Saturday, May 9

Daily WHUFC News - 9th May 2015

Preview - Aston Villa

Everything you need to know about Saturday's trip to Villa Park.

In brief

West Ham United travel to Birmingham to play in-form Aston Villa this
Saturday as the Hammers look to build on their win over Burnley last
weekend. The Villans have enjoyed a revival in fortunes following Tim
Sherwood's arrival at Villa Park, currently 14th in the Premier League, a
win would take them to 38 points, a total most pundits expect will be enough
to keep them safe from relegation. As for the Hammers, currently ninth, a
win would take them to a much coveted 50 points, a record since their return
to the top flight. In the reverse fixture, the two sides played out a 0-0
draw thanks largely to Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan who pulled off a string
of excellent saves to deny the Hammers.

Pundits, players and fans, especially David Cameron, will be hoping for more
goals come Saturday afternoon.
Who are they?

Formed in 1874 from members of the Villa Cross Wesleyan Chapal cricket team
Aston Villa enjoyed a very succesful start to life winning the FA Cup in
1887, 1895 and 1897 as well as winning the First Division five times in the
1890s. Aston Villa moved into their iconic Villa Park stadium in 1911, going
on to win another two FA Cups later that decade. Villa's crowning glory came
in 1982 when they won their first European Cup final, beating Bayern Munich
1-0 in Rotterdam. They have competed in the top flight of English football
without relegation since the 1988/89 season.
Team news

Aston Villa

The Villans could be boosted by the return of Gabriel Agbonlahor as he faces
a race against time to recovery from a hamstring injury.
Other absentees include Nathan Baker, Ciaran Clark and Chris Herd (all knee
injuries) and Libor Kozak (leg).

West Ham United

The Hammers will be without Winston Reid (hamstring) and Guy Demel (calf)
with Reece Burke expected to make his third league appearance.
Longer term absentees James Tomkins (shoulder), Diafra Sakho (thigh) and
Andy Carroll (knee) are all still unavailable but are making good progress
in their recovery.


Saturday's referee is Lee Mason, the Lancashire based official has been a
Premier League referee for nine seasons in which times he has taken charge
of 180 games, issuing 568 yellow and 30 red cards. Mason are refereed two
West Ham games this term, the 2-1 defeat away at Manchester United where
Kevin Nolan had a goal dubiously ruled out for offside and the 1-0 win over
Sunderland at the Boleyn.
Additionally, Mason has officiated four Aston Villa games – their 1-0 away
win at Liverpool, defeats to Newcastle United and Queens Park
Rangers and a 1-1 draw with Manchester United.

One to watch

Aston Villa

Belgian striker Christian Benteke has rediscovered his goal scoring form,
scoring 12 goals in the past two months. The powerful striker has 15 in
total for the season and will pose a threat to the Hammers' defence all

West Ham United

Having been named Hammer of the Year at the 2014/15 Player Awards in
midweek, all eyes will be on Aaron Cresswell to live up to the billing. The
25-year-old left-back has been in superb form all season, playing every
minute of the Hammers' league campaign so far.
The former Ipswich Town man has been a creative force going forward while
helping to secure two clean sheets in the last two games.


The last remaining standard tickets for this game are available but pleased
be advised to act quickly as the final tickets are expected to sell out

Tickets for the Hammers last home game of the season with Everton are
available here.


For details on how to get to Villa Park please click here.

Please note that there are major roadworks around J6 on the M1 and
subsequent traffic delays. To find out how your journey may be disrupted,
click here.

If you travelling by train, click here for National Rail website.

Saturday is set to be an overcast day with sunshine forecast for the second
half. The predicted temperature at kick-off is 13C (55F).
Last away meeting

Aston Villa 0-2 West Ham United
Barclays Premier League
8 February 2014

The Hammers picked up a valuable win in the same fixture last season, thanks
to a brace from captain Kevin Nolan.

Villa dominated possession and had the greater chances yet the Hammers took
their chances with two second half strikes from the experienced midfielder.

Aston Villa: Guzan, Baker, Clark, Bacuna, Bertrand (Bennett 74), Lowton
(Albrighton 56), Westwood, Delph, Weimann (Holt 71), Agbonlahor, Benteke
Subs: Steer, El Ahmadi, Sylla, Helenius

West Ham United: Adrian, McCartney, Tomkins, Collins, Demel, Nolan (Nocerino
68), Jarvis (Reid 74) Taylor, Noble, Downing, C Cole (Borriello 45)
Subs: Adrian, O'Brien, Potts, Maiga

Big Sam on: Aston Villa

Sam Allardyce wants his West Ham United team to reach their target of 50
points with victory at Aston Villa on Saturday.

He faced the media in his regular press conference on Friday, answering
questions on those targets, injuries and Tim Sherwood's impact at Villa

Sam, you're now just one win away from the 50 point mark. How important is
that and what will it mean about the progress you've made this season?

SA: "It was the target at the start of the season and at the time a little
speculative because we had so many new players coming into the squad. I
thought then it was a pretty big ask and all of the new players would have
to contribute a massive amount of quality to help us achieve that goal.
We're now three points away from the goal, which shows that all the players
have improved since they got back into the Premier League, and particularly
the new players have made a massive difference.

"Our only problem at this moment in time has been injuries and coping with
those. That has caused the lack of goalscoring ability in terms of players
in the team who have not been able to convert the chances we've created.
What we have to do at Aston Villa is continue in the progress of making sure
we keep a clean sheet in the game. That's the most important thing to build
something at Aston Villa to try and win.

"Last week's record of attempts at goal in the second half of any Premier
League side showed how much we dominated the game, but it also showed our
weakness at the moment in that we couldn't convert any of those chances into
goals. 22 attempts at goal was one hell of an achievement, but at the end
of it the disappointing thing is we still only won 1-0 on a penalty."

You mention injuries there – just how much have you missed Andy Carroll?

SA: "I think we've missed him and Diafra Sakho in recent weeks. We've
managed to cope brilliantly without James Tomkins or Winston Reid and that's
what you call the backbone of the team, but the team and particularly Reece
Burke has done a fantastic job with James Collins, but at the front end our
two leading scorers are missing and that's why we're showing the shortage of
goals. Converting the opportunities has been much more difficult than when
we had those players available."

How is Andy's recovery going?

SA: "I think he'll be back for the start of next season. Only a setback
within the rehabilitation would cause any problems in that. He will spend
most of the summer in rehabilitation. Elsewhere, James Tomkins is very close
to joining back in the squad again after his shoulder injury. Winston Reid's
hamstring injury we hoped would have been fit for this weekend, but
unfortunately it isn't quite there, but next weekend should be okay. We want
to get those players back before the end of the season to hopefully end as
strongly as possible.

"Certainly the players who are playing at the moment are playing well and
will have to continue against an in-form Villa and particularly Benteke,
which shows the uplift you get when you get a prolific goalscorer. Burnley
when they won their matches had Danny Ings scoring, now he's not and they're
struggling, and ourselves in that matter too, although of course we won our
last game."

Tactically speaking - Aston Villa

West Ham United have teamed up with football stats website to
preview the upcoming Barclays Premier League meeting with Aston Villa. Sam
Allardyce's side will look to build on their 1-0 home win over Burnley when
they travel to Villa Park on Saturday. Victory over the Clarets means the
Hammers come into this fixture on a good run of form, having lost just one
of their last four Premier League games.

Villa themselves have lost only one of their last four fixtures in England's
top tier, but have been suspect at the back of late. The Villans have
shipped 12 goals in their last six league fixtures and boast one of the
worst defensive records in the Premier League, having conceded 50 goals this

The age old adage that 'attack is the best form of defence' is a mantra that
Tim Sherwood appears to abide by and it is herein where West Ham can exploit
Villa's frailties at the back.

Stewart Downing will return to his old stomping ground with the Hammers this
weekend and is expected to play a key role.

Downing has been the Hammers' primary creative outlet this season and while
his impact has dwindled slightly of late, the England international has the
ability to help put the Villa backline to the sword.

Statistically calculated strengths of 'key passes' and
'crossing' suggest Downing boasts the offensive ability to unlock the
lacklustre Villa defence.

The 30-year-old has completed 84% of his 1,319 passes made this season,
scoring five goals and directly creating eight more.

Furthermore, Villa have developed a statistically calculated style of play
of 'aggressive', which could result in them conceding free kicks in
dangerous positions.

This could be West Ham's best route to goal when they face Sherwood's side.
Downing has developed a strength of 'taking set pieces',
matching the Hammers' strength of 'attacking set pieces'.

Should West Ham win free-kicks in the final third, Downing's accuracy from
dead ball situations will present his teammates with goalscoring
opportunities. The No11 gained an impressive rating of 7.67
when the two teams met at the Boleyn Ground earlier this season.

The onus, therefore, will be on Downing to provide the ammunition for the
attackers and turn out another noteworthy performance at the weekend if West
Ham are to come away from Villa Park with the share of the spoils.

* is a website and one of the fastest growing in the sports
industry, specialising in the in-depth analysis of detailed football data.
Follow @WhoScored on Twitter.

Shay Given has returned to the Villa side
Shay Given has returned to the Villa side
Aston Villa

The possible starting XI

Bacuna Okore Vlaar Richardson
Cleverley Delph
N'Zogbia Benteke

The formation

Under Tim Sherwood, Aston Villa have favoured an attacking diamond formation
similar to the one that served West Ham United so well in the first half of
the season.

The system works because Villa have the players that fit into it perfectly –
quick, attack-minded full-backs who can cross accurately, a disciplined
defensive midfielder who can start attacks and counter-attacks from deep,
two athletic central midfielders, a talented playmaker and two forwards who
have complementing strengths.

Up front, the red-hot Christian Benteke and his partner – be it Charles
N'Zogbia or the fit-again Gabriel Agbonlahor – split wide and pull their
opposing centre-halves out of position, creating space for midfielders to
run into.

The playing style

As he did at previous club Tottenham Hotspur, Sherwood has instilled
confidence and purpose into his Villa side.

Where the Villans looked afraid to express themselves under predecessor Paul
Lambert, Sherwood has the FA Cup finalists playing without fear.

With keen, quick and mobile players in many positions, Villa move the ball
quickly from back to front.
Benteke is central to this tactic, with the big Belgian frontman always
available to receive the ball to feet, into his body or to run in behind.

Villa's attacking full-backs and attacking midfielders mean Sherwood's side
are able to pull their opponents all over the pitch.

When Villa play through the midfield, young star Jack Grealish, N'Zogbia,
Fabian Delph and Tom Cleverley are all capable of carrying the ball forward
at pace, or opening up defences with their passing.

From set pieces, Villa possess a number of threats in Benteke and towering
centre-backs Jores Okore and Ron Vlaar. N'Zogbia has shown West Ham fans in
the past that he is not afraid to let fly from set pieces, too.

Defensively, Villa are aggressive and the centre-backs, in particular, look
to step up and win the ball in the air or on the ground.

The players

As stated earlier, Sherwood has got his players believing again and the
common conception is that they are a completely different team to the one he

Experienced Irishman Shay Given adds presence and calm in goal, having
dislodged American Brad Guzan in recent weeks.

Full-backs Leandro Bacuna and Kieran Richardson are both converted
midfielders who love to get forward. Both are quick and can deliver quality,
but can leave gaps in behind for their opponents to exploit.

Vlaar and Okore are defenders above all else, but their size and tenacity
can sometimes be their shortcoming, with strikers able to turn them and
midfielders able to run in behind.

Ball-playing deep-lying midfielder Ashley Westwood has thrived under
Sherwood, collecting the ball and moving it forward or wide faster than he
did under Lambert.

Cleverley and fellow England international Delph have also shown form under
the new manager, with the former showing drive that had all but disappeared
from his game to score a fantastic goal against Everton last weekend. Delph
has assumed the role of midfield leader with his athleticism.

In behind the strikers, teenager Grealish is a tricky customer who can
unlock defences with his movement and ability in possession.

Up front, everyone knows about Benteke's all-round qualities. He can score
from any sort of chance, in short.

Left-sided N'Zogbia does his best work collecting wide on the right and
cutting inside to shoot or pass, while Agbonlahor is a speedy, direct
forward who will run at or play on the shoulder of his marker.

Dev Squad come unstuck against Toffees

U21 coach Steve Potts said fine margins proved to be the difference as
Everton came away from Rush Green with a 2-1 victory on Friday 8 May.

In an even game, there was little to separate the two sides with Potts' men
enjoying the majority of chances. However, the deadlock was broken in the
23rd minute when Chris Long capitalised on a misplaced pass and slotted by
Raphael Spiegel.

Just moments into the second half the visiting Toffees doubled their lead
when Kieran Dowell's free kick took a wicked deflection which gave Spiegel
no chance of keeping it out.

Djair Parfitt-Williams provided the Hammers hope after he beat two men
before unleashing an unstoppable shot into the top corner.

Speaking after the game, Potts reflected: "We weren't as solid as we were
against Manchester City. If we had, I think we would have got something from
the game.

"The first goal was a give away from our point of view. And the second was a
deflection from a free-kick. From then on it was always going to be
difficult, it always is when you're chasing a game."

As well as scoring an outstanding solo effort, Parfitt-Williams proved to be
a constant source on invention as he looked to set up fellow attackers
Jordan Brown, Grady Diangana and Jahmal Hector-Ingram.

Potts continued to praise the young forward, both of whom have impressed
since making the step up from U18 to U21 football.

"That's what Djair can do, the goal was fantastic. He's a great player he
just needs to become more consistent, that's his aim now. He showed the
magic he can do it's just whether he can do it on a more consistent basis.
Can he do that regularly in the final third and make things happen."

Up next for the Hammers is the daunting task of playing Chelsea U21s – at
Stamford Bridge.

"I didn't think there was much in the game at all. I just felt that if we
imposed ourselves more we would've done better, that's where we fell short
really. The game was there for the taking.

"Chelsea away is probably the toughest game of the year. It's over at
Stamford Bridge which should be a good experience for the boys. We have to
be resolute over there.

"Hopefully playing in an actual stadium will give everyone a lift and the
lads will rise to it."

'I'm very grateful to all the fans'

Enner Valencia has thanked West Ham United supporters after receiving the
Club's Goal of the Season award for 2014/15. The South American striker
secured the trophy for his unstoppable 25-yard rocket in the 2-2 Barclays
Premier League draw at Hull City in October – one of a plethora of fantastic
goals scored by the Hammers this term. Aided by thousands of votes from a
huge legion of fans in his native Ecuador, the No31 also finished third in
the Hammer of the Year poll to complete an encouraging first campaign in
English football.
"I am very happy that I am finishing my first season with West Ham United,"
Valencia, who joined the Club from Mexican side Pachuca following an
outstanding 2014 FIFA World Cup finals, told West Ham TV. "I'm very grateful
to all the fans and to everyone who voted for this goal and everyone who
gave me their support. I am very happy with this award."

A humble and modest man off the pitch, the quietly-spoken forward deflected
attention away from his own spectacular strike when asked for his memories
of that Monday night at the KC Stadium. "I think this season has been
great," he confirmed. "Like you said, we have scored many good goals, Andy
Carroll's goal against Swansea and Aaron Cresswell's last goal [against
Stoke City] in particular. "But as I said, I'm very grateful to everyone who
voted for my goal."

Valencia may not have scored the quantity of goals he would have liked, but
his non-stop work-rate and all-round play – he set-up Cheikhou Kouyate to
win Mark Noble's match-clinching penalty against Burnley last weekend – have
endeared the 25-year-old to the Claret and Blue Army.

Living in London with his wife and two small children, the Ecuador star is
learning English and enjoying life 5,700 miles from his home town of San
Lorenzo close to the Colombian border. While the whole squad have helped
Valencia to settle, one man who has gone out of his way to welcome the
frontman has been goalkeeper and fellow Spanish speaker – and Player Awards
winner – Adrian. "Thank God we came to a great football club because we're
surrounded by amazing people," he smiled. "They are making us feel at home
and we hope that we remain here for a long time. "Since I arrived at the
club, Adrian was one of the people that speak Spanish and the reality is
that I struggled to even say 'Hello', so I had to be next to someone so I
approached him. "I've met an amazing person and as we say, 'Amigos del
futbol', and he really deserved his Save of the Season award and to finish
second for Hammer of the Year."

Making a positive difference

With three games of the Barclays Premier League season remaining, Adrian is
in position to make West Ham United history. The Hammers have not ended the
season with a positive goal-difference in the top division since 1985/86,
some 29 years ago, when John Lyall's side finished third with a +34
goal-difference. West Ham go into their final trio of fixtures having scored
a single goal more than they have conceded, 43 to 42, and the Hammer of the
Year runner-up is keen to keep that positive statistic in place come 24 May.
The Hammers have kept clean sheets in their last two league matches, but
with an in-form Christian Benteke lurking at Aston Villa on Saturday,
keeping a third will be easier said than done. "Our goal-difference
statistic is good," Adrian told West Ham TV. "As a goalkeeper I hope to keep
getting the clean sheets and then with one goal we get the three points!"
"It's difficult to keep clean sheets in the Premier League and also when you
play against teams that are playing to avoid relegation, it's very
difficult. "We have another three games and we hope to get more clean sheets
in these games."

Aside from his own heroics, including a penalty save at Queens Park Rangers,
Adrian's cause has been helped by 18-year-old centre-back Reece Burke, who
has made a superb impact since being drafted into the side at Loftus Road.
"Of course, he [Burke] has played very well against good strikers, because
Zamora and Austin for Queens Park Rangers are playing well and it's a good
experience for him. He needs to keep training hard to stay in the first
team. "The more experienced players are giving advice to him, to just
concentrate on the game and have confidence in himself. "We have three more
games and all three are tough. They all are in the Premier League and Aston
Villa away will be a hard game, but we go there to get the three points."

As well as finishing behind winner Aaron Cresswell in the Hammer of the Year
voting, Adrian went home from Wednesday's Player Awards with the Save of the
Season trophy. For the second season in succession, the Spaniard was
recognised for an outstanding stop from Chelsea's Brazil international
Oscar. "This is the second one, and last season was the same!" he smiled.
"The Save of the Season came against Chelsea and from Oscar too. "For a
goalkeeper, all saves are very important, because you've saved a goal and
that's important for us. I remember all of my saves, but this one I think is
one of the best. "I was very happy in that moment, I think it was 0-0 at the
time. But when you make a save, every time you are happy. "The goalkeeper's
job is to make saves, you need to stay concentrated for 90 minutes, because
you can make a save in the last minute and get a good result for your team."

Kouyate's vote of thanks

Cheikhou Kouyate paid a vote of thanks to the supporters after scooping the
Individual Performance of the Season award for his memorable display against
Manchester United at the Boleyn Ground in February. Deputising at
centre-half, the Senegal powerhouse not only kept Robin van Persie and
Radamel Falcao at bay, but also scored a stunner at the other end.
Recognition at Wednesday's Player Awards comes toward the end of a
thoroughly successful first Barclays Premier League season for Kouyate and
the 25-year-old dished out a special thank you to the Hammers fans. "I've
enjoyed my first season," he told West Ham TV. "Thank you to everybody,
staff, coaches and all the supporters, who have adopted me. I like the
people and I like the atmosphere. "It's kind of the supporters to have voted
for me and I've also received a lot of messages from them. I want to say
thank you, because without them, we, the players, cannot continue. I want to
say a big thank you and I'll see them again next season."

As for his award-winning showing against Manchester United, Kouyate agreed
that it was his best as stand-in centre-half. But reflecting on the season
as a whole, the wholehearted midfielder favoured the 2-2 draw at White Hart
Lane. "I'm very proud for me," he continued. "Thank you for voting for me,
I'm happy. But in this game all the players played well, it was a very good
team performance. "As a centre-back, yes, it was my best, but my best
performance for the whole game was against Tottenham."

There is no doubting, however, that his stunning strike against Manchester
United was his best in Claret and Blue. Collecting from a corner, the No8
juggled the ball on the turn and then volleyed emphatically beyond David de
Gea. Asked if there were another goal like that in the offing, "wait and
see", he replied. "I remember this goal, this is my best, best goal. I like
this goal, unbelievable, you know. This goal was a very fantastic goal. This
is my best goal ever, it's a striker's goal!"

Aston Villa v West Ham
KO 15:00
8 May 2015
Last updated at 11:18
By Simon Brotherton
Match of the Day commentator

Venue: Villa Park Date: Saturday, 9 May


Aston Villa forward Gabriel Agbonlahor is fit to return after a three-match
absence with a hamstring problem. Alan Hutton and Scott Sinclair are pushing
for recalls, but defenders Ciaran Clark and Nathan Baker remain sidelined by

West Ham have no fresh injury concerns and could field the same starting XI
that beat Burnley last weekend. Teenage defender Reece Burke is likely to
start again in the continued absence of Winston Reid and James Tomkins.


Aston Villa have looked like a completely different team in the last few
weeks, such has been the improvement so far under Tim Sherwood. It's hard to
believe it's the same group of players who laboured for so long under the
previous regime. They've played well and, after struggling in front of goal
for most of the season, have scored 17 times in the last 10 games. The
previous 17 goals were spread over 32 matches. So positivity is in the air
in B6 and there's the FA Cup final to come but Villa are still only two
points above the relegation zone. A win on Saturday would take them to 38
points, but mathematically their safety can't be guaranteed this weekend.

Lawro's prediction
"Villa look a completely different team under Tim Sherwood compared to when
Paul Lambert was in charge, especially in terms of their options going
forward and how confident they look in front of goal. One more win will
probably put them safe." West Ham's season started brightly, leading to talk
of challenging for a European place, but that seems a long time ago now.
It's five months since they won back-to-back games in the league, and last
week's narrow win over Burnley was only their third victory in 18 matches.
Funnily enough, there could still be a route into next season's Europa
League available via the Fair Play table though. The Premier League is
currently in position to get an extra slot through that route and West Ham
or Everton seem most likely to benefit. They meet next weekend and the
behaviour of the players may now have bigger consequences than the result of
the match. Back to this Saturday and West Ham have certainly had the better
of this fixture in recent times and Kevin Nolan won it for them last season
with two quick goals shortly after half time.
Two thirds of West Ham's current points total was won before Christmas and
they may find it tough here as they look for a first away win in 11 against
highly motivated, in-form opponents who are still fighting to secure their
Premier League future.


Aston Villa have not beaten West Ham, or scored a goal, in the last three
meetings (D1, L2).
The Hammers ended a six-match winless streak at Villa Park by beating the
home side 2-0 last season. Kevin Nolan scored both goals.
Aston Villa
Villa are vying to win successive Premier League home games for the first
time in 14 months.
They have the joint-worst home record in the league, alongside Burnley, with
only four wins and 18 points from 17 matches.
The Villans have scored 17 league goals in 10 matches since Tim Sherwood
became manager. Their previous 17 goals were spread over 32 games.
Villa could score three or more goals in three successive home matches for
the first time since October 1980.
Sherwood's side need four more points to eclipse their lowest final total in
a Premier League campaign of 38 points, which they got in 2011-12 and
Christian Benteke has scored 10 goals in his last eight Premier League
appearances, having failed to find the net in his preceding 10 games. The
Belgian has scored three goals more than any other player in the division
since Sherwood took charge of Villa.

West Ham
It is five months since West Ham last won consecutive league matches.
The Hammers have gone 10 Premier League away games without a win (D5, L5).
Sam Allardyce's side have scored just four goals in their last eight
West Ham have been in the top half of the table for the last seven months.
Wins in all three remaining fixtures will give the Hammers their highest
Premier League points tally since finishing with 57 in 1999.
Kevin Nolan has scored seven goals against Aston Villa, more than he has
managed against any other Premier League opponent.

Madrid youngster linked with Hammers switch
Filed: Saturday, 9th May 2015
By: Staff Writer

West Ham are once again being linked with a possible move for Atletico
Madrid youngster Leo Baptistao. The Hammers were interested in signing the
highly-talented 21-year-old back in January but Baptistao remained with Rayo
Vallecano, with whom he has been on loan since August. His future at Madrid,
to whom he will return at the end of the season remains uncertain and
although talks with boss Diego Simeone are planned for the summer, Athletico
are understood to be willing to talk to other clubs - even if Baptistao's
21m buyout clause is unlikely to be met.

Should West Ham indeed make a serious bid to sign the Brazilian striker - as
suggested by sources in Spain - it is likely they will have to fight off
competition from the likes of Borussia Dortmund and Roma, both of whom have
also been linked with Baptistao in recent weeks.
Under contract until 2018, he has scored seven goals for Rayo so far this
season - including three two-goal hauls - from 24 appearances. However his
season was disrupted in March when a torn thigh muscle ruled him out of
action for the next six weeks. Fellow Premier League side Sunderland are
also reported to have expressed an interest.

Wenger open to new Jenkinson loan
Filed: Friday, 8th May 2015
By: Staff Writer

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger believes Carl Jenkinson has a future at the
Emirates - but maybe not until the season after next. Wenger, speaking about
the right-back's successful loan-spell at West Ham this season revealed that
he had no desire to sell Jenkinson to United or any other club - but felt
that the England Under-21 international may perhaps benefit from another
season out on loan. "I met Carl this week to speak about his future," Wenger
told the press on Friday morning. "We will sit down together at the end of
the season, but my target is to keep him here at the club. "He has had a
great season for me and he has moved forward. Overall, he has gained a lot
of confidence. The decision I have to make is - do I bring him back now, or
does he need one more year playing in the Premier League? It is not decided

As revealed here on KUMB, West Ham approached Arsenal in January to
establish whether a deal to sign Jenkinson on a permanent basis could be
done. And although the Gunners are understood to have considered West Ham's
proposal it appears that the 23-year-old's success under Sam Allardyce has
now worked against the Hammers by dissuading Wenger from releasing a player
who has, until now, only been on the fringe of Arsenal's first team squad.
That could still prove to West Ham's considerable benefit however, for
signing Jenkinson on loan again could save the Irons a purported £8million
transfer fee - funds that may then be allocated to other areas of the team
in need of strengthening this summer. Jenkinson has made 33 appearances in
all competitions for West Ham so far this season. You may view his match
ratings and comments for the current season here.

Carl Jenkinson: Top three performances this season
(according to KUMB's match day writers)

25th October 2014: 2-1 v Manchester City (h)
Every now and then you read of someone anonymously returning a library book
ten years after they borrowed it with a wad of notes for the fine. Couldn't
we do the same with him – I'm sure Arsenal won't notice. 8/10.

13th December 2014: 1-1 v Sunderland (a)
Man of the Match. Need I say more? 8/10.

10th January 2015: 1-1 v Swansea (a)
Sound defensively and stretched Swansea with a number of lung-bursting runs
on the right wing. Denied his first Hammers goal by a great save from
Fabianski at the death. Man of the Match. 8/10.

Academy graduate joins Steven Gerrard at Galaxy
Filed: Saturday, 9th May 2015
By: Staff Writer

LA Galaxy have confirmed that West Ham United development squad midfielder
Sebastian Lletget will be joining them this summer. Bruce Arena, Galaxy's
general manager confirmed today that they were delighted to sign the young
prospect, who has been at West Ham since moving from the US in 2009.
"Sebastian is a young, talented attacking player who we think can find
success in our team," he said. "We're happy to have him return to his home
state to join the Galaxy and we look forward to his contributions going
forward." Lletget - who will be joining Liverpool's former England captain
Gerrard at Galaxy this summer - arrived at West Ham in June 2009 after being
spotted playing for Silicon Valley-based Santa Clara Sporting SC. Having
attained a European passport courtesy of his Italian-by-bith grandfather, it
took Lletget four-and-a-half years before making his one and only first team
appearance - in the disastrous 5-0 FA Cup defeat at Nottingham Forest back
in January 2014.

Aston Villa v West Ham preview: Tim Sherwood wants next step to safety
Last Updated: 09/05/15 7:07am

Aston Villa can take a big step in their bid to stay in the Premier League
when they host West Ham at Villa Park on Saturday. Sherwood's side have won
two of their last three league games to ease their relegation fears
slightly. However, Leicester's remarkable turnaround and positive results
for others in the fight for survival mean that Villa are still just two
points clear of the final relegation place.
Christian Benteke is in something of a purple patch and was named April's
Barclays Player of the Month for the top flight and his form alone means a
repeat of the goalless draw between the two sides back in November is
unlikely to be repeated. West Ham saw off Burnley last weekend to end a four
game winless streak and keep them on track for a top half finish.

Team news

Gabby Agbonlahor will return for Aston Villa after almost a month on the
sidelines. The forward has been out with a hamstring injury but will be in
the squad to face West Ham as the hosts battle for survival. Nathan Baker
and Ciaran Clark (both knee) are out while Tim Sherwood must decide whether
to keep faith with Shay Given after the keeper made his first league
appearance since 2012 in the win over Everton last week.
West Ham defender James Collins is expected to overcome a back spasm in time
for Saturday. Collins' fitness is particularly important given fellow
defenders Winston Reid (hamstring), James Tomkins (shoulder) and Guy Demel
(calf) are all ruled out. Strikers Diafra Sakho (thigh) and Andy Carroll
(knee) are also missing but Alex Song could start after recovering from a
back problem and returning to the substitutes' bench last weekend.

Opta facts

Aston Villa have failed to score in four of the last five Premier League
matches against the Hammers.
West Ham United have won none of their last 10 Barclays Premier League away
games (W0 D5 L5).
West Ham have played 37 times against Aston Villa in the Premier League
without ever earning a red card, the most games by a team who has not picked
up a dismissal against a certain opponent.
Christian Benteke has scored 10 goals in his last eight Premier League
outings – he did not find the net in his preceding 10 appearances.
Two thirds of West Ham's Premier League points (31/47) were won before Xmas
this season – they have won just 16 points in their 18 PL games since.
Tim Sherwood is one of only 11 managers to have taken charge of 30+ Premier
League games and have won more than half of them (53.1% win ratio).
Only one of Aston Villa's goals this season have been scored or assisted by
a substitute; fewer than any other team.

Merson's prediction

I am going to go for Villa to win this one 3-1, they are flying at the
moment, especially Christian Benteke, who is on fire. And while everyone
else around them at the bottom also won last week, they are winning football
matches and that is why I am going to go for them.

PAUL PREDICTS: 3-1 (14/1 with Sky Bet)


Sky Bet make Aston Villa 10/11 to maintain their revival under Tim Sherwood
with victory over 14/5 shots West Ham. A win for the Villans will assure
them of another season of top flight football and Sky Bet's price of 1/40
for them to stay up tells its own story. West Ham have been dire on the road
of late but did win this fixture last season 2-0 - a 20/1 shot on Saturday.
That victory was sandwiched in between two goalless draws and a third
scoreless fixture is priced at 10/1. Villa, however, have certainly turned
the corner under Sherwood scoring two or more goals in their last three
matches and are 10/11 to extend that run. Striker Christian Benteke has been
in inspired form and the Belgian is 6/4 to score in a home win and 9/2 to
score his third brace in his side's last five matches.

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce pleased with club's progress
Last Updated: 08/05/15 11:42am

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce takes his side to Aston Villa on Saturday
knowing a win will ensure they reach their pre-season target of 50 points.
Allardyce is out of contract at the end of the season with talks on a new
deal yet to begin, leading to speculation he may be replaced over the
summer. The man himself remains keen to focus on the remaining games of the
season and is in positive mood ahead of the trip to Villa Park, although he
highlighted his side's inability to convert chances into goals. "At the
start of the season we knew all the new players would have to contribute
hugely if were to reach our target of 50 points," he said. "They have made a
massive difference to us. On Saturday we have to continue our progress of
making sure we keep a clean sheet. "Last week (in the 1-0 home win over
Burnley) the fact we had 22 shots after half-time showed how much we
dominated the game, but it also showed our weakness at the moment in not
taking our chances. "We've missed Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho in recent
weeks, but we've coped magnificently in missing James Tomkins and Winston
Reid. "James Collins and Reece Burke have done fantastically, but we have
missed our two leading goalscorers. "James Tomkins is very close to joining
back in with the squad and Winston Reid just misses out for this one."

Allardyce remains convinced the Hammers are progressing over time, although
he is keen to ensure they are more consistent over the course of the
campaign. "If you look at the progress we're making, in the three seasons
we've had in the Premier League we've struggled in a couple of months of
those," he added. "We'll look at the season as a whole, we've already got
one more point than we've achieved [in previous seasons], we've already
scored more goals so there are some big positives there."Year three of our
progress is very, very good indeed."

Arsenal hold transfer talks with Carl Jenkinson as West Ham target faces
another season on loan
22:30, 8 May 2015 By John Cross
£10m valuation has Hammers looking at Glen Johnson and Micah Richards as
right-back alternatives PLUS: Walcott latest and France plot Coquelin
The Mirror

Arsene Wenger has held heart-to-heart talks with Carl Jenkinson over his
Arsenal future. Gunners boss Wenger is ready to loan right-back Jenkinson
out for another season after scaring off West Ham, who have borrowed him for
the duration of the currrent campaign and would like to make the move
permanent, with a £10million price-tag. The Hammers are desperate to sign
Jenkinson, but could turn to Liverpool's Glen Johnson or Micah Richards of
Manchester City - both set to be free agents this summer - for the position
unless their fellow Londoners lower their asking price. Arsenal want to keep
Jenkinson for another 12 months after his impressive season at West Ham,
while Barcelona may also exercise a buy-back option on Hector Bellerin -
Wenger's current first-choice right-back - in the future. "I met Carl this
week to speak about his future. We will sit down together at the end of the
season," said Wenger. "I have to decide whether we loan him out again at the
end of the season. "He needs experience. Carl is a young, very promising
right-back with top quality and he had a good year where he has really moved
forward. It's important that he has a good chance to play if he comes back."

Wenger also dropped a major hint he is willing to let England wide-man Theo
Walcott go into the final six months of his contract.
Negotiations are ongoing about extending Walcott's £90,000-a-week deal, but
Wenger is clearly in no rush and will not be panicked into selling this
summer. "We are already talking to him. Today, I'm not in that kind of mode
of thinking because I just think I want him to stay," said the Frenchman.
"When you go into negotiations with a player it is with a desire for him to
stay. He looks keen to do it and I am keen to do it, so let's see what comes
out. Meanwhile, France have been in contact about a full call-up for
midfielder Francis Coquelin after his impressive recent form. Former France
Under-21 international Coquelin, 23, has played at five different age groups
for his country and now could get a senior cap. It represents an incredible
finish to his season which saw him being loaned out to Charlton before being
rushed back as emergency cover and Coquelin's impressive form has earned him
a four-year contract.

West Ham back to square one in new manager search to replace Sam Allardyce
this summer
22:30, 8 May 2015 By John Cross
Crisis looming with David Moyes telling Real Sociedad he's happy to stay and
Benitez, Howe and Bilic all looking like non-starters for various reasons
The Mirror

David Moyes is in no rush to return to the Premier League - and that leaves
West Ham with a managerial crisis. Moyes has been the Hammers' No1 target to
succeed Sam Allardyce this summer but the ex-Manchester United boss has
indicated to Real Sociedad that he wants to stay in Spain. That is a massive
blow for the Londoners, who had sounded out 52-year-old Moyes and also face
a struggle to land any of their other targets. Ex-Liverpool and Chelsea boss
Rafa Benitez could end up signing a new contract at Italians Napoli while
Eddie Howe has committed himself to Premier League-bound Bournemouth. West
Ham would like a manager with Premier League experience, which is an area
where another option, Besiktas boss and ex-Irons centre-half Slaven Bilic,
falls short. They could yet turn their attentions to Derby gaffer Steve

The Moyes development is clearly a blow for West Ham. The feedback they have
had so far is that he is happy in Spain and enjoying the change of lifestyle
after his nightmare at Old Trafford last season. That has now gone one step
further, with the Scot telling Sociedad themselves he is content and does
not want to quit after such a short spell in charge. Allardyce is resigned
to leaving the club when his contract expires at the end of the season and
there seems no way back. Big Sam's style of football and fractious
relationship with the fans has made it difficult for him to stay - but they
are struggling for replacements. Allardyce knows he will walk into another
job after the impressive work he has done at Upton Park, with Sunderland
among his admirers.

Collins sounds Benteke warning
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on May 8, 2015 in Whispers
Claret & Hugh

Our former Villa defender James Collins has warned the Irons to Beware
Benteke. As the Hammers prepare for their weekend clash at Villa Park
Collins who will be at the heart of the 'Benteke battle' declare: " It's
going to be tough, because Bentake is bang in form at the moment." Speaking
to the official site he added: "If we keep a clean sheet on Saturday it
would be the first time we've kept three on the bounce this season. "Tim
Sherwood seems to have come in and got them going. The FA Cup has given them
confidence and when I was playing there it was always a great atmosphere to
play in. Not quite like Upton Park, but loud and they love their football so
I'm sure me and Stewie will get a bit of stick. "We got a good result when
we went there last year and if we play like we know we can I'm sure we can
get three points."

Moyes would weed out West Ham moles
Posted by Sean Whetstone on May 8, 2015 in Whispers
Claret & Hugh

If bookies favourite David Moyes takes over as West Ham Manager next season,
he would quickly implement a zero tolerance for moles in the dressing room
or training ground releasing team information. Real Sociedad's team was
recently leaked days before their clash with Valencia and Moyes threatened
to find the dressing room mole and remove him from the club.

The former Manchester United and Everton manager was upset that his selected
team appeared in the media last weekend before his team's Sunday lunchtime
game against Valenica. In a press conference before the game he said: 'For
some reason our team is in the newspapers [on the day of the game]. I don't
get the opposition team. I didn't get Valencia's team but the opposition get
my team. I don't think that's right. It doesn't seem correct to me that our
rivals find about our team selection because of leaks.'

Moyes has made several changes since arriving at Real Sociedad last
November, reducing the number of public training sessions in the lead up to
match days and limiting daily injury updates because he believes it helps
inform rivals. If he arrives at Chadwell Heath over the summer you can
expect more of the same and a complete clamp down on the leakers.

Burke to face Villa challenge
Posted by Sean Whetstone on May 8, 2015 in Whispers
Claret & Hugh

Hammers 18-year-old defender Reece Burke will start for his third successive
game against Aston Villa tomorrow hoping to complete a hat trick of clean
sheets for the youngster who won Young hammer of the year award at the
London Hilton on Wednesday night. Playing alongside James Collins, Burke he
will have to face an and contain an inform Benteke, who has scored 11 goals
in his past nine club games, and was voted the Premier League Player of

Defenders James Tomkins and Winston Reid will be both sidelined with
shoulder and hamstring injuries respectively and will no part in tomorrow's

Allardyce said of Burke "It will probably be his most difficult test – but
then he had a difficult test in his last away match, against Charlie Austin
and Bobby Zamora. Particularly Austin who has been free-scoring in the
Premier League for QPR. Reece, though, managed to cope with them. He may not
have the physical presence of a Zamora or a Benteke just yet so, along with
Ginge, he will have to be clever to make sure he copes with a man in good
form at the moment.Benteke is back on form. He's a goal-scorer who we know,
when he is in such confident mood, can be unstoppable. The biggest part for
the rest of the team is to stop that service, to stop the crosses because
Villa are particularly strong in the air."

Hammers linked with Croatian midfielder
Posted by Sean Whetstone on May 8, 2015 in Whispers
Claret & Hugh

The Hammers are said to be weighing up a move for Hadjuk Split midfielder
Tino-Sven Susic. The 23-year old winger has impressed this season for the
Croatian outfit, drawing attention from Premier League trio Leicester City,
Swansea City and West Ham, as well as Serie A outfit Inter Milan who it is
claimed have all scouted him.

Despite being a youth international for Belgium, Susic chose to represent
Bosnia at full-international level and currently has eight caps to his name.
Having scored six goals in 30 appearances for Hadjuk this term, it is now
expected that the pacey wide-man will now look for a new challenge, with the
Premier League a likely destination.

Sam's jolly at the races
Posted by Sean Whetstone on May 8, 2015 in Whispers
Claret & Hugh

Sam Allardyce and Neil McDonald enjoyed a day of full VIP hospitality at
Chester Races yesterday courtesy of West Ham sponsors Betway. Guest of
honour Allardyce was asked to present the winner of the Betway handicap race
with a bottle of champagne. When we asked a West Ham insider today why Sam
was not at the training ground on a Thursday in the run up to our game
against Aston Villa we were told: "Yesterday was a designated day off as the
players had an extra session on Wednesday. Everyone back in and training

Villa boss enters Allardyce debate
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on May 8, 2015 in Whispers
Claret & Hugh

Aston Villa boss Tim Sherwood has chosen to enter the Sam Allardyce
managerial debate and clearly has a high reputation of the 60 year old.
Speaking ahead of the weekend clash of the speculation swirling around the
against us, the Villa boss said: "It's up to them to make that decision but
there'll be no shortage of takers for Sam Allardyce. "We're up against a
manager who is the second longest serving manager in the Premier League. He
has kept West Ham in the top half for many years and we have to respect the
fact they have good players. They are combative but they also have a lot of
quality players, they have pace and if we take care of our jobs we should be
"We know West Ham score more headed goals than any other team in the league
because they get it wide and cross it. "There's nothing wrong with that,
that's what we do for Christian Benteke and that's why he's starting to

Tomkins doubts emerge
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on May 8, 2015 in Whispers
Claret & Hugh

James Tomkins is highly unlikely to return to action this season.
ClaretandHugh understands the central defender has virtually made his mind
up to come back 100 per cent fit next season rather than to push himself
back into the fray too quickly. Reporting on the official site Stijn
Vandenbroucke, Head of Medical and Sports Science said earlier this week
says: "He will initially begin full training with the Development Squad
before returning to training with the first-team squad. There is a chance he
will be available for selection this season." But we understand James has
told friends that he would sooner now leave it until next season! Diafra
Sakho – after visiting a specialist for a scan on his thigh this week – has
healed sufficiently to start running on the pitch independently.

Allardyce cricitises Newcastle manager
Posted by Sean Whetstone on May 8, 2015 in Whispers
Claret & Hugh

It looks like our final game of the season at Newcastle could have some
added significance following their spiral" Sam Allardyce has penned in his
London Evening Standard column. "I watched John Carver's outburst after last
week's defeat at Leicester with some dismay as he accused Mike Williamson of
getting sent off on purpose. I like John enormously, I've known him for many
years and I have nothing but respect for him and particularly the great
success he enjoyed with Bobby Robson at the club he loves. It was an
over-passionate reaction from him, though, as he searched for answers – and
it was totally down to pressure. It's an awful shame it hasn't gone well for
John because he's a football man through and through, he loves the club and
it's hurtful when you are as attached as he is. It could destroy him for a
while but if you are going to say what he said about one of his players,
then do it behind closed doors."

Hammers European dream back on
Posted by Sean Whetstone on May 8, 2015 in Whispers
Claret & Hugh

Holland has won the UEFA Fair Play League with England ranked second and
Republic of Ireland in third place. Each coutry will each be granted one
additional slot in the first qualifying round of the 2015/16 UEFA Europa
League. The Fair Play assessments are made by the official UEFA delegates on
criteria such as positive play, respect for the opposition, respect for the
referee, behaviour of the crowd and of the team officials, as well as
cautions and dismissals.

The three associations that are allocated an additional UEFA Europa League
place will be entitled to enter the club that has won their domestic
top-division fair play competition. If this club has already qualified for a
UEFA competition, the second-placed team in the domestic fair play
competition may be entered and, should they also have already qualified, the
third-placed side would be considered and so forth.

West Ham currently sit second in the Premier League Fair Play League one
point behind Liverpool with 4 games to play. The first games will be played
from 1st July.

Former Hammer released by Cardiff
Posted by Sean Whetstone on May 8, 2015 in Whispers
Claret & Hugh

Former Hammer Nicky Maynard has been released at Cardiff City after he was
named as one of three players that will be released this summer. The striker
has managed had ten appearances this season scoring once. The 28 year old
wants to find a new Championship club where he would stand a chance of
fighting his way into the first team with Sheffield Wednesday sited a
possibility. The Hammers signed Maynard in January 2012 for a fee thought to
be £2m on a two and a half year contract with an option for a further year.
He made 17 appearances in all competitions in a Claret and Blue shirt
scoring four goals. In August 2012, Maynard was sold to Cardiff City by West
Ham for a small profit of £2.75m signing a three-year contract.


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