Sunday, March 16

Daily WHUFC News - 16th March 2014

Lead goes to waste in Stoke defeat
Stoke City came from behind to defeat West Ham United 3-1 at the Britannia
Stadium on Saturday

Stoke City 3-1 West Ham United
Barclays Premier League

West Ham United scored their 800th Barclays Premier League goal at Stoke
City on Saturday, but it was to no avail as the Potters came roaring back
from Andy Carroll's early header to send their visitors to defeat. It looked
to be going swimmingly when Carroll rose above goalkeeper Asmir Begovic to
nod West Ham in front, but Stoke regrouped to show why they possess such a
strong home record. Peter Odemwingie scored the first of a brace to level on
32 minutes, before two more goals in the final quarter of the contest took
the game away from Sam Allardyce's men. Marko Arnautovic scored the crucial
second, weaving his way into a clear shooting position 15 yards and giving
Adrian little chance, before Odemwingie wrapped it up himself eleven minutes
from the end. Carroll was one of four new additions to the Hammers' team,
with Antonio Nocerino, Winston Reid and Mo Diame also returning to the
starting line-up, and the big No9 had an instant impact, heading the
visitors into a fifth minute lead. West Ham won a free kick ten yards inside
the Stoke half, and Mark Noble delivered from deep for Carroll to beat
Begovic to the ball and head into the unguarded net. The Potters went close
to an instant leveller when Peter Crouch crossed low from the left and
Stephen Ireland drew an excellent save from Adrian, whose weight looked to
be moving the other way at first. At the other end, Carroll was causing all
sorts of problems with his aerial power as the Hammers looked to make the
most of their quick start, but the game soon settled down with both defences
restricting the other team's chances. That was until the 32nd minute when
Stoke won the corner down the left which gave them the route to goal.
Ireland delivered the ball for Crouch to climb above James Tomkins and send
a bouncing header towards goal. West Ham may have thought they had escaped
when the ball struck the bar, but Crouch reacted first to hook back
goalwards, where Odemwingie flicked home. RIght on half time Stoke had the
chance to move in front when a slick passing move dragged the Hammers out of
shape and allowed Ireland in down the right channel, but Adrian stood up to
block by his near post.

The Hammers had the first chance of the second half but Kevin Nolan could
not direct his header on goal after Diame got round the back to hang a cross
up to the back post with 59 minutes played. 60 seconds later the visitors
had the ball in the net, but a raised flag from the linesman cut short their
celebrations after Nolan strayed beyond the offside line to knock home
following a fumble by Begovic. With 69 minutes on the clock it was 2-1 to
the hosts as Arnautovic combined with Ireland to make the most of a lucky
break at the edge of the box, ride the last challenge and slot home. West
Ham pressed as they looked to come again, but they were undone on the break
as Stoke sealed the points eleven minutes from time. The man who began their
fightback was the man to conclude it too, as Odemwingie lashed home high at
the near post after Ireland slipped the ball invitingly into his path.

Stoke City: Begovic; Cameron, Shawcross, Wilson, Pieters (Muniesa 14);
Whelan, N'Zonzi; Odemwingie, Ireland, Arnautovic; Crouch
Subs: Sorensen, Etherington, Wilkinson, Palacios, Shotton, Guidetti
Goals: Odemwingie 32, Arnautovic 69, Odemwingie 79
Booked: Whelan

West Ham United: Adrian; Demel, Reid, Tomkins, McCartney; Nolan, Noble,
Nocerino (C.Cole 76); Diame, Carroll (Armero 83), Downing (J.Cole 62)
Subs: Jaaskelainen, Jarvis, Taylor, Collins
Goal: Carroll 5
Booked: Noble

Referee: Craig Pawson
Attendance: 27,015

Big Sam rues defensive errors
Sam Allardyce was disappointed by his side's defending in Saturday's 3-1
defeat to Stoke City

Sam Allardyce was left to rue a rare sloppy defensive display from his West
Ham United side as they slipped to a 3-1 defeat at Stoke City on Saturday.
Defensive solidity has been a key feature of the Hammers' play as they have
lifted themselves up the Barclays Premier League table since Christmas, but
it deserted them on a frustrating afternoon at the Britannia Stadium. Having
led through Andy Carroll's early header, the Hammers harboured high hopes of
making it a fifth victory in six starts, but Stoke fought back to level
through Peter Odemwingie before the break. Marko Arnautovic then gave the
Potters a 69th minute lead before Odemwingie's second of the contest killed
the visitors' challenge off late on, Big Sam saw the loss as an opportunity
missed with the Londoners unable to turn their early second half pressure in
to anything meaningful. He told West Ham TV: "Sitting there after 60, 65
minutes we were thinking we've had the opportunity to get another goal and
we haven't quite taken it. "Kevin Nolan's one was offside obviously and Andy
Carroll had a great chance as well. We had them on the back foot in the
second half, and the wind was helping us, which was very powerful today.
"All it needed was the back players to continue to concentrate on defending
correctly and we'd have eventually got another chance to score, maybe taken
it or if not come off the field on a 1-1, but unfortunately our defending
let us down in the second half. "We didn't need to defend very often either,
so it's very upsetting that I didn't see the defensive side of our game come
together today, when the attacking side was a lot better than it was against
Everton. "There was a lot more chances, a lot more creativity, a lot more
pressure on the opposition, but two shocking defensive moments have cost us
the game, as well as the referee not giving us a penalty."
The Hammers' sudden generosity came as a shock to Allardyce, who has become
used to seeing his side stifle the opposition's threat. He continued: "It
was a massive surprise to me. I changed the team around today, one to try
and freshen the team up, two to bring some of the players in to show they
can deliver, like the lads have delivered before. They'll be looking at me
and saying we've lost the game 3-1, so why did I make those changes. "I'll
have to say that I'd tend to agree with them after that, because had we kept
that solidity in the the defensive unit that we normally do I believe we
would have got a point at least . "I know the referee has probably taken a
goal away from us [by not awarding a penalty for Marc Muniesa's second half
handball] but it's still no excuse for the defending for two goals we
conceded in the second half."

Having got in level at the break, Allardyce thought the Hammers would make
use of the conditions in the second half - and that was how it was panning
out until Arnautovic's killer blow. Allardyce explained: "We were saying at
half-time let's use the conditions to our advantage, which we did because
Stoke found it hugely difficult to get out of their own half. When that's
the case you can keep probing and putting pressure on the opposition. "When
you put pressure on the opposition constantly they end up making a mistake.
That mistake happened and fortunately for them Begovic got away with it.
"When he came so far out and mis-punched the ball, he just went a yard or so
ahead of Kevin Nolan. Had he not done that. Kevin would have been onside for
that goal, so he was fortunate to get away with that one."

West Ham still need to look over their shoulder with six points between them
and the bottom three and the manager warned the job is not yet done. He
added: "There are nine games to go, and our points per game are diminishing
again. We've played 29 games and only got 31 points. "That cannot continue,
we have to keep more points ahead of our games total and do that to try and
secure our Premier League position as quickly as possible."

Stoke 3 West Ham 1
15 March 2014
Last updated at 18:16
By Simon Stone
BBC Sport

Peter Odemwingie scored twice as Stoke came from behind to claim victory
against West Ham in the Premier League. Andy Carroll headed in his first
goal since April to give the visitors a perfect start. But Stoke levelled
when Peter Crouch's acrobatic effort deflected in off Odemwingie on the
line. Marko Arnautovic finished off a flowing four-man move to put Stoke
ahead before Odemwingie slammed in his second from an acute angle. The
result extends Stoke's excellent recent run. Mark Hughes's men have now lost
just once in seven games and have moved into the top half of the table. West
Ham will reflect on a penalty claim for handball against defender Marc
Muniesa, waved away by referee Craig Pawson, that replays showed merited a
spot-kick that would have brought the visitors level. The Hammers had gone
ahead after just five minutes when Carroll, who has been touted for an
England World Cup call, rose impressively to nod in Mark Noble's free-kick
ahead of Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic. The Potters levelled before the
break when Crouch reacted quickest after Adrian had pushed his initial
header onto the bar. However, though Crouch wheeled away to celebrate, the
effort belonged to Odemwingie, who was stood on the line when it struck him
and diverted into the net. Carroll had an effort beaten away by Begovic and
Kevin Nolan saw a goal ruled out for offside before Arnautovic gave Stoke
the lead. The Austrian profited from a flowing move, then enjoyed a slice of
luck on the edge of the area as the Hammers defence failed to deal with his
forward burst, before prodding a fine shot into the corner for his first
goal since October. Had the Muniesa penalty decision gone their way, the
Hammers could easily have set up a thrilling finish. As it was, they were
left distinctly unhappy at the ruling, even though the referee seemed to
have a clear view of the incident. And their mood was not improved shortly
afterwards when Ireland set up Odemwingie. The Nigerian has impressed since
his January arrival from Cardiff. And while there may have been a large
element of fortune in his first goal, there was no room for debate over the
second, as he drove home from an acute angle. It was enough to secure a
victory that edges Stoke closer to safety, while at the same time leaving
West Ham slightly too near the drop zone for comfort, despite manager Sam
Allardyce picking up February's manager of the month award.

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce: "Our defending for the second goal was
pathetic. That has been our strength this season. Unfortunately today it has
let us down badly." On the penalty claim for handball against Marc Muniesa,
he added: "It was an extremely poor decision. It was right in front of him
(the referee), he had a perfect view. The ball hits the lad on the left arm.
"I am completely and utterly baffled. Sometimes they do not have the courage
- 999 times out of 1000 that would be given."

Stoke manager Mark Hughes: "In those situations you are going to raise your
arm because he was trying to get above Andy Carroll. It probably did catch
his elbow but he wasn't even looking in that direction. "If it had gone
against us we would have still won. We were the better team." On Stoke's
first goal he added: "It was a bit of a scramble. "Peter Crouch did really
well to get it towards goal. But Peter Odemwingie is a striker and he will
claim it. I would if I was in his position."

Stoke City beat West Ham 3-1 at the Britannia Stadium
Last Updated: 15/03/14 6:55pm

Stoke bounced back from conceding early on to see off West Ham 3-1 at the
Britannia Stadium. Hammers striker Andy Carroll opened the scoring in the
fifth minute of the Premier League contest with his first goal of the
season, rising above Peter Crouch and crashing a header past Asmir Begovic,
who had rushed off his line to try to punch the ball away. The hosts
equalised in the 32nd minute when Crouch, following up his own header that
had hit the bar, saw his acrobatic effort go in off the shoulder of Peter
Odemwingie. Kevin Nolan thought he had made it 2-1 to the visitors when he
put the ball in the net in the 61st minute, but the effort was correctly
ruled out for offside.

Best of the match

Goal of the match: Peter Odemwingie made Stoke City's third look easy when
it wasn't. The former West Brom man hammered home from a tight angle.
Moment of the match: With the score at 1-1, Marc Muniesa appeared to handle
inside the Stoke penalty area. West Ham and in particular Andy Carroll were
convinced it should have been a penalty but the referee thought otherwise.
Man of the match: Stephen Ireland. The midfielder worked tirelessly and
should have grabbed the goal his performance deserved.
Talking point: Can Stoke City finish higher than tenth?

And Stoke subsequently went on to wrap up victory, with Marko Arnautovic
getting through a crowd of players and slotting in on 69 minutes before
Odemwingie finished a Potters counter-attack by lashing home with 11 minutes
to go. Early on, it appeared as if the day might belong to Carroll. Since
becoming West Ham's record signing last summer, Carroll has endured a
frustrating campaign, missing much of it due to a foot injury and then,
after finally regaining his fitness, being hit with a three-match suspension
for a red card in February. He is still hoping to make England's squad for
this summer's World Cup, though, and on what was his first start since his
sending-off and only his seventh appearance of the season, he looked like a
man on the mission as this game got under way. The 25-year-old, who was on
loan with West Ham from Liverpool last term and last scored in April, had
already had a shot blocked when he headed the Hammers into the lead. Stoke
boss Mark Hughes says his side fully deserved the win and could have won by
more. Carroll connected with Mark Noble's floated free-kick as his marker
Crouch and Begovic got in each other's way. Stoke were almost level
immediately as Adrian tipped a Stephen Ireland effort around the post, but
Carroll was soon threatening again, bringing a save out of Begovic. The
action switched to the other end again as Steven Nzonzi's shot was blocked
and from the resulting corner, Marc Wilson sent an effort goalwards that
went behind off Odemwingie. Stoke were forced into a substitution just
before the quarter-hour mark as Erik Pieters went off for Marc Muniesa, and
the game then reduced in tempo somewhat after its frantic opening.
Arnautovic earned a corner with an ambitious effort, and Crouch then did the
same, leading to the Potters' leveller. From Ireland's corner, Crouch nodded
the ball into the ground and onto the bar, and then reacted quickly to
volley it back goalwards. It struck Odemwingie, who was on the line, before
going in, but Crouch might feel the goal should be his. West Ham's Kevin
Nolan says his side were denied a blatant penalty and feels they should have
come away with more from the game. Carroll was still on the hunt and cracked
a shot over the bar as half-time approached, before Ireland failed to make
the most of being put through on goal, shooting straight at Adrian. Shortly
after the restart Nolan headed Mohamed Diame's cross wide from a good
position and Crouch then just failed to make connection with a clever
through-ball as he tried to nick it past Adrian. Carroll was next to find
himself in space in front of goal, but saw his shot divert over via
Begovic's foot. Then came the offside decision, as Begovic punched the ball
out, it came back into the box to Nolan and he guided it into the net. Much
to his dismay, the flag was up. Stoke soon capitalised after surviving that
scare, as Arnautovic collected the ball, squeezed into the box past several
West Ham men and beat Adrian. And, after West ham had had a couple of
handball claims waved away, Odemwingie made the three points safe with a
goal that was certainly his, smashing in emphatically from Ireland's pass as
Stoke surged forward on the break.

Sam Allardyce unhappy after West Ham lose 3-1 at Stoke
Last Updated: 15/03/14 6:29pm

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce blamed a combination of poor refereeing and
defending for his side's 3-1 defeat at Stoke City. The visitors took the
lead early on through Andy Carroll but struggled to increase their advantage
and were punished through two goals from Peter Odemwingie and one from Marko
Arnautovic. West Ham thought they might have had a penalty in the second
half when Marc Muniesa appeared to handle in the box but referee Craig
Pawson waved away Carroll's protests. Speaking to Sky Sports after the game,
Allardyce was convinced Pawson had got it wrong. He said: "I can't control
what the referee does but I can with our defending and that was poor at
times today. "We had a back four intact and none of them did anything to
stop Stoke's players getting through and scoring. "The critical decision
didn't go for us and straight away it's a pen, we can all see it. Sam
Allarydce said windy conditions did not help his West Ham side as they lost
3-1 to Stoke. "Andy Carroll was going mad. You do hope referees don't make
those decisions but that was certainly a penalty."

The West Ham boss's next target is to secure survival and then decide which
players will be in his plans for next season. He added: "Now, and as
quickly as possible, we need to get enough points on the board. "Things
needs to be sorted by securing our safety and then we can look at the
players that are out of contract. "It's a big disappointment today but you
always expect Stoke to come back. "One of the telling factors was the wind.
We penned them back in the second half until they scored on the break. It
was a blatant handball though by the substitute and his arm knocks the ball
away from Carroll and the referee chooses not to blow his whistle.
"Defending wise, we have no excuse though." West Ham face Manchester United
next weekend in the Premier League.

Stoke boss Mark Hughes praises Stephen Ireland for 'incredible' performance
in 3-1 win over West Ham
Mar 15, 2014 20:03 By Liam Prenderville
The Mirror

Mark Hughes was full of admiration for recalled midfielder Stephen Ireland
after his Stoke side beat West Ham 3-1. A brace from Peter Odemwingie -
either side of Marko Arnautovic's strike - was enough to secure all three
points for the Potters but it was Ireland's performance that caught the eye.
And Hughes was keen to praise the 27-year-old, who shone in the absence of
Charlie Adam and Jonathan Walters. The Stoke boss said: "I had no worries
about bringing Steven into the team because I know what qualities he can
bring to the side. "He fulfilled the role we wanted him to play today
incredibly well, and on another day would have scored a couple himself. "I
see the qualities that he has within his locker every single day in
training, and I think he showed everybody what a player he can be out on the
pitch today. "It was really pleasing performance all round to be perfectly
honest, and the manner in which we finished the game was really pleasing."
Meanwhile, West Ham boss Sam Allardyce was left ruing referee Craig Pawson's
decision not to give his side a penalty for Marc Muniesa's handball. He
said: "I can't control what the referee does but I can with our defending
and that was poor at times today. "The critical decision didn't go for us
and straight away it's a pen, we can all see it. "Andy Carroll was going
mad. You do hope referees don't make those decisions but that was certainly
a penalty."

West Ham's Joe Cole set for Brighton transfer when his contract expires in
the summer
Mar 15, 2014 22:30 By Dave Kidd
The Mirror

Joe Cole is ready to make a summer move to Brighton. The ex-England star has
struggled to nail down a first-team place since returning to West Ham last
year and is out of contract at Upton Park at the end of this season. It is
believed that Cole, 32, has accepted that he is unlikely to find a Premier
League club who would offer him regular first-team football but is intrigued
by the prospect of working under Brighton boss and former Barcelona coach
Oscar Garcia. Cole has not played for the Hammers since the Capital One Cup
semi-final defeat by Manchester City in January and has endured a rocky
relationship with boss Sam Allardyce. Cole currently earns around £90,000
per week – partly funded by a pay-off from Liverpool – and will have to take
a massive drop in wages to join the Seagulls. The former Chelsea
title-winner has also had offers to move to Major League Soccer but does not
want to relocate his young family to the US , despite the offer of a far
more lucrative deal.

Joe Cole could join the MLS in summer and emulate Jermain Defoe's big money
Feb 01, 2014 22:30 By Dave Kidd
The Mirror

Joe Cole is in line for a money-spinning move to Major League Soccer. The
West Ham midfielder is out of contract in May and it is believed he will not
be offered a new deal if Sam Allardyce remains in charge at Upton Park.
Cole, 32, is one of several Premier League players who is of interest to MLS
Commissioner Don Garber – and he is already free to negotiate with foreign
clubs. The MLS is run on a different model to European leagues with the
League itself signing players and agreeing contracts, rather than individual
clubs. Former Chelsea and England star Cole, the father of two young
children, would be keen to stay in the Premier League if he can match his
current £50,000-a-week wages. But he knows he would earn more by moving to
the States as one of the three 'designated players' allowed at each club,
exceeding the League's salary cap. Cole rejoined his boyhood club West Ham
from Liverpool last January but has struggled to nail down a regular
first-team place under Allardyce, with whom he has a frosty relationship.


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