Monday, April 24

Daily WHUFC News - 24th April 2017

Masuaku - My best game for West Ham

Arthur Masuaku shone at wing-back in Saturday's 0-0 draw with Everton
Toffees clash was fourth Premier League start in a row for Frenchman
Defender delighted to put early-season injuries behind him

Arthur Masuaku has had to show patience in his first season as a West Ham
United player. After bursting onto the scene at the start of the campaign,
the Frenchman had to take a back seat during the winter as niggly injuries
restricted his playing time. But that patience is now being rewarded and he
described Saturday's game against Everton - his fourth consecutive Premier
League start - as his best for the Club. Deployed as a wing back, the
23-year-old showed his qualities going forward and in defence as the Hammers
kept an in-form Toffees side - including the top flight's leading goalscorer
Romelu Lukaku - out.
Whilst they couldn't find the net at the other end, Masuaku felt the display
against Ronald Koeman's European football-chasing side bodes well for the
last four games of the season. "I think that was my best game for West Ham,"
he said. "In my opinion I'm better when I'm on the wing because I can go
forward and I can come back and defend. This is my best position, I think.
"It's nice to have played four games back-to-back. I can play without pain
after having trouble with my injury [earlier in the season]. "Now everything
is behind me, hopefully I can keep going and play like I did on Saturday. "I
think it was a good point for us against a top team. We played very well as
a team and that's the key to success. "We defended well, we were strong, we
were solid and we didn't give them the opportunity to score. We have to keep
going like that in the next game against Stoke City."

By Zaman Siddiqui 23 Apr 2017 at 07:00 351 comments

Lukaku didn't score. Let that sink in: Romelu Lukaku didn't score against
us. So this is what it feels like to play against Everton without the one
goal Lukaku handicap. Prior to this match, the Belgian scored a goal against
us in each of his nine previous appearances. Had he scored in this match, he
would have been on double figures for consecutive goals scored! Going into
this match, I was deeply concerned, given the fact that he has already
scored two dozen goals so far this season. This year could be the one he
makes a big move elsewhere. He is the top scoring PL player this calendar
year netting 14 times with just 23 shots on target. Only Lionel Messi has
scored more often in the top five European leagues than Lukaku with 17

Even though he failed to register a single shot on target in this match, I
have to pay homage to the Belgian striker who could make a bigger name for
himself at PSG, Barcelona or Real Madrid. I personally think that we won't
see him play in the Premier League next season. He has stated countless
times before that he wants to play Champions League football. Perhaps
looking back at his career will guide us to the answer. With that, we will
be able to better work out whether we are going to lose a potential six
points or not in the seasons to come (they all count)!

Lukaku signed for FC Anderlecht at the age of 16 in May 2009. It only took
him a few months to get into the first-team just in time for next season,
which he ended as the top goalscorer in the Belgian Pro League with 15 goals
and won the title with his side. He also scored four goals during the club's
run to the quarter-finals of the Europa League. Makes sense for a youngster
to get Europa League football, so that they can expect Champions League
football when they are older. Well, that's true if his name is Romelu
Lukaku. In August 2011, he signed for Chelsea for £17M (including add-ons).

When his team won the Champions League against Bayern Munich, he admitted
that he was disappointed with his involvement in his debut season, and as
such, refused to hold the trophy as he didn't feel like a winner. I mean,
wow! What 19 year old kid would say that they wouldn't want to hold arguably
one of the most difficult trophies to obtain? John Terry celebrated like a
complete wally, despite not even playing in that match, whilst Lukaku didn't
even let himself be happy. From there, it is worth noting both are talented,
but one actually cares about his footballing career on, and more
importantly, off the pitch. He later went on to outscore all of his Chelsea
teammates on loan at West Brom and Everton the two seasons after.
Additionally, he is the first foreign player to score 80 goals before his
24th birthday.

Our encounters with Everton over recent years have been awful – that is down
to one man. Lukaku's first appearance for Everton just had to be against us!
Back in September of 2013, he came off the bench for Nikica Jelavic in the
second half – who would play him? Oh, right. Us. Anyway, he came on in the
second half and scored the winner in the 86th minute. That is the simplest
way I can describe our relationship with him: he scores a goal and we lose
the game.

Despite the hype around Lukaku and Everton, this was one of the most boring
matches to watch all season. It is our first goalless draw this season and
indeed at the London Stadium. The thing is, that this wasn't an off day.
There is a reason they have now failed to win any of their last six away
games. Something that really caught me by surprise and indeed others who
made Lukaku captain in their Fantasy Football teams (admit it) was that
Everton failed to get a shot on target in the whole match. In fact, it took
them until the 70th minute to register their first shot. In all honesty,
Everton just weren't at the races. Koeman said that if he was allowed to do
so, he would have made 10 changes at half time.

Furthermore, I feel that whilst Everton didn't attack like they normally do,
we defended with a lot of confidence. Collins, in particular, played an
absolute blinder. In previous games, through balls have snuck through when
we've played with three at the back. With Lukaku to stop, it could have gone
all wrong. Fortunately, our defence was at hand making lots of clearances.
Masuaku and Nordtveit could have been forgotten about already had the
manager not given them second chances. Nordtveit kept his second clean sheet
out of two games playing in his native position, whilst Masuaku's new
hairstyle seems to have invigorated him, as he made seven dribbles and
tracked back well. Speaking of players that never should have been
considered to be completely dropped, Adrián kept his fourth clean sheet of
the season; the same number Darren Randolph has kept, despite the Spaniard
playing 10 games fewer. In short, we never deserved to concede. Something I
can't say too often this season.

West Ham News @WHUFC_News
When John Terry's contract expires at Chelsea, Mark Noble will become the
current longest serving one-club player in the Premier League.
10:49 PM - 22 Apr 2017
119 119 Retweets 403 403 likes

Some new signings work out and some don't – Calleri is currently in the
latter pile. Our lack of attacking options meant that we struggled to
finish. We had 15 shots with only three on target. In some ways, it is
disappointing not to have got all three points, but given the predicament we
are in regards to attacking options, we can't complain. On the plus side,
this draw shows the strength of our character. We have had 11 players out
for at least 2 months this season, yet are currently in 13th. It is
important that we keep this mentality against Stoke next week. If we can
somehow end the season in the top half, that form could carry on into next


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