Monday, March 17

Daily WHUFC News - 17th March 2014

Agony for AC
Andy Carroll admitted defeat at Stoke City negated the pleasure of scoring
his first Hammers goal since May 2013

Andy Carroll should have been able to celebrate his first West Ham United
goal since May 2013, but a second half comeback from Stoke City meant the
striker could not enjoy his big moment. The striker nodded the Hammers in
front on five minutes, only for a Peter Odemwingie double and Marko
Arnautovic strike to ruin Carroll's day as the Potters ran out 3-1 victors
at the Britannia Stadium. Carroll admitted West Ham had not done enough at
Stoke but retain the belief they can do better when Manchester United visit
the Boleyn Ground next weekend. "We didn't concentrate on their first goal,"
the No9 admitted. "We could have probably cleared that, then their second
goal was a good counter-attack from them and it was disappointing that we
didn't hold the lead from early on. "We were obviously disappointed with the
result at the end. We know we need points because we're not safe so we need
to keep working hard and focus on the next game. I don't think anyone is not
confident about staying up and getting the points we need. "We've been
talking about it in the dressing room after the game. We know it's a tough
game against Manchester United but I don't see why we can't get three points
against them with the form we've been in. "I don't see why we can't get the
three points. We were disappointed at Stoke, but come Monday morning
everyone will come into training raring to go to get three points against
Man U."

It had all started so brightly for West Ham when Carroll rose to bury Mark
Noble's free-kick, ending a frustrating ten-month period that saw the
forward sidelined for an extended period with a serious foot injury. "It was
a great set piece from Mark Noble. He put it in exactly the same place as we
have been practising in training and I got ahead of everyone and put it in."

Having fallen 2-1 down to Arnautovic's goal midway through the second half,
Carroll felt the Hammers should have been awarded a penalty when Marc
Muniesa handled moments later. "I feel like one of the balls was coming into
my chest and I would have brought it down and been in the box but I thought
it clearly hit his arm, but clearly the ref didn't."

Carroll made his first start since his sending-off against Swansea City on 1
February and he is now aiming to finish the seasong strongly. If he does,
the England international is hoping to force his way into Roy Hodgson's 2014
FIFA World Cup squad. "I feel good. I've been working hard in training
through my suspension and I'm feeling good and feeling fit. "We've been
doing well when I haven't been playing, keeping clean sheets and getting the
points on the board to get us out of the relegation zone and up into tenth.
It's been all positive." "The World Cup is on my mind, of course it is, but
I've got to start scoring goals here and start winning games before that

Manager on Monday
Big Sam wants seven more points from his side as quickly as possible

Sam Allardyce has set his West Ham United side the target of getting seven
more points as quickly as possible to ensure their Barclays Premier League
The West Ham manager believes 38 points this campaign should enough to
secure top-flight football for the 2014/15 season and with the Hammers
currently on 31 points from 29 games, two wins and a draw should see them
safe. Saturday's game at Stoke City sadly yielded no return, so Big Sam is
now hoping to secure the first of that septet of points when Manchester
United visit a sold-out Boleyn Ground for this Saturday's teatime kick-off.
"At this stage you can't tell whether it's going to be as little as 36
points to stay up but I certainly think 38 points should be fine," Allardyce
said. "It's about getting to 38 as quick as we can otherwise the pressure
mounts again if you keep losing football matches. We've lost two on the trot
away from home now. "Our next game against Manchester United will be very
tough and we must get some points out of that and settle ourselves down

After a fantastic February that provided four wins from four, March started
with a single goal loss at Everton two weeks ago, a result that prompted Big
Sam to make some minor tweaks to his starting XI for the trip to the
Britannia Stadium. With practically a fully-fit squad to choose from and
competition for places fierce, Winston Reid, Antonio Nocerino, Momo Diame
and Andy Carroll were all given the chance to show the manager what they
could do. "I've got some talented players in the squad and from reviewing
the Everton game from a possession point of view it was rare we did
anything. I think we had one shot on target and only three attempts on goal
in 90 minutes and you've got to try to do better than that when you're away
from home," Allardyce explained. "We made some changes with Mo Diame and
Nocerino in midfield and obviously Andy Carroll as our most expensive player
was called back in up front. The hardest decision of them all, though, was
bringing in Winston Reid for James Collins, who had done magnificently.
"Sadly against Stoke, our defending let us down, if our defending hadn't let
us down as badly as it did we would have got a point. "We made it easy for
the two goals we've let them score. The third goal was an excellent finish
but the second one should have been stopped at source. Not only by the
defenders but by the goalkeeper as he [Marko Arnautovic] mis-hit it and it
bobbled in the corner. "Based on the second-half play, I thought if anyone
was going to score, it would be us but then we switched off defensively and
paid a high price."

The Hammers were indeed unfortunate to go behind after being much the better
side in the second half, with Carroll proving a constant source of
irritation for the Stoke defence. His fine header from a Mark Noble
free-kick had given West Ham a fourth-minute lead and he fought tirelessly
to create and lead West Ham's attack during an 83-minute run-out - his
longest since returning from a long-term foot injury on 11 January "We were
debating whether to leave Andy on and he causes the opposition all sorts of
problems. Ryan Shawcross has fouled him six times and that shows how much
trouble he causes. "Andy is one of the best headers of the ball you'll find,
which he showed on Saturday. Not only did he head the ball in the net, but
some of the biggest defenders in the game in the Stoke side just couldn't
cope." Tickets for the Manchester United visit are now sold out and less
than 1,000 remain for the visit of Liverpool. To secure one of the last
remaining seats left, click here.

Sam Allardyce says Andy Carroll is 'one of the best headers in the game'
Last Updated: 17/03/14 12:00am

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce believes England manager Roy Hodgson should
consider taking Andy Carroll to this summer's World Cup finals in Brazil.
Allardyce says his 25-year-old striker offers an aerial threat that could
give the national squad greater options. Injury has significantly limited
Carroll's appearances this season but the Hammers manager said: "Headed
goals can never go out of the game. "Anybody that tries to take headed goals
out of the game destroys the game as an entertainment, diminishes the
entertainment value. "Andy is one of the best headers of the ball you will
find, which he showed in the Stoke match on Saturday. "And not only did he
head the ball in the net, he had some of the biggest defenders in the game
against him and they couldn't cope." And Carroll, holder of nine senior
England caps, admits Brazil is on his mind: "Of course it is, yes.
"Obviously I am thinking about that but I have to keep scoring goals for
West Ham and we have to start winning games again before that comes."

By S J Chandos 16 Mar 2014 at 15:00
West Ham Till I DIe

I came away from yesterday's match genuinely wondering how we managed to
lose the game. West Ham started well, taking the lead in the first 5
minutes, only to lose through a combination of defensive lapses and a
failure to convert our periods of dominance in to goals. The way in which we
conceded the third goal was particularly galling, arising from a period of
sustained West Ham pressure and getting 'suckered' on a break away. There
were also the decisions that went against us, particularly a 22 carat
penalty for hand ball. We do seem to be consistently on the rough end of
referee decisions this season. I know that it is supposed to even itself out
over the course of the season, but it does not seem that way at the moment.

No, we can talk about bad luck, mistakes by officials and 'the wind being a
factor' as much as we like, the fact is there were three points there for
the taking and we were just not up to it on the day. Like many, I was
surprised by the team selection. I would normally welcome the introduction
of Reid and Nocerino, but it did seem to me that Collins and Taylor were the
better options for a physical encounter with Stoke City. Still, perhaps Sam
Allardyce realised that the attacking aspect of our game was wholly
inadequate, in the previously match, against Everton and was seeking to
address the issue? Whatever the rationale, the changes looked like they were
working in the initial stages and, to be honest, it must be said that,
overall, we did look a better attacking proposition in this match. But,
apart from Carroll's excellent early headed goal, there was no product at
the end of the improved forward play. And, of course, our defending was a
comedy of errors. We defended far too deep and left Adrian terribly exposed.
Yes, you can blame him for at least two of the goals, but you must also ask
questions about the position in which our poor defending placed him.

Guy Demel has been excellent lately, but he had one of his non-descript
games. Winston Reid is a class defender, no doubt about that. However, he
looked badly short of fitness and match practice here. He will come good
again, he just needs to get back in to the first team groove. You just felt
that Collins, with his greater physical presence, was the better option in
this match. Perhaps he was injured, that would be an explanation why he was
left out of the starting line up. Similarly, one felt that Taylor's greater
industry and covering play in midfield would have given us a firmer grip on
midfield. But it was not to be, and we fell to a frustrating defeat to a
weakened Stoke City side. Still, at least we got a promising glimpse of what
Armero has to offer on the left flank and Nocerino now has more PL game time
under his belt. Lets hope that both players make a significant contribution
in the final stage of the season.

What was particularly annoying was that a victory at the Brittania would
have put us 9 points clear of the 18th position, which would have
constituted a significant step towards underwriting our safety this season.
As such, it was most definitely a lost opportunity. Post-match, the dreadful
thought occurred to me, what if the month of March proves to be as bad,
results wise, as February was excellent! But I quickly dismissed that
deviant notion, in the knowledge even if we fail to secure a result against
Man Utd, at least the Hull City match should be worth three points to us!
But there is no reason why we cannot get at least a point next Saturday,
providing that we sort out the defensive issues exhibited at the Brittania
Stadium. Man United are not having the best of seasons, by their standards,
but we have to get it tactically right and give 110% commitment to get a
result. As for the Hull City game, it should be worth three points to us,
but again, the application has to be right, because they are no push overs
and have a dangerous strike force in Long and Jelavic.

We should be safe this season, but we cannot afford to become lax, in the
aftermath of February's achievements, or we are asking for trouble. No, we
need to buckle down and get over the 40 point threshold as soon as possible.
That final away fixture at Man City looms large, we must be safe by then and
ensure that we do not need to get a result there to guarantee our safety. We
have enough winnable games between now and the final day to ensure that
scenario does not arise. But we need to cut out the errors, sharpen up our
finishing and deliver the points.

Then once safe, there is a lot of work to be done revamping the squad and
building quality in depth. And if we need to bring in a natural goal scorer,
which we most certainly do, why not cut a deal with Blackburn Rovers to buy
Jordan Rhodes. This consistently prolific striker registered his 20th goal
of the season yesterday in scoring a clinical hat trick. There is no reason
why Rhodes cannot make a successful transition to the PL. Some enterprising
PL club surely must invest in Rhodes' talent soon and the probability is
that those brave enough to do so will be richly rewarded in goals. Why
cannot that club be West Ham?

SJ. Chandos.


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