon after everything that happened?

No. It's clear that we're disappointed but I think that it's a good thing
that he's refereeing for us because we want to try to normalise the
situation. We don't want to make a bid deal out of it or keep on rehashing
the situation again. We want to help referees as much as we can because we
know that their job is quite hard and try to make things easier for them so
that they can make the best decisions in every single game for us and every
other team.

England assistant Ray Lewington was here today, do you think he'd have been
impressed by your English players? Do you expect them to get called up for
the game with Denmark?

I don't know, after a defeat it's quite hard to analyse individually the
performance of every single individual player but it's clear tht Roy Hodgson
and his assistants have been to many of our games and that they know our
players quite well already.

You had [Dejan] Lovren on the bench today; how long is it before he'll be
able to play?

We'll see. We need to assess his fitness. Also, Gaston [Ramirez] came on the
pitch today. They're both fully recovered, but they will have to fight to
get their places back in the team.

Thank you.

Allardyce on......Southampton
Filed: Saturday, 22nd February 2014
By: Staff Writer No.2

Sam Allardyce shares his view of the 3-1 win over Southampton....

Sam, four wins out of four this month. It's been a good month?

It's been a fantastic month for us. The last run of games, particularly the
four wins on the trot from where we were is an outstanding performance from
the players and I thank them for their efforts and the quality that they're
showing at the moment. It's all about the Premier League and the resilience
you have in defending and the quality you need to score goals. The quality
we had to score goals today contributed massively to us winning this game
today. The three goals we scored today were excellent goals and that got us
back from the shock of us going 1-0 down early on. Credit to the players and
the confidence that's growing in the team and the fact that we're pulling
away from the danger area that little bit more week by week. When you
consider that we've had to win four games on the trot to get to where we are
shows how difficult it is when you get in and around that bottom zone just
after Christmas.

Sam can you talk about Kevin Nolan? Sent off at Craven Cottage, fast forward
to now and he's had a standing ovation, he's got five goals in his last four
games. Can you believe the turnaround in the space of a month?

I can believe it because I know about his qualities. What I like is the way
he's gone about his job and made sure he repays everybody at the club for
what happened. It was the lowest point of his career I think - not just the
one but the two sendings-off in a short period of time. The contribution is
massive and it's not just the goal today - the contribution in the first
goal - it was a top quality pass at this level which split a resilient
Southampton defence open, Long may it continue. Feeding off the front men is
Kevin's great quality. People talk about him being with Andy [Carroll] but
Andy hasn't been around for a while now and Kevin's still feeding off the
front men and the balls going in the box. Our quality in the final third is
getting so much better which is why we're winning games of football because
we've always been good at defending anyway.

It's helped turn his season around - he's come back a reformed man.....

Yes he has. He had a lot of time to reflect on what had happened to him. And
I think for him it was about rolling his sleeves up and defining himself in
terms of "when I come back I'm gonna show you hat I can do. So he didn't
have to worry abut games and captaining the team. He just had to worry about
himself and reflect on what he'd done. He's come back with a massive bang.

Do you think Andy Carroll's suspension helped motivate the team/

No - I don't think it did.

We were starting this run when Andy came back it was a lift for everybody.
The lift was about getting players fit. The other lift was about bringing
three payers in - four with Roger Johnson - and none of them are getting the
game they came here for. I can't put them in because we keep winning!
They're thinking "why did you bring us because you don't really need us!"
It's had an effect on the other players - they're saying to themselves "if
we don't turn around performances I'm gonna be out of the team and the new
guys are gonna be in as well as the guys who have come back from injury."
it's worked fantastically well at the moment and long may it continue. We've
still got a bit to go - we've made life a little easier for ourselves but
there's at least nine points we need to pick up as quickly as we can and try
to keep the undefeated run going through a difficult game next week at

You joked that you hoped it would be difficult for Andy Carroll to get back
into the team

It's a hard one! I'll reflect on that. Let me have a weekend to enjoy this

So much has been said about Southampton and their England players. The form
Kevin's in do you think he's worth a look at for the upcoming match against

I wouldn't have thought so. He's had a lot of times when he knocked at the
door but I don't think it'll make much difference. It'd be nice if he did
but it's about Kevin continuing where he is. He's in his thirties now and he
needs to continue his career as long as he can by doing what he does, and
that's scoring goals. Apart from a short spell out in the Championship with
Newcastle he's scored goals every season he's scored at a very high level as
a midfield player. There are few players as good as him at scoring from

How encouraged were you to see Matt Jarvis on the scoresheet today?

Brilliant. We talk about Matt and Stewart [Downing] and their contribution
to making goals. Stewart obviously made the second goal from the corner and
the third one from the cross. Matt made a big contribution when we needed
it, coming in from wide and running between the full back and the centre
half and taking a touch after a fantastic ball from Kevin. Goals are
beginning to spread around the team now which is very good. If we keep our
defensive resilience up everyone will find it difficult to beat us.


West Ham come from goal down to earn 3-1 win over Southampton
By Pete Hall - @PeteHall86. Last Updated: 22/02/14 10:00pm

West Ham secured their fourth win in a row after coming from behind to beat
Southampton 3-1 at Upton Park. The visitors took a deserved lead early on
thanks to Maya Yoshida's first Premier League goal, but were pegged back by
two goals in quick succession, somewhat against the run of play. First, Matt
Jarvis marginally beat the offside trap to level for the Hammers, and then
Carlton Cole emphatically lashed home the loose ball after his header had
come back off the post to put West Ham surprisingly in front. The
second-half was virtually all Southampton as they threw everything at the
Hammers to try and get the equaliser.

Best of the Match

Man of the Match: Mark Noble. Covered every blade of grass for the West Ham
Goal of the Match: Kevin Nolan. The Hammers skipper acrobatically made sure
of the points.
Attempt of the Match: Mohamed Diame. Substitute almost added a fourth from
Talking Points: What has happened to West Ham? How much credit does Sam
Allardyce deserve? Were Southampton unlucky in defeat?

However, Sam Allardyce's men held firm, and on the counter they made sure of
the points, thanks to their captain fantastic Kevin Nolan, from close range.
The scoreline doesn't tell the full story of a match that Southampton
dominated for large spells, but it is what you do with your possession that
counts, and the Hammers' bid for Premier League safety is looking healthier
by the week, and they won't care how they get the points. After dominating
the early stages it was the Saints that managed to score the first goal
against West Ham for over six hours of Premier League football, with Yoshida
leaping above a static defence to head home a Steven Davis free-kick. In the
opening 15 minutes Saints had 70 per cent possession as they passed the ball
around with ease, and looked excellent value for their lead. However, two
goals in three minutes sprang the game into life, and turned the match on
its head.

West Ham manager Sam Allarydce hailed his side's efforts after their 3-1 win
over Southampton. Skipper Nolan picked up the ball in the centre circle,
played an excellent ball over the top, which Jarvis, who close to being
offside, controlled well and slotted the ball under the onrushing Boruc to
level. And then, as the Saints were still in shock from conceding against
the run of play, Cole struck to send Upton Park into raptures. From a
left-wing Stewart Downing corner, Cole outjumped his marker, headed against
the upright, but as Yoshida struggled to clear the rebound the imposing
hitman pounced to fire the Hammers in front.

Mauricio Pochettino say's he was proud with his team's performance despite
their 3-1 loss at West Ham. Southampton were shocked into life, and almost
leveled through a distinctly off-colour Rickie Lambert, whose close-range
header came back of the post with Adrian beaten. The second half followed
much of the same pattern, with Saints dominating possession, but West Ham
standing firm. Substitute Gaston Ramirez did add more impetus to the
Southampton attack, and came mightily close to grabbing the leveller, firing
just over after manoeuvring space for the shot well. But on the counter, the
home side made sure of the victory thanks to their ever-reliable skipper.
Downing's ball into the box found Cole, who climbed above his man to head
down, and Nolan, who has come under much scrutiny from the Hammers faithful
this season, acrobatically volleyed the loose ball past Boruc to seal
victory. Substitute Mohamed Diame almost made the scoreline more flattering,
hitting the crossbar with a powerful strike from distance, but the Hammers
held on for a vital victory, and continued their impressive resurgence.

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce hails Kevin Nolan after victory
Last Updated: 22/02/14 7:06pm

Sam Allardyce heaped praise on skipper Kevin Nolan after helping West Ham
earn a 3-1 win over Southampton at Upton Park. The 31-year-old's captaincy
was reviewed at the start of the year after he was sent off for kicking
Fernando Amorebieta in the 2-1 defeat at Fulham. It was Nolan's second red
card in less than four weeks after lunging at Jordan Henderson against
Liverpool, leading Allardyce to say "there's something wrong with his
mentality at the minute". The Hammers' captain has certainly made amends
since then, netting five goals in as many league games since returning from
suspension. "I can believe the turnaround because I know Kevin's qualities,"
Allardyce told Sky Sports. "What I like about it is that he has gone about
his job and made sure he repays everybody at the club for what happened. "It
was the lowest point of his career, I think, because it was not just one
sending off but two in a short period of time. "The contribution now is
massive and it is not just the goals, but the pass he made for the first
goal - a top quality pass at this level, which split open a very resilient
Southampton defence. Long may it continue."

Nolan has been key in West Ham's revival, with their 100 per cent record in
February taking them from the relegation zone to the relatively dizzy
heights of the top half. The latest win came courtesy of strikes from Matt
Jarvis, Carlton Cole and Nolan, as the Hammers turned the match on its head
following Maya Yoshida's early header. "It has been a fantastic run for us,"
Allardyce added. "The four wins on the trot from where we were is an
outstanding performance by the players. "I thank them for their efforts and
the quality they are showing at the moment. "In the Premier League it is all
about the resilient qualities in defence and you have to score a goal, which
today contributed massively in us winning this game."

By Iain Dale 22 Feb 2014 at 20:04
West Ham Till I Die

This victory wouldn't have been possible even a month ago. Having conceded
first, we'd have capitulated. How is it that the same players are showing a
resolve and a passion which just wasn't there before? I don't have an

At one stage it looked as if we were about to be beaten by the better team.
Southampton's passing game overwhelmed us in the first twenty minutes. When
they scored after eight minutes I think we all feared the worst. But after
the first goal, we got back into the match and quickly asserted some
physical authority. We should all have been pleased for Matt Jarvis, who
took his goal extremely well. One of our main weaknesses this season has
been the lack of goals coming from our wingers.

Carlton Cole put in a very physical shift and for me was a contender for man
of the match. He was great in the air, held the ball up well and brought
other players into the game. He was a constant menace in a way which Rickie
Lambert wasn't. In fact the Southampton front three, so impressive for most
of the season, failed to have much effect on the game at all. It's not that
they didn't have chances, they certainly did, but they couldn't find the
net. Indeed, I counted at least three moments when we were lucky not to

But it was in midfield where we came into our own. Mark Noble put in a real
leader's performance. He was everywhere, tackling mercilessly and putting
through several brilliantly measured slide rule passes. Matt Taylor and
Kevin Nolan also harried and hassled and I thought Nolan had one of his best
games this season, topped off by a fantastic bicycle volley to nab the third
and decisive goal. Up until that point a one goal lead always looked a dodgy

Adrian really has become a cult figure with the crowd who were constantly
chanting his name. He made several outstanding saves and his defence clearly
seem every comfortable playing in front of him. I thought James Collins and
James Tomkins proved their worth again, although in the later stages Ginge
was beaten for speed a couple of times. However, that is to carp. He was
always in the right place at the right time, heading the ball away from
danger. And let's not forget the contributions of McCartney and Demel who
were both excellent.

The truth is that there wasn't a weak link in this team today. I score every
player at least a 7 and I can't remember the last time I did that.

It's a great feeling this evening, isn't it? 10th place, seven points above
the relegation zone and one point better off than we were at this stage last

We may still not be very pretty to watch, but compared to where we were a
month ago we should all be very pleased, relieved and toasting whoever or
whatever has changed things around.

Adrian 7
Demel 7
McCartney 7
Tomkins 7
Collins 8
Reid 7
Noble 8
Taylor 7
Nolan 7
Downing 7
Cole 7
Jarvis 7
Diame 7

West Ham 3-1 Southampton: Irons see off under-par Saints to earn fourth
consecutive victory
Feb 22, 2014 17:14 By Marc Isaacs
The Mirror

In the space of a month, Kevin Nolan has -transformed West Ham's season and
turned around his own career. The West Ham captain received a standing
ovation and continued his rich vein of form to help the east London club
notch up a fourth consecutive victory. Nolan suffered the lowest point of
his career after getting himself needlessly sent off in a New Year's Day
clash at Fulham which resulted in a four-match ban at a crucial stage of the
season. The fans made their -feelings known towards the 31-year-old, but the
dismissal could be the best thing that has happened to both him and the
Hammers. Nolan has returned to the side a reformed character and he has his
appetite for goals back, netting five of them in his last four games. Who
needs Andy Carroll when you have got Nolan playing at the top of his game?
Sam Allardyce's side move into the top half of the table and equal their
best run of results since the Great Escape back in 2007 - when Alan
Curbishley helped them stay in the top flight. Victories over Swansea, Aston
Villa, Norwich and now Southampton have given West Ham belief they can stay
in the top flight. They had to show their fighting qualities once again
after going one down early in the game to a Maya Yoshida header, but goals
from Matt Jarvis, Carlton Cole and Nolan's scissor kick secured the three
points. Allardyce praised the way Nolan has battled back from his nightmare
spell and feels he has made a major -difference to the club's recent
revival: "He has made sure that he has repaid everybody at the club for what
has happened. It was the lowest point of his career. He had been sent off
twice in a small matter of time. "His contribution has been massive, not
just his goals. The pass he made today for our equaliser split a very
resilient Southampton defence open. "He had a lot of time to reflect what
happened to him.
"For him, it was about rolling his sleeves up and using those weeks to
define himself and target showing everyone what he can really do. He's come
back with a massive bang."

It could have been a different story had- the visitors held on to an early
lead given to them by Yoshida, the defender's first league goal of the
It was the most unlikely of partnerships which led to the opening goal. Two
months ago, Saints launched a complaint against referee Mark -Clattenburg,
saying he had insulted Adam Lallana during a Premier League game against
Everton. The Football Association subsequently exonerated the Durham
official and the two were face-to-face again at Upton Park. When Lallana was
fouled by James Tomkins on eight minutes, Clattenburg gave a generous
decision to award a foul in Lallana's favour. Steve Davis's free-kick picked
out Yoshida who rose above the West Ham defence and directed a powerful
header past Adrian into the corner of the net. But Mauricio Pochettino was
soon cursing -Clattenburg once again after he allowed West Ham's equaliser
to stand on 20 minutes despite Jarvis appearing to be in an offside position
when he raced onto a through ball from Nolan and used his pace to slide the
ball past Artur Boruc. Pochettino said: "It is clear the goal came from an
offside position. It seems that the stars are not with us whenever Mr
Clattenburg referees for us."

West Ham added a second on 23 minutes after Guy Demel saw his close-range
header come back off the post and Cole made no mistake with his left-foot
shot. Rickie Lambert struck the post for Southampton on 32 minutes but they
were made to pay for their missed opportunities when Nolan made the game
safe for the home side in spectacular fashion on 71 minutes. Stewart
Downing's cross fell to Cole who flicked the ball back across to Nolan and
he fired an acrobatic scissor kick into the corner of the net to give his
gaffer every chance of winning the manager-of-the-month award for February.

The Defence of Big Sam

After taking in West Ham's 3-1 defeat of Southampton on Saturday, their
fourth consecutive victory, and a match in which they allowed their first
goal in five games, it struck me as the time to praise Sam Allardyce. Since
they occupied the second relegation position five matches ago, Allardyce has
persuaded the Hammers to draw against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, and then
win the next four matches, three of them without Andy Carroll. They have
quietly leapt from 18th to 10th, and are now 7 points from the drop zone. It
is a remarkable turnaround, and one must think that the credit for this
storming improvement is due to Big Sam. While most teams striving to avoid
the drop tend to slowly and surely grind out results, gaining momentum bit
by bit, willing themselves over the line at the last, Allardyce, after
finding himself under the cosh (the only manager in the bottom five not to
have been replaced at one point) has reversed the fortunes of his team
nearly instantly. As soon as the pressure was on, he, and they, delivered
with gusto. The way Allardyce bellows himself silly from the touchline, his
face ruddy and contorted to the point of resembling a particularly knobbly
capsicum, you get the impression that he doesn't mind having his back to the
wall, that he relishes exerting the strength and aggression that's needed
for a scrap. He has never been relegated as a manager.

The way that Allardyce set his team up to play Southampton, to concede 70%
of the possession, to allow 25 goal attempts and 11 corners, is typically
his own brand. He has received a lot of criticism over the years, not least
a few weeks ago, for the way he sends his teams out to play. Even now, with
safety now much more clearly in sight, I know that many West Ham fans would
be happy to be rid of him regardless. Although usually reliable, his style
can only take you so far. But I also think he ought to be commended for it,
in these tight circumstances. The 'Long Ball' style of play is scorned for
its apparent cynicism, its lack of regard for the playing of the game. As
the Saints supporters booed every hoof out from the back on Saturday, they
were thinking to themselves "They haven't even got the courage to play
against us, to compete on the ground. All they can do is bloot it away and
hope. Cowards." But I'd contest that courage is exactly what's needed for
such an approach. Think about what West Ham are, what they currently possess
under Allardyce. To be certain it's Allardyce's own doing; he has designed
the team to play this way, and so any shortcomings that result should be
laid at his feet. But, such as it is, West Ham cannot hope, not in a million
years, to compete with Southampton by trying to beat them at their own game.
They would be torn apart because they lack the required poise on the ball,
and the knowledge of what movement is needed to accommodate the passing.
Their centre halves are too slow, their wingers too orthodox, and their
strikers too technically unskilled. So Allardyce, when facing such
opposition, must find a way to compete. And the way forward resides in his
confidence that he has in his defence.

Big Sam's defence have kept 13 clean sheets in the league this season, as
many as Bayern Munich's defence have kept in the Bundesliga. This is in
spite of the fact that at one point in the season he was forced to play two
fullbacks as centre halves against West Brom. Make no mistake, West Ham have
been plagued by injuries this term, and not just Andy Carroll. Their entire
first choice defence was out, and only now is it beginning to be
reassembled. Still, in the face of such adversity, they rallied and have
shut out more teams than anyone else. Southampton did have 25 shots
yesterday, but only 5 were on target, and I can't remember Adrian needing to
trouble himself too much with any of those. Imagine the bravery it takes for
a defender to head out onto the pitch at home, knowing that you will spend
two thirds of the game without the ball. West Ham have had around 40%
possession on average this season, sometimes much less. That means that
there needs to be defensive heroes every week. James Collins has blocked
more shots per game than anyone else in the league. Adrian has cemented his
place over early season starter Jussi Jaaskelainen, winning vital points on
his own with blinding performances against Norwich and Chelsea. Mark Noble
runs himself into the ground every weekend. Downing and Jarvis track back
diligently every match. Such tenacity has come at a cost; the second most
yellow and red cards in the league. But it is a true testament to Allardyce
that West Ham has defended this way. The way Allardyce wants to play
requires this level of defensive solidity and he has achieved it with this
far from ever-present bunch.

I'll take this moment to debunk some Allardyce myths too. According to, West Ham don't play the most long balls per game, Southampton
do, equal with Aston Villa on 70 (admittedly West Ham are right there behind
them on 67). West Ham are 11th in fouls committed per game, contrary to the
thuggy reputation that Allardyce's teams have seemed to acquire. West Ham
don't score all their goals from set pieces either, only 5 this term, a
number dwarfed by Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea and Southampton, who
all have 12 or more. West Ham are a team that rely on stoic defending, on
hustle over ingenuity in midfield and on quality orthodox wing play on the
break. That is exactly how they beat Southampton.

Speaking personally, I think that West Ham and their fans shouldn't be
content with Allardyce for too much longer. Moving into the Olympic Stadium
in two years will be a huge step, and flirting with relegation, as can be
the Allardyce way, will not suit. But I also can see that there are many
worse options than Big Sam and many teams worse than his West Ham. A lot of
people are content to lazily gobble up the sneering assumptions about
Allardyce's teams; I am not one of them, and not just because I happen to
support his current one. It's very easy to deride Allardyce, to tut-tut his
"19th century" methods (has Jose Mourinho any knowledge of 19th century
tactics? No, is the answer) and to jeeringly guffaw with pointed fingers
when he asserts his professional worth, sometimes hyperbolically. But people
shouldn't be congratulated for doing something easy. The task that Big Sam
was facing five games ago was far from easy. Yet, so far, he's easily
shouldered the weight of it.


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