Saturday, February 8

Daily WHUFC News - 8th February 2014

Aston Villa match preview
All the need-to-know information ahead of West Ham United's match against
Aston Villa on Saturday



• West Ham United visit Villa Park on Saturday in the Barclays Premier
League looking to record an away win against Aston Villa for the first time
since a 2-1 success in January 2006.
• The Hammers head to the Midlands confident that they can get another
positive away result having drawn 0-0 with Chelsea and beaten Cardiff City
2-0 in their last two away league outings.
• Sam Allardyce will also be buoyed by a first home win of 2014 which
arrived in their last match, a 2-0 win over Swansea City at the Boleyn
• Victory over the Swans left the Hammers eighteenth in the Premier League,
five points behind Saturday's opponents.
• Paul Lambert's side will be looking to improve a home record which has
seen them win just one of their last seven matches at Villa Park.
• That solitary success came in a 4-3 win against West Bromwich Albion in
the team's last outing in front of their own fans.
• Last time out the Villans succumbed to a 2-1 defeat against Everton at
Goodison Park with the Toffees netting a late winner.
• That defeat on Merseyside left Aston Villa tenth in the table with 27
points from their 24 league matches.

Team news
West Ham United
• Joey O'Brien is the Hammers' only long-term injury casualty with the
full-back having undergone an operation on the shoulder he dislocated
against Chelsea.
• Winger Joe Cole and midfielder Mohamed Diame will also miss out on the
trip to Villa Park with a calf injury and gashed leg respectively.
• The Hammers will also be without the services of Ricardo Vaz Te who is
continuing his recovery from injury.
• Striker Andy Carroll starts a three-match ban against the Villans after
his sending-off against Swansea City.

Aston Villa
• Gabriel Agbonlahor is expected to return to the Villa side following a
two-match absence with a foot injury.
• Skipper Ron Vlaar is likely to miss the game with a hamstring problem, but
fellow defenders Chris Herd and Joe Bennett are fit again.

Last time out
West Ham United 2-0 Swansea City
Barclays Premier League
1 February 2014
West Ham United: Adrian, McCartney, Tomkins, Collins, Demel, Noble, Nolan
(Nocerino 87), Taylor (Reid 79), Jarvis (C Cole 66), Downing, Carroll
Subs not used: Jaaskelainen, Johnson, Morrison, Boriello
Goals: Nolan 26, 45
Sent-off: Carroll

Everton 2-1 Aston Villa
Barclays Premier League
1 February 2014
Aston Villa: Guzan, Bacuna, Bertrand, Clark, Baker, Vlaar (Albrighton 80),
Westwood, Delph, Weimann (Tonev 87), Benteke, Holt (El Ahmadi 61)
Subs not used: Steer, Sylla, Lowton, Helenius
Goal: Bacuna 34

Previous meeting
A sixth clean sheet in ten Premier League matches arrived for the Hammers as
they were held by Aston Villa at the Boleyn Ground. Andreas Weimann was a
menace early on and but for a last-ditch tackle from Ravel Morrison might
have had a goal to celebrate. Kevin Nolan went close for the home side
before Christian Benteke rattled a header against the crossbar as the game
petered out for a draw.
West Ham United: Jaaskelainen, Demel, Tomkins, Reid, Rat (Diame 90),
Collison (C Cole 63), Noble, Nolan, Downing, Jarvis (J Cole 62), Morrison
Subs not used: Adrian, Maiga, O'Brien, Potts
Aston Villa: Guzan, Vlaar, Baker, Clark, Lowton, Sylla, Westwood, El Ahmadi,
Bacuna, Weimann (Kozak 57), Benteke
Subs not used: Steer, Herd, Helenius, Bowery, Tonev, Johnson

Last six meetings (Premier League unless stated)
2 November 2013 - West Ham United 0-0 Aston Villa
10 February 2013 - Aston Villa 2-1 West Ham United
18 August 2012 - West Ham United 1-0 Aston Villa
16 April 2011 - West Ham United 1-2 Aston Villa
14 August 2010 - Aston Villa 3-0 West Ham United
17 January 2010 - Aston Villa 0-0 West Ham United
Overall record v Aston Villa (all competitions) W 38 D 32 L 38

Ten-year record
West Ham United
2012/13 Premier League 10th (46 points)
2011/12 Championship 3rd (86 points - promoted via Play-Offs)
2010/11 Premier League 20th (33 points)
2009/10 Premier League 17th (35 points)
2008/09 Premier League 9th (51 points)
2007/08 Premier League 10th (49 points)
2006/07 Premier League 15th (41 points)
2005/06 Premier League 9th (55 points)
2004/05 Championship 6th (73 points - promoted via Play-Offs)
2003/04 Championship 4th (74 points)

Aston Villa
2012/13 Premier League 15th (41 points)
2011/12 Premier League 16th (38 points)
2010/11 Premier League 9th (48 points)
2009/10 Premier League 6th (64 points)
2008/09 Premier League 6th (62 points)
2007/08 Premier League 6th (60 points)
2006/07 Premier League 11th (50 points)
2005/06 Premier League 16th (42 points)
2004/05 Premier League 10th (47 points)
2003/04 Premier League 6th (56 points)

Old boys
• James Collins swapped east London for Birmingham on 1 September 2009 for
an undisclosed fee after making 65 appearances in all competitions for West
Ham United, scoring two goals. The Wales centre-back returned to West Ham on
1 August 2012 from the Villans, having scored six goals in 109 games for
Aston Villa.
• Carlton Cole would be playing against the team where he spent the 2004/05
season on loan if he makes an appearance on Saturday. Cole scored three
goals in 30 league and cup appearances for Aston Villa.
• Stewart Downing spent two years with Aston Villa between 2009 and 2011,
scoring eleven times in 82 matches
• Among the other players who have represented both clubs are Billy Askew,
John Carew, Alan Curbishley, Mervyn Day, Marlon Harewood, Thomas
Hitzlsperger, Ray Houghton, David James, Robbie Keane, Fred Norris, Nigel
Reo-Coker, Tony Scott, Les Sealey, Nolberto Solano, Tommy Southren, David
Unsworth and Phil Woosnam.

• West Ham United and Aston Villa have met 108 times in total in competitive
fixtures. Each club has tasted victory on 38 occasions, with 32 draws.
• The first-ever meeting between the two clubs proved to be a forgettable
one for West Ham United, who were beaten 5-0 at Villa Park in the FA Cup
second round on 1 February 1913.
• West Ham United's largest victory over Aston Villa came in Division One on
30 August 1958, when the newly-promoted Hammers won 7-2 at the Boleyn
Ground. A 30,506-strong crowd saw John Dick, Vic Keeble and Malcolm Musgrove
scored twice apiece and Bill Lansdowne once.
• Sam Allardyce faced Aston Villa five times as a manager during the 2009/10
season, when his Blackburn Rovers side were eliminated from the FA Cup and
League Cup by the Villans.
• West Ham United's all-time record goalscorer Vic Watson netted 18 goals in
15 appearances against Aston Villa, including three hat-tricks in November
1926, December 1929 and April 1930.
• Marlon Harewood scored a hat-trick against Aston Villa when he bagged
three times in a 4-0 home win over Saturday's opponents on 12 September
2005. He later went on to play for Villa.
• A total of 13 West Ham United players have made their debuts against the
Villans - Alfred Earl, Ernest England, Alvin Martin, Carlos Tevez, Winston
Reid, Pablo Barrera, Frederic Piquionne, Archibald Macauley, Ian Crawford,
Bill Green, Craig Forrest, Paulo Alves and Matthew Upson.

• The man in the middle for Saturday's fixture is Mike Dean.
• Dean last refereed the Hammers in a 3-3 draw with West Bromwich Albion on
28 December 2013.
• In all, he has refereed West Ham 35 times, with the Hammers winning 12,
losing eleven and drawing twelve of those matches.
• The 45-year-old began refereeing in 1985, starting out his career in
senior football in the Northern Premier League.
• In 2004, Dean took charge of his first international match, a friendly
between the Netherlands and Republic of Ireland at Amsterdam ArenA. That
same year, he took control of the FA Community Shield between Arsenal and
Manchester United.
• In May 2006, he refereed the Championship play-off final between Leeds
United and Watford at the Millennium Stadium. In 2008, he was the
man-in-the-middle for the FA Cup final between Portsmouth and Cardiff City
at Wembley Stadium.
• On Saturday Dean will be assisted by Jake Collin and John Brooks, while
the fourth official will be Roger East.

General information
• Tickets for the match are SOLD OUT.
• Rain showers are predicted for kick-off time at Villa Park, with
temperatures reaching 7C (45F)

West Ham United statement
West Ham United have issued a statement in response to the outcome of the
Independent Arbitration Tribunal

Whilst West Ham United are obviously disappointed at the decision, as we
have made clear throughout, we respect the rules of football and shall abide
by them. Andy Carroll will now serve a three-match suspension, which will
rule him out of the Barclays Premier League fixtures at Aston Villa tomorrow
and at home to Norwich City and Southampton. He will be available for
selection again for the trip to Everton on Saturday 1 March.

Stew keen to down Villa
Stewart Downing is aiming to finally set the record straight with
back-to-back wins in the Premier League

Stewart Downing is hoping that West Ham United can finally secure
back-to-back wins in the Barclays Premier League when he returns to face his
former employers Aston Villa on Saturday afternoon. The Hammers have not won
consecutive top-flight games since 2011, when home wins against Liverpool
and Stoke City arrived at the end of February and the beginning of March.
It's a fact that Downing and his teammates are well aware of, having
constantly been reminded about the unwanted statistic by Sam Allardyce. The
winger told West Ham TV: "We keep getting reminded of it as we haven't done
it as yet. "It's a great chance this weekend to put it right and not let the
manager keep banging on about it to us. It's a good chance for us, a good
game and we should have beaten them at home really. A couple of us will be
playing our old team and it would be nice to go there and get the three

When the Hammers arrive at Villa Park to try and record the Club's first win
there since 2006, Downing will be returning to a ground where he spent two
seasons of his career. In the Claret and Blue of the Villans, whom he joined
in summer 2009, the 29-year-old helped the club to achieve a sixth-place
Premier League finish and was instrumental in them reaching the League Cup
final in his first season. The No23 spent a further season in the Midlands,
where he won the club's Player of the Year award, before leaving to join
Liverpool in 2011, and the winger believes some of his best football was
played during his spell with the Villans. "When Martin O'Neill was there we
had a good squad and that wasn't just the starting XI, he could pick two
teams, the squad was that good. The second season we lost Martin and things
changed. "I'm not sure if the owners had stopped investing a bit. We bought
Darren Bent because we were struggling but you could sense a bit of a
change, cut-backs being made and stuff. "It was a good time for me to move
and it's been a bit of a transitional few seasons for Villa but they're
still a decent team."

Since Paul Lambert took the hot seat at Villa Park in 2012, the Scot has
overseen an almost wholesale change in personnel, opting to place the
emphasis on signing young talent rather than stick with those players who
are tried and tested. Downing is not the only ex-Villan in the Hammers'
squad, with centre-back James Collins also having represented the Midlands
outfit from 2009 to 2012, but only a few familiar faces remain from their
time at the club. "Me and Ginge were talking about it the other day, how
many players were there that we knew. Obviously there's Gabby Agbonlahor and
Fabian Delph signed when I signed but apart from that Paul Lambert's had a
bit of a revamp and bought in a lot of young players. "Benteke's probably
his stand-out buy. That's the way they're going, they're building a young
team and it takes a couple of seasons to do that, it's not going to happen
overnight but that's what he's tried to do."

A win against Aston Villa would close the gap between the two sides to just
two points and Downing believes that the next few games will be crucial in
defining the Hammers' season. "Teams in and around us won last week so we
could have been cut adrift had we not won, they were big points. There's
three big games coming up, winnable games and we need to pick up points.
"We've still got to play some of the teams in and around us so it's going to
be quite fascinating for the neutral but we need to get points on the board
as quick as possible."

Big Sam on: Aston Villa
Sam Allardyce addressed the media ahead of Saturday's trip to Villa Park

Sam Allardyce has spoken to the assembled media ahead of Saturday's trip to
Aston Villa in the Barclays Premier League. Big Sam fielded questions
surrounding Andy Carroll's red card against Swansea, his team's recent form
and the latest injury news ahead of the trip to Villa Park.

Morning Sam, two wins and a draw from three of your last four league games,
do you feel West Ham's season has turned a corner?

SA: "It's obviously been about recovering from the injury problems that we
had over a long period of time, the best part of two months. In the game
scenario over December and January, where it's at it's peak and when you've
lost so many players through injury, then you're always under pressure to
get the result. When you haven't got a full squad to select from and you're
playing so many players out of position, in defence in particular, when you
get them all back you see the difference it makes to results and
performances. We're proving that when we do get everybody fit then results
turn in our favour and that's what we were talking about all the way through
Christmas. "This is our best spell of the season at the moment, a four-game
run with seven points on the board, and we have to try and continue on from
there. We're looking forward to going to Aston Villa and trying to perform
like we did at Cardiff a few weeks ago. The only problem is we've had to
achieve our last two victories with ten men which has been a bit unjust on
both occasions. We've got to go to Aston Villa and hopefully keep eleven
players on the field and not get any more injuries. That is key to
continuing our successful results at the moment."

What was your reaction to Andy Carroll having his red card appeal rejected
by the FA?

SA: "I think that my reaction was anger and injustice. The whole procedure,
in terms of how we put our case together and what the vast swell of people
felt, was unjust but unfortunately for me the panel has not seen it as they
should have seen it. It's easy to hide behind the regulations or what the
law says but that's an easy way out for me. Referees often say it's
'Technically this or that' and it really does grind on you when they use the
technical term or to the letter of the law. "In this case we felt that they
were looking at it from one thing only, was it an obvious mistake. We based
the whole of our procedure on was it an obvious mistake and I'm 100% certain
it was an obvious mistake. Howard Webb should have given a free-kick for the
foul on Andy Carroll by Chico Flores. At that stage the whistle should blow
and there is no incident. That for me is an obvious mistake."

Could you tell us, in your own words, how much of a difference Andy Carroll
makes to West Ham?

SA: "Only time will tell. I have Carlton Cole who's our leading goalscorer
in the Premier League this season. He's done a really good job this season
since we got him back to match fitness. They've got to step-up to the plate.
Marco's got a really good track record in Italy, but of course is somewhat
untried in this league. He's going to have to go in there and hopefully show
us the sort of ability and form he showed in Italy. "We've got replacements
but at the end of the day we all know Andy Carroll is our major asset. He's
our major signing, our biggest investment and that makes him one of our
biggest players. We all have to overcome adversity and I hope the players
are angry, as I am, and I hope they take that anger out in a positive manner
against Aston Villa. I hope they prove that we can still win a game of
football without Andy."

What are your views on Aston Villa's season, do you share the view that they
have over-achieved?

SA: "I think that Paul Lambert had a massive learning curve last season with
the dramatic change around of players that he made at Aston Villa, buying a
lot of young players. I think that all those young players have grown in
stature based upon the experiences that they had last season. They are using
those experiences to put Aston Villa in a better light in terms of results.
They have the danger men as we know. "They've had some very good
performances recently, I'm sure he was very disappointed only drawing 2-2 at
Liverpool. Coming back against West Bromwich Albion to win and they're
scoring goals at the moment. It's a big game for us and they're a big threat
at the moment. They're in good form and they've done very well."

Is there any other team news or fitness updates which you can give us?

SA: "Everybody's fit from the squad we selected last week and we're
obviously hoping that they continue to stay fit. We can go into the game
with a lot of confidence but we must remember to maintain the level of
performance that we've shown recently and more importantly, try and better
it. That's the way to try and get ourselves further up the league. "We've
all seen what a quick run of results can do because of the way the table is.
In the next few days, after Tuesday night, we could put ourselves around
tenth or eleventh place if we do the job right. The short-term goal is to
make sure that in the next two games we come out with as many points as we
possibly can."

Adrian scoops Player of the Month
West Ham United goalkeeper Adrian has been named as the Hammers' top
perfomer for January

West Ham United goalkeeper Adrian has won the fan vote to be
named as Hammers Player of the Month for January. The 27-year-old stopper,
who is in his first season at the Club after arriving from Real Betis, kept
two clean sheets in the month to help his side record a valuable win at
Cardiff City, along with a 0-0 draw at title-chasing Chelsea. Adrian polled
a whopping 63% of the fan vote to land the award by a landslide, ahead of
Mark Noble (25%) in second. Matt Taylor rounded off the top three. January
amounted to Adrian's breakthrough month following his arrival in English
football. After featuring in two Barclays Premier League matches towards the
end of December, he wrestled the goalkeeper's position back off Jussi
Jaaskelainen to play in five of January's seven matches. His performance at
Chelsea was particularly noteworthy, as Chelsea unleashed 39 shots at the
Hammers goal, yet were unable to beat the No13.

Player of the month winners 2013/14
August James Collins
September Ravel Morrison
October Ravel Morrison
November Stewart Downing
December Carlton Cole
January Adrian

Taylor backs Italians to shine
Hammers midfielder Matt Taylor is looking forward to lining-up alongside the
new recruits

Matt Taylor is sure West Ham United's January Serie A recruits can help fire
the Londoners up the Barclays Premier League table over the final 14 games
of the season. Sam Allardyce added AC Milan midfielder Antonio Nocerino, AS
Roma striker Marco Borriello and SSC Napoli full-back Pablo Armero to his
squad towards the end of the winter transfer window, with Italy
international Nocerino already having made two appearances from the bench
for his new side.
Fellow Italian Borriello and Colombian Armero could make their Hammers bows
on Saturday when they travel to Aston Villa and Taylor is happy to have them
on board. He said: "The Italian lads, first and foremost, must be finding it
difficult to have moved to a new city, a new country and a new culture, but
they've taken the plunge and done that. "They have CVs that could have seen
them stay in Italy, in Serie A, but they have chosen to come to the Premier
"From what I've seen, both of them look to be very capable footballers. I'm
hoping Marco can score some vital goals for us between now and the end of
the season. "Antonio is a very good footballer, a very good box-to-box
midfielder, from the training I've seen. I'm sure he'll get his chance from
the start soon to showcase his talents. "Ultimately, whoever is picked, we
need to make sure get behind them because that's the most important thing as
a Club - that whoever plays, plays well."

Armero's ready for Hammers fight
Deadline day arrival Pablo Armero is looking forward to testing himself in
English football

Deadline day signing Pablo Armero trained with his new West Ham United team
mates for the first time on Friday and the Colombia international cannot
wait for his chance to impress in English football. The 27-year-old
left-back, who has joined the Club on loan for the rest of the season from
Serie A side SSC Napoli, is in Sam Allardyce's squad for the trip to Aston
Villa on Saturday after obtaining a visa to link up with the Londoners.
Having already secured a work permit for the new No8 prior to his signing,
the wait for a visa to be issued meant Armero only arrived in England late
this week, but he is ready to show what he can do.
Speaking in a West Ham TV exclusive, he said: "Thank you very much to West
Ham for this opportunity. I feel very good to be here and I see a group that
wants to improve and wants to win every game. I hope to do a good job at
West Ham United..

"For me this Is a great opportunity and will be a great experience. English
football is very attractive and I'm very glad to be here. I will give my
best, 100%, to the coach to improve the quality of the team." Armero already
has experience of playing against top flight English opposition, having
faced Arsenal home and away in this season's UEFA Champions League group
stages. He believes his game is well suited to the demands of English
football. He explained: "It was good to play against Arsenal because I like
English football. It's attacking and defending, it's quick football -
quicker than Italy - and I've always wanted to be here in the Premier
League. Again, I will give my best to help the team. "I am a left full-back,
who likes to work in defence. I am a good defender, strong and quick, but I
also like attacking. I like to go to the front and make good crosses. I will
give good defending to the team, and good attacking too and hopefully I will
help my team mates to win games."

Aston Villa v West Ham
KO 15:00
7 February 2014
Last updated at 11:26
By Simon Brotherton
Match of the Day commentator

Venue: Villa Park Date: Saturday, 8 February

Aston Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor is expected to return to the side
after a two-match absence with a foot injury. Captain Ron Vlaar is likely to
miss the game with a hamstring problem but fellow defenders Chris Herd and
Joe Bennett are both fit again.
West Ham striker Andy Carroll begins a three-match ban after the club failed
to get it overturned on Friday. New signings Marco Borriello and Pablo
Armero could make their Hammers debuts at Villa Park.


Preparation for any visit to Villa Park these days includes reading through
statistics telling you how awful Aston Villa's home record is and that goals
are at a premium.
Yet my most recent visit last week for the local derby against West Bromwich
Albion turned into a seven-goal thriller which saw the home side prevail 4-3
despite going 2-0 down after just eight minutes. It was some way short of a
defensive masterclass from both teams but gave the crowd a thrilling match
to get excited about - which is not something that's happened too often
Villa's job is to try and build on that as they aim to improve on the second
worst home record in the Premier League. Paul Lambert's team are 10th in the
table, seven points better off than this time a year ago, but it's so tight
this season they're only five points above third bottom West Ham. So as you
can see, there's plenty riding on this match. "West Ham will miss Andy
Carroll massively while he is suspended. The whole way they play is geared
to having him in the team, as we saw from the way he made both their goals
against the Swans." West Ham really needed their 2-0 home win over Swansea
last weekend, but have spent much of the week stewing over Andy Carroll's
red card and the FA's decision not to overturn it on appeal. His presence
will be missed as they look for a first league win at Villa Park since Alan
Pardew was in charge back in January 2006. West Ham's last away performance
produced an unexpected point as they frustrated Jose Mourinho and Chelsea at
Stamford Bridge. If they sit back and park the bus in this one it could be a
poor spectacle because Villa don't thrive when the onus is on them to break
another team down. The last meeting between the teams was a goalless
stalemate at Upton Park back in November and it's likely to be close again
this time.

Villa are on a six-match unbeaten run at home to West Ham, whose only
victory in the last 15 visits came in January 2006.
Aston Villa
They have lost half of their last 50 league matches at Villa Park and
averaged less than a point per game in that period (W12, D13, L25, Pts 49).
One third of the 12 goals scored by Paul Lambert's side at Villa Park this
season came in their last home fixture: the 4-3 win against West Brom.
Villa are looking to avoid successive league defeats. They are yet to earn
back-to-back wins this season.
The Villans have conceded 56% of their goals in the first half, the highest
proportion in the league this season.
They have scored in their last six league matches, their best scoring run
since an eight-match streak between September and November 2011.
West Ham
West Ham have won two of their last four league games. They are vying to go
three league games unbeaten for the first time this season.
The Hammers have kept three clean sheets in their last four games, and 11 in
total this season - the joint most with Arsenal and as many as they managed
in the whole of last season.
Sam Allardyce's side have taken four points from their last two away
matches, having lost the previous five in a row.
They have lost the most points (14) from winning positions this season, and
gained the joint-fewest (one) from losing positions.
Andy Carroll's first Premier League red card against Swansea last weekend
was West Ham's fifth sending off this season, the joint-most along with

Andy Carroll: West Ham striker's three-match ban upheld by tribunal

An independent tribunal has upheld the Football Association's decision to
reject West Ham's appeal against Andy Carroll's three-match ban. The Premier
League side threatened legal action against the FA after their initial
attempt to overturn the ban was turned down. Carroll will now miss the
Hammers' matches against Aston Villa, Norwich and Southampton. In the 12
months from the start of March 2013 to the end of February 2014, Andy
Carroll will have played only 15 games, scoring four goals. He was sent off
during his side's 2-0 win against Swansea last Saturday. An FA statement
said: "An independent arbitration tribunal convened under FA Rule K has
dismissed a legal challenge brought by West Ham United and Andy Carroll in
relation to the red card received by Carroll in the match between West Ham
United FC and Swansea on 1 February 2014. "The independent tribunal resolved
that there was no serious issue to be tried and also awarded The FA its
West Ham released their own statement, which said: "Whilst West Ham United
are obviously disappointed at the decision, as we have made clear
throughout, we respect the rules of football and shall abide by them." The
Hammers, who lie 18th in the table, also suggested the FA-appointed panel
"did not apply the correct test" under its rules when making the original
decision. The move to reconsider the upholding of the initial suspension
with a further hearing is a highly unusual one, and is the last stage a
dispute can reach under FA rules. It is thought to be the first time in
Premier League history that a rejected red-card appeal has then been
referred to an independent arbitrator. Carroll, 25, was dismissed after
clashing with Swans defender Chico Flores at Upton Park. According to the
FA, West Ham failed to prove that referee Howard Webb had made "an obvious
error" in dismissing the forward, whose arm hit Flores on the top of his
head as he tried to untangle himself following an aerial challenge. Flores
went to ground clutching his face but West Ham felt he had over-reacted.

Carroll appeal - REJECTED
Filed: Friday, 7th February 2014
By: Staff Writer

Andy Carroll will serve a three-match ban after his second appeal against
last weekend's red card was dismissed. West Ham United went back to the
Football Association today in a second bid to have Howard Webb's original
decision to dismiss the England international for violent conduct
overturned. However it was announced shortly after 4pm this afternoon that
the three-man panel's original decision had been upheld. West Ham appointed
leading QC Lord David Pannick to lead their case against what the club
viewed as an unjust decision. However the decision made on Tuesday stands
regardless and Carroll will now miss the matches against Aston Villa,
Norwich and Southampton. Meanwhile, Chico Flores - whose cheating antics
caused the furore - is allowed to continue to play without sanction.

Allardyce: top-half by next weekend
Filed: Friday, 7th February 2014
By: Staff Writer

Sam Allardyce says that West Ham could find themselves in the upper half of
the table this time next weekend. Allarydyce, speaking to the press at the
Boleyn Ground this morning ahead of the weekend trip to Aston Villa believes
that two good performances - at Villa Park this weekend and at home to
Norwich on Tuesday - could catapult the Hammers up the league. "We've all
seen what a quick run of results can do because of the way the table is," he
said. "In the next few days, after Tuesday night, we could put ourselves
around tenth or eleventh place if we do the job right. "This is our best
spell of the season at the moment. A four-game run with seven points on the
board, and we have to try and continue on from there. We're looking forward
to going to Villa and trying to perform like we did at Cardiff a few weeks
ago. The only problem is we've had to achieve our last two victories with
ten men, which has been a bit unjust on both occasions. We've got to go to
Aston Villa and hopefully keep eleven players on the field and not get any
more injuries. That is key to continuing our successful results at the
moment. "When you haven't got a full squad to select from and you're playing
so many players out of position, in defence in particular, when you get them
all back you see the difference it makes to results and performances. We're
proving that when we do get everybody fit then results turn in our favour -
and that's what we were talking about all the way through Christmas."

And on Andy Carroll, whose ssecond appeal is being heard this morning,
Allardyce added: "We based the whole of our procedure on [the question of]
was it an obvious mistake? I'm 100% certain it was. "Howard Webb should
have given a free-kick for the foul on Andy Carroll by Chico Flores. At that
stage the whistle should blow and there is no incident. That, for me, is an
obvious mistake."

Aston Villa host West Ham United at Villa Park
Last Updated: 07/02/14 11:33am

West Ham United's bid to climb out of the relegation zone continues on
Saturday as they take on Aston Villa at Villa Park. Heading into the game
there are just five points between the clubs; yet one appears to be a
relegation candidate, while the other sits 10th in the Premier League
standings. Paul Lambert's Villa currently boast 27 points, leaving them in
mid-table, but victory will not see them move any higher, with Southampton
eight points ahead in ninth. Villa's home form has been indifferent this
campaign, but the visit of West Ham should represent the ideal opportunity
to record back-to-back home wins for the first time this season, having
beaten West Brom 4-3 last time out. Despite claiming a 2-0 victory over
Swansea City at Upton Park last weekend, the Hammers remain caught in the
relegation scrap, yet victory could elevate them to 12th should results go
their way. Andy Carroll was the catalyst for Sam Allardyce's side on
Saturday, providing two headed assists as captain Kevin Nolan bagged a
brace, but West Ham may have to do battle without their leading striker.
Just a few games into his return from a long-term injury, Carroll was shown
a red card following a clash with Chico Flores and West Ham must wait on
Friday's independent tribunal to discover whether his three-match ban will
stand. November's reverse fixture between the sides in London resulted in a
goalless draw but Villa have won three and lost just one of their last six
meetings with the Hammers.

Paul Merson's prediction

West Ham had a big result against Swansea last week, while Aston Villa were
unlucky to lose to Everton and had a great result in their last home game
against West Brom. I fancy Villa to win on Saturday because of Andy
Carroll's suspension. West Ham are a different team when he plays; Kevin
Nolan is a good player, but he's 20 times better when Carroll is in the
team. I thought Carroll swiped out at Chico Flores last week, but the
Swansea lad won't be getting a Victoria Cross for his reaction. It was


A Villa Badge A Villa
Last 6
Everton (a)2-1
West Brom (h)4-3
Liverpool (a)2-2
Arsenal (h)1-2
Sheff Utd (h)1-2
Sunderland (a)0-1

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert is set to be handed a boost for Saturday's
visit of West Ham, with striker Gabriel Agbonlahor expected to return.
Agbonlahor has missed the last two games with a foot injury suffered after
tumbling over an advertising hoarding in last month's draw at Liverpool.
Lambert is without Ron Vlaar however, after the centre-back picked up a
hamstring problem in the closing stages of last week's 2-1 loss at Everton
last weekend.

West Ham Badge West Ham
Last 6
Swansea (h)2-0
Chelsea (a)0-0
Man City (h)0-3
Newcastle (h)1-3
Cardiff (a)0-2
Man City (a)6-0
West Ham United boss Allardyce is being made to sweat over the availability
of striker Carroll. Carroll was red carded in West Ham's victory over
Swansea City and faces an independent tribunal on Friday to learn whether
his three-match ban will remain. Fellow forward Ricardo Vaz Te faces a late
fitness test with his knee injury potentially subsiding in time for this
game. Full-back Joey O'Brien (shoulder), midfielders Joe Cole (groin) and
Mohamed Diame (knee) remain out. Italian duo Antonio Nocerino and Marco
Borriello could feature following their loan moves.

Opta Facts

Aston Villa have kept just one clean sheet in their last 11 Premier League
games, conceding at least two goals in eight games during this run.
West Ham have hit the target with just 36% of their shots this season, the
lowest accuracy in the top flight.
Only Fulham (10) have picked up fewer points at home than Aston Villa (11)
this season.
West Ham have kept the joint-most clean sheets in the Premier League along
with Arsenal (11).

By Sean Whetstone 7 Feb 2014 at 17:31
West Ham Till I Die

The FA have made a statement to confirm "An Independent Arbitration Tribunal
convened under FA Rule K has today dismissed a legal challenge brought by
West Ham United FC and Andy Carroll in relation to the red card received by
Carroll in the match between West Ham United FC and Swansea City FC on 1
February 2014."

The FA were awarded their costs of £13,092 which West ham must pay.

West Ham have made an official statement saying: "West Ham United have
issued a statement in response to the outcome of the Independent Arbitration
Tribunal.Whilst West Ham United are obviously disappointed at the decision,
as we have made clear throughout, we respect the rules of football and shall
abide by them.Andy Carroll will now serve a three-match suspension, which
will rule him out of the Barclays Premier League fixtures at Aston Villa
tomorrow and at home to Norwich City and Southampton. He will be available
for selection again for the trip to Everton on Saturday 1 March."

Earlier today the club confirmed they were appearing before an Independent
Arbitral Tribunal in a challenge to the FA Regulatory Commission's decision
relating to the three-match suspension of Andy Carroll. They said "the Club
is concerned that the Regulatory Commission did not apply the correct test
under the rule, and denied the Club procedural fairness.West Ham's complaint
is made under the FA Rules, and the Club shall accept and abide by the
decision of the Independent Arbitral Tribunal.The Club has no intention of
taking the issue to the courts, but simply seeks a fair determination of its
rights under the FA's Rules."

This appears to be the final chapter in this story.

The End

By Sean Whetstone 7 Feb 2014 at 12:25
West Ham Till I Die

In 1899, there was a fayre was being held near to Villa Park in an area
known at the time as the 'Black Patch', where a gypsy community welcomed
travelling attractions and Charlie Chaplin was supposedly born in a caravan.
Anyway, one visitor apparently challenging all comers, was William Dove, a
London-born professional sprinter of national fame. Along came four Aston
Villa players to the fayre strutting their Victorian stuff through the side
shows and attractions.The Villa players were challenged to race by Dove
which they agreed and a money wager was set. Anyway the race against William
Dove was run and the Aston Villa players lost. The Villa players didn't have
any money, so, a compromise was reached. One of the Villa players had been
given the job of getting the first team's kit washed. To placate Dove, they
gave him the complete claret-and-blue kit and then reported it stolen to the
Aston Villa directors.

The London sprinter returned to the capital with the claret and blue kit of
the then league champions. William's son, Charlie Dove, was an apprentice
riveter who played right-half for his works team, Thames Ironworks. The then
amateur team had played in a number of different colours, including dark
blue, inspired by the firm's chairman, who had been at Oxford. When William
Dove, who also helped coach the team showed up one day with a complete set
of claret-and-blue Aston Villa kits, they adopted it. When Thames Ironworks
were disbanded and relaunched almost immediately as West Ham United they
kept the Claret and Blue strip.

FA told to crack down on play-acting by commission that rejected West Ham's
Andy Carroll appeal
Feb 07, 2014 22:30 By Darren Lewis
The Mirror

The FA have been told to crack down on the fakers with Chico Flores set to
play today as Andy Carroll begins his three-match ban. The demand has come
from the original Independent Commission that rejected West Ham's appeal
against their star striker's red card on Tuesday. Mirror Sport can also
reveal that Premier League match delegate Paul Allen, who was at the game
against Swansea last week, condemned Flores's antics in his report and
labelled Carroll's dismissal "harsh". West Ham were finally defeated by the
FA yesterday at a five-hour arbitration hearing in London's West End to
determine whether Carroll's red card should have been blocked pending a
personal hearing. But despite throwing out the original appeal, Tuesday's
panel had already expressed their disgust at Flores's behaviour in their
written reasons and called on the FA to get tough with players who perform
similar histrionics. In their report they made clear: "the Commission's
dissatisfaction with the conduct of Mr Flores, for simulating injury and
unsporting conduct, and comment that the Commission look to The FA to find
ways of dealing with this type of conduct."
Referee Howard Webb showed Carroll a straight red card after Flores's
exaggerated reaction to being caught on the top of the head by Carroll's
arm. But, in a section of his report marked 'Key Match Incidents', Premier
League match delegate Allen reported to his bosses that Flores had behaved
"melodramatically". He wrote: "My initial reaction, at match tempo, was the
sanction was harsh as both players competed In an aerial challenge. "The
initial infringement was made by Flores as he impeded Carroll in an aerial
challenge leading up to the incident and it was the momentum of Carroll's
arm as he turned into the defender that made contact with the top of the
player's head as both players untangled after the challenge. "It didn't
appear that the arm was thrown towards Chico with any aggression or with a
clenched fist as Carroll was not looking at his opponent when the impact was
made. "It looked a case of the player not being able to control his movement
or momentum of his arm as both players separated from the challenge. "Flores
then fell to the ground melodramatically and held his face as opposed to the
part of the body where the contact was made. "Howard Webb deliberated over
his decision as he approached Carroll before brandishing the red card.
"After reviewing the incident several times on DVD, I am still of the
opinion that the decision was very harsh and I am not sure if Howard Webb
had a clear view of the incident from his vantage point to judge the
challenge on its merits or if he thought there was excessive force used due
to the over-reaction of the player."

Yesterday's decision by the single arbitrator was accepted by West Ham who
said: "We respect the rules of football and shall abide by them."

West Ham without Andy Carroll, Mo Diame and Joe Cole for Aston Villa game
Feb 07, 2014 17:45 By Eliot Rothwell
The Mirror

West Ham are set to be without striker Andy Carroll against Aston Villa
after the failing to overturn his three-game ban. The Upton Park club had
hoped to overturn the decision, but the FA committee charged with
investigating the dismissal saw no reason to remove the suspension. Hammers
boss Sam Allardyce will also be without Joey O'Brien (shoulder), Joe Cole
(groin) and Mohamed Diame (knee) as his side look to move away from
relegation danger. Loan pair Antonio Nocerino and Marco Borriello could be
included in the starting line up following their moves from AC Milan and AS

Provisional Squad: Adrian, Demel, Tomkins, McCartney, Collins, Downing,
Noble, Jarvis, Taylor, Nolan, Cole, Jaaskelainen, Borriello, Johnson,
Morrison, Nocerino, Reid, Vaz Te.

West Ham's Andy Carroll accepts three-game ban but urges FA to punish
players who 'simulate injury'
By Jason Burt and Ben Rumsby 11:00PM GMT 07 Feb 2014

The Football Association has been urged to introduce retrospective
punishment for players who "simulate injury" by the original commission it
appointed to investigate Andy Carroll's controversial red card. The West
Ham United striker's three-match ban was upheld, for a second time, on
Friday after his club took the case to arbitration, at the FA's suggestion
under rule K8 and before an independent QC, after failing in an initial bid
to get the dismissal overturned.
West Ham have dropped the threat of legal action and the matter is now
closed with Carroll missing the vital league matches against Aston Villa on
Saturday and then at home against Norwich City and Southampton as the club
battle against relegation. The Telegraph has learnt that not only was the
original independent three-man commission set up by the FA to hear the
appeal split on whether the card against Swansea City was correct but it
expressed serious misgivings about Chico Flores's behaviour during the

Furthermore it is understood that the FA shared those misgivings with a
source confirming the organisation took a "dim view" of Flores's theatrical
actions. The FA even considered charging Flores with "ungentlemanly conduct"
for his exaggerated response during the incident at Upton Park on Saturday
Feb 1 which led to referee Howard Webb dismissing Carroll.

However, it was eventually decided that the evidence was not strong enough
in this case and that Flores, who has protested his innocence and claimed
that he was struck on the head, should be given the benefit of the doubt. If
the FA wanted to go further and introduce retrospective punishment for the
behaviour of players such as Flores then it would need the consent of the
clubs and other 'stakeholders' – such as the Premier League – who have
opposed the measure in the past.

In the original appeal judgment the three-man panel was not only split 2:1 –
with one member arguing that Carroll was "doing no more than rotating his
arm from the tangle" – but unanimously condemned Flores. Paragraphs 22-25 of
the judgment "recorded the Commission's dissatisfaction with the conduct of
Mr Flores for simulating injury and unsporting conduct" with a "comment that
the Commission look to the FA to find ways of dealing with this type of
West Ham submitted their case on Friday, after taking legal advice from
leading QC Lord Pannick and also the high-profile solicitor Henri Brandman,
with the arbitral tribunal meeting at 11am in central London before
delivering its verdict five hours later.

The red card could not have been overturned with West Ham arguing for a
"stay" on the decision while a new hearing was convened so that Carroll
could play in their forthcoming matches. The club were desperate for the
England international, who has been injured for most of the season, to be
available for today's match and the fixture against Norwich in particular
which they regard as relegation six-pointers.

West Ham's sense of grievance will have been added to by the report
submitted by Paul Allen, the Premier League's match delegate, who wrote that
he believed the red card was "harsh", adding: "After reviewing the incident
several times on DVD I am still of the opinion that the decision was very
harsh and I am not sure if Howard Webb had a clear view of the incident from
his vantage point to judge the challenge on its merits or if he thought
there was excessive force used due to the over-reaction of the player."
Allen added: "It did not appear that the arm was thrown towards Chico with
any aggression."

The FA argued that the card could only be overturned if Webb had made an
"obvious error" but West Ham challenged this claiming "the regulatory
commission has applied the wrong test" and that this fell into the remit of
guidance rather than a rule. The club said that under the FA rules (Section
5(c) of Section A of the Disciplinary Procedures) that the incident should
have been looked as to "whether any sanction of a suspension from play is
one which should be imposed in view of the facts of the case".

West Ham also argued that because the commission was split this made it even
more necessary for the club and Carroll to be granted "an oral hearing... in
which the player could have had a proper opportunity to respond to the
allegation that he had committed the act of violent misconduct". Carroll
maintained that he never attempted to "strike" Flores. The FA had countered
that there was no right to an oral hearing and their solicitors Charles
Russell said Webb's action could only be deemed "wrongful it if plainly
falls outside the range of decisions reasonably open to him".

The FA now argues that the process which was completed yesterday validated
its approach – and it is one of the few federations who do allow wrongful
dismissal appeals. Last month Sepp Blatter, the Fifa president, called on
referees to use the full extent of their powers to punish players guilty of
simulation. It also followed a string of incidents in the Premier League
this season with 13 bookings for diving dished out. In his Fifa Weekly
column Blatter wrote about the irritation he feels when the "[supposedly]
half-dead player comes back to life".

A number of Premier League managers – including Jose Mourinho and Tim
Sherwood – now want that to be taken further and agree with the demands for
retrospective punishment to be handed out to players who dive or feign
injury. The FA has put the issue of 'simulation' to the stakeholders before
but it was rejected with the Professional Footballers' Association, in
particular, opposing the move. This caused frustration at the FA, which is
not averse to reintroducing the debate although there is an acceptance that
it is hard to prove. The FA would welcome guidance from the PFA to its
members. The organisation is also relieved that the Carroll case is now
closed and is pleased with the statement from West Ham that "we respect the
rules of football and shall abide by them".

Aston Villa's veteran striker Grant Holt: I've played against Chico Flores–
he does go down easily
John Percy By John Percy11:29PM GMT 07 Feb 2014

Had West Ham United succeeded in their attempt to field Andy Carroll at
Villa Park on Saturday, it would have provoked uproar among Paul Lambert and
other managers competing to avoid relegation from the Premier League. But at
least one Aston Villa player believes Carroll has been the victim of a grave
injustice and, worse, that his case is a depressing example of the way
defenders such as Chico Flores are undermining the English game's proud
tradition of tough-but-fair battles between centreforwards and
centre-halves. Grant Holt's views on the row that has dominated this week's
build-up to the visit of West Ham are typically forthright and unflinching,
with the 32-year-old fearing the controversy could have far wider
implications for English football. Carroll and Holt are both cut from the
same granite, the archetypal traditional centreforward with the scars to
prove it, but Holt believes the pressures on referees and trial-by-TV is
threatening to cause irreparable damage. "The stakes are so high now that if
you've got a chance to gain an advantage, get someone a red card –
especially if you are struggling and getting beaten – then people are doing
it now. You don't want to see it and I think it's making referee's decisions
even harder," he said.

"Without going into too many things Chico Flores does tend to go down
slightly easily. I've played against him many times and it disappoints me.
"If Carroll hits him in the face and he goes down then fair enough. If I hit
someone in the face then I'd expect them to go down if I've caught them
because it will bloody hurt. "But when you're getting hit with elbows and
stuff I hate to see people rolling around and doing 15 tumbles on the floor
when you haven't touched them. If you've been hit on the face then fair
enough, but if you're hit on the top of your head – hold the top of your
head. You don't need to hold your face. I think the player could stay up.
"Years ago there was more respect. Certainly in League One, League Two you
expected to take it. I remember a guy called Jim Bentley at Morecambe and
the battles I had with him. At the end you shook his hand and had a laugh
about it. That's what we need to get back to."

Holt has never been afraid to air his opinions and is a refreshing antidote
to many of the pampered players seemingly unable to speak without guidance
from an agent or press officer. On his Twitter account he proudly claims
"Dad to 3 beautiful girls and batting well above my average". His grounded
attitude has undoubtedly been shaped by his formative years at the likes of
Workington, Halifax and Barrow. But it has sometimes landed him in trouble.
He famously described Roy Hodgson's decision to leave him out of England's
Euro 2012 squad as "ridiculous", after scoring 15 Premier League goals in a
season at Norwich. It could have been even more chastening when close friend
Rickie Lambert, his strike partner at Rochdale, completed his own remarkable
rise last year with a goal on his debut against Scotland. "When you're
watching it and Rickie made his debut you've got to think 'yeah that could
have been me'. But, honestly, I was delighted for him. "It was never about
me, I was always beating the drum for other people. There's a lot of players
get pigeonholed and it's been nice to see the likes of Rickie, Adam Lallana
and Jay Rodriguez get their chance. It needs to continue. "I was close [to a
call-up]. I know they looked at medical files. If somebody had told me when
I was playing at Barrow that I'd have just missed out on the Euros you'd
just have laughed. I scored 15 goals one season and then eight in the next,
still never got a sniff. "England didn't do that great in the Euros, it was
actually worse sitting there watching the thing."

Is he confident for this year's World Cup? "No. There are better teams than
England out there, I'm sure everybody thinks that. Hopefully I'll see them
lift something in my lifetime but we'll just wait and see. "It's a World Cup
where nobody is talking about them, usually everyone says we're going to win
it but they're not this year so fingers crossed it will go the other way."

Holt now has a chance to rampage on the big stage again after seizing an
offer from Lambert, his former manager at Norwich, to join Villa on loan
last month. The opportunity to work with Lambert again was impossible for
him to turn down, especially when you consider he had been a substitute at
Wigan Athletic.
He will be 33 in April which, whisper it quietly, comfortably makes him the
oldest member of a squad Lambert is building for the future. But he has
already proven hugely influential both on and off the field, hoping to score
his first goal in front of the Holte End on Saturday afternoon. "I think it
raised a few eyebrows because I'd come from not playing in the Championship
to a big Premier League club like Villa," he said. "The manager knows what
he gets from me. I'm under no illusions, if there had been a big transfer
fee involved it probably wouldn't have happened. He knows I'll work hard and
want to win. I hate losing. "I love walking into a ground and getting abuse.
I thrive on it. I like the banter I get on Twitter – the people give me this
and I give a little back. "I'm the world's worst. I'll go to Carlisle games
and I'll be on the terraces watching it and I shout stuff and then I think,
'Grant what are you doing'? "But that's football, everyone's got their
opinion. Wouldn't it be boring if everyone was the same and thought 'isn't
he a great player?'."

By Sean Whetstone 8 Feb 2014 at 07:52
West Ham Till I Die

West Ham United have trade marked the words 'Upton Park' despite planning to
move away from the area in 2016. The trade mark was granted and published in
the trade mark journal recently on 31st January.The Trade Mark forbids the
name being used in a wide list of goods and services including bizarre items
such as pot porri and whips. The Trade Mark 'The Boleyn Ground' was also
registered late last year until the year 2023 so no-one can use the name
Boleyn Ground . West Ham are also currently attempting to trade mark the
words 'Irons' and 'The Irons' which has not been granted as yet.

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce claims 'simulation has won' after Andy Carroll's
ban is upheld
Daily Star

ANDY CARROLL was fuming last night after his second appeal to overturn a
three-match ban was rejected. The West Ham striker will now miss his side's
crunch Premier League showdowns with Aston Villa today, Norwich on Tuesday
and the game against Southampton on February 22. A six-hour arbitration
hearing yesterday ruled that an Independent Commission had been correct to
uphold Carroll's straight red and ban for violent conduct against Swansea
after he caught Chico Flores with a swinging arm and the Swansea defender
went down clutching his face. Hammers boss Sam Allardyce said: "I'm
frightened of going near him. He is hugely frustrated and angry and
disappointed in this situation. "It is best to leave him well alone and let
him get over it. Simulation has been allowed to win."
An FA statement said: "An Independent Arbitration Tribunal convened under FA
Rule K has dismissed a legal challenge brought by West Ham United FC and
Andy Carroll. "The Independent Tribunal resolved that there was no serious
issue to be tried and also awarded The FA its costs." A West Ham statement
read: "Whilst West Ham United are obviously disappointed at the decision, as
we have made clear throughout, we respect the rules of football and shall
abide by them."

Allardyce also slammed the quality of referees in the top-flight and claims
there has been a directive from the top to dish out more red cards since the
New Year. At his weekly press conference, he issued figures which stated
there were 21 sending offs until January 1 while there have already been 13
dismissals in just over a month. Allardyce added: "Why have we had a
dramatic increase in red cards? "All I am doing is throwing up where we are
at the minute and what is happening in the game of football. "You've got to
be good and tough enough and have the right amount of quality and character
to deal with refereeing at Premier League level. "It means if you have done
something wrong it should be said. But, unfortunately, it isn't often enough
for me and a lot of other managers. "That's the problem we have that we
don't seem to get any sort of reaction out of the group of referees who work
together or the bodies. "All we can hope is that would improve and get
better. From my eyes, it's always been a case of we haven't got enough
top-class professional referees. "We should have more to relieve the
pressure on them. "The fact is there is a small group that work together and
the group is not big enough. Of course, you have to have the quality. Not
just the quantity. You have to aspire to have both."

Allardyce reckons Flores' antics contributed to Michael Laudrup getting the
sack at Swansea adding: "He may feel like he's clever getting away with it,
but with some of his actions and performance, he has just got his manager


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