Tuesday, April 25

Daily WHUFC News - 25th April 2017

Manager on Monday

Slaven Bilic is keen for his West Ham United side to build on their run of five points from their last three Premier League games as the 2016/17 finishing line comes into sight. After picking up a useful point against Europe-chasing Everton on Saturday, the Hammers moved ever closer to the first target of 40 points - but the boss is still aiming higher with the top half of the table within reach.
Next up is a trip to Stoke City, with Bilic aiming to add a cutting edge to the solidity shown against the Toffees. He said: "Maybe 38 points will be enough, but maybe not. For every team, every game is going to be extremely hard to win because almost every team is fighting for something. "You don't want to go into the last couple of games or the last game with the radio on, wanting to know what the score is there and there. "We want to avoid that and, to be comfortable, we need a few more points. We want it, not only to avoid [that situation] but also to climb up the table. Still we can finish really high if we win a few games. "We need to approach every match game-by-game and try and win it. Or at least don't lose it. Then, move on to the next one and try and try. "I'm not talking about only about keeping the distance, but also about climbing the table. "Ronald [Koeman] said after the game, and he's very honest and straight, that only one team played today and only one team deserved to win. That was us. "We were better than them on Saturday, they are not happy with their performance. If they played like that [regularly] they wouldn't be where they are. "Part of the reason why they played like that was us. You can't say that they were a team without motivation to play for something. They are not middle of the table and waiting for the season to finish, but we were on top of them and aggressive."

U15s narrowly miss out on Prague title

West Ham United U15s lost on penalties in the final of the Slavia International Cup
They drew 0-0 with Spanish side Malaga after normal time, but lost 3-2 after spot-kicks
Danny Searle remained proud of his players after their terrific efforts

Head of U15-18 Coaching Danny Searle remained proud of his U15s after they missed out on winning the Slavia International Cup by the finest of margins. The Hammers were the better side in the final – being played at the Eden Arena, home of Slavia Prague – but were eventually beaten 3-2 on penalties by Malaga after drawing 0-0 after normal time. Kai Corbett had the Hammers' best chance of the fixture, hitting the post just before half-time, and they restricted their Spanish opponents to very little in the way of chances on goal. But after failing to find a breakthrough in the allocated 50 minutes, the lottery of a penalty shootout followed with Malaga prevailing. "When you look at the semi-final, our class really shone through," said Searle. "We hadn't really hit the ground running at all on day one and two. "But the boys, through their grit and determination, managed to keep themselves in the tournament. To get to the semi-final and to see them play with the style we know they can play with, I thought we did take that into the final against a very good Malaga side. "We matched them all the way and probably edged it to be fair. To lose on penalties is just one of those things but I'm really proud of the boys. The Hammers made it through to the event's showcase match after battling to a deserved 2-1 victory over local side Sparta Prague in the morning.

They went behind early on but showed resilience to fight back and equalise just before half-time. Amadou Diallo – who was named Player of the Tournament at the competition's closing ceremony – let fly from 25 yards and found the bottom corner with a terrific curling strike. There may have been an element of luck about the winner when Kamarai Swyer's cross looped over the goalkeeper but the result was never in doubt after the Hammers' dominance. Then came the weekend's climax and a meeting of the two best footballing sides in the competition. It was a tense 50 minutes with both side's having their share of pressure, but West Ham's Corbett had the best chance of the match when he hit the post. Penalties followed and Malaga eventually won 3-2, but Searle felt his side deserved more than the title of "runners-up". "We were the youngest team in the tournament so it was always going to be tough," he added. "We had teams from the Czech Republic, Spain and Austria so it was a good test for the boys. They showed great resilience through the tournament and we got better and better as the tournament went on. In the end, it was disappointing because I think we deserved more."

Reid – We dealt with Lukaku

Staying tight at the back and keeping Romelu Lukaku quiet was key to Saturday's impressive performance, said Winston Reid
The New Zealand international returned to the starting XI after a four-game absence due to injury
As skipper at London Stadium, the centre-back was solid throughout alongside fellow defenders James Collins and Jose Fonte
Keeping Romelu Lukaku quiet was crucial to West Ham United's impressive performance as they drew 0-0 with Everton at London Stadium on Saturday, according to defender Winston Reid.

The Hammers shut out the in-form Toffees and in turn prevented the Belgian forward finding the back of the net against the Hammers for the tenth consecutive match. And Reid, returning to the starting XI as captain having missed four matches with a groin problem, played a vital role in limiting Lukaku to just one attempt on goal in east London. Alongside Jose Fonte and James Collins as part of a three-man central defence, the New Zealand international, solid throughout, was pleased with the way his team dealt with one of Europe's top strikers. He said: "With a player like Lukaku, you have to keep tight to him and if he can't turn, then he can't score and it's going to be difficult for him. You try and keep him away from goal – it's pretty boring but it's simple and effective! "You have got to be on him when he's in the box and I think we did well today. Jose and Ginge were great at the back but also people in front were great; Harv [Nordtveit] put in a really good shift and that was good to see. "But Everton are more than just Lukaku, they have a good team. It was first about working out where they're good, and that's through the middle of the pitch. "They have good combinations and we minimised them to just a few chances. There weren't many, and it was that type of game."

West Ham dominated throughout on Saturday, going close in the first half through Jonathan Calleri and Cheikhou Kouyate before Manuel Lanzini and Diafra Sakho – making his London Stadium debut – worried the visiting defence in the second. And the success of Slaven Bilic's gameplan depended on the hosts' ability to stay compact at the back and keep a clean sheet, said Reid. "We've had a lot of injuries so first and foremost, we had to stop them scoring," the centre back continued. "Then, going forward, we had to get Manu [Lanzini] and Dre [Ayew], those types of players on the ball and try to get into good positions. "I guess that final ball wasn't always there today and the sharpness, but these games earlier in the season we would have lost and we're pleased to have come away with the point after working hard, which is what you always want. "It was a decent performance from the team. As long as we keep up this good work then we can get the points that we need from now until the end of the season."

Saturday's draw puts the Hammers on 38 points in the Premier League and Reid hopes the side can continue to perform and put points on the board as the campaign draws to a close. "We need to finish the season strongly. Things haven't been easy this season, and it's not an excuse, but the new stadium, we had a big turnaround in the squad…we will learn from these things next season. "It gives us experience. We have a young squad and I'm sure the young players will learn from these things. "It was good to be back out there today. I had just three or four days' training with the team so I was never going to be 100 per cent fit, but the two old boys next to me did all my running, so that was nice!"

Nordtveit - We have big games to come

Havard Nordtveit excels on first 90-minute runout since January
Norway midfielder helped Hammers to a point against high-flying Everton
Nordtveit has eyes on strong end to the camapign, with Spurs and Liverpool to come at home

After picking up a point against Everton on Saturday, Havard Nordtveit is targeting a big end to the season at London Stadium. Following this weekend's trip to Stoke City, the Hammers return to east London to close their home slate of fixtures with mouthwatering match-ups against Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool. Nordtveit, who was making his first start in Claret and Blue since January, felt the Hammers could have beaten Ronald Koeman's high-flying Toffees and that they are in good shape to end the season on a high. "We played well and might have got more than just a point," the No4 said. "We kept a clean sheet and also had a couple of chances to score, but we'll take the one point against Everton - they're a good team and we know that. "We were superb defensively. I don't know if they had any chances, not any big ones certainly, and that's really good for us. "For me personally I hadn't played 90 minutes for a while so it was tough, but the whole team worked well together defensively and offensively, so it was a good system. "I was a little bit nervous at the start, but this is my position and I felt that I came more and more into the game as it went on, especially in the second half. "We have some big games to come, and this result stands us in good stead for them. "We need to bring what we did on Saturday, with a little bit more, and I'm pretty sure the points will come. "It was a great atmosphere here on Saturday, and we are growing into this Stadium as our home now. We're looking forward to the next game."

Loanee round up

There were huge results for both Josh Cullen and Jaanai Gordon in loan action this weekend
Cullen's Bantams sealed a play-off spot whilst Gordon's Newport climbed out of the relegation zone for the first time since November
Meanwhile, Reece Burke made his long-awaited comeback from injury to play for Wigan Athletic

With Enner Valencia unable to face his parent club West Ham United whilst on loan at Everton on Saturday, the only Hammers in loan action over the weekend were below the top flight.

In the Championship, Reece Oxford and Reading's slim hopes of catching Newcastle United in second place were all but ended when they were beaten by struggling Nottingham Forest 3-2. It was a much needed victory for the hosts, who had slipped into some relegation trouble at the bottom of the table, and Britt Assambalonga got things moving at the City Ground with the opener after half an hour. The forward added a second before Mustapha Carayol got in on the act to put the result beyond doubt. A Yann Kermorgant double unsettled the home crowd, but Reading – who kept Oxford on the substitutes' bench – could not mount a full comeback.

Elsewhere in the division, there was the long-awaited return of Reece Burke to Wigan Athletic's starting XI as he made his senior comeback at home to Cardiff City.
Burke's team could not get the victory they so desperately needed though, firing a blank in the goalless contest, and look set to be relegated back down to League One at the first time of asking.

Down in the third tier, Bradford City booked their play-off spot with a simple 3-0 win over AFC Wimbledon, though their top-six hopes have never really been in doubt. Josh Cullen played the full 90 minutes once again for the Bantams who scored twice through Tony McMahon either side of Mark Marshall's goal at the end of the first period. Stuart McCall's men will likely face Scunthorpe United in the semi-final stages of the play-offs.

Walsall's penultimate clash of an average season ended in disappointment, as George Dobson and co. were beaten 1-0 at relegated Coventry City. The central midfielder was brought on at half time but could not help the Saddlers overturn a one-goal deficit brought about by young striker George Thomas' goal.

Meanwhile in League Two, Newport County climbed out of the relegation zone for the first time since November as they beat Accrington Stanley 1-0 at home.
West Ham forward Jaanai Gordon was introduced in injury time as the Exiles recorded a massive win to lift them out of the bottom two just six weeks after they were eleven points adrift. Ryan Bird scored the all-important goal, and Mike Flynn's side now need to keep their heads just above Hartlepool United's if they are to preserve their Football League status.

Finally, goalkeeper Sam Howes helped Hampton and Richmond Borough to a 2-1 away win at Welling United on Saturday in the National League South.

Stat's A Fact - King Arthur

West Ham United had strong defensive organisation to thank again on Saturday as Slaven Bilic's side recorded a second successive home clean sheet in the 0-0 draw with Everton at London Stadium.

Before the game, the key battle looked likely to take place between 24-goal, in-form striker Romelu Lukaku and the Hammers' back line. Not only does the Belgian sit atop the Premier League individual scoring charts but his record against West Ham had seen him score in each of the past nine meetings between the two clubs.

Lukaku was instead, though, limited to just one shot and failed to test Adrian in the West Ham goal throughout the afternoon.

The method to keeping Lukaku quiet was simple: "stop the service" Slaven Bilic explained in his Thursday press conference. Step in Arthur Masukau.

Whilst the performances of Jose Fonte, the returning Winston Reid, James Collins and Edimilson Fernandes all deserve plaudits, it was Masuaku who was the Hammers' stand out man at the back.

The Frenchman was a constant frustration to Everton's wide players, who rotated between being Ross Barkley, Kevin Mirallas and Tom Davies, and was on hand to make a total of four tackles in the game – bettered only by Havard Nordtveit for the Hammers. Masuaku also made 4 blocks and maintained the joint-highest pass completion rate (92 per cent) from 53 passes.

Not only was Masuaku impressive defensively, but his work rate and attacking influence was also a telling factor in the dominant display. He covered 9.6 kilometres of ground up and down the left flank, while also producing seven successful dribbles – the most by any player, and taking 77 touches.

The Frenchman admitted after the game that it was his "best performance with West Ham".

Masuaku 2 of action through injury this season and was made to wait patiently for his turn in the side, however recent weeks certainly suggest he is repaying Bilic's faith in him. Since returning to the side against Swansea in early-April, the Hammers have kept two clean sheets and remain unbeaten.

James Collins' five interceptions and eight clearances was the most by any player, Edimilson Fernandes and Jose Fonte topped the charts for blocking and aerial duels respectively, while Winston Reid's organisation and leadership was very-much welcomed back. It was a near perfect defensive display by West Ham.

Clearly, it was not a day for the Everton attackers but their defenders were called in to action on more than one occasion. Centre-halves Phil Jagielka and Ashley Williams made 13 clearances between them, while Mason Holgate – often tasked with dealing with Masuaku – made five key tackles from right back.

Slaven Bilic's side make the trip to Stoke City's bet365 Stadium next weekend before welcoming free-scoring Tottenham and Liverpool sides to London Stadium in early-May. Unbeaten in three and two consecutive home clean sheets should allow Bilic and his defenders to take confidence in to this run of tricky matches so no doubt it will be a case of 'same again' when the defenders take to the pitch on Saturday.

Westley – It was some performance

Terry Westley lauded his young U23s as they sealed their place in the Premier League 2 play-offs
The youngsters were terrific in a 4-0 away victory at West Browmich Albion
With Blackburn Rovers only managing a draw against Aston Villa, West Ham finished fifth and will take on Wolves in the play-off semi-final

"It was some performance," claimed Terry Westley as his young Hammers confirmed their place in the Premier League 2 play-offs with an emphatic 4-0 thrashing of West Bromwich Albion on Monday. The U23s travelled to the Hawthorns knowing results elsewhere had to go their way in order to finish in the league's top five, even if they were to beat the Baggies. And beat them they did in style, with goals from Dan Kemp, Martin Samuelsen – who bagged a brace – and Nathan Holland finding the back of the net in the perfect away performance. With Blackburn Rovers only managing a goalless draw against Aston Villa, the Hammers celebrated qualification to the play-offs with a semi-final tie at Wolverhampton Wanderers to follow.
Naturally, Westley was delighted with the outcome of the evening and praised his team for a complete display. He said: "It could have been our last game tonight, and we wanted to really play well. We wanted to see evidence of all the work that's been done over the last three years, and that culminated in a brilliant win away from home and also qualification [for the play-offs] with Blackburn and Villa drawing. We got both things we wished for. "Tonight, all credit to the players because it was some performance. We started right on the front foot. The front four really caused their back players problems. That was the difference. "If you do your money on good front players, they can open teams up and win you matches at any level. That was the standout. "I read an article this week about Martin Samuelsen and confidence. People give players confidence, and you saw tonight what an absolutely outstanding talent we have on our hands. "He's only 19 and we had too much for them. Let's not forget how talented some of our players really are."

And the age of the starting XI was something Westley was keen to point out, having fielded an extremely young side. "Our left-back [debutant Reece Hannam] was U16, the two centre-halves are U18, [Dan] Kempy is U18. [Joe] Powelly and Jahmal [Hector-Ingram] are U18 players. We are still very young in this league and the style and the philosophy of how we played tonight was the real thing for me. "I couldn't be happier with the way we played and that culminating in the play-offs. Now we go up to Wolves in a very tough match because I think they finished second, so it will be tough for us, but I think we will keep trying to play the way we played tonight."


My five takeaways from the game this week by Steve Claydon @trbeat.

1. Defence comes good.

I wrote last week that having a good back line and a keeper is important for the foundations of keeping a clean sheet. With Winston Reid coming back from injury the switch to three centre-backs was made, and it worked well. All of them, Reid, Collins and Fonte were strong, co-ordinated and thankfully kept Lukakua at bay the whole game. It was one of the first times I have seen the Everton forward kept at bay, and the stats back this up. Lukakua has scored in the last nine games against us. I repeat all three were immense, with both Collins and Reid keeping the back strong which allowed Fonte to move the ball out from the back, something which he did quite well. I was very impressed with how that formation worked. Adrian must have loved it as he really had nothing to do, except have a small barney with Fernandez who put him under undue pressure with a poor backless throw-in. Other than that the back three and Adrian had nothing to do the whole game. Credit to all of them.

2. Viking Ships finally sailing

Håvard Nordtveit. Well look who played out of his skin, or maybe that's was we can expect from him when played in the right position (that's a theme we've all heard). This man was immense. He protected the back line very well and his constant harrying of the Everton midfield and forwards forced them into critical errors breaking down promising attacks. He played the Noble role very well, and dare I say it performed it, in this game at least, better than Noble. I like the way he started attacks; I like the way he played his position by not putting himself in dangerous situations or extending himself unnecessarily. It was a very solid game from a player that has been panned a little by some and a lot by others. Kouyate, who picked up a knock five minutes into the game seemed to be off, including a less that stellar defensive performance and poor final third passes. Had Kouyate played to his normal level, both of them would have run the game very well, not that we didn't anyway, but we may have even nicked a win.

3. Do we have a position battle?

I loved the play from Masuaku. He looked strong at the back and going forward added a dimension that has been missing from Cresswell this year. He was never afraid to take someone on and try and make things happen, which he did, many times. He worked really well as the wing back and hopefully he can translate this strong play as well when playing in a standard back four. The link up play with Lanzini was nice, and I would be intrigued to see him play a wide role in midfield and have less defensive responsibilities but either way, this man was awesome. His force down the left side kept Everton honest and made them think twice about using that side of the field to attack. While we are about it, Fernandez on the right side, was a lot quieter but did his bit. I was a little disappointed with his attack play as there were a couple of times that he got into good positions but fluffed his lines when it counted most. So if you have a fit Cresswell and Masuaku, who are are you choosing to start against Stoke?

4. It's very sad to see Carroll suffer.

I'd like to say that Carroll not starting was a shock and how can he be injured, again. While watching the game, the commentators mentioned that he aggravated his groin injury, again, when stretching to knock the ball back for Ayew's first goal last week. I hurt for a few days when I stretch to wash my car, but that's not my main job, and so it's sad. It's sad someone so young, with so much potential will never have a true football, long, and exciting career. So what does that mean for West Ham? It means come the summer, and actually, we need to start now, and I am sure we have, we need to figure out our striking options. As many people pointed out on social media today, when Calleri is starting for you, no matter how good or bad you think he is, it's a sorry state of affairs for a team that needs to push on into the upper echelons of the Premier League. I busted on Calleri last week, but he did run his heart out today. The problem is, it was a lot of huffing and puffing and it never really looked like we would score with him up top. Sakho did not look hugely better either, but I still prefer him leading the line. So let's review those three names; Carroll – often injured; Sakho – often injured, poor attitude; Calleri – lacks Premiership skills. So our striking line is in a poor way. We have the ability to fix it in the summer, but we need to be sensible about our targets, and we need our current strike-force to understand that their role will shrink next year along with, hopefully, their related salaries.

5. Lets Credit Bilic, for this game at least.

I'm not going to start or continue the Bilic in, Bilic Out game. Other people have better and more eloquent thoughts on this than I do. Just Listen to the radio show last week to get where I am coming from. The three at the back worked very well for this game, and as I wrote earlier that Lukaku was kept quiet the whole game, and the stats don't lie. Everton had a total of four shots with none on target. That says something. It would be easy to say that Everton was not on their game. I say that our game plan worked very well and negated theirs against us. Whether by actual design, injuries or suspension, Bilic got this one right. At times it was not pretty, but the confidence is starting to return, and for the Everton fans that said we parked the bus, you are wide of the mark, a long way wide. A point is valuable at this time of the year, and while we are not completely safe, (mathematically) if we can put together a few more games like this we should be safe in the next week or two. So I'll give Bilic a lot of credit for shutting down an Everton team that loves to score and beat us.


Good afternoon Hammers. Here is today's afternoon round up.

West Ham are targeting a move for Trabzonspor goalkeeper Onur Kivrak. (TalkSport)

I do not think this would be a wise move. If we are going to sign a goalkeeper in the summer, then we should be targeting Joe Hart or Jordan Pickford. Both have Premier League experience and are proven quality.

West Ham manager Slaven Bilic has delayed his hip surgery. (Telegraph)

Winston Reid has admitted that this season has been a steep learning curve for everyone at the club. (Express)

This season has been a learning curve for everyone associated with the club, all the way from the board to the fans. We have all had to deal with so much change this past year, but I believe things will get better. Once the players start improving on the pitch, then I believe the whole mood around the club will change.

West Ham are keeping tabs on Fleetwood goalkeeper Alex Cairns. (Daily Mail)

Havard Nordtveit is targeting a big end to the season at the London Stadium. (West Ham United)

I just want to give a special mention to Nordtveit. He has received so much stick from our fans for his performances this season, and I think it has been quite unfair on him. He got a chance to impress us last Saturday, and he grabbed the chance with both hands. In my opinion, he was nothing short of brilliant. I hope he gets a run of games in the side now and shows us his qualities.

Slaven Bilic has revealed that Ronald Koeman said West Ham were the only team that deserved to win on Saturday. (HITC)

Arthur Masuaku has been praised for his performance against Everton last Saturday. (Football London)

Arthur is another player who deserves a lot of praise. He also received a lot of stick from our fans, and I think it was unneeded. Apart from West Brom away earlier in the season, he has performed well in every game he has played for us. I am glad that he is back in the starting eleven and proving everyone wrong.


Written by @farehamhammer–These are the opinions of the writer and not necessarily the website

Surely the cheers were not for the prima donna Diafra Sakho on Saturday? A player who has been on strike for the best part of a year, has had enough time to crash his £200,000 Lamborghini into a woman's wall after a collision with a Mini Cooper? Has a sulk and refuses to fly with the team? Demands a move and when one is granted, is not even fit enough to pass a medical? We need to shove the spoilt brat out of the door as quick as possible .The man is cancer! How humiliating it must be for Slaven Bilic, to have yet another round of 'clear' the air talks with this clown.

His hand was forced because we are bitterly short of strikers. Yet you still get fans making excuses for Sakho. He needs to be 'loved', "He needs to have an arm around him "What a load of tear jerking rubbish! Put him on The Jeremy Kyle Show! That's where he belongs! The love in for Sakho is really difficult to explain. Based on what? A stretch of seven games where he scored six goals in his very first season? A one season wonder in my book.

As a player he is most certainly not the most intelligent of players, certainly can't spot a pass, poor first touch and is easily forced away from goal. I think his injury record is as bad as Andy Carroll's if not worse .Yet Sakho's injury record hardly ever gets mentioned. His contribution on the pitch when fit, has been nowhere near what Carroll's is. Certainly not a 20 goal a season man that is for sure.

So where do go from here? The best we can hope for is that Sakho stay's fit for the rest of the season, scores a few goals and we can shift him in the summer. Providing he can actually bother to turn up for pre-season and get himself fit, and we don't have the same shambles as when West Brom tried to sign the player. I fear however, that the only way we are going to shift Sakho is to send him out on loan till his contract is up. Probably having to pay part of his wages.

Either way, Sakho will in years to come regret his spoilt brat attitude he has displayed while at the club. He should just speak to another 'rebel' Ravel Morrison and ask him how life panned out after he left West Ham.

He is on the virtual scrapheap battling to get into a poor Queens Park Rangers team. Or maybe he should pick up the phone and speak to Yossi Benayoun who despite playing for the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool. Always refers to West Ham as "home" or a special club. Yes, this season has not been what we hoped for and undoubtedly we need to do some shrewd work in the transfer window this summer.

However we need to have a clear out. Easier said than done I know! I am in no doubt that Slaven Bilic, will have the Prima Donna near the top of the list for departure. However it is NOT all gloom and doom. Although not perfect, the performance against Everton indicated that better days lay ahead! The one two between Lanzini and Ayew is what West Ham is all about! Football with a smile on its face. We are more than a football club, we're a way of life!


Bonzo joins Manchester Hall of Fame
Filed: Monday, 24th April 2017
By: Staff Writer

Billy Bonds has been confirmed as one of eight new players to be inducted into the National Football Museum's Hall of Fame.

The former West Ham United captain and manager joins Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Frank Lampard Jnr (West Ham & Chelsea), Bob Wilson (Arsenal), Gary Speed (Leeds Utd etc), England Ladies' record goalscorer Kelly Smith, the Ladies most-capped player Rachel Yankey and (paralympian) Alistair Patrick-Heselton as new members of the Hall of Fame, which is based in Manchester.

The new inductees were agreed upon by a select panel of footballing greats, including Geoff Hurst, Gordon Banks, Bobby Charlton, Kevin Keegan, Peter Schmeichel, Roger Hunt and several other former legendary players.

"We're delighted to be inducting nine players who have amazed us with their commitment to the great game," said National Football Museum Interim Director Kevin Haygarth.

"The decision-making panel is made up of some of the greatest players and managers to grace the game, including some of the 1966 World Cup winning team, which makes the accolade even more prestigious.

"These footballing greats will be inducted into the Hall of Fame at an awards dinner in September."

Meanwhile PFA Chief Executive Gordon Taylor added: "We have been pleased to support the National Football Museum since its inception.

"Subsequently the Hall of Fame giving fitting recognition to those who have contributed their own special chapters to football's history book. This year's nominees fully merit their inclusion."

Bonds is just the latest in a long line of West Ham players to be featured at the Museum; he joins the likes of Martin Peters, Rio Ferdinand, Teddy Sheringham, Liam Brady, Geoff Hurst, Stuart Pearce, Jimmy Greaves and Bobby Moore in the 152-strong list.

The Art of defending
Filed: Monday, 24th April 2017
By: Staff Writer

Arthur Masuaku believes that Saturday's goalless draw against Everton saw him produce his best 90 minutes in a West Ham shirt. The left back operated slightly further up the field as part of a five-man defence that stifled the Toffees, who failed to conjure a single shot on target all afternoon. And the French defender admitted that he prefers to play at wing back, a position that allows hiim to burst forward more frequently - as he did to great effect at the Olympicc Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
"I think that was my best game for West Ham," he told whufc.com. "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 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."

Meanwhile Masuaku's defensive partner Winston Reid was equally delighted at returning to the fold having been sidelined with injury for a number of weeks. And he was particularly pleased at having kept West Ham's nemesis Romelu Lukaku quiet during the game - with Lukaku failing to score for the first time in eight games against the Hammers. "I think we did well today," added the Kiwi. "Jose [Fonte] and Ginge were great at the back but also people in front were great; Harv [Nordtveit] put in a really good shift and that was good to see.
"That final ball wasn't always there but we would have lost these games earlier in the season and we're pleased to have come away with the point after working hard, which is what you always want. "With a player like Lukaku you have to keep tight to him. If he can't turn, he can't score - and it's going to be difficult for him. You simply try and keep him away from goal; it's pretty boring, but it's simple and effective! "Everton are more than just Lukaku, they have a good team. It was about working out where they're good, and that's through the middle of the pitch. They have good combinations and we minimised them to just a few chances."

Valencia linked with permanent switch
Filed: Monday, 24th April 2017
By: Staff Writer

Enner Valencia's season-long loan spell at Everton could be made permanent this summer, according to reports from Merseyside. The Ecuador international is almost certainly on his way out of West Ham at the end of the current campaign and one potential destination is Goodison Park, where he has proved to be a moderate success on loan this campaign. With his asking price has been set at circa £12million - roughly the fee West Ham paid CF Pachua for his services three summers ago - Toffees boss Ronald Koeman is said to be considering making Valencia's season-long loan spell permanent.
And the signing would be approved of by many Everton fans, according to comments posted on the club's forums over the weekend. "He's not a first team starter but he has had a good season and been an effective impact player," wrote Chris CK1978. "I would like to see him stay especially if we get a spot in the early rounds of the Europa League."

Thoughts echoed by fellow Everton fan madden95, who added: "Every time he has come on he has played well. He hasn't moaned about not playing, works hard and gets on with the players. I would keep him."

However not all fans are in agreement about potentially landing the 27-year-old, who has also been on the radar of West Bromwich Albion in recent weeks.

"On the one hand has been effective in several games were we've needed him, and at the very least is a decent squad player," wrote Toffe3m4n, a member of grandoldteam.com. "On the other, if we're really serious about kicking on then we need to be buying better players than him, even ones who'll be bench players."

Hammers linked with Super Lig swoop
Filed: Monday, 24th April 2017
By: Staff Writer

West Ham are being linked with one of the Turkish Super Lig's top goalkeepers. Reports emanating from Turkey this morning suggest that West Ham are taking a close look at Trabzonspor stopper Onur Kivrak. The 29-year-old is said to have been courted by Slaven Bilic during his previous role at Besiktas and is seen as an ideal replacement for Adrian and Darren Randolph, both of whom have been tipped to move on this summer. Nicknamed 'Butterfly' by fans of Trabzonspor, Kivrak - who represented his country at Euro 16 last summer - is out of contract at the end of next season (2017/18). His contract is understood to contain a release clause triggered at bids of €10million.

Michail Antonio insists West Ham are 'a couple of players' away from challenging for European football
Michail Antonio is out for the rest of the season with a hamstring injury
The England international suffered the injury in a win over Swansea in April
Antonio believes West Ham are a few signings a way from European football
He also praised the impact of West Ham manager Slaven Bilic on his game
By Andy Warren For Mailonline
PUBLISHED: 18:30, 24 April 2017 | UPDATED: 18:30, 24 April 2017

Michail Antonio believes West Ham are just a handful of new signings away from challenging for European football next season. The Hammers currently sit 14th in the Premier League in what is their first season at their new London Stadium home, but are just two shy of ninth place with four matches left to play. But Antonio, who is out for the rest of the season with a hamstring injury, believes they are just a few quality additions away from challenging for Europe. He also offered an update on his bid to return to fitness.

'I am looking to be back around July, basically getting ready for beginning of next season,' he told ESPN. 'I'm hoping to be involved in the majority of preseason training. I might miss the first week, but I'll hopefully be back for the rest of it. 'We need to sign a couple of players - a right-back, one more centre-half, two strikers - and get more goals. If we can do that, we will be up there for European places.'

Antonio, who has scored nine goals so far this season, was full of praise for manager Slaven Bilic and insisted the Hammers boss has improved his game significantly. 'He has given me the opportunity to play games and given me the freedom to do what I do on the pitch,' Antonio said. 'I need that freedom; I pop up in lots of different positions and he has given me freedom to do that.' Next up for the Hammers is a visit to Stoke on Saturday, with Antonio once again missing from the line-up as he continues his rehabilitation.

Study shows West Ham have two of the best 20 dribblers in Europe in Lanzini and Antonio
They are wizards with the ball at their feet
Football London
15:00, 24 APR 2017

Despite his display at the weekend, Arthur Masuaku doesnn't make this list unfortunately. But, two other West Ham stars have been named in a list via the CIES Football Observatory which has crunched the numbers to reveal the best dribblers of a football in Europe.
Step forward, Manuel Lanzini and Michail Antonio. The Hammers duo are on the list at numbers 12 and 17 respectively, with the Argentine magician narrowly missing out on the top ten. Lanzini has been given a rating of 83.6/100, making him the sixth best dribbler in the Premier League. The player who leads the way might surprise you - Adam Traore (100) and Eden Hazard is just behind him with 99.7. Lanzini has attempted 115 dribbles this season and has completed an impressive 63% of those. Compare that to someone like Neymar at Barcelona, who has attempted 150 more dribbles and completed just more than half of them, Lanzini is far more efficient. His dribbles have led to seven goals, two assists and an impressive 42 chances created this season, showing the Argentine has stepped into that Dimitri Payet-shaped void pretty well.
The CIES Football Observatory notes that: "The dribbling index is calculated by dividing the number of dribbles attempted by the percentage of successful ones. This allows us taking into account dribbling skills from both a quantitative and a qualitative perspective." Whatever that means.
As for Antonio, he finds himself inside the top 20. He has attempted 139 dribbles - before his season was cut short by injury - completed 54% of them to give him a rating of 82.2, better than Paul Pogba if you're interested. Antonio is West Ham's top scorer this season with nine, while his dribbles have 31 chances for his teammates and given the winger three assists for the season.

Is the much-maligned Havard Nordtveit about to prove his West Ham doubters wrong?
Vincent Ralph

The West Ham United midfielder looked like a different player against Everton. If you were to ask a selection of West Ham United fans who their worst performers of the season have been, the same names would come up time and again. From the old guard, Mark Noble and Aaron Cresswell have divided opinion for much of the campaign, while from the summer signings it is a case of take your pick, with the now departed Simone Zaza, Jonathan Calleri and Havard Nordtveit among those to be berated for their below-par performances. However, 26-year-old Nordtveit could be about to prove his doubters wrong in emphatic fashion; certainly if his performance against Everton on Saturday is anything to go by. The versatile Norwegian has been something of a jack of all trades since arriving at the London Stadium. However his performance in his preferred position as a holding midfielder helped West Ham secure an impressive point, and an equally impressive clean sheet, against the previously free-scoring Toffees. There is still plenty of work for Nordtveit to do, but it could be a case of judging him too soon and somewhat unfairly given his use as a makeshift right-back in a bid to solve a problem of Slaven Bilic's own making. If Nordtveit can play well between now and the summer, West Ham could have an unlikely new midfield hero as they bid to kick on next season and beyond.

West Ham handed blow in Zabaleta chase
By Josh Challies - Apr 24, 2017 0

West Ham have been eying big-name recruits ahead of the summer as they seek to improve on what has been a disappointing season. Three games unbeaten has seen the Hammers move away from the relegation zone, securing a seven point advantage over Swansea City, but two draws in that run will be disappointing. Slaven Bilic's side will also be aware that their work is far from complete as they face a difficult final four games against Stoke, Tottenham, Liverpool and Burnley. With their advantage though, the Hammers should be able to prepare for another season in the Premier League- although their chances of signing an experienced defender have been handed a blow.

ClubCall state Manchester City are considering handing Pablo Zabaleta a contract extension this summer, which would rule-out a free transfer for the Hammers. The Argentine international has impressed Pep Guardiola this season and a new deal could be offered to the 32-year-old, which would see him extend his stay in Manchester. However, the Hammers may still have hopes of a deal as West Ham can offer first-team assurances that the Citizens may not be able to provide.

Cult hero James Collins full time antics continue to endear himself to the West Ham faithful
The Ginger Pele's legendary status is increasing
Football London
13:31, 24 APR 2017

James Collins has started the past five games for West Ham and they have kept two clean sheets in that time. Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not, but after looking as though he may well be on his way out of the club at the end of this season, now he looks indispensable to West Ham. Of course, his displays on the pitch have been excellent of late but it's what he has been doing at full time that is endearing himself to Hammers fans even more. Over the past five games, Collins has been the first to travel over to the away fans at full time, even in defeat. The Hammers' travelling army have had long trips to Hull and Sunderland in recent weeks without seeing their team win and it shouldn't be underestimated how much they appreciate it. It's at the London Stadium though where "Ginge" is enhancing his cult status even more.
At the end of the past two games, Collins has walked over to one of the stands in the stadium and given his shirt to a lucky fan. He is always the last West Ham player to leave the pitch, despite the result.

Jack Lebeau @JackLebeau66
James Collins. Touch of class. One of West Ham's cult heroes. #WHUFC
5:32 PM - 22 Apr 2017 · Stratford, London
1 1 Retweet 11 11 likes

He did it again on Saturday and it was caught on video. Just listen to the reception Collins gets from the Hammers fans at full time.
The 33-year-old signed a new two-year deal back in 2015 which runs out at the end of next season and said at the time: "The thought of not being involved in this Club, and with the fans who I have got a special relationship with and have always been great to me, was playing on my mind." The Ginger Pele has a special relationship with West Ham fans and long may that continue.

Winston Reid says West Ham will kick on next season after difficult campaign
Evening Standard

Winston Reid believes West Ham will emerge stronger from the trials and tribulations of this season. The Hammers are on 38 points following the goalless draw at home to Everton and both Reid and manager Slaven Bilic believe another two points will bring Premier League safety. Reid, captain for the day against Everton in the absence of the suspended Mark Noble, said: "It was a decent performance and as long as we have that determination and work ethic, we should get the points we need to be safe and then build towards next year. The players will learn a lot from this experience. It has been a roller-coaster ride and not easy, with the new stadium and the big turnaround in the squad. We will learn from this." "It was always about those 40 points as long as I can remember but we want to try to win every game and if not — don't lose it." Havard Nordtveit took full advantage of West Ham's injury situation to star in a holding midfield role. He said: "When you get the chance, you need to be good."

Clarity Causing West Ham's Problems?
By Ed Drayton on April 24, 2017 in Opinion

West Ham United – From reaching Europe to battling relegation in a year. A drastic change in 12 months and one that didn't seem possible after our highest ever Premier League points total. But is that true? Or were the signs of this dreadful season already developing when Payet's free kicks and talk of a Mark Noble England call up were all we were thinking of?

Read any tweet, article or forum post and you will see people blaming the manager, the players, the owners or Payet each depending on the fans opinion. But I think the West Ham malaise kicked into gear years ago. West Ham United, you see, is not United. Not United in terms of a clear coherent ideology. A strategy from the top to the bottom of the club has not been present at West Ham United in my lifetime. The academy, transfers, staff recruitment and finances have all been a patchwork of ideas for a long time.

Look at the renowned 'Academy of Football'. The last time it produced a first XI player was James Tomkins nearly 10 years ago! But the path to the first team is a difficult one for the talented youngsters. The U23s do not get coached with the same ideology as the first team. I am not in the know, but I doubt that the head of the academy and the first team coaches even work together that often. Just reading the academy-centric articles on the official website shows this. They talk of Terry Westley's ideas within the academy and barely mention Bilic.

Transfers as well. Nobody is sure who signs our players. Töre seemed to be Slaven's man, Feghouli Sullivan's and Masuaku Tony Henry's. Having three different conflicts of ideas can't be helpful. Look at Southampton. They have a system where they have a detailed scouting network in place so when the manager, a coach or a player leaves they have a replacement lined up who is usually perfectly suited to the club. No wonder they have dealt with losing their key men so often, so well. Koeman followed Pochettino. Tadic followed Lallana. With West Ham Robert Snodgrass followed Payet. (No offense to Snoddy, he's good, just not one of the best players in Europe good…) At the other end of the spectrum you have the Tony Pulis' of this world. They are in control of everything at the club. Some of the transfers and tactics may be dodgy but at least everyone knows where they stand. Slaven has not experienced this trust at West Ham. I'm not saying any one way is the right way, but it has to be better than the West Ham chaos!

West Ham is not perfect but I don't think any one party deserves to shoulder the blame. Many areas of our club could be improved but surely a clear message of structure needs to be present. Right down from the board to the kit men we need to have a target, an aim, a plan otherwise I fear we will have another 30 years of up and downs, highs and lows, brilliant football and shocking football. But that's why we love West Ham right? Would we have it any other way?

West Ham FC transfer news: Trabzonspor goalkeeper Onur Kivrak linked with Hammers move
By talkSPORT - @talkSPORT
Monday, April 24, 2017

West Ham United have been linked with a move for goalkeeper Onur Kivrak. According to reports in Turkey, the Hammers are in talks with the 29-year-old Trabzonspor captain ahead of the summer transfer window. Inconsistent performances from Adrian and Darren Randolph have meant that Bilic is on the lookout for a new keeper and Kivrak, who has kept 13 clean sheets in 27 appearances this term, is reportedly their ideal choice. Kivrak is no stranger to Slaven Bilic - the Hammers boss tried to sign the Turkey international during his spell in charge of Besiktas. The report also claims that Trabzonspor have already turned down an initial approach from West Ham for their prized shot-stopper.

West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic delays hip surgery as his side limp towards 40-point mark
Gerry Cox, london stadium
23 APRIL 2017 • 10:45PM

Slaven Bilic cuts a forlorn figure on the touchline as West Ham limp towards Premier League survival. The Croatian manager has endured a poor second season with the club, in contrast to the success of his first. Since last summer the east London club have struggled to adapt to their new home, suffered a series of hammer blows on the injury front and been destabilised by the behaviour of their now-departed star player Dimitri Payet. The point they earned here moved them one closer to the traditional safety post of 40, although Swansea moved two points closer to them with victory over Stoke. But Bilic knows points will not be easily earnt, with tricky away games at Stoke City and Burnley either side of the visits of Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool. "We need points," he said bluntly. "As long as I can remember, it is about 40 points. But I don't think that way. You cannot calculate how you will get them. Not even Chelsea can say that. It is the greatest thing about this league."

So his focus is on one game at a time. "I'm not talking only about getting out or keeping the distance [from the bottom three]. I'm talking also about climbing the table." Only then will he be able to think about this season. "I don't like to moan about the obstacles we had." And himself? "My hip is nothing worse than it was last year. I don't have time [for surgery]. You need six weeks for the operation – but I am not a player!"

Everton's unusually torpid display without a single effort on goal, meant they missed a chance to move into fifth place and Ronald Koeman was angry. He will spend the summer hoping to retain Romelu Lukaku and looking to increase his squad options. "There are questions for the end of the season, and to bring a strong squad in. We saw today with the young players, it's difficult to perform always in the Premier League – they need to improve and need to be stronger and all that kind of stuff. We will make decisions at the end of the season."

"He controlled the midfield" - West Ham fans heap praise on Havard Nordtveit after stunning display against Everton
The Norwegian midfielder had his best game in claret and blue
Football London
10:30, 24 APR 2017

Havard Nordtveit put in by far his best shift in a West Ham shirt against Everton at the weekend and Hammers fans certainly let him know it. The Norwegian has been a peripheral figure at most this season and when he has played, it's been at right back and not in his natural defensive midfield position. But, he got the chance to play in midfield at the weekend for only the second time this season and he grabbed it with both hands, putting in a superb display. Nordtveit had an 82% pass accuracy, four tackles and two interceptions as he kept the in-form Everton midfielder Ross Barkley very much in check throughout the 90 minutes. With the return of Mark Noble from suspension for the trip to Stoke on Saturday, Nordtveit might struggle to keep hold of his spot in the team unless Slaven Bilic drops Edimilson Fernandes but in any case, Nordtveit certainly did his case no harm.



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