Tuesday, March 21

Daily WHUFC News - 21st March 2017

Loanee round up

Enner Valencia was on the scoresheet for the second time in as many matches
for Everton
Josh Cullen's great form continued as Bradford City went seven games
unbeaten in League One
There were also starts for George Dobson, Toni Martinez and Sam Howes

Hammer Enner Valencia scored his second goal in as many matches for Everton
on Saturday as he found the net within a minute of coming on as a substitute
in the Toffees' 4-0 win over Hull City. The Ecuadorian loanee, putting the
result beyond doubt with the hosts' second 12 minutes from time, followed up
his strike against Spurs a fortnight ago with the tidy finish after playing
a one-two with teammate Romelu Lukaku. Having fallen behind after just nine
minutes when Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored his first Premier League goal,
Hull stayed in the game until Tom Huddlestone was sent off in the 73rd
minute. Valencia's strike opened the floodgates, and Lukaku bagged two in
injury time to add a gloss to the scoreline.

In the Championship, Reece Oxford made his second outing in a Reading shirt
on Friday as he came on as a sub in the Royals' 2-0 win at Sheffield
Wednesday. The play-off chasers took the lead through Yann Kermorgant early
on and Adrian Popa sealed the win five minutes into injury time at the end
of the game.

Bradford City, another side chasing a top six place though this time in
League One, picked up a crucial victory on Saturday as they came from behind
to beat Swindon Town. Josh Cullen, one of the third tier's stars of the
season, played the full 90 minutes for the Bantams who made it seven league
matches unbeaten with the Valley Parade victory.

Charlton loanee Nicky Ajose thought he had won the game for the visitors
when he found the back of the net 15 minutes from time, but Stuart McCall's
men hit back with an equaliser in the 85th minute.

Charlie Wyke was the scorer, and he was at it again six minutes later as he
celebrated a tenth City goal since joining from Carlisle United in January.

There was a second start of the week for George Dobson, who completed his
second League One 90 minutes for Walsall. The Saddlers left Southend
United's Roots Hall disappointed however, as their two-goal lead thanks to
Franck Moussa's brace was wiped out with three Shrimpers second half goals.
Former Hammer Anton Ferdinand volleyed home from 12 yards to make it 2-2
after Nile Ranger had pulled a goal back for the hosts, and Simon Cox was
able to win the game seven minutes before the referee's final whistle.

Toni Martinez, who had previously gone three matches without a start, was
back in the Oxford United XI to face fifth-placed Scunthorpe United, and the
Us kept their top six ambitions alive with a huge 2-1 win. Paddy Madden
scored after 12 minutes to give Scunthorpe the initiative, but skipper John
Lundstram equalised and the Kassam Stadium erupted when Phil Edwards struck
in stoppage time to make it 2-1.

Jaanai Gordon played the final 13 minutes for Newport County in League Two,
but could not help the Exiles overturn a three-goal deficit against
Blackpool. Alex Samuel did pull one back for the hosts after Bright
Osayi-Samuel – with a brace – and Mark Cullen had bagged for the visitors at
Rodney Parade, but County's relegation worries continue after the defeat.

In the National League south, Sam Howes played his part in an entertaining
fixture between Poole Town and his loan side Hampton and Richmond Borough as
the points were eventually shared. Poole took a first half two-goal lead but
Howes' side hit back and stunned their hosts to go 3-2 up with eleven
minutes left. Seven minutes from time though an equaliser was scored and
both sides were made to settle for a point, which leaves Hampton and
Richmond Borough seventh in the league table.

Finally, Sam Ford was introduced as a second half substitute for Bishop's
Stortford however they were beaten 1-0 by Whitehawk in the same division.

Antonio withdrawn from England squad

Michail Antonio has been withdrawn from England's squad for their games
against Germany and Lithuania next week after picking up a hamstring injury
in Saturday's 3-2 loss against Leicester City. The West Ham United No30 was
hoping to earn his first caps for the Three Lions after being called up to
the squad for a third time, but will now have to wait for his opportunity.
Antonio was withdrawn from the squad after being assessed by both the
Hammers' and the England medical teams and will remain at Rush Green during
the international break.

Mediawatch - 20 March

As the newspapers continue to analyse Saturday's defeat to Leicester City,
there is one good piece of news to emerge - as one of our strikers is set to
resume training today. That striker is Diafra Sakho, who has been missing
with a back problem since he scored in November's 1-1 Premier League draw
against Manchester United. However, this report on Sky Sports says he will
train with the Hammers' under-23 squad from today, and is due to step up to
full training with the first team in early April should he come through

Unfortunately, Michail Antonio will be unable to train today - where he was
due to link-up with England at St George's Park ahead of their matches
against Germany and Lithuania. The Hammers' No30 was hoping to make his
Three Lions debut this week, but will have to wait due to a hamstring
injury, as confirmed in the Independent.

Meanwhile, the focus on Saturday's 3-2 loss to the in-form Foxes falls on
the Joint-Chairman David Sullivan, who says in this Sky Sports piece that
West Ham need to improve following the international break. He says: "I
think all we can do after Saturday's defeat is say sorry to the supporters.
"To be 2-0 down after seven minutes of any football match, be it in the
Premier League or in your local Sunday League, makes it very difficult to
get a positive result. "The next few games now become vital for our season.
We go to Hull City, then to Arsenal, before we welcome Swansea City to
London Stadium."

Byram hoping for more starts

Sam Byram keen for more opportunities to start after impressing against
Leicester City
No22 handed first start since home defeat by Manchester City on 1 February
Right-back completed 90 minutes for the fourth time this season

Sam Byram was unaware of the clamour among supporters for him to start for
West Ham United on Saturday, but was pleased to be given a welcome chance to
impress. The No22 was back in the team for the first time since 1 February
for the visit of Leicester City, and the common consensus was that the
right-back did not do himself any harm with an eye-catching performance in
the Hammers' disappointing 3-2 defeat. While the result was disappointing,
Byram himself was naturally happy to get just his fourth 90 minutes of the
season under his belt and is targeting an extended run in Slaven Bilic's
side. "I try to stay off social media as much as I can and just focus on
myself in training and how I can make myself better and help the team,"
Byram told West Ham TV. "I've said ever since I've been here that I want to
improve and keep getting better. "It's nice for me to get a start and get
some fitness, which is what I've needed. I think you can train as much as
you want but, to get match fitness, you want to play, so hopefully I can get
games in and keep impressing."

Byram's display earned positive reviews from the Claret and Blue Army, with
the 23-year-old making two tackles, three interceptions and two clearances.
He also embarked on a succession of forays into the Leicester half, touching
the ball 75 times – second-highest behind Manuel Lanzini – and delivering
three crosses into the Foxes' penalty area. However, three defensive
mistakes allowed Leicester to snatch victory from a game which, on the
balance of play, West Ham could have won comfortably. "Especially in the
first half, it was disappointing for us to perform like that," he observed.
"We turned it around in the second half and thought we were unfortunate not
to get anything from the game. "But I think it's happened too many times
when we've started slow and it's took falling a goal or even two goals down
for us to lift it and really show what we can do, so it was a frustrating
afternoon for us. "We said at half-time that they'd scored three goals from
nothing. They've not posed us a great attacking threat and they were three
sloppy goals caused by lack of concentration from us as a team. We need to
stop conceding like that. We will watch it back through the week and go from
"The chances we have had, to not get anything from the game is frustrating.
We need to take the positives from the second half because we created lots
of chances and we've moved the ball well. "You can see, when we get the ball
down and we pass it and we shift it from side to side, we do create
opportunities and we need to put them away."

Rice named U17 Irish Player of the Year

West Ham United PL2 captain Declan Rice has been crowned FAI U17
International Player of the Year at a ceremony in Dublin. The 18-year-old
beat fellow Irishmen Canice Carroll (Oxford United) and Jayson Molumby
(Brighton and Hove Albion) to the prestigious award.
Rice has enjoyed a terrific season for club and country, beginning with him
being named Hammers U23s captain by manager Terry Westley.
He's stood out at the heart of the back four this season, playing 26 times
in Premier League 2, the Premier League Cup and the Checkatrade Trophy.
He's also scored twice, both times in the Premier League Cup, netting in the
2-2 draw with Leicester City in the group stage and in the last 16 defeat to
Newcastle United on Saturday. Rice also signed a new contract with the club
in February, pledging his future to the Hammers until 2020. Upon signing
his new deal, the 2015/16 Academy Player of the Year said: "It has been an
amazing season for me, I think I've kicked on and progressed. After the
season I've had, being on the bench for the first team and captaining the
U23s in every game, it's been amazing. I've trained with the first team
quite a bit as well and that makes me want to kick on even more."

Rice has also enjoyed a meteoric rise with his country - having impressed
with the U17s and U19s, he was called up to the U21s at the end of 2016. For
the upcoming international break, the defender has joined up with the U19s
for their European qualifier with Belgium.
"I got my first call up for the U21s a couple of months ago and that was a
great experience to be with a different set of lads and learn from coaches
who have a different style," Rice continued. "We've got the Euros with the
U19s and I haven't been with them in a while so I cannot wait to play with
them again."

DT38 Foundation Awareness Day a success

DT38 Foundation held their third annual Awareness Day at London Stadium on
Charity founded by Dylan Tombides' mother Tracy following the striker's
death at the age of 20
Cause aims to provide testicular cancer awareness through education and

Dylan Tombides' legacy lived on at London Stadium as the DT38 Foundation
held their third annual Awareness Day. The charity was set up in memory of
Dylan, who passed away aged 20 in April 2014 following a brave battle with
cancer, to provide testicular cancer awareness through education and
opportunities. On Saturday, dozens of supporters of DT38 Foundation walked
from The Boleyn Tavern in Upton Park to West Ham United's new home on Queen
Elizabeth Olympic Park to spread the message and raise funds for a cause
close to the heart of everyone associated with the Club. Dylan's mother
Tracy Tombides, founder of the DT38 Foundation, led the 3.8 mile walk – a
figure fitting seeing as his No38 shirt has been retired by the Club –
before speaking to the capacity crowd at half-time.

"We are extremely grateful for the tremendously warm support showed to DT38
Foundation throughout our third Awareness Day with West Ham United," said
Tracy, who was presented with a cheque for £1,500 raised by schoolchildren
Leia, Kobi and Mali after the trio walked 38 miles in 38 days. "From the
honking horns and applause during our 3.8 mile walk to the London Stadium in
the morning to the donations and having the opportunity to speak about the
Foundation's work pitch-side at half time. "A massive thank you to the staff
and players at West Ham for helping make the day a great success and also to
the many people who took part in the walk and, of course, to Lysis Financial
for sponsoring it."

DT38 Foundation is in the process of rolling out an education programme
based around the children's book Didge – Dylan's childhood nickname – which
aims to inspire youngsters with a tale based on courage, persistence and
love. Through Dylan's real-life story teachers, parents and students will
use Didge to gain the necessary knowledge about testicular cancer to enable
them to be confident when taking health matters in their own hands. In
addition, DT38 Foundation will hold a free cancer screening day at Spire
Roding Hospital on Saturday 20 May. Tracy said the above events and
initiatives mean less young men will fall victim to the same terrible
disease which took her son's life too soon. "The Awareness Day is now a
major date in DT38's UK calendar and it's partly because of that event, that
we are able to educate children about health and well-being and continue to
raise awareness of testicular cancer and promote the importance of
self-checking to many more people," said Tracy. "We now need to build upon
the success of the day so we can continue making a difference to people's
lives, so if you can, please donate £3 by texting DIDGE to 70660, thank

For more information about DT38 Foundation, visit dt38.co.uk and follow

Oxford tipped to lead U19s to Euros

England U19 manager Keith Downing says Reece Oxford's experience will be
Young Lions face three UEFA European Championship Elite Round qualifiers
over the coming days
Oxford appeared at 2016 tournament and previously captained U17s at 2015
Euro finals

England U19 manager Keith Downing says Reece Oxford's experience will be
vital as the Young Lions strive for qualification for the UEFA European
Championship finals. The Young Lions will tackle meet Norway, Spain and
Belarus in the UEFA Elite Round Qualifiers over the next few days, with the
winner of their group advancing to the tournament in Georgia this summer.
Oxford, who became West Ham United's youngest-ever player when he debuted in
July 2015, captained the U17s at the 2015 European Championship finals and
has already been capped twice at U20 level. He signed a new long-term
contract in December. The 18-year-old, who is currently on loan with
Championship promotion-chasers Reading, is set to captain his country again
when they take to the field against the Norwegians at St George's Park on
Wednesday. "Reece Oxford has most recently been with the U20s, but for this
campaign will be a key member of the group heading into three crucial Euro
qualifiers," said Downing of the ball-playing defender, who has 30
international age-group caps in total. "Reece will add his qualities to help
bolster our chances of reaching this summer's finals in Georgia. "To have
that flexibility across the age groups is testament to the working
relationship between our national coaches as we look to maximise the talent
we have at our disposal."

Oxford is part of an exciting-looking England U19 squad that also includes
West Ham's outstanding Academy goalkeeper Nathan Trott, Everton midfielder
Tom Davies, Liverpool full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold and Fulham forward
Ryan Sessengnon. With that sort of talent at his disposal, former West
Bromwich Albion Academy coach Downing is confident that the Young Lions can
progress to the tournament for the second time in succession. Oxford and
Hammers teammate Sam Howes were part of the squad – coached by Aidy
Boothroyd – which reached the semi-finals of the 2016 edition, where they
won all three group matches before being defeated 2-1 by Italy. "You get no
easy games and we have got three different tests, but we're pleased with the
squad we have put together," Downing confirmed. "It has been a six-month
process. "We just want to ensure that over the three games we give a good
account of ourselves. "We've got a really talented group of players and we
want them to produce the same form they have been showing for their clubs."

England U19s face Norway on Wednesday 22 March, Spain on Friday 24 March and
Belarus on Monday 27 March, with all three ties taking place at St George's
Park in Staffordshire.

Foundation coach wins BEDSA

West Ham United Foundation's Rashid Abba honoured at British Ethnic
Diversity Sports Awards
Long-serving employability and coach education manager recognised with FA
Special Recognition award
Abba has worked with ethnic minorities and emerging communities in football
for past 27 years

West Ham United Foundation employability and coach education manager Rashid
Abba has been presented with a Football Association Special Recognition
award at the British Ethnic Diversity Sports Awards (BEDSAs).

With nearly 30 years of experience of working in the beautiful game, Abba
has inspired thousands of people from ethnic minorities to take up football
during a successful career with Leicester City and West Ham.

Abba's unique journey from keen non-league player through being a volunteer
community coach with Leicester to his current role overseeing the coaching
and mentoring of east Londoners from a wide variety of communities was
recognised at the Park Lane Hilton in London on Saturday evening.

There, he was presented with his award by former Chelsea defender and
long-time equality and diversity campaigner Paul Elliott CBE, in the
presence of a star-studded audience including Hammers fans Frank Bruno and
Kriss Akabusi.

"I didn't even know about the award, let alone think I had a chance of
winning it!" said a proud Abba, who combines his Foundation role with that
of FA coach educator and mentor. "The Football Association invited me along
as a guest on their table, and someone mentioned that I had been nominated
when I walked into the room.

"The award came totally out of the blue and I am immensely proud to have
been recognised as this is my passion and the job is never done."

Abba's achievements over his 27 years in the game are many, but his
enthusiasm for providing pathways through football for people from ethnic
minorities to make the most out of their lives is showing no sign of waning.

He began as a volunteer with Leicester's Football in the Community scheme in
1990, before becoming a part-time and then full-time coach, working with
youngsters from within the city's diverse Asian community, with the aim of
increasing participation.

After earning his coaching badges, Abba was employed as an Academy coach,
working with the Foxes' Under-9 to Under-14 sides, in the School of
Excellence and even as a scout.

"My work was based around the local Asian grassroots and empowering them to
play, coach and set up clubs, so they could use football as a tool to engage
youngsters in their communities," said Abba, who also played alongside a
young Dion Dublin as a youngster and even lined up against Colombian great
Carlos Valderrama.

After 15 successful years, Abba moved to West Ham in 2004, where he is now a
member of the most diverse Foundation workforce in the Premier League.

West Ham were pioneers when they launched the Asians in Football project in

"West Ham were pioneers when they launched the Asians in Football project in
1998 and when I came in it was to work on a five-year project to encourage
participation in the game," he explained.

"Much of the work we do is on social inclusion in ethnic minorities and
emerging communities which are based in areas of deprivation, predominantly
with Asians. We educate the youngsters, parents and schools in football and
other sports and provide coach education programmes to help local people to
form their own clubs.

"By mentoring and educating, we aim to provide a pathway for people from
these backgrounds to work in roles such as coaches, or in sports science and
sports studies, while we also work with them on their soft skills, including
CV writing and preparing them for interviews. Our overall aim is to make
them more employable."

After nearly 30 years, one might expect Abba's energy to be wearing out, but
instead he is as driven now as he was as a young man walking into Filbert
Street a generation ago.

"After 15 years at Leicester, I have been with West Ham for 12 and I have
had a variety of different job titles, but all of them have enabled me to
use my passion to, I hope, help provide a legacy for the next generation,"
he concluded.

"I am now working for a Foundation which offers 40 programmes provided by 40
full-time staff and 80 sessional coaches and mentors. With 54 per cent of
our staff coming from ethnic minorities, we are recognised as the most
diverse workforce in the professional game, reflecting the communities we

"Receiving this award was very nice, but there is still more work to be

For more information about the programmes offered by the West Ham United
Foundation, click here or follow @WHU_Foundation.

Keep your eyes peeled to whufc.com for more stories about some of the people
who make West Ham United much more than just a football club. #WeAreWestHam

Record-breaking Season Ticket renewals continue

West Ham United supporters have shown their loyalty and commitment once
again following a record-breaking opening week of Season Ticket Renewals for
the 2017/18 campaign.

After the renewal process opened to supporters last Monday morning,
thousands have already secured their seat at London Stadium for next year in
the first seven days, to leave the Club on target for a complete sell-out of
Season Tickets in record time.

Last Monday saw the highest number of first day renewals in the Club's
entire history and, in a magnificent demonstration of that famous Hammers
support, every day since has delivered yet another record-breaking number.

Such has been the demand, this year has seen several times the number of
renewals compared to the same point in the renewal process during our hugely
popular final season at the Boleyn Ground.

For this reason, the Club must remind Season Ticket Holders that they have
until Wednesday 31 May to renew their seat for the 2017/18 campaign, with
renewal prices frozen as part of the Club's ongoing promise to provide
affordable football at London Stadium.

Any Season Tickets not renewed by this date will be made available to
supporters on the 55,000-strong Season Ticket Waiting List.

Supporters can also take advantage of the brand new low-interest payment
plan that enables the cost of your renewal to be spread over monthly
instalments, delivered with our partner V12 Season Ticket Finance.

The 10-month plan now offers a low 6% interest rate – significantly reduced
from the 19.9% previously payable. Alternatively, the four-month plan offers
0% interest, with a £30.00 administration fee.

For Season Ticket Holders looking to relocate their seat once the deadline
renewal passes, the low-interest payment plans provide the perfect
opportunity to renew as soon as possible in order to secure a prime spot on
the priority list for relocations.

The deadline to apply for a payment plan online is Friday 14 April.


Hello Hammers. Here is todays lunchtime round up.

West Ham have been dealt a triple injury blow as Winston Reid, Pedro Obiang
and Michail Antonio are all set for spells on the sidelines. (Evening

I find this news quite unbelievable and typical. Only at West Ham would
three of our four most important players all pick up injuries at the same
time. I just can't believe it, and I just want this season to be over with
now. However, for what remains of this season, the players we have must stay
strong, pull together and fight until the end.

David Sullivan has apologised to West Ham fans after yet another defeat at
the weekend. (Sky Sports)

It just wasn't good enough. You could argue that it just wasn't our day due
to some of the Leicester keepers saves, but not for me. You cannot go 2-0
down after 7 minutes and still expect to win the game.

Diafra Sakho is set to return to West Ham training today. (Sky Sports)

Diafra will hopefully be a huge boost to us towards the end of the season.
We need him now more than ever.

Jose Fonte has admitted that his start to life at West Ham could have been
better. (Tribal Football)

I agree. We thought we had got a great deal in Fonte for £8m, but he has
been a huge disappointment so far. Hopefully he turns this around for us.

West Ham fans have raged about the first half showing against Leicester on
Saturday. (Football London)

No time to be fickle, Bilic in or out?
Filed: Monday, 20th March 2017
By: Adam Smith

Another loss, another defensive disaster, and another three goals scored.
And sure, there is no time to be fickle for West Ham United and their
supporters when it comes to the elephant in the room, but is there
justification for wanting Slaven Bilic out?

The case against Bilic is loudly shouted on social media. Belief that he is
a tactical dinosaur and refuses to play players at their positions,
effectively trying to ram square pegs in round holes, seem to be the loudest
and post commonly agreed too opinions. And while they aren't eloquently
worded the social media pundits do have plenty of proof to point to.

The game just passed against Leicester can be looked at as a microcosm of
the Bilic case. It can also be broken down into three cliché categories that
surely oversimplify the depth of the game and of the Bilic situation at
large: The good, the bad, and the ugly.

Lets begins with the good, and despite the outcome there was some (if you
look really hard, and cover one eye).

A late knock on Noble and weeks of complaining from the fans paid off and
the starting eleven looked like how many supports believed it should. Most
notably, Kouyate returned to his place in central midfield along side
Obiang, and Sam Byram, an actual right back, started at right back.
Revelation! There surely has not ever been as much anxiety leading up to the
reveal of the starting line up, however Slav appeared to get this right this

Andre Ayew again impressed in attack for the team. He managed to score the
second goal and did his best to drag the Hammers back into the match with
sneaky runs into the box as often as he could. Most notably on a run in on a
ball from Antonio where he skyed an unchallenged attempt. He needed to bury
that goal, however his nose for the net cannot be overlooked. He surely has
cemented his position in the starting eleven, if not, another nail in the
Bilic coffin will have been struck.

A weekly positive story for West Ham is the play of Manuel Lanzini. The
Argentinian jewel has been nothing short of a revelation for the Hammers and
he is filling the gap left behind by Payet. His goal on a free kick just
outside the box froze Casper Schmeichel as it was slotted perfectly in the
top corner, over the wall of defenders.

Lanzini gave his team and stadium a pulse in this game and is developing
into a guaranteed goal scorer for the Claret and Blue. Pure class on the
goal, and always quick and poised on his feet, Lanzini needs to be the focal
point of the team in the off season. Bilic played him correctly this week
and if he still is in control of the team in the summer window Bilic needs
to bring in players to maximise his creativity and his goal scoring ability.

Honorable mentions: Antonio was as dangerous as ever playing in an attacking
position. He appears to trust the likes of Ayew, Carroll and Lanzini as his
attacking mates, which takes pressure off him to solely be 'The Man'. He
does need to be more poised on the ball out of the attacking area, and not
let laziness lead to dispossession. Also, Kouyate looked great in the game,
especially having to fill in at centre back for Winston Reid. Centre back is
much more natural for Kouyate to fill in at, as it allows him to use his

height to defend, and keeps him reigned in from running up the pitch and
leaving his defensive responsibilities behind. Sam Byram also got the time
he needed at right back. He is still developing as a wing back but has had
flashes of brilliance and there was no lack of love, or teamwork between him
and Snodgrass on the right side of the pitch. He should be starting every
week at right back for the rest of the season.

Onto the Bad:

I'll reserve this slot for injuries, of which there were three. Two of the
injuries sustained removed key role-players from our game. Winston Reid and
Pedro Obiang both left with serious looking injuries from the match, while
Michail Antonio seems to have felt something during the game in his
hamstring, although he managed to play the full match. The thought is that
Antonio will now withdraw from the England squad to nurse this injury back
to health.

Reid was seen leaving the London Stadium on crutches after what has been
called a "conductor problem" by Bilic. The signing of Jose Fonte seems
fitting now, despite his efforts of late, as it minimised the blow to the
Hammers who would have been down to just Jamie Collins, who did not see the
pitch, at central defender.

The Injury to Obiang could be most damning for the squad. On a tackle he
missed, Obiang pulled his leg back and under him, rolling his ankle under
his weight. He was in noticeable pain on the pitch and the stretcher was
brought out to take him off the field.

A stalwart defender, near perfect tackler, and passing visionary, Obiang has
been the Hammer of the year for most and his injury could be felt the most
for West Ham if he is slated to miss any serious time. With a full two weeks
off some of the injury damage sustained can be mitigated.

And now the ugly:

This section is to be reserved to two main points, Darren Randolph and set
piece defending.

Firstly, Randolph needs to be addressed in this game. The goal by Mahrez is
simply unacceptable and it should be pinned on Randolph entirely. Aaron
Cresswell was manning the Algerian international on the goal, and limited
him to a shot that needs to, and should be stopped every time. Whether
Randolph believed the ball was going to be touched on net, or was caught
sleeping, it is entirely unacceptable.

Goalkeeping in any sport, and in any league has a universal rule: don't get
caught cheating, and that is exactly what appears to have happened here.

Seeking and preparing for the heroic save, Randolph awaited the ball he
assumed would be flicked on net by the Leicester player, but was cleanly
beat when it went untouched. If he believed it would be touched he should
have left his line and caught or punched away the danger, instead he waited
and was beat at a crucial minute, deflating his team.

The second goal can be slated on Fonte and the rest of the team as they sat
on their hands and watched Leicester change the angle on a free kick,
leaving Albrighton open to pick out Huth who was unmarked. And the third
falls on horrible set piece defending, leaving Randolph out to dry.

Set pieces are an interesting thing when it comes to West Ham. Lanzini's
classy strike was another effort to bolster the opinion that no one scores
off set pieces like the Hammers, but there are certainly two sides to this

West Ham constantly pull as many players forward to attack as possible from
corner kicks or close free kicks. This is seemingly to add numbers to score,
however when the delivery is poor, as many of Snodgrass' corners were, the
defenders are in full sprint to get back in cover.

It is not a new story as Chelsea had preyed upon this faulty tactic in their
win over the Hammers. And the counter-attacking Foxes certainly did the
same. Too many times were long balls booted downfield off failed set pieces
to the likes of Vardy and company, who either worked a scoring chance out of
the effort or managed to create a corner kick.

The defending of set pieces against West Ham also brings up issues. Randolph
certainly needs to make his decisions early and stick to them. On multiple
occasions Randolph has been in no-man's-land stuck between making a play in
the air and staying at home. As well, Randolph has had to face far too many
shots that comes from breakdowns and unmarked men.

Diego Costa's goal against Chelsea saw him slip passed Reid simply because
he was ball watching. Defensive responsibility needs to be upped along with
urgency on balls dropping within the box, both noticeably absent when four
men were marking no one on Vardy's goal off of a corner, a goal reminiscent
of Costa's.

Also, the luxury of players with the height of Andy Carroll are intangibles
when it comes to defending, however there needs to be a tactical decision
made when Carroll must stay near the net to flick balls away or over the
net. Examining the Huth goal against, Carroll is invaluable if the ball is
in the air as there are few who can beat him to it.

But a simple roll instead of shot and centring to the top of the box allowed
Albrighton to pull Carroll who felt the defensive responsibility as striker
to cover the top man as well. With Carroll pulled the ball went through the
air and ended up in the back of the net. Whether someone did not mark him,
or there was no plan in place, Carroll cannot be in two places at once and
there needs to be someone marking the man up top.

With the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly explained from the 3-2 loss, can
anything be drawn about Bilic and his future at West Ham?

Well if I were making the decisions for the club the only way he would be
gone within this season would be if West Ham were dropping to the relegation
discussion. I understand they are not by any means above that now, but I
mean real, serious, danger. The rest of this season would simply be a try
out for Bilic.

Stipulations and benchmarks would have to be created and reached within this
period, essentially expectations for him as the leader of the team. That
would fall on the board to have open communication with him in order to
establish such a chartered future. But the stipulations of him staying would
be: new training regiment, tactical revision, and playing the players to
maximise their skill sets.

The likes of Enner Valencia and now Reece Oxford have commented on West Ham
training under Slaven Bilic and its lackadaisical nature. While training
intensity and style will change from manager to manager, West Ham's training
was not described as different, it was described as lacking intensity.

As mentioned above, the set pieces need work and I needn't slam my head on
my keyboard to point out to obvious again. However, playing players in their
natural positions is something that needs to be stated. Swiss-Army-Knifing
players like Antonio and Kouyate with viable bench options able to fill the
void naturally does not make sense, even when the best players on paper are
on the pitch.

That being said, it is fine to lean on players' flexibility in times of
need, but relying on it cannot be explained away week after week. As well,
Bilic had previously limited Lanzini in a wing role, when he needs to have
the middle of the pitch to create and utilise his shot to its maximum
potential, as he was afforded against Leicester.

Bilic by no means is OUT of West Ham, but if he is it is no one fault but
his own. He needs to remember that managers are significant because each one
brings a different, new approach than the one next to them. Bilic needs to
realise his identity and start stamping it on the team before he has run out
of opportunities.

Payet, a new stadium, injuries, and great second halves are all story lines
supports are tired of hearing because they are excuses leaned on all too
much. West Ham wants a manager who will stand up for its players not because
he is paid to, but because his reputation and job rest on their ability to
be well trained, and execute his game plan. The try out begins now, do not
waste it.

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, KUMB.com.

Andre Ayew continues his rise-scores third goal in four games
Published on: 20 March 2017

Ghana international Andre Ayew continued his mercurial rise to the top with
his third goal in four games but that was not enough to at least salvage a
point for his team. Ayew earned his first start since December and duly
repaid Slaven Bilic's faith by turning in his third goal in the last four
games. For the visitors, Jamie Vardy scored his third goal in three league
games and Shinji Okazaki's 89 pass success rate was the best by a Leicester
player. That said, the Japanese international ranked 4th in that discipline
from both sides - behind Jose Fonte, Cheikhou Kouyate and Manuel Lanzini.

Of course, the second half display on Saturday, which included that Ayew
goal, might give encouragement to Bilic but he will know that there are
defensive issues to address. The Hammers have now conceded eight goals from
their last three matches and the injury picked up by Winston Reid on
Saturday could rule the New Zealander out for an extended period.

Could Diafra Sakho be the man to rescue West Ham's season as fans crave his
Sakho has been out since November but is closing in on a return
Football London
09:18, 20 MAR 2017UPDATED09:22, 20 MAR 2017

West Ham fans are craving the return of another injury-prone striker to help
solve their extremely stuttering season. The Hammers haven't won since their
3-1 success down at Southampton on February 4 and while scoring goals hasn't
necessarily been a problem, conceding them certainly has been. West Ham
striker Diafra Sakho is back in training today (Monday) with the PL2 squad
and could return to the line up for the trip to Arsenal on April 5. Next
weekend's game at Hull City will be too soon for the front man. Sakho missed
the start of the season with a back injury, not making his first appearance
of this season in claret and blue until November 19 of last year in the 3-2
reverse at Spurs. Still working his way back to fitness, Sakho was injured
in his next appearance, a 1-1 draw at Manchester United in a game in which
he scored. He was originally slated to be out for four weeks with a
hamstring problem - it could be more like 16 weeks by the time he comes
back. Sakho is training with the PL2 squad but is expected to go back to the
first team in a fortnight, with the international break serving as the
perfect time to get himself back to fitness. It's clear the Hammers fans are
missing Sakho - who scored seven goals in another injury-ravaged campaign
last season - and are clamouring for his return as Andy Carroll has
struggled since he came back from injury.

Blow for West Ham with Pedro Obiang set to miss rest of the season with
ankle injury
Evening Standard

West Ham suffered a major blow with the news that Pedro Obiang is likely to
miss the rest of the season through injury. The midfielder, who was on the
verge on being awarded a new deal after impressing this season, suffered a
significant ankle injury during the second half of West Ham's 3-2 defeat
against Leicester and was due to undergo a scan to assess the extent of the
damage. Obiang, signed from Sampdoria last summer, took time to tie down a
regular spot in West Ham's team but has this season been one of the
successes in what has been a largely difficult time for Slaven Bilic's
squad. There was even more bad news for the manager, whose team have won
just one match in their last seven, with Michail Antonio suffering a
hamstring strain near the end of the Leicester match, which could rule him
out for up to a month.
Antonio was not replaced by England today after withdrawing from the squad
for the matches against Germany and Lithuania, while central defender
Winston Reid has also been forced to drop out of the New Zealand squad after
picking up a thigh problem. The injuries, on the back of the defeat by
Leicester, only serve to increase the pressure on Bilic, especially after
club co-chairman David Sullivan, for the second week in succession, warned
that there must be an improvement in what remains of the season.
Only Bournemouth, Hull and Swansea have conceded more Premier League goals
than West Ham this season and Sullivan said: "We have to find out why we are
conceding so many goals and fix it. "The next few games now become vital. We
go to Hull, then to Arsenal before we welcome Swansea."
West Ham found themselves two goals down after eight minutes against
Leicester and full-back Sam Byram agrees that is not good enough.
"We turned it around in the second half and were unfortunate not to get
anything from the game," he said. "But it has happened too many times when
we have started slowly. "It was a lack of concentration from us but it is
really frustrating that we didn't get anything from the game. "We need
points on the board so it is frustrating to have two weeks to the next game.
I would want to play sooner so we can put it right."

West Ham suffer TRIPLE injury blow as Pedro Obiang is ruled out for the rest
of the season while Antonio and Reid are also set to miss the next month
Obiang will miss the rest of the campaign after suffering an ankle injury
against Leicester, while Antonio is sidelined with a hamstring problem and
Reid will be out for up to six weeks with a hip injury
The Mirror
11:09, 20 MAR 2017

West Ham have suffered a TRIPLE injury blow after Pedro Obiang was ruled out
for the rest of the season and influential do Michail Antonio and Winston
Reid are set to miss the next month. Slaven Bilic has been rocked by the
news that Obiang will miss the rest of the campaign after he was carried off
on a stretcher with an ankle injury during the 3-2 home defeat against
Leicester on Saturday. Obiang has been one of the star performers for the
east London club this season and will be badly missed at the heart of the
Hammers midfielder.
There was more bad new for Bilic after he learned that England star Antonio
is set to miss the next three to four weeks with a hamstring injury. Antonio
was forced to pull out of the England squad for the double-header against
Germany and Lithuania. The talented forward managed to play the full 90
minutes against Leicester, but he felt his hamstring towards the end of the
game and results have now shown the severity of the problem. Reid is also
set to face a lengthy spell on the sidelines after suffering a hip problem.
'Antonio 3-4 weeks Hamstring, but as he's a superb athlete we hope it might
be sooner. The news will come as a major blow to Bilic who is looking to
secure their Premier League status following three consecutive defeats. The
Hammers face crucial games against Hull, Arsenal and Swansea at the start of
April and Bilic's squad will now be down to the bare bones.



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