Wednesday, October 19

Daily WHUFC News - 19th October 2016

Westley - We need to learn

West Ham United PL2 were beaten 2-0 away at Aston Villa in Premier League 2
Division 2 on Monday night
The Hammers welcomed back loan stars Reece Burke and Kyle Knoyle
Terry Westley said his players need to learn from the defeat

West Ham United PL2 need to understand that teams will not just roll over
against them, according to manager Terry Westley. The Hammers were beaten
2-0 by Aston Villa on Monday night, in a performance that didn't quite match
the high standards they set in the Premier League Cup victory over Leicester
City two weeks ago. A plus for Westley's men was a return to action for
defenders Kyle Knoyle and Reece Burke who both continued their
rehabilitation from injuries suffered on loan at Wigan Athletic. There was
also starts for Ashley Fletcher, Domingos Quina and Raphael Spiegel. "It was
a poor performance all round, we never quite got going and didn't play with
the intensity we have been. But that's what happens when you work with young
players," said Westley. "We played very well at Leicester and you think it's
just going to happen again. We have to understand you have to earn the right
to get on the ball and make things happen – teams aren't just going to roll
over. We never quite got to that level at any stage of the game."

After a tight opening twenty minutes, it was the home side who took the lead
with virtually their first effort on goal. Callum O'Hare's deep cross found
Corey Blackett-Taylor at the back post and he nodded the ball past Raphael
Spiegel. The Hammers struggled to make use of their limited openings and
Villa doubled their lead in controversial circumstances just before the
interval. Knoyle was adjudged to have tugged back striker Keinan Davis in
the penalty area and Davis rolled the spot kick home to make it 2-0.
Westley's players stuck to their gameplan in the second half and should have
pulled a goal back when keeper Matija Starkic somehow kept out a powerful
drive from Ashley Fletcher. Fletcher hit the side netting with minutes to
play but Villa held on for the three points and succumbed the Hammers to
just their second league defeat of the season. "I think we maintained our
passing style in the first half and, strangely enough, I wasn't too
disappointed at half-time, apart from conceding two goals," Westley added.
"We didn't play with that same purpose in the second half and we didn't pass
the ball well enough. They scored the two goals and just sat back and made
it difficult for us. "Overall, it's one of the first games this season where
I've been disappointed with the players."

Knoyle happy to get some minutes

Kyle Knoyle appeared for West Ham United PL2 in their 2-0 defeat to Aston
The right-back has been on loan at Wigan Athletic all season but been
injured for the majority of his time there
He's was delighted to get 90 minutes under his belt as he returns to Wigan
next week

Kyle Knoyle was disappointed with West Ham United PL2's 2-0 defeat to Aston
Villa on Monday night, but delighted to get 90 minutes under his belt. The
right-back has been on loan at Wigan Athletic all season but has found
game-time hard to come by, considering he injured his tricep in pre-season.
Latics boss Gary Caldwell was in attendance to see Knoyle and teammate Reece
Burke, who's also been on loan with the Lancashire side this season, as they
continued their comeback from injuries. Knoyle hopes he showed enough on
Monday night to give himself a good run of games in the Sky Bet
Championship, having played a full 90 minutes for the first time this
season. "I started off the season with an unfortunate injury. Spent the last
3 months in the gym just working hard and trying to get back fit. But
hopefully, I can push on now and get some games under my belt for Wigan
Athletic," said Knoyle. "The experience is something I need at my age right
now. I'm 20 years old and I need to be in a first team environment to
develop because I've been playing U23 football since I was 17 and I don't
think another year would benefit me."

Terry Westley made five change in all from the side that was beaten 3-0 by
Wycombe Wanderers in the Checkatrade Trophy, with Knoyle and Burke coming
into the defence. Ashley Fletcher made his first Premier League 2 start
since the opening day win at Stoke City and there were starts for Raphael
Spiegel and Domingos Quina. The Hammers went behind midway through the first
half after Callum O'Hare's deep cross found Corey Blackett-Taylor at the
back post who headed past Spiegel. They doubled their lead on the stroke of
half-time – Knoyle was penalised for shirt pulling in the area and Keinan
Davis scored the penalty. The Hammers had chances in the second half with
Fletcher twice going close, but they couldn't find a way back into the
match. We were defensively sloppy in the first half but we had the majority
of possession and we should have finished off a lot of our chances," added
Knoyle. "Half-time we got a bit of a rollicking but the staff know we are
better than what we showed. '?>"I haven't been back at West Ham for about a
year so it felt good to be back. It was great to be amongst all the lads and
I did my best for the team."

Slav hails hard-working duo

Slaven Bilic says Pedro Obiang and Simone Zaza personified the work-rate and
attitude West Ham United need to show on a consistent basis. The two former
Serie A stars were to the fore in the Hammers' 1-0 Premier League win at
Crystal Palace on Saturday, as much for their defensive contributions than
their attacking input. Zaza won an incredible 12 aerial battles against
Palace's normally dominant centre-halves James Tomkins and Damien Delaney,
while his work-rate in closing down the home back four resulted in numerous
turnovers in possession.
Obiang, meanwhile, made four tackles, four clearances, an interception an 47
passes, including the raking ball out to Aaron Cresswell that led to Manuel
Lanzini's match-winning goal.
The manager singled out both players for praise, saying the level of effort
they had put in set the standard that the Hammers will need to reach in
every game if they are to continue climbing the Premier League table. "We
are going to have the opportunity to have another good season only if we
perform like this without the ball," Bilic observed. "We have the quality,
of course, but this is the cruellest league in the world if you are ten per
cent below par in any aspect of the game. Sometimes you get luck and
sometimes you win the game 3-0, but you cannot be like this. "Pedro waited
for chances. I spoke to him in the pre-season and he played 30-odd games for
us last season, not always as a starter, and is a great example for
everyone. "Last time out against Middlesbrough he got the chance and used it
really well. If he continues to play like this, the place is his. "Zaza was
different class on Saturday. I told him after the game 'This is the Zaza I
know from Sassuolo and from Juventus and the goals will come'. Goals are
really important for strikers, but they will come. "I told him after the
game straight away 'Zaza, you won today. Tonight you won more balls in the
air against two good centre-halves in Delaney and Tomkins than you won in
the four or five games you played before'. Without him, we wouldn't have
won, it's as simple as that."

The Big Interview - Pedro Obiang

Pedro Obiang has certainly made an impression in his last two starts for the
Hammers and showed his quality once again as he played a big role in helping
West Ham record a crucial 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace on Saturday.

The Spanish midfielder does not always attract the headlines, but he was one
of the unsung heroes in the memorable win at Selhurst Park and now hopes to
carry on his good run of form when the team host Sunderland at London
Stadium on Saturday....

Pedro, it was a fantastic victory on Saturday and a great performance from
everyone in the team. How important is it for everyone at the Club that we
have now moved out of the bottom three

PO: "It is very important for us to be out of the bottom three. This is the
first game we have won away this season and it is good for the character of
the team.
"We need to continue this and have another good result against Sunderland
next weekend."

We certainly enjoy playing against Crystal Palace and this was a great way
to follow up our 3-1 victory last season. What is it about playing in south
London and getting such good results at Selhurst Park?

PO: "When you play in such a big London derby we know as players that we
need to chase everything and work hard. "When you have a chance you need to
put it away. We were very lucky that we scored a goal and then we worked
hard to protect that lead and came away with a big three points."

What can you say about the return of Aaron Cresswell. It was obviously
disappointing to see him get sent-off but he made such an impact in his
first game back and played a crucial role in the winning goal?

PO: "It is normal for Aaron to play like that and he can make a big
difference to the team."

How important is it that we now transform this result into the London
Stadium and get our home record back on track with a victory over Sunderland
on Saturday?

PO: "It is very important that we start winning at London Stadium. We know
that Sunderland will be a difficult game. "But we need to carry on this good
performance into the game on Saturday and if we show this kind of character
we can win more games."

Do you think the victory over Palace could be the turning point in the
Club's season?

PO: "We have to keep this mentality. We need to do something different this
season. We all know the start to the season has not been what we were
looking for.
"But we have changed things around and all the players came together at the
right time to get a result."

Slaven decided to change the system against Palace and revert to three at
the back. How much do you think that played a part in the team coming away
with all three points?

PO: "We played that system a few times last season against Tottenham and
Everton and we showed then that we are a good team. "We can play with
different systems and all the players can show their qualities playing in
different positions."

Hammers welcome Benali's Big Race

Former Southampton star Francis Benali visited London Stadium during
Benali's Big Race
Benali attempting to raise £1 million for Cancer Research UK
One-time defender ran and cycled to 44 Premier League and Championship

West Ham United welcomed fundraising champion and former Southampton star
Francis Benali to London Stadium.

Joined by long-time teammate Matt Le Tissier, Benali ran to the Hammers' new
home as part of Benali's Big Race, a challenge which saw the one-time Saints
full-back run and cycle all 44 Premier League and Championship grounds in
the space of 15 days.

The Big Race saw the 47-year-old brave wind, rain and sore muscles to cover
1,500 miles to raise £1million for Cancer Research UK, completing his
journey at Southampton's St Mary's Stadium at the Saints' Premier League
fixture with Burnley on Sunday.

Prior to finishing his challenge, Benali spent a day running and pedalling
between NINE Premier League and Championship stadia, starting out at White
Hart Lane before visiting London Stadium, the Emirates, Stamford Bridge,
Craven Cottage, Loftus Road, Griffin Park, Vicarage Road and ending at
Reading's Madejski Stadium.

"Two years ago, I ran to every Premier League stadium to raise money for
Cancer Research UK and we managed to raise £265,000, which was an incredible
amount of money to be able to hand over to the charity," he told West Ham

"I set a huge fundraising target of £1 million, so I felt I had some
unfinished business and in the two years since the last challenge my
father-in-law has been diagnosed with prostate cancer and we've lost two
close family friends and another close friend of the family is currently
undergoing her battle with cancer, so I felt I wanted to take on another

"We wanted to raise the bar by making it more grounds and more clubs and
added the discipline of the bike to make it more interesting. The plan was
to run a marathon every morning and then cycle at least 75 miles in the
afternoon, so it's been pretty intense."

West Ham is a Club which has been hit hard by cancer historically, with the
late, great Bobby Moore losing his life to bowel cancer in 1993, and young
Australian Dylan Tombides being taken by the disease as recently as 2014.

"I don't think there is anybody in the country whose life hasn't been
touched by cancer in some way, shape or form," observed Benali, who was
presented with a signed shirt by former Hammers striker Bobby Barnes. "So
that's why I'm doing what I can in my own unique way to raise funds to help
the scientists find a cure for this awful disease."

Benali was joined by his old friend Le Tissier on his visit to London
Stadium, with the former England forward spending his 48th birthday running
and cycling around the capital for the cause.

"It's Matt's birthday so it just goes to show his support for the cause and
the charity that he has run around the capital to support the challenge," he

"It's always great to have him along and have a chat and it's the first time
the both of us have visited London Stadium, which was a nice experience as
it's an incredible place and a wonderful stadium."

There is still time to make a donation to Benali's Big Race and support
Cancer Research UK at

The is written by Stephen Lawrence

So much has been written and said about the predicament of our club
following the various dramas both on and off the pitch. Fingers are being
pointed at all possible potential reasons from the move from The Boleyn, to
the crowd issues in the new stadium, to the size of the pitch, to the
distance of the fans from the pitch, to the abilities of the new players, to
the volume of injuries, to the attitude of the players, to the number of
injuries, to the training methods, to players playing out of position and so

Whilst all of these matters may be an issue in their own right, collectively
they are the symptoms rather than the cause. The real cause of our difficult
situation in my opinion is EXPECTATION. It was so high at the start of the
season that you'd need a parachute to get down from it. We finished last
season just falling off from making the Champions League places. We were
moving to a new stadium, the scale of which would rival some of the best in
Europe. We were buying players rather than selling. We were holding onto
Dimitri Payet who was a star of the Euros. We had the second highest level
of season ticket holders in the EPL. We had arrived at the big time.
Overnight we had transformed. We were now a big club, on a par with Arsenal,
Chelsea and the two Manchester clubs. It had happened.

But it hadn't. We were just led to believe it. We believed our own hype. We
bought into our own dreams. We jumped on the bandwagon that was taking us to
glory. We had sky high EXPECTATIONS.

In arriving at this dreamy state of delusion playing Juventus in a
pre-season friendly and imagining this was just the start of life in the
fast lane, we dismissed the Astras and Watfords of this world as the
also-rans from the level we had now left behind. Small clubs and easy
pickings for us. We were one the big boys now.

But it doesn't just happen like that. Transformation of anything from one
level to another is usually a journey and you don't start a journey at your
destination, you follow the road to get there. This is where we are
struggling now. We have forgotten about the journey. We have set the bar
right to the top and expected the players to suddenly be right there. In
hindsight that's just plain silly but we're all allowed to dream. But the
extraordinarily high expectations we had collectively formed may have served
to just add pressure to everyone, especially to the players and manager. And
that pressure is clearly showing both on the pitch in the performances of
the players and in the stands in the frustration of the fans.

So now, let's just take a breath and reflect that we are on a journey of
transformation (whether personally we like it or not). We are headed onto
bigger things. The stadium, the increased fan base, the increased squad size
and the higher level of commercialism are all ingredients for the journey.
But let's not kid ourselves anymore. Reality is clearly showing that the
journey won't be a breeze. There will be bumps in the road, twists, turns
and hills to climb. We're experiencing some of those now. But, eventually,
the road will level out and we'll be in reach of our destination.

We just need to manage our expectations that we may have been silly to think
we'll get there overnight.

Let's wish the manager and players the best of luck. Let's recognise that
this will be a season of transformation and it may be tough. Let's make sure
we're behind the team, giving them our full backing, and being the 12th man
that helps them make the transformation successful. And let's keep our
expectations realistic.


West Ham United training prior to Premier League match against Middlesbrough
Chadwell Heath plus Valon Behrami on his comeback trail from injury

Danny Gabbidon
Well that's much more like it! I have to say I feared for West Ham at the

When confidence is low when you've lost four out of the last five games
every game that comes up next looks all the more difficult. Palace had been
in a rich vein of form and I know, being an ex Palace player, Selhurst Park
is a difficult place to play for an opposing team, in good form or not.

The international break can also affect you in different ways. If you're
performing well in the league no manager wants it to come along, you want to
keep that momentum and winning feeling going but if confidence is low and
results are bad it really can be a God send! I definitely think it was the
later for West Ham and Slaven Bilic.

I was across North London on Saturday covering Arsenal's win against Swansea
but as soon as the game was finished I got the game up on my mobile. The
first thing I always do when I start watching a game is to try and figure
out the team shape but initially the first thing I noticed was no James
Collins in the West Ham back line. On closer inspection I then made out the
change of shape to a three at the back system. At this point I was fearing
another difficult afternoon for us but it soon became apparent that this is
a system perfectly suited to West Ham's personnel.

A lot of credit has to go to Slaven Bilic. It's never an easy decision as a
manager to change things so drastically when your having a bad spell. You
want to believe in your current system that has served you so well, you
wonder if your players are going to be open to change when morale is low.
The break certainly helped give the manager time to analyse what had been
going wrong recently and offered an opportunity to implement a new way of

Probably more important than the system, international week also allowed
Aaron Cresswell more time to get match fit, a vital component if you're
going to play with a wing back system. I'm not sure Bilic would have gone
down this road if he wasn't ready to start.

We can talk about systems until we are blue in the face and yes it does very
much suit the players Bilic has at his disposal. You had three mobile and
athletic centre backs, you had two energetic wing backs and it also allowed
the main man Dimitri Payet to do what he does best operating in more central

All well and good but the main difference ,which I'm sure we all noted, was
the intensity and work rate of the players. It doesn't matter who you are in
this league if you are not willing to run around and make it difficult for
the opposition you can't win games of football. You can't score goals, you
can't get the ball back effectively and you certainly can't defend properly!
The reason Winston Reid was able to defend so well and collect the man of
the match award was because the players in front of him put a shift in.
You'd be amazed how much easier it is to defend just by your striker showing
willingness to work. He doesn't have to be flying into tackles or anything
like that just running with a bit of intent getting defender's heads down.
This then allows the midfield and defenders to get their positions right
because you have a much better idea of where the ball might then going. I
thought Simone Zaza's energy and running was brilliant. When you see your
striker doing that it feeds through to the rest of the team and everyone
else follows. If he keeps that intensity up the goals will follow I'm sure…
I've not written him off yet!

I hate to says it but Kouyate also looked very good in that right centre
back slot.(Sorry James!) Part of West Ham's defensive vulnerability has
certainly been down to him. Vacating the midfield area, galloping forward
but not getting back into shape with anything like the same intensity
leaving massive holes for his midfield partner Mark Noble to cover who as we
know is the most mobile.

Bringing Obiang into that central area has certainly helped he has waited
for his chance and looks much more disciplined defensively.

The fact that we then went down to 10 men and were still able to hang on for
the three points shows me that the team are still hungry and capable of
being organised and difficult to beat if they fancy it. The question is can
they now kick on and keep performing at that level for the rest of the

I'm sure the West Ham fans would appreciate now seeing a few more of these
performances on home soil starting with struggling Sunderland on Saturday.

You could see what it meant to the players getting those three points and
those games when your backs are against the wall and you come through this
breeds huge confidence very quickly.

For me Saturday's performance was a big game changer. Onwards and upwards.



Are we feeling just a bit too sorry for ourselves?
Filed: Tuesday, 18th October 2016
By: Paul Walker

First things first. Sometime recently I got my football team back. They'd
got lost along the way from the Boleyn to Stratford, and I'd missed them.

Maybe they were huddled in a lock-up on West Ham Lane, who knows, but the
team that had captivated Irons fans last season with their vitality,
strength, team spirit, pulsating football and pride in our last season at
the Boleyn, were becoming something of a myth.

The boss, Slaven Bilic, who managed the side on instinct and love was a pale
shadow of the motivator who strode the touchlines at Upton Park, an animated
driving force who took us to seventh spot and almost the Champions League.

So much must have changed in the summer as we looked homeless, listless and
lost come the supposed brave new world in Stratford. The dozen or so new
players looked just as lost--where was this iconic, famous East London club
with a brilliant crowd they had been told they were joining?.

The atmosphere stank, the team ethos had evaporated, and the fans were
seemingly at war with themselves and the board.

But then came Saturday's trip to Selhurst Park. I watched it a couple of
hundred miles away in a darkened room on an Ipad. I won't pay a penny more
for my TV football these days so my lad has somehow fixed it that I can
watch his BT on my pad. Don't ask me how.

But I saw something that I thought had been lost. Verve, passion, desire,
team work and belief. A team that ran itself into the ground for the common
good. Yes they were playing for the manager, no he hadn't lost the dressing
room and at last there was a shaft of light in a grey, dark season.

Even Simone Zaza did OK, and we could see just how much Slav has banked his
West Ham career on the Italian. A firm hug and handshake, both men at the
end looked clearly to really care.

I saw players throwing their shirts into our delirious fans at the end…Zaza,
Jonathan Calleri, Nobes(of course), new players and old at one with their
fans. Infact, I doubt I have witnessed the fans, board and players being
united at any point so far this season.

Of course there has got to be more. So bad has the start t the season been.
So it's back to the dreaded London Stadium for Saturday's visit of bottom
club Sunderland. Everyone knows we dare not lose that one.

Will the atmosphere be any better, will the Irons fans be able to put aside
the many issues that still bother them and give the team 100 per cent? Who

But that's up to us, surely, no point in blaming the board, the ground
owners, the people who run the trains(or not as has been the case)or the
stadium itself. And if you read some of the forum feedback these days, there
is a body of fans who actually like the stadium, want to make it work and
their opinion is as valid as the folk with issues.

I also sense there is a view that enough is enough with the moaning, even if
I fully understand the views of fans who have not enjoyed the experience in
Stratford. They too have a right to a voice.

That was going to be about it from me on the subject until I was flicking
through Sky(as you do when you are old and at home)and I came across a
feature on Liverpool's miracle in Istanbul, now some 11 years ago.

Back in the day when I worked for a living, I was fortunate enough to travel
the world watching football, and having spent nearly 20 years in and around
Liverpool, was in Turkey that week working.

But the TV feature, with Jamie Carragher actually speaking slowly in
English, reminded me of something I had forgotten in all the complaining
about athletics tracks and distance from the pitch. Even green plastic

That Ataturk stadium was a horrible concrete bowl build on wasteland across
the Bosphorus on the terribly poor Asian side of the city. The posh bit is
on the western side where Galatasaray and Besiktas play and all the hotels
and tourist stuff is.

Transport out to the stadium was a joke, thousands walked ten miles to get
to the game, and the stadium was uncovered at both ends and many felt not
fit for purpose(Now stop it you lot, I am not trying to compare with

But the atmosphere was amazing, the noise deafening, and Milan fans played
their part. You could not hear yourself think such was the passion and fury
from the seats, all behind a track covered in green plastic. And no
retractable seats.

That night will live with me. I am no Liverpool fan, but came to respect a
proper, working class club and their fans(not all moaning Scousers) I have
always felt that Liverpool and the East End are similar, although we do
speak a different language. They have seen their docks and heavy industry
destroyed, and they have been a welcoming new home for many different

Liverpool and Milan fans that night showed that a track is no barrier to
passion and fierce support. Don't get me wrong, I will always prefer a
traditional British stadium, and I have wondered why me--amongst my group
of(much younger)Irons fans--finds the track the least offensive.

And I have begun to realise that having visited so many grounds in
Europe--particularly the east and what was the Iron Curtain-as well as World
Cups, I am more used to it.

Yes, I know in the UK athletics tracks are hated at football grounds. And I
go along with that. But, like Istanbul, there are so many stadiums around
that have tracks and people handle it.

A quick look through my travelling log of years gone by shows Munich, Hysel,
Athens, Monaco, San Sebastian (Sociadad) Las Palmas, Majorca, Kiev, Vienna
(where England played last week), Hampden, Berlin, Stockholm, Moscow and
Rome, to name just a few, where tracks are common place.

And I cannot recall a stadium in eastern Europe that was not community
(Government) built with multi-use the key. So I have come to think that
atmosphere can be created in a stadium like ours, if we try hard enough.
Maybe we have been feeling too sorry for ourselves about what we have lost,
to do our best to make what we have work.

I know it's not perfect. It's not the Boleyn. But I have learned over my
many years that there is no point raging against something you cannot
change. Pick your battles.
And that's where we are now. I fully understand the idea for a Trust to
engage with the club(if they can be persuaded, and that's a mute point)to
put fans problems to the board.

But the one thing we are not going to change, because that time has gone, is
our new home. Rich people, I have always felt, get what they want in the
end. And they have got the stadium they wanted and the club has been reborn
in Stratford.

They only way out, I fear, is not to come, if you dislike it that much. In
effect to let the bosses win and rid themselves of the great unwashed. Well,
I may not have too many years left to support my team, no I'm not about to
peg it but as you get into your 60s and 70s, banging up and down to London
from the north like I do may not be as appealing as it was in years to come.

So I don't plan to walk out on them now, they are my team wherever they

So it would be nice to go to the stadium on Saturday, to see the sort of
performance they produced at Selhurst Park, and to create the sort of
atmosphere 57,000 people should be able to produce, track or no track!

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the
author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be
attributed to,

West Ham skipper Mark Noble wary of struggling Sunderland
Last Updated: 18/10/16 10:29pm

Mark Noble is fully aware he and his West Ham team-mates cannot afford to
underestimate Sunderland despite their terrible start to the season. The
Hammers play host to the Premier League's bottom club having been bolstered
by a 1-0 win at Crystal Palace last weekend. David Moyes' men are rock
bottom, having only taken two points from their eight games so far this
season. But skipper Noble is taking nothing for granted this weekend as West
Ham bid to build on four points from two games after a run of four
successive league defeats. "It's really important that we don't turn up and
the fans don't turn up and think it's Sunderland, they're bottom of the
league, we're going to win," he said. "It doesn't work like that in this
league, you have to really earn your points. "I was really happy for
everyone in the club because we've trained really hard in the past two or
three weeks. The players really do care and I think that showed on

Mark Noble was speaking at an event to mark Hawes & Curtis becoming the
official tailor to West Ham United Football Club. Find out more at

West Ham boss Slaven Bilic considering raid on former club Besiktas for
Kerim Frei
16:58, 18 OCT 2016 UPDATED 18:46, 18 OCT 2016
Former Fulham youngster Frei has struggled for opportunities this term and
Bilic is considering bringing him back to London
The Mirror

West Ham are watching Besiktas' former Fulham midfielder Kerim Frei. Frei
played under Hammers boss Slaven Bilic at the Turkish club and could be
available for £3m. Bilic wants to strengthen his squad in January with West
Ham struggling towards the bottom of the Premier League club. Frei made his
Fulham debut at the age of 17 and spent two seasons in the first-team before
joining Besiktas in 2013. He impressed under Bilic but has struggled for
opportunities this term and has been an unused substitute in Besiktas' last
two matches. Saturday's victory at Crystal Palace was just West Ham's second
in the league this season, with Bilic's men climbing out of the relegation
zone. After the game, the Croat said: "It is a very important win for us.
"This has got to be a pattern for us in a positive way about what we have to

Mark Noble: West Ham played 'like a proper team' in Crystal Palace win
Evening Standard

Mark Noble hailed West Ham for playing "like a proper team" when they
brought their winless run to an end away to Crystal Palace. Manuel Lanzini
scored the only goal at Selhurst Park as West Ham claimed their first
Premier League win since August with the visitors spending the final 15
minutes defending their lead with just 10 men after Aaron Cresswell received
two controversial yellow cards in the space of a minute. West Ham rode their
luck at times, with Christian Benteke missing a penalty moments before
half-time, and had goalkeeper Adrian to thank for an impressive late save
from Connor Wickham. "I thought we were tremendous," Noble said. "They've
got big players like Connor Wickham and Christian Benteke up front, but I
thought our defence did a magnificent job, they dealt with them incredibly,
it's a top, top win for us. "I said in an interview the other day that
everyone here really does care, and I think we showed that. We looked at how
Palace play and everything goes through Benteke so we knew we had to deal
with that threat. Cheik [Cheikhou Kouyate] is great in the air, then
alongside Reidy [Winston Reid] and Angelo [Ogbonna], obviously Cress [Aaron
Cresswell] back in the side, we played like a proper team."
Having extricated themselves from the Premier League drop zone West Ham now
face bottom of the table Sunderland on Saturday. David Moyes' side are yet
to win this season and lost 2-0 at fellow strugglers Stoke on Saturday.
However Noble expects Sunderland to prove formidable opponents at the London
Stadium: "It's going to be a tough game, they need the points too. "By all
accounts we've had a terrible start, but now we're only a point behind
Leicester who won the league last year. "If we start to put a few wins
together, we'll start to climb the table and get to where we want to be."

West Ham Wonderkid Ajibola Set To Spark International Tug Of War Between
Nigeria & England
Published: October 18, 2016 understands that the English FA are in pole position to
lure the highly-rated West Ham stopper Ajibola Alese to commit his
international future to England at senior level rather than Nigeria. The
young central defender is one of the most promising teenagers at West Ham's
Academy, and the English FA have moved fast to cap him for their U15s squad.
Alese, an athletic and strong defender, has been competing for the English
youth team at that age category when he first became a teenager, and has
captained the squad. Though he has not featured for West Ham U18s in the
U18 Premier League this term, having failed to come off the bench last
weekend against Norwich City, he made his debut for the squad in November
2015 against Leicester City U18s. Ajibola Alese was raised in the United
Kingdom but remains eligible to represent Nigeria through his parents.

Argentina striker's war of words could reignite West Ham and Tottenham
Damien Lucas

West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur could reignite their interest in
Argentina striker Mauro Icardi after his high profile fall out with Inter
Milan fans. Icardi has issued a public apology on Instagram in an effort to
repair his relationship with the club's fans after the Nerazzurri captain
was involved in a series of heated exchanges with the infamous 'Curva Nord'
ultras. It follows the release of Icardi's autobiography Sempre Avanti in
which he criticised their behaviour, as reported by Sky Sports. He has since
been subjected to abuse during matches, was goaded after missing a penalty
in a 2-1 defeat to Cagliari where an illicit banner aimed at the striker was
unveiled before the game.

Icardi's position at Inter could be untenable

In a desperate bid to save his career at the San Siro Icardi wrote on
Instagram: "I'm sorry. Sorry for the fuss that's been created. "I simply
recounted the incident according to my memories. I didn't want to offend or
disrespect anyone." His position at the club now seems untenable, though,
and that could well play into the hands of Hammers boss Slaven Bilic and
Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino. Both London rivals were linked with
Icardi over the summer and was said to have been one of Bilic's main
targets, as reported at the time by the likes of the Mirror. According to
the reports Hammers co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold were willing to
sanction a bid of upwards of £40 million to secure his signature. He was
also strongly linked with fellow Serie A side Napoli as well as Arsenal and
Spurs, with Pochettino keen to bolster his forward line for another assault
on the Premier League title. Pochettino is getting the best out of Son this
season in Harry Kane's absence through injury. But he could hold the trump
card over Bilic should the clubs reignite their interest in the 23-year-old
given he is a fellow Argentine. With the January transfer window just over
two months away, both club will be assessing their respective targets with
West Ham badly struggling in the forward department as they try and salvage
their season. Meanwhile Spurs will want options if they are to enjoy success
domestically and in Europe.

Damien Delaney: West Ham tactics caught Crystal Palace out
By Max Hall - October 18, 2016

Damien Delaney admitted Palace were caught cold by Slaven Bilic's formation
and tactics as West Ham ended their five-game unbeaten run in the Premier
League. Manuel Lanzini's 19th-minute goal settled the contest at Selhurst
Park. "West Ham came out with a bold system we weren't particularly
expecting," said Delaney. "To play 3-4-3 away from home, it just got us on
the back foot early. "By the time we'd figured it out I think that they'd
got a little bit of momentum and confidence. In the second half we needed to
adjust but we'd lost out hold on the game."
Palace looked leggy throughout but Delaney was quick to dismiss the
international break as a contributory factor. "We went out there with a
system and a gameplan and maybe we thought it was going to be a good
afternoon and a nice night for us, one of the games like our good home
performance against Stoke," said the Irish international. "Unfortunately it
wasn't like that and no matter what league you're in, if you don't do the
hard work first, you don't earn the right to win. "The first half, if I'm
being honest, the way we've been playing of late, it wasn't up to the
standard that we've set and we're pretty annoyed about that."
The captain was quick to pay tribute to Palace fans who have now seen their
side fail to win in their last eight London derbies. "I feel bad for the
fans. Towards the end when we were losing 1-0, there was terrific support.
Not a lot of teams would get that when you're losing 1-0. "It's
disappointing for ourselves, disappointing for them, disappointing for the
first-half showing but we live to fight another day."

Selhurst Park has become the birthplace of new West Ham terrace chants
Damien Lucas

Not only has Crystal Palace's Selhurst Park become a happy hunting ground
for West Ham United, it has also become a birthplace of new chants. The
Hammers won on their travels to their London rivals for the third
consecutive season when Manuel Lanzini's strike secured a 1-0 victory at the
weekend. It was only West Ham's second win of the season and a vital one too
as it lifted Slaven Bilic's side out of the relegation zone and eased the
pressure on him and his team after their worst start to a Premier League
season. But an interesting aside - for Hammers fans at least - is the fact
that for a second season running, and almost to the day when the club beat
the Eagles 3-1 on their own patch last season, Selhurst Park was the
birthplace of a new terrace chant.
After years without a genuine hero figure West Ham United fans have been
somewhat spoilt for choice the last season or so. And that has been
reflected in the stands with Hammers fans honouring the sensational Dimitri
Payet with the song to the tune of Billy Ray Cyrus' Achy Breaky Heart. That
song was born at Selhurst Park last season and this time around it was
Lanzini's turn.
To the tune of Rufus & Chaka Khan's classic Ain't Nobody Hammers fans belted
out their new ditty long into the night 'Ain't nobody, like Lanzini, makes
me happy, plays the West Ham way'.
He certainly does too and his slick goal, a neat first time finish from the
returning Aaron Cresswell's expert low cross, has given the club renewed
hope and belief both on the pitch and in the stands. The chant has been
around on social media for a while but never has it been sung en masse and
with such fervour as it was at Selhurst Park on Saturday.


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