Preview - Arsenal
Arsenal's Emirates Stadium
When and where?
Arsenal v West Ham United
Wednesday 5 April 2017, 7.45pm BST
What's the story?
West Ham United's busy April continues on Wednesday with the short trip to
north London to take on Arsenal.
With six games to come this month, the assignments come thick and fast, with
Wednesday evening's game offering an opportunity to end a four-game losing
Slaven Bilic's men have suffered single goal defeats to Chelsea, AFC
Bournemouth, Leicester City and Hull City since the beginning of March, and
have to go back to 4 February for their last win, when Andy Carroll, Pedro
Obiang and Mark Noble struck in a 3-1 success at Southampton.
With just two points from the six games that have followed, West Ham have
dropped to 14th in the Premier League table with 33 points – although they
are just three points behind Stoke City in ninth place in a very crowded
Arsenal have had well-documented problems of their own, with their
most-recent league win coming just a week after the Hammers' – 2-0 against
Hull on 11 February.
With back-to-back defeats either side of that, and a 2-2 draw at home
against Manchester City at the weekend, pressure has intensified on Gunners
boss Arsene Wenger as they have slipped away from the head of the table and
out of the top four.
In fact, they enter this match seven points in arrears to fourth placed
Manchester City and are in danger of seeing a run of 19 years of consecutive
UEFA Champions League action come to an end this term.
Sunday's draw with Manchester City saw plenty of attacking success, but less
solidity at the back, as the north Londoners twice came from behind to take
a point thanks to Theo Walcott and Shkodran Mustafi.
Michail AntonioWest Ham United will be handed a boost for Wednesday's game
by the return from injury of Michail Antonio.
The winger missed Saturday's trip to Hull with a hamstring injury, but has
overcome that and is set to take his place in the squad.
Mark Noble could also return to the starting XI after sitting on the bench
at the KCOM Stadium, while Diafra Sakho is getting closer and closer to a
However, Aaron Cresswell will miss out, having picked up a muscle problem on
Saturday, meaning Arthur Masuaku will have an opportunity from the start at
For Arsenal, Laurent Koscielny is an injury absentee. The Frenchman had to
go off against Manchester City with an Achilles problem.
Fellow defender Per Mertesacker and midfielders Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and
Aaron Ramsey are available.
Last time out
It was an evening to forget for the Hammers when they took on Arsenal in
December, as an Alexis Sanchez hat-trick powered the Gunners to a 5-1
Andy Carroll scored his first goal of the season as a consolation, adding to
the Boleyn Ground hat-trick he notched against Arsenal last season.
On their last trip to the Emirates, Cheikhou Kouyate and Mauro Zarate scored
to give West Ham a stunning 2-0 win, back on the opening day of the 2015/16
Olivier Giroud v Andy Carroll
How do I get to the game?
A comprehensive guide to getting to Emirates Stadium can be found here.
Whether you're travelling to the game by tube, train or road,
up-to-the-minute travel news can be found by clicking here.
A cloudy night is in store for Wednesday, with temperature at kick-off of
How can I watch the game?
This match is not being broadcast live in the UK. However, if you are tuning
in from overseas the game could be televised in your territory. Full details
can be found in our widget below.
You can follow all the action as it happens right here on whufc.com, with
live audio commentary in our Match Centre. We also have social media updates
as they happen, in-running stats, photos and more. Get involved in the
conversation on social using #ARSWHU.
Duo set to strike back?
Michail Antonio set to return in Wednesday's Premier League fixture at
Diafra Sakho could also feature after four months out following back surgery
Aaron Cresswell will miss the trip to Emirates Stadium, with Arthur Masuaku
in line to start
Slaven Bilic is weighing up whether to unleash two of his star forwards when
West Ham United make the short trip to Arsenal on Wednesday.
The Hammers travel to Emirates Stadium eager to end a four-match Premier
League winless run, and the manager has been boosted by the potential
availability of both Michail Antonio and Diafra Sakho. Antonio missed
Saturday's defeat at Hull City with a hamstring problem, while Sakho has
been out since undergoing surgery to rectify a long-standing back injury in
November, but Bilic says both could feature in north London. "Mikey Antonio
is back, which is of course good news for us, great news for us," the boss
told the media at his pre-match press conference. "Mikey trained the last
couple of days and he had a small chance to make it for the Hull game, but
it was too early for him. "We're going to see him on Tuesday and he's
definitely going to be involved in the game, but whether he is going to
start or not depends. It looks really good and it's a big boost for us
because we are talking about one of our best players.
"He can definitely make the difference we need, because he is making that
difference week-in, week-out, this season and last season after he came into
the team over the Christmas period. He's been doing it all the time and, as
I said, it's a big boost for us ahead of a big game against Arsenal."
Could all four of these players feature at Arsenal?
Bilic, who also confirmed that Antonio will 'definitely' be offered a new
contract by the Club in the near future, is also considering naming Sakho in
his matchday squad for just the third time this season. The Senegal
international has the best Premier League strike-rate of any West Ham
forward – 16 goals in 46 appearances – and his presence would add a new
dimension to the Hammers, but the manager is considering the merits of
returning him to the pitch in what will be a high-intensity London derby.
"Diafra is back," he confirmed. "When you talk to him, he is ready, he can't
wait and all that. It was only because it was not like a hamstring injury,
he was out for a long time, he done the operation on his back and he is
looking really good. "Of course he is lacking match practice, but he has to
start somewhere and he may be on the bench tomorrow, even. I have not
decided yet, because of the length of his absence, but he is very, very
close to that."
One player who definitely will not feature at Emirates Stadium is Aaron
Cresswell, who suffered a muscle injury in Saturday's 2-1 defeat at Hull.
The left-back's place is expected to be taken by Arthur Masuaku, who has
featured as a substitute in the last two matches. "Cresswell is out for this
week and it should be only this week, so it should only be a couple of
games," Bilic confirmed. "We are talking about him being out against Arsenal
and Swansea, but he should be back in training next week and available for
the Sunderland game."
U17s in Japan - Day One
West Ham United began their J-League Challenge campaign with two wins from
They beat Renofa Yamaguchi and V-Varen Nagasaki to ensure qualification to
The Hammers face Gamba Osaka tomorrow in their final group fixture
West Ham United U17s qualified for the semi-finals of the J-League club
challenge with two victories from two on day one. The youngsters made the 12
hour trip to Japan a day prior, but that didn't seem to affect them as they
made it through to the semi-finals with a game to spare. The Hammers kicked
off the group stage in Osaka with a hard-fought victory over Japanese side
It was a warm day at the J-Green Sakai facility, but the youngsters showed
terrific resolve to fight back from a goal down and earn a crucial three
points. Yamaguchi took the lead within the opening 15 minutes. A misplaced
Ben Johnson pass allowed the opposing striker a route to goal and he duly
obliged, firing past Joseph Anang. But Danny Searle's players responded
brilliantly and stuck with their possession game, which enabled them to
frustrate their opponents. Their equaliser was created down the left hand
side after great work from Reece Hannam and Amadou Diallo. Diallo crossed
for Sean Adarkwa who finished excellently into the top corner.
Bernardo Rosa gave the Hammers the lead just before half-time - again,
Hannam was involved in the build-up, squaring for the Brazilian who found
the bottom corner with great accuracy. They could have added to their lead
in the second half, particularly when Jeremy Ngakia struck the crossbar, but
the Hammers picked up a well-deserved three points going into their second
group fixture. The team remained unchanged going into the next game against
V-Varen Nagasaki, with Searle keeping faith with the same eleven from the
start, although changes were to be expected with the demands of two 70
minute matches on the same day. The Hammers were imperious in the first half
scoring three unanswered goals, and they could have easily scored more.
Diallo gave them the lead with a neat finish from a Ngakia cross before
Adarkwa scored his second of the tournament with a delightful chip over the
Nagasaki keeper. Hannam gave Searle's men some breathing space just before
half-time, finishing well after a jinking run and 3-0 was how the game
finished. The Hammers next opponents are Gamba Osaka, who will join United
in the semi-finals regardless of the result tomorrow. The match kicks off at
2:30am BST on Wednesday morning.
West Ham (v Renofa Yamaguchi): Anang; Johnson, Mingi, Wells, Hannam:
Coventry, Rosa (Dalipi); Ngakia, Watson (Chesters), Diallo; Adarkwa. Subs
not used: Sanneh, Forson, Okotcha, Ashby, King.
Goals: Adarkwa, Rosa.
West Ham (v V-Varen Nagasaki): Anang; Johnson (Forson), Mingi (Ashby), Wells
(Okotcha), Hannam: Coventry (Wells), Rosa (Dalipi); Ngakia (Chesters),
Watson, Diallo (King); Adarkwa (Ngakia).
Goals: Diallo, Adarkwa, Hannam
Five Talking Points – Arsenal
The major subjects of discussion as West Ham United prepare to tackle
Arsenal at Emirates Stadium...
1. Three in, one out?
After four consecutive defeats, Slaven Bilic will again delve into his
tactical bag of tricks to select a team he hopes will end that run at the
Emirates. Last season, he selected the unheralded teenager Reece Oxford, who
produced a performance that belied his tender years in a stunning 2-0
Premier League success. This time around, Bilic hopes to be able to call
upon the fit-again Michail Antonio, while his wild card could be Senegal
striker Diafra Sakho, who is eager to play his part after four months out
after undergoing back surgery. With Aaron Cresswell sidelined with a minor
muscle injury, Arthur Masuaku looks set to come in at left-back, where he
will hope for better fortune than his last Premier League start – a 5-1 home
defeat by Arsenal in December. Finally, captain Mark Noble was left on the
bench at Hull City, but the midfielder's experience and work-rate could be
2. Happy Aluminium anniversary!
The dictionary definition of 'Aluminium' describes it as a silvery-white,
soft, nonmagnetic, ductile metal which will bend without breaking when under
stress. Well, this week marks the tenth – or Aluminium – anniversary of West
Ham United's amazing 1-0 Premier League win over Arsenal at Emirates
Stadium. Alan Curbishley's team were bent all over north London that
afternoon in April 2007, when the Gunners unleashed 29 shots to the Hammers'
one, only for Bobby Zamora's sole looping effort to land in Jens Lehmann's
net. At the other end, Robert Green produced the performance of his life and
West Ham did not break, earning the third of seven wins in nine matches as
part of their 'Great Escape' from relegation. Another 'Aluminium'
performance on Wednesday evening would make it an anniversary well worth
A section of Arsenal supporters have been campaigning for some time now for
manager Arsene Wenger to end his 21-year reign. Flags have been flown at
matches, a fan-run YouTube channel has attracted millions of views, while
this week a group of unhappy Gunners even took their protest to the club's
London Colney training ground. The tabloids have wittily labelled the
potential departure of the Frenchman 'Wexit' but, on a more serious note,
the uncertainty and dissatisfaction over the manager's position could easily
spread onto the pitch on Wednesday evening.
4. At a loss without Laurent?
While West Ham United will head to north London without Winston Reid and
Angelo Ogbonna, Arsenal also go into the game lacking an influential central
defender. Laurent Koscielny limped off in Sunday's 2-2 Premier League draw
with Manchester City and his place is reportedly set to be handed to
Gabriel. The Brazilian had a nightmare against Andy Carroll at the Boleyn
Ground back in April, when the No9 scored an unforgettable hat-trick in a
thrilling 3-3 draw. The substitution of Koscielny cost Arsenal dear in both
legs of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie with Bayern Munich and
the Hammers will hope his absence leads to more uncertainty at the back for
5. Goals galore
Whoever comes out on top at Emirates Stadium on Wednesday evening, the
likelihood is that there will be plenty of goals scored. West Ham United
have conceded at least two in their last four Premier League matches and no
clean sheets in their last nine dating back to a 3-0 win over Crystal Palace
at London Stadium on 14 January. Arsenal have conceded at least two in five
of their last six Premier League games, while two of their three clean
sheets kept since the start of February came in Emirates FA Cup ties against
non-league clubs. In the last six Premier League meetings between the two,
24 goals have been scored – an average of four per game.
Slaven - We must be solid
Slaven Bilic dismisses claims Arsenal's players are no longer giving 100 per
cent for Arsene Wenger
Hammers travel to Emirates Stadium in the Premier League on Wednesday
Bilic says West Ham United need to be organised if they are to secure a
Slaven Bilic is not fooled by suggestions that Arsenal's players are no
longer giving their all for manager Arsene Wenger.
Uncertainty over Wenger's future after 21 years in the Gunners' dugout has
led some commentators and supporters to claim some of his star players are
no longer putting in 100 per cent effort for the Frenchman.
But Bilic does not go along with those suggestions, citing Arsenal's
determined display in Sunday's 2-2 Premier League draw with Manchester City
as reason to dismiss them.
"I think the players are playing for their manager and playing for their
club and individually playing for their futures, either in that club or
somewhere else," said the Hammers boss. "The players are sportsmen, so they
want to play better.
"I watched their last game on telly on Sunday against Man City and, before
the game, those kind of subjects and issues were in the 'papers and on the
TV, about whether they were going to play or not. When I saw them in that
game, which I watched twice, they were very, very motivated and a team which
was very up for it physically, mentally and with determination and all that.
"Some people are saying that they didn't celebrate the [Shkodran Mustafi's
equalising] goal the way they should, but I saw Arsenal with a lot of energy
and I also saw Arsenal fans who were behind Arsenal and behind the club, but
that's basically what I expected."
While Bilic was asked to comment on his opposite number's position
repeatedly in his pre-match press conference, his overriding concern is
ending West Ham's run of four straight Premier League defeats when they
visit Emirates Stadium on Wednesday evening.
The Croatian led the Hammers to victory in north London last season in his
first league game in charge, and followed up with an Andy Carroll-inspired
3-3 draw in the final meeting at the Boleyn Ground in April.
However, Arsenal won comfortably at London Stadium in December and Bilic is
experienced to know Wenger's side will still present formidable opposition
this time around.
"We saw a few things we can manipulate on Wednesday in Sunday's game," he
explained. "They have their problems, of course, otherwise all this that we
are talking about would not be an issue now.
"Still, they are a team with a lot of pace, that you can't afford to lose
the ball in your own half against because the transition and pace they have
up front are unbelievable.
"They are still attacking with numbers which makes them more likely to
create something, but when they lose the ball they are very, very vulnerable
because they leave a big space behind and hopefully we can use it."
Before West Ham can think about threatening Arsenal, however, they need to
sort out the defensive issues that have seen them fail to keep a clean sheet
in any of their last nine Premier League matches.
"We want to get something out of the game," Bilic insistead, "but first we
have to be solid and organised and to concentrate.
"We can't expect that we're going to have more possession than they will
have, so first and foremost we have to be a good as a unit, close those gaps
in between that [Alexis] Sanchez and [Mesut] Ozil are really good in and
then mark them two-against-one when the ball goes to one of their players
who can really hurt you if they are one-against-one or not marked.
"Then, when we have the ball, we have to try to use the space and keep the
ball to frustrate them. If we play like that, we are brave and confident and
everything, then we have a chance against any team in this league."
The Big Interview – James Collins
A decade on from West Ham United's famous win at Emirates Stadium, Wales
defender James Collins prepares to face Arsenal again...
Ten years ago this week, West Ham United travelled to Emirates Stadium
seeking to achieve an unlikely victory over Arsenal.
The Hammers set off for north London sitting 19th in the Premier League
table, five points adrift of safety, but with confidence rising after vital
victories over Blackburn Rovers and Middlesbrough.
In West Ham team on 7 April 2007 was a 23-year-old centre-back named James
Collins, who had returned to the starting XI for the 2-1 win at Blackburn
after a two-month absence.
A decade on and Collins, now 33, returned to West Ham's starting XI after a
two-month absence on Saturday, and looks set to keep his place as the
Hammers prepare to face Arsenal again.
Ginge, you must have had mixed emotions on Saturday, returning to the
starting XI but in a 2-1 defeat at Hull City?
"I was obviously buzzing to be playing but then very disappointed after the
game. I thought we were really comfortable, but then their first goal has
got the crowd lifted and they've got a bit of inspiration from it and we've
conceded again from another set play so bitterly disappointed.
"I have done it a lot in my career but I was disappointed to come out of the
team in the first place. The last time I played we beat Crystal Palace 3-0
and it was a good performance and a clean sheet, but then I didn't play for
seven weeks, which was disappointing when I thought I probably should have.
"But that's football, I kept my head down and got a chance. I was
disappointed Saturday but I'm ready to go again on Wednesday."
You played as the left centre-back on Saturday, which was not your normal
"I played there a fair bit, I played there at Villa a bit. It's the same
really, you just have to deal with it. I am right-footed but I've been a
professional footballer for 18 years so I can use my left a bit! But I don't
mind where I play, I'd play in goal for West Ham!"
You made your 150th Premier League appearance for the Club on Saturday,
which must have been a decent milestone to reach?
"Yeah it is. I saw it in the programme on Saturday and I would like to have
made more appearances, but so would anyone you ask. I've had a couple of
serious injuries in my time, one that kept me out for a year-and-a-half and
then some other little niggles, but it is good to get there and hopefully
there's many more in me yet.
"I still feel good, so here's to another 150!"
You mention you had a serious injury in your first spell with West Ham back
in 2008, but you have been largely injury-free since returning to the Club
"It's just little niggles and muscle injuries but I've been quite lucky. I'm
quite intense the way I play, and I have been lucky. The little ones have
kept me out for a few weeks in my time but I'll take that in my career."
So, next up we go to Arsenal on Wednesday. What are you expecting there?
"It's going to be tough, obviously. Going there is always tough but we've
gone there before and got results. We certainly need to defend better as a
team, in any game, but especially there.
"We have to be more solid as a group without the ball. When we have got the
ball we're looking good and creating chances. At the minute without the ball
we aren't really defending as a team which means we are conceding silly
goals. Obviously set-plays are an issue at the minute, too, which we are
"It's going to be tough but we have to go there with confidence that we can
get a result and perform. It's vital that we do that, as everyone is a bit
down at the minute, but going to somewhere like the Emirates and getting a
win or even a draw would be a lift for everyone."
Can West Ham take any heart from Arsenal's own recent struggles?
"You can't go there thinking anything other than it's going to be a tough
game. They're getting a bit of stick at the minute, as are we, but you have
to go there and be solid and try and take your chances when they come.
"The main thing is being solid and keeping a clean sheet. We've gone there
before and done it so why not? We need a lift and I think a clean sheet at
the Emirates would do it."
Can you believe it is a decade this week since you, Mark Noble, Robert
Green, Bobby Zamora and company went to the Emirates and won 1-0 during the
Great Escape season?
"It's crazy that's ten years ago. I think Robert Green had the game of his
life! We defended well as a team and I was speaking to Bobby only a couple
of weeks ago about how I read after the game we had one shot on goal and
they had 38 and we won 1-0. But all that matters is the result and we won
and stayed up that year."
Another miraculous defensive performance would be just the ticket on
Wednesday, wouldn't it?
"I think that's the secret to all football. If you keep a clean sheet, you
only need to score one goal to win a game.
"So, while it's all attacking football and the flair players going forward
nowadays, at the end of the day, for 20 years after I've gone, you'll still
need one goal to win the game with a clean sheet.
"Everyone is for attacking play but I'm a centre half and I want to keep
And just finally, on Saturday we host the Premier League's only Welsh
representatives Swansea City before travelling to bottom side Sunderland…
"It's a huge game, there's no point beating around the bush, we need to get
three points on Saturday. It's a huge game. We've got two huge games after
Arsenal and there's no doubt it my mind that we need to get six points.
"There's no doubt in my mind that a good result and performance against
Arsenal will bring confidence to everyone. If we can get that there we'll go
into Saturday obviously confident that we can win anyway, but maybe with
that little edge. So obviously Arsenal is in the front of our minds, but
Saturday is a huge game."
Stat's A Fact - 50 PL goals for AC
Saturday was bitter-sweet for West Ham United's Andy Carroll. The Hammers
centre-forward had the honour of leading his side out as captain for the
first time and in the 18th minute scored the 50th Premier League goal of his
career. However, the disappointment of a 2-1 defeat to Hull City
overshadowed what should have been an immensely proud day for West Ham's
Carroll's goal was a beautifully crafted one too - picked up by Manuel
Lanzini in the middle of the park, spread wide to Aaron Creswell on left
side whose cross perfectly picked out the big man in the box. AC then did as
AC does; controlled on the chest, bought down and coolly finished past Hull
keeper, Eldin Jakupovic. It was the neatest way to bring up his Premier
Despite an injury-plagued campaign, which has seen him feature only 16
times, Saturday's goal was his seventh of the season. The same number of
goals scored from 2012-13 and 2013-14 combined.
Since signing, initially on loan, in August 2012, Carroll has bagged 30 of
his 50 Premier League goals in the claret and blue of West Ham United.
AC goal v ChelseaThe 6'4 striker has amassed an impressive 23 headed goals
in his league career – almost half of his total tally. Indeed, for West Ham
alone, the proportion is very similar with 14 of his 30 goals coming from
the head. His winner against Chelsea last season is certainly up there among
his most memorable headed goals.
As good as AC is in the air, he is just as capable and destructive with the
ball at his feet. His wand of a left foot has scored 22 Premier League
goals, while his weaker right foot has five. For West Ham, it is 13 and
Most recently, he had his right foot to thank when coolly finishing past
Fraser Forster to score the first in a 3-1 victory against Southampton on 4
February. Even more impressive was his sensational over-the-head
right-footed volley against West Bromwich Albion in 2013.
AC Goal v PalaceTo his left foot and it is difficult to look past that
sublime overhead kick against Crystal Palace on 14 January this year as a
stand out goal so far. Carroll himself admitted after the game that "it has
to be one of the best of my career". His curler at Swansea City's Liberty
Stadium in January 2015 and his second of three at home to Arsenal last
season are also worth a mention.
In dead ball situations, Carroll has scored two West Ham penalties and one
What often goes unnoticed is his ability to score those all-important
game-changing goals. Whether as a starter or an impact sub, over 30 per cent
of Carroll's West Ham United goals have come in the final 15 minutes of the
In his whole career, Andy has scored 30 second half goals compared to just
20 in the first 45'.
With eight games remaining, Carroll needs just three goals to enter double
figures for the season. Should he do so, it would be his highest scoring
campaign with West Ham and would be doubly impressive given that he has
missed over four months of action this year through injury.
The next opportunity to get on the scoresheet? A trip to Arsenal: a side he
has scored against four times in just the last two meetings..
Betway preview - Get 5/2 for an AC goal
Just eight matches remain in the 2016/17 season, and for West Ham United,
finishing in the top half of the Premier League table is still very much an
The Hammers face three of the top flight's current bottom six in their end
of season run-in, but attentions will first be on Wednesday night and the
huge fixture against Arsenal.
Clashes against the Gunners always tend to be entertaining, and while
neither side arrives into this fixture in particularly strong form, West Ham
fans can certainly point to last season's stunning opening day victory at
the Emirates as encouragement of another upset.
The Hammers are 7/1 to win on Wednesday, with Arsenal 2/5 to secure all
three points. A draw is currently priced at 17/4.
Midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate scored the opener that day, as the Irons won
2-0. The Senegalese star has a knack for scoring against Arsenal, having
found the net twice in his last four appearances against them, and is 15/2
to do so again.
For those expecting lightning to strike twice, you can get West Ham to win
2-0, once again, at 33/1.
Another man who likes scoring against Arsenal is Andy Carroll. In his
previous two appearances against the Gunners, Carroll has bagged four goals,
including a memorable hat-trick last season.
The striker is 9/1 to open the scoring and 5/2 to score at any time. Fancy
Carroll to be the last scorer of the match? He's currently priced at 9/1 to
Over the last five meetings, West Ham and Arsenal have mustered an
eye-popping 20 goals between them – so don't be surprised to see goals on
the menu again on Wednesday.
It's currently 8/13 for both teams to score, with West Ham 9/1 to win and
both sides to find the net.
Those looking at Betway's Total Goals markets could be enticed by over 3.5
goals at 21/20, while those expecting more may want to look at over 4.5
goals at 12/5 – a £10 bet on this price would return £34.
The first goal could prove to be hugely important in this one. The Hammers
have broken the deadlock in two of their last three matches and are 9/4 to
do so once again.
However, it's the second half that continues to be the most fruitful for
West Ham in front of goal, with almost 64% of their league goals having come
after the break. They're 21/10 to score their first goal in the second half
today, while you can get them at 17/4 to score in both halves.
There are more than 100 markets on Arsenal vs. West Ham available at Betway.
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Arsenal v West Ham United
WED, 05 APR 2017
Venue: Emirates Stadium
Arsenal will be without defender Laurent Koscielny, who suffered an Achilles
injury on Sunday. However, defender Per Mertesacker and midfielders Alex
Oxlade-Chamberlain and Aaron Ramsey are back after injury.
West Ham striker Diafra Sakho could be named among the substitutes after
recovering from a back problem which has kept him out since November. Winger
Michail Antonio returns to the squad after a hamstring injury, but Aaron
Cresswell has been ruled out.
MOTD COMMENTATOR'S NOTES
Steve Bower: "If ever there was a match where both managers were in the
spotlight, then this is it. "While the footballing world waits for
confirmation from Arsene Wenger on his future, Slaven Bilic has received a
public vote of confidence from West Ham's owners on his.
"Wenger has rightly alluded to the challenge he faces to maintain his record
of always delivering a top-four finish for Arsenal. "The fact that they came
from behind and didn't lose to Manchester City was important, but it remains
to be seen if they have the mental strength in the remaining games. "They
will hope to exploit West Ham's low confidence levels, as the Hammers look
to avoid a fifth consecutive defeat."
WHAT THE MANAGERS SAY
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger: "I think it's a good opportunity to remind
people we are not fighting to not go down - we are fighting to have a
positive end to the season. "That's why you want the fans to stand behind
the team and that the debate at the moment is about that. "Let's finish as
strong as we can and show that we have some resilience, some quality and
some mental spirit that we have shown against City."
West Ham manager Slaven Bilic: "Arsenal have their problems, but they are
still a team with a lot of pace, a team you can't afford to lose the ball
against in your own half because the transition and pace they have up front
is unbelievable. "They attack with numbers which makes them more likely to
create something, but when they lose the ball they are very vulnerable
because they leave a big space behind which you can use."
I am going for an Arsenal win on Wednesday, and if I am right we will
probably hear a lot more about whether Slaven Bilic is being sacked - or not
- this week.
Arsenal have lost just one of their last 17 league meetings with West Ham
However, that defeat was in this fixture last season - the Hammers won 2-0
to secure only their second victory at the Emirates in Slaven Bilic's first
match in charge.
Arsenal have the same record after 28 league games as they did last season,
with 15 wins, six draws, seven defeats and 51 points.
The Gunners have only taken four points from the last 18 available.
However, they have lost just one of their 15 matches against sides in the
bottom half of the table (W11, D3) prior to the latest round of matches.
Arsenal have scored 14 headed goals in this season's Premier League, a
figure matched only by West Brom.
Alexis Sanchez has scored four goals and provided one assist in his last two
games against West Ham.
West Ham United
West Ham have lost four successive league games and are without a victory
since 4 February (D2, L4).
They could lose five consecutive Premier League matches for the first time
since they did so under Avram Grant between April and May 2011.
The Hammers currently have 33 points from 30 games, 17 fewer than they did
at this stage last season.
Slaven Bilic's side have dropped 20 points from winning positions in the
Premier League this season, more than any other side.
Andy Carroll has played the full 90 minutes in four successive league games
for the first time since April 2014.
Most probable score: 2-1 Probability of draw: 17%
Probability of home win: 70% Probability of away win: 13%
SAM (Sports Analytics Machine) is a super-computer created by @ProfIanMcHale
at the University of Salford that is used to predict the outcome of football
New contract for Antonio, confirms Bilic
Filed: Tuesday, 4th April 2017
By: Staff Writer
Michail Antonio is to be offered a new contract in the summer in order to
keep him at West Ham. The 27-year-old has been out of action for a fortnight
due to injury, but is expected to be in the line-up when West Ham face
Arsenal at the Emirates tomorrow night. And according to Slaven Bilic,
Antonio will "definitely" be offered a new deal in the summer. "He can
definitely make the difference we need," said Bilic, addressing the media at
his pre-Arsenal press conference. "Hhe is making that difference week-in,
week-out, this season and last season after he came into the team over the
Christmas period. "He's been doing it all the time and, as I said, it's a
big boost for us ahead of a big game against Arsenal."
The former Nottingham Forest winger joined West Ham on transfer deadline day
in 2015 but had to wait until the end of November before being given a
chance in the first team by Bilic. Antonio, who cost West Ham £7million went
on to score nine goals for the Hammers in 2015/16 which led to him signing a
bumper new contract in July of last summer ahead of the club's US tour.
Vodafone set to complete Olympic Stadium naming rights deal
By Paul Kelso
Last Updated: 04/04/17 7:35pm
Vodafone is close to agreeing a £20m naming rights deal for the London
Olympic Stadium, Sky sources understand. Negotiations between the telecoms
giant and the stadium owners, the London Legacy Development Corporation
(LLDC), have been ongoing for several months. But they are understood to be
close to agreeing a six-year deal worth £20m, meaning the company will pay
more for naming rights (£3.3m per year) than West Ham are in rent to play
there (£2.5m per year).
Securing a high-profile brand in Vodafone will be seen as an endorsement of
an arena that has had significant challenges since it began being used by
West Ham last August. It is also a fillip to the LLDC's business model, with
all revenue from the deal going to the publicly-owned body rather than West
Ham. Last year, it was revealed that conversion costs of the stadium had
soared by £50m more than previously revealed by former London mayor Boris
Johnson. It also emerged that moving supposedly retractable seats to
facilitate athletics could cost up to £8m each summer. London mayor Sadiq
Khan recently ordered a review of the stadium's costs and financing
following the revelations that will get under way shortly. The arena, which
has cost more than £700m in taxpayer funds, stages the World Athletics
Championships in August.
Slaven Bilic says he didn't need West Ham board's statement of support
By Lyall Thomas
Last Updated: 04/04/17 10:56am
Slaven Bilic says he did not need a statement of support from the West Ham
board because he already knew they were behind him. In an attempt "to end
speculation once and for all", the Hammers spoke out this week insisting
Bilic's job was not in danger after a run of four straight Premier League
defeats. Widespread newspaper reports spoke of potential successors to the
Croatian, but vice-chairwoman Karren Brady also insisted this week that the
club are not looking to change their manager. "I do not have to read the
papers to know my relationship with the board," Bilic said as his team
prepares to face Arsenal on Wednesday. "I talk with the chairmen before or
after every game. It's nice to read it (their support) but I know I have the
confidence of the board. "I am concentrated on my job and the payers. When I
told you I wasn't worried before it is the situation that I am not relieved
to say 'oh my god, they gave me confidence'. I knew that before. "I like it
that way; that I am not thinking about that a lot."
The Hammers go to the Emirates buoyed by the returns of Diafra Sakho and
Michail Antonio - but Aaron Cresswell is out with a knock - and Bilic is
hoping to throw Antonio in from the start. "We will see today but he will
definitely be involved in the game, whether from start or on bench," Bilic
said. "It is a big boost for us because we are talking about one of our best
players. "Diafra is back and, when you talk to him, he is ready and can't
wait, but only because he was out for a long time. He did the operation on
his back. He is lacking match practise, but he has to start somewhere. He
maybe on the bench tomorrow but I haven't decided yet. He is very close."
Michail Antonio wants West Ham stay, says Slaven Bilic
By Lyall Thomas
Last Updated: 04/04/17 11:17am
Michail Antonio is "keen to stay" at West Ham, Slaven Bilic has insisted,
despite the attacker still not signing a new contract. The Hammers boss said
in January that he believed a new deal for the 27-year-old was "close" but
now expects it to be done in the summer instead. But Antonio, who is
expected to return from injury against Arsenal on Wednesday, expressed
reservations about signing fresh terms when speaking to Sky Sports News HQ
in February. Bilic said: "The club and the chairmen appreciate the job and
work he has done for us. The club is offering him a new contact definitely
this summer. "He is keen to stay yes and has a long contract here. It's not
like he has one year left and the club has to panic, no. "We appreciate what
he has done and we want to make him happy and keep him for a long time, and
secure him, and the club is preparing that." West Ham travel to the Emirates
on Wednesday on the back of four straight Premier League defeats, which has
seen them slip to 14th in the table and just six points off the relegation
zone with eight games to go.
Arsenal v West Ham preview: Michail Antonio back for Hammers trip to
Last Updated: 04/04/17 11:40am
Michail Antonio is fit for selection as West Ham travel across London to
play Arsenal in the Premier League on Wednesday evening. The winger pulled
out of England duty and missed the weekend's loss against Hull after picking
up a hamstring injury against Leicester before the international break, but
Slaven Bilic confirmed Antonio would be back in action for the Emirates
trip. West Ham will be looking to put an end to a poor run of recent results
that has seen them fail to win their last six Premier League outings, with
the last four coming as defeats. It is a similar story for Arsenal, who have
not won in the top flight since beating Hull at the start of February,
losing twice and drawing 2-2 against Man City since. Some good news for the
Gunners though, is they have lost just one of their last 17 Premier League
games against West Ham, although this came in the exact fixture last season.
Diafra Sakho could also return to the West Ham squad following a lengthy
spell on the sidelines but Aaron Cresswell will not feature for the next few
games. Winston Reid, Angelo Ogbonna and Pedro Obiang also remain out of
action, with the latter certain to miss the rest of the season following an
Arsenal have a number of ins and outs ahead of the game, with Alex
Oxlade-Chamberlain and Aaron Ramsey set for tests and are expected to return
to the squad. Per Mertesacker will also be available for selection, but his
fellow defender Laurent Koscielny will not feature after picking up an
Achilles injury against Man City with Petr Cech - who also missed out on
Sunday - not yet ready to return.
West Ham have won five Premier League away games against Arsenal - they've
only won more on the road in the competition against Fulham (6). Slaven
Bilic could become just the third manager to win his first two Premier
League visits to face Arsenal after Ron Atkinson and Guus Hiddink.
Alexis Sanchez has scored four goals and provided one assist in his last two
games against West Ham, including a hat-trick in the reverse of this
fixture. Should the Gunners win it will be their 10th Premier League double
over the Hammers, more than they've achieved against any other side in the
competition (also 9 vs Everton).
Andy Carroll has scored five Premier League goals against Arsenal - against
no side has he scored more in the competition (also 5 vs Swansea and Man
There have been four hat-tricks in Premier League meetings between these
sides - Arsenal vs Liverpool is the only fixture to see more in the
Arsenal have won just one of their last eight Premier League matches played
in midweek (Tues-Thurs); drawing four and losing three.
West Ham United have won six of their seven midweek Premier League games
(Tues-Thurs) since the start of 2016 (W6 D0 L1).
No team has scored more headed goals than Arsenal in the Premier League this
season (14, level with West Brom).
I like Slaven Bilic, I think he's a good manager, but it's just one of those
seasons. West Ham are struggling at the moment, and you'd expect Arsenal to
win this game with the way the Hammers are playing. The last 20 minutes
against Man City for Arsenal was like an Emirates Cup game, like Austria v
West Germany in the World Cup many years back. It was like: "That's a draw,
we're both happy with that." Neither side wanted to lose. West Ham are
struggling, so I'm going with Arsenal.
PAUL PREDICTS: 2-1 (15/2 with Sky Bet)
Arsenal are the odds-on favourites at 2/5 with Sky Bet to help ease some of
the pressure on Arsene Wenger with victory at home to West Ham on Wednesday
night. The Hammers are on offer at 6/1 to spring a surprise at the Emirates
Stadium and the draw can be backed at 19/5. Arsenal drew 2-2 with Manchester
City on Sunday and the online bookmaker offers a repeat of that scoreline at
All of the Gunners' last five matches have contained four or goals and Sky
Bet go 11/10 that this contest contains over the 3.5 goals mark (odds-on at
4/6 that it doesn't).
Cheikhou Kouyate believes West Ham can take advantage of Arsenal's turmoil
and secure shock win at Emirates
Both teams are fighting very different battles as the season enters the
final stretch - but Kouyate is feeling good about his side's chances
16:36, 4 APR 2017UPDATED16:39, 4 APR 2017
Cheikhou Kouyate believes lightning can strike twice for West Ham at Arsenal
on Wednesday night. The Senegal midfielder scored last season at the
Emirates as the Hammers beat the Gunners 2-0. Both clubs are now under
pressure at opposite ends of the table. Kouyate is convinced his side will
be able to take advantage of Arsenal's turmoil. "We had a fantastic result
at the Emirates last season." he said. "I remember it well and it was an
unbelievable day for us, so why can't it happen again this year? "Arsenal is
a nice team which plays good football in a good stadium and they need
points, but it is the same for us. "West Ham need some points and we will
battle for the whole 90 minutes to take all three again. "We had a fantastic
result at the Emirates last season. I remember it well and it was an
unbelievable day for us, so why can't it happen again this year?" West Ham
are six points clear of the drop zone with eight games remaining. The club's
board have backed Slaven Bilic following their fourth defeat in a row last
Saturday. Kouyate added: "For Arsenal, they have had some bad results but
they are still one of the best teams in the league. Arsenal have some great
players and we have to be careful because they are a hungry team and they
need the points. "It's a very, very difficult moment for us, but sometimes
you have this period one time in a year or one time in two years. It is
important that we stay positive, stay together and just focus. "We need to
win some games, just work hard and play hard. We need to take our chances
and defend well, but most importantly we need to work together and be
Emiliano Martinez set to start for Arsenal against West Ham - but who is the
The Argentine goalkeeper is ready to deputise on Wednesday with Petr Cech
and David Ospina ruled out through injury
18:43, 4 APR 2017UPDATED18:46, 4 APR 2017
Emiliano Martinez is set to make his first league appearance of the season
for Arsenal on Wednesday in the crucial Premier League match with fellow
London club West Ham. The Argentine goalkeeper is currently third choice at
the Emirates and has only appeared three times in the league cup this
season. But he will be thrown into the starting line up against the Hammers
due to injuries to regular stoppers Petr Cech and David Ospina.
But who exactly is Arsenal's third-string keeper? ...
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Martinez joined Arsenal's youth side in
2010 from Independiente.
He made his Arsenal debut aged just 19, in a League Cup tie at home to
Coventry in 2012.
The 24-year-old has spent spells on loan at Sheffield Wednesday, Oxford
United, Rotherham United and Wolves.
During his time at Wolves he kept five clean sheets in 15 matches before
injury caused him to lose his first team place.
Martinez has made three Premier League appearances previously, with his top
flight debut as a second-half substitute against Manchester United in the
He kept clean sheets against West Brom and Southampton in the games that
followed his Premier League bow, and has since featured in the Champions
League for the Gunners.
As a youngster he represented Argentina at under-17 and under-20 level, and
was called up to the senior squad in 2011 but did not make an appearance.
Martinez has played three times this season, all in Arsenal's EFL Cup
campaign, where he kept two clean sheets before they were eliminated by
Martinez will be hoping to add to Arsenal's tally of only eight Premier
League clean sheets this season, when he squares off against the likes of
Andy Carroll on Wednesday night.
Vodafone 'close' to agreeing £20million naming rights deal for West Ham's
The six-year deal is set to begin this summer and would be a huge boost for
the ground ahead of the new football season
20:50, 4 APR 2017
West Ham are reportedly close to agreeing a £20million naming rights deal
with communication giants Vodafone for the London Stadium. Negotiations
between Vodafone and the owners of the stadium, the London Legacy
Development Corporation (LLDC), have been ongoing for months, according to
Sky News. The six-year deal is set to begin this summer and would be a huge
boost for the ground ahead of the new football season. Sky report that all
revenue from the deal will go to the LLDC rather than to the Hammers. The
60,000-seat venue is already the right dimensions for cricket (Photo: West
Ham United FC) The stadium's transition from an athletics arena to a
football venue has been a troubled one. It staged the track and field events
at the London 2012 Olympics with great success before West Ham attained
permission to play their home games there and move from their Upton Park
ground. But the venue has been plagued with crowd violence problems since
the Irons moved in, with the club receiving criticism for the policing and
Arsenal are vulnerable without the ball, says West Ham boss Slaven Bilic
Mark Brus for Metro.co.uk
Tuesday 4 Apr 2017 11:40 am
West Ham manager Slaven Bilic feels he has seen a few weaknesses in this
Arsenal squad, and says the main one is their vulnerability when they don't
have the ball. The Croatian tactician takes his side to the Emirates Stadium
on Wednesday night, and doesn't seem too phased after watching them continue
their poor form against Manchester City at the weekend. The Gunners twice
came from behind to draw 2-2 at home to City, making it just one win in six
in the Premier League as they prepare to take on the Hammers. Arsenal
thrashed Bilic's side 5-1 when they met earlier in the season, but the West
Ham manager believes his side could punish Arsene Wenger's men when they
lose the ball. 'I saw a few things,' he said. 'They have their problems
otherwise there wouldn't be issues now. 'When they lose the ball, they are
WENGER ON HOW TO KEEP CARROLL QUIET
While West Ham may have suffered a recent dip in form, Andy Carroll still
remains their biggest threat. The Hammers have not won any of their past six
Premier League games but the England striker has been their shining light,
scoring five times and setting up another in his last eight appearances.
Carroll also has a good record against us, hitting four in his last two
including a 10-minute hat-trick in last season's 3-3 draw at Upton Park, and
Arsène Wenger has warned his players to respect the 28-year-old on Wednesday
night. "The best way to keep him quiet is to play in their half," the
manager said. "Apart from that, Carroll's strengths are that he protects the
ball well, he's good in the air, he's very forceful with his commitment as
well, so we will need to be good to stop the crosses. Once a cross comes
into the box, he's always very dangerous against anyone."
Sunday's draw against Manchester City was not the three points Wenger
wanted, but he believes his side's performance will give them confidence
heading into the final 10 games of the season. "Confidence is a thing which
goes quickly and comes back slowly," he said. "I would just think that we
didn't lose the game against Manchester City in the end, that we came back
after being 2-1 down, will have a positive impact on our confidence. The
rest is about believing in what we do on the football pitch. We must be
careful because West Ham have done better away from home than at home.
They've struggled a bit at home, moving into their new stadium. They lost
Payet during the season as well. The Premier League is difficult but when
you look at their team, they have quality players."
Leeds United defender has until 6pm today to respond to the violent conduct
charge following 'stamp' on Reece Oxford
42 mins ago / Courtney Friday, Reporter / @ChronCourtney
LEEDS United defender Liam Cooper has been charged by the Football
Association (FA) over an alleged stamp on Reading FC teenager Reece Oxford
on Saturday. Cooper was charged with violent conduct following an off the
ball incident during an ill-tempered 1-0 victory at Madejski Stadium. The
clash was missed by referee Keith Stroud but the FA were shown video footage
of the incident and deemed the officials' punishment as "clearly
insufficient". Following the review by the game's main authority, Cooper was
today charged with alleged violent conduct and has until 6pm tonight to
respond. An FA spokesman said: "The player was involved in an incident in or
around the 74th minute which was not seen by the match officials at the time
but caught on video. Furthermore, The FA has submitted a claim that the
standard punishment that would otherwise apply for the misconduct committed
by the Leeds defender is 'clearly insufficient'. "Off the ball incidents
which are not seen at the time by the match officials are referred to a
panel of three former elite referees. "Each referee panel member will review
the video footage independently of one another to determine whether they
consider it a sending-off offence. For retrospective action to be taken, and
an FA charge to follow, the decision of the panel must be unanimous."
Oxford went down clutching his head after the incident but did not require
further treatment from the club's medical staff. Speaking after the match,
he added: "I didn't see who it was to be fair but I'm going to go home and
watch it to see what happened." Liam Cooper has been charged with alleged
violent conduct. Leeds' boss Garry Monk defended his centre-back after the
match, insisting he is not the kind of player to intentionally stamp on an
opponent. "I didn't see it but I got told about it afterwards," stated the
"You know as well as me that Liam's 100 per cent not that type of lad. He's
not in any way that type of player. "With my opinion of Liam, it'll
definitely be an accident and one that he didn't mean to do. He's 100 per
cent not like that."
Just last month Bournemouth's Tyrone Mings was suspended for five game for
stamping on the head of Manchester United's Ibrahimovic, who was also banned
for three game for an earlier elbow on Mings. If Cooper admits the charge or
is convicted, he could also face a lengthy ban as the battle for a play-off
spot heats up. The FA could also investigate an alleged elbow by Reading
defender Tyler Blackett on Leeds striker Chris Wood, another incident which
went unpunished on the pitch.
Full transcript as Slaven Bilic discusses Arsenal, his West Ham future and
an injury blow to Aaron Cresswell
The manager faced the media ahead of West Ham's meeting with Arsenal
11:05, 4 APR 2017
Slaven Bilic has ruled out Aaron Cresswell for the next two games as he
faced the media ahead of West Ham's Premier League clash with Arsenal at the
Emirates tomorrow. The left back picked up an injury - not disclosed by
Bilic - which forced him off in the 2-1 defeat at Hull last weekend, meaning
Arthur Masuaku will now come into the side for the next couple of games.
The boss also updated the media on injury news concerning Michail Antonio
and Diafra Sakho, plus he looked ahead to the Gunners clash where his side
will look to end a run of four straight defeats. Here's everything the
manager said to the media this morning.
Aaron Cresswell is out for this week, it should be only this one week so a
couple of games, tomorrow against Arsenal and Swansea on Saturday but he
should be OK for the Sunderland game. Mikey Antonio is back which is great
news so apart from Cress, it's all good.
Antonio has trained the last couple of days, Hull was too soon for him so
now we will see today. He is definitely going to be involves in the game,
whether he starts or not we'll see but it is a big boost for us because we
are talking about our best player. He makes a difference week in and week
out, this season definitely and last season when he came in at Christmas.
He's been doing that all the time and it's a big boost ahead of a game like
Arsenal for us. Diafra is back. When you talk to him he is ready, he cant
wait. It was not like a hamstring injury, he has been out for a long time,
had an operation on his back and he looks good. He is lacking match practice
but he has to start somewhre. He could be on the bench tomorrow, I haven't
decided yet because of the length of his absence.
On Antonio's new contract
There have been some rumours and the club and chairman appreciate the job he
has done for us, the club is offering him a new contract definitely, for
sure, this summer. He wants to stay. To be fair, he has a long contract
anyway, it's not like he was one year left. On the contrary. We appreciate
what he has done and we want to keep him happy and keep him for a long time
and the club is preparing that.
On the atmosphere at training
We have a good, positive atmosphere. We are training hard, focused and are a
team that is alive, we are not a flat team. Of course when you lose four
games you just want the next game to come as soon as possible to get some
points. We are there in every game and we have to turn it around. It's a
balance, a mixture. You have to use the hairdryer sometimes but also be
constructive so thats what I am doing since I am here, even before this
period. Sometimes you have to wake them [the players] up. Be that at half
time, warming up, the day before, even the day after, it is a mixture. As I
said, we are very focused and determined to start getting some points.
On the vote of confidence
I don't have to read the papers to know my relationship with the board, I
talk to the chairman before or after every game. It's nice to read it but I
know I have the confidence from the board. I have my job, I concentrate on
that and my players. It's nice to hear the confidence from the board but as
when I told you I wasn't worried before, that is the situation.
I knew that their confidence was there before and I like it that I'm not
thinking about it a lot, but totally focused on my job and the next game.
That's the only way to act and think.
Are you planning for next season?
You're always planning, evening in August if you haven't done the business
you were hoping to, you're planning for the Januray transfer window. During
the season, for 80 per cent you focus on the next game or the next four
games. You're thinking ahead, but the majoirty of your concentration is on
the next game.
Is your situation similar to Arsene Wenger?
Not really. This is my second season here, but he's been there more than 20
years. They are totally situations. There are some similarities over the
last few games because we both need points to achieve our aims, but the
similarities end there. No because the players are playing for the manager,
club and for individually are playing for their future, either at that club
or somwhere else. They're sportsmen and they want to play better. Arsenal's
last game against Man City, there was the issue of are they going to play,
will they be focused. I watched the match twice and the players were very,
very motivated and up for it physically and tactically. Some people are
saying they didn't celebrate the goal the way they should, but I saw Arsenal
with a lot of energy and a lot of their fans were behind the club.
On the game itself tomorrow
Arsenal have their prolems, but they are still a team with a lot of pace, a
team you can't afford to lose the ball against in your own half because the
transition and pace they have up front is unbelievable. They attack with
numbers which makes them more likely to create something, but when they lose
the ball they are very, very vulnerable because they leave a big spacec
behind which you can use.
On a rumoured move for Jack Wilshere
"Of course if we are talking about Jack Wilshere as a player, that's
different. He is a great player with great ability but because of injuries
had to go on loan to Bournmouth but he is a great player at a good age also
- a great age.
Have you been told to change your coaching staff?
"No, that's not true. My coaching staff is really good and this coaching
staff helped us last season to break so many records
Andy Carroll's record vs Arsenal
"He is a threat in every game. He is the kind of player who is good against
any defence, home or away. The last game he scored, against Leicester he
didn't but on another day he would have had two or three because Schmeichel
made some great saves. And if we are talking about Arsenal of course we are
remebering last season at Upton Park when he scored a hat-trick. We are
expecting a lot from Andy and he is ready to play three games in one week."
West Ham boosted by Bilic's admission ahead of Arsenal clash
By Josh Challies - Apr 4, 2017 0
West Ham boss Slaven Bilic has handed a positive update to fans ahead of
their crucial London derby against Arsenal. The Hammers travel to North
London on the back of four consecutive Premier League defeats and now sit
just six points above the relegation zone. However, Arsenal are also amidst
their own poor run of form having won just three of their last ten matches
across all competitions- with two of those victories coming against
non-league sides in the FA Cup. Having seen the Gunners hit five past West
Ham at the London Stadium earlier this season, fans will be hoping for a
more positive outcome tomorrow evening and there's good news on the injury
front. Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Bilic revealed both
Diafra Sakho and Michail Antonio could take part tomorrow. "As I said before
the Hull game, we thought it was too early for Antonio but we will see
today." "HE (ANTONIO) WILL DEFINITELY BE INVOLVED TOMORROW BUT WE AREN'T
SURE IF HE WILL START YET." "He's (Diafra Sakho) back. He can't wait to get
playing again." "It was a serious injury and he looks really good. He's
lacking match practice and he may be on the bench tomorrow." Antonio has
been unavailable with a hamstring injury, that ruled him out of England
selection over the recent international break, whilst Sakho has not featured
for the past four months following surgery to a longstanding back issue.
Mark Noble: This has been the toughest season of my West Ham career
Exclusive: Noble says West Ham's problems go beyond bad results on the pitch
If the football stars had been truly aligned, Mark Noble would be playing
his 400th senior game for West Ham at Arsenal tomorrow night. After all, it
was there, at the indoor centre alongside Highbury, that the adventure began
for the kid from Canning Town. After being an unused substitute in the 2-1
defeat at Hull on Saturday, though, Noble must wait a little longer to reach
that milestone. The West Ham captain and midfielder takes up the story.
"I was at Arsenal as an 11-year-old," says Noble. "I really enjoyed it but I
was at school and my dad used to drive me there after work. Sometimes we
were in traffic for two hours. They wanted to keep me but I wasn't getting
home until nearly 11pm. I loved it there but it wasn't right, so I came to
West Ham and haven't looked back."
Six years later, Noble made his first-team debut in a League Cup tie against
Southend in 2004 and, aside from a couple of spells on loan, has been a
virtual fixture ever since. "When I was a youngster, my dream was to play in
the first team," says Noble, who turns 30 next month. "I was constantly
thinking, 'Will I make a career in football? Am I going to have to go out
and get a job?' "And then, when I got into the first team, I remember
thinking, 'I really don't want this to end.' "I was so hungry. You try to
ride the wave as much as you can but that wears off and then you have to be
mentally strong enough to cope with the challenge of staying there, of
thinking if you have a bad game, 'Is everyone doubting me now? Has the magic
worn off?' "I experienced all those emotions, I went on loan, to Hull and
then Ipswich, before I came back. "I remember Alan Pardew then told me he
was going to send me on loan again and I said I didn't want to go. "So I
waited, trained hard every day and I honestly believe now that, if I hadn't
been a strong enough character, I could have gone on loan again to another
club, maybe become comfortable and ended up signing for them. I wanted to
play in the Premier League, though."
Noble has experienced many things during his West Ham career, including
relegation to the Championship in 2011. As a Hammers supporter, as well as
player, he takes things to heart more than some. "We're not robots, we're
not factory built," he says. "We have feelings, we have families and we go
through tough times that people don't know about. Sometimes your form isn't
good and there's a reason for that. Sometimes the team isn't playing well
and you can't quite work out why. "Bad results affect everyone. When we were
relegated, people here lost their jobs. When you're captain, you worry about
Noble has certainly been concerned this term, with the Hammers picking up
just two points from their past six games, leaving them 14th in the table.
They went six games without a win in the autumn, too, but it's not just
results that have made this Noble's hardest season in his 13 years as a
first-team player. "This has been the toughest yet because last season went
by in a sort of a haze, a dream," says Noble, who captained the side to
seventh place last term. "We did things that, for West Ham, broke the mould,
like winning away at Liverpool and Manchester City and Arsenal. "This season
we've had the move to the new stadium and a new training ground, we've had
the Dimitri Payet situation and we lost Andy Carroll, Aaron Creswell and
Manuel Lanzini [to injury] in pre-season."
And last month, Noble incurred the wrath of some West Ham fans after
questioning, in a TV interview, their football knowledge. "What I was trying
to say was that if we sign a player, everyone is buzzing," he says. "I've
been here for 19 years, so West Ham fans are bored with seeing me. It's like
my wife, who changes the wallpaper every three years because she gets tired
of it. "You can have a player who looks fantastic on the eye, does four
step-overs but doesn't track back and help out his left-back or his central
Noble has mentioned no names but the image of Payet, who left in January
after a stand-off with the club, is not easy to ignore. "I was watching
YouTube recently with my son, Lenny," says Noble. "There was a clip of Paul
Pogba doing an audacious flip-flap thing on [now West Ham team-mate] Havard
Nordtveit in a Champions League game. Pogba was playing for Juventus and
Havard for Borussia Monchengladbach.
"It was only a 30-second clip and we were laughing about it. When I went
into training the next day, I was taking the micky out of Havard and he
said: 'That was the only thing he did in the entire game. It was probably
one of the best games I played but no one mentioned that. It was all about
that one piece of skill.' "That was what I was trying to say and I think I
have earned the right to have an opinion. "I've been down the same road as
everyone else, I've bought all the kits as a kid, hung about outside the
gates when I couldn't afford tickets, was a ball boy at Upton Park. "My
number one ambition now is to stay fit and healthy. Apart from that, I just
want to help look after this football club, as well as I can."
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Report discloses the West Ham offer Slaven Bilic has declined
West Ham United are struggling in the Premier League at the moment. West Ham
United have asked manager Slaven Bilic to make changes to his coaching
staff, according to The Times. It has been reported that Bilic has rejected
West Ham's offer of new fitness and first-team coaches this season. The
Hammers' chiefs reportedly believe that the team could do with fresh faces
to help with their injuries and poor form. "Bilic backed Miljenko Rak, his
long-term fitness coach, when the West Ham owners first suggested changes in
December," adds the report in The Times. "Some felt that Rak, at 69, could
be helped by a younger man."
Bilic is a good manager, but West Ham's recent results have been hugely
disappointing, and there is a chance that the team could get dragged into
the relegation fight. The Hammers are missing Dimitri Payet, who left for
his former club Marseille in the January transfer window. Finishing in the
top six of the Premier League this season was never going to be possible for
West Ham, but the squad is good enough to challenge for a spot in the top
10. The London outfit are 14th in the Premier League table at the moment
with 33 points from 30 matches, six points above the relegation zone. West
Ham will return to action on Wednesday evening when they take on Arsenal
away from home at the Emirates Stadium in the league.
West Ham closing in on Manchester City defender Pablo Zabaleta - reports
The 32-year-old is a free agent this summer
06:30, 4 APR 2017
West Ham are reportedly closing in on signing Manchester City right back
Pablo Zabaleta, according to reports coming out of Italy. Gazzetta della
Sport are reporting the 32-year-old Argentinian could be set to join the
Hammers on a free transfer when his contract at the Etihad runs out this
summer. Zabaleta has lifted two Premier League titles, one FA Cup and two
League Cup's during his time in Manchester but doesn't appear to be figuring
in Pep Guardiola's plans for the future, especially since he deployed winger
Jesus Navas at right back for City's 2-2 draw with Arsenal on Sunday.
Zabaleta is valued at around £7m but while the Hammers wouldn't have to pay
that, they obviously would have to pay his wages. It's being reported a
three-year offer is on the table for Zabaleta. Sam Byram could certainly do
worse than learning from someone like the vastly experienced Argentine,
that's for sure.
Jose Fonte admits he hasn't made the grade since joining West Ham from
Jose Fonte admits he has not reached the heights he is capable of since his
January move from Southampton to West Ham. The 33-year-old joined the
Hammers for £8million midway through the season but has struggled to bring
order to a West Ham defence that ranks joint-third leakiest in the top
flight. In eight league appearance West Ham have conceded 18 goals and Fonte
is yet to appear in a game in which the Hammers have kept a clean sheet. "I
haven't been as good as I perhaps was before but I am working to get there,"
Fonte told Sky Sports. "Nothing is guaranteed in this league."
Fonte conceded he was not the only player failing to make the grade at the
London Stadium. He insisted that it was the squad, and not their manager,
who should be held responsible for West Ham's recent struggles. "We are all
behind him obviously," Fonte added. "[We must take] the majority of the
blame. We have to take responsibility ourselves. "The players are the ones
on the pitch, so we have got to come up with the goods and help not only the
manager but ourselves and make the fans proud. "It is up to us to work hard
together as one and move on from this situation."
West Ham's Winston Reid set for buyout clause of more than £20m
West Ham United are keen to protect Winston Reid, one of their prize assets.
West Ham defender Winston Reid will have a buyout clause in excess of £20
million if he signs a new contract, it has been reported. The Sun claims
that the Hammers will offer him a fresh deal at the end of the season in an
effort to ward off suitors. As well as the buyout clause of more than £20
million, the New Zealand international will also be rewarded with
£70,000-a-week wages, it says. He signed a six-and-a-half year deal two
years ago, meaning he's already under West Ham's control until 2021, so it's
very possible that the new terms won't amount to a contract extension. Reid
has again impressed this season and been West Ham's most convincing
defender, and with January signing Jose Fonte having had an inauspicious
start to life at the London Stadium he's more important than ever. Arsenal
were heavily linked with a move for the 28-year-old two years ago, and with
quality centre-backs hard to come by it's not unlikely that he is still on
their radar or that of other clubs with big budgets. Meanwhile in the same
report it's said another Irons star, Michail Antonio, will also be presented
with a bumper new deal when the season draws to a close as the club looks
hold onto its best players.
Jamie Redknapp urges West Ham not to panic, but claims Slaven Bilic's
contract must be addressed
Jamie Rednapp believes West Ham United need to back manager Slaven Bilic.
Pundit Jamie Redknapp has told the Daily Mail that he thins West Ham United
should support manager Slaven Bilic rather than sack him. The Hammers lost
for a fourth game in a row on Saturday afternoon, as they were beaten 2-1
away at Hull City having initially been 1-0 up at the KCOM Stadium, thanks
to Andy Carroll's opening goal. The defeat followed losses to the likes of
Chelsea, Bournemouth and Leicester City, and it means that West Ham aren't
quite safe from relegation just yet. With just two points picked up in the
last four games, West Ham now lie just six points clear of the relegation
zone, with manager Slaven Bilic under increasing pressure. Speculation was
rife last week that the Hammers could look to replace the Croatian this
summer, with managers such as David Wagner, Jaap Stam, Roberto Mancini and
Rafael Benitez all mentioned as possible targets. Bilic is entering the
final year of his contract with West Ham, meaning that he is heading into
the summer with confusion surrounding his future – but many would suggest
that he's endured difficult circumstances this season.
After taking West Ham to a seventh-placed finish last season, Bilic has had
to deal with poor signings, a number of injuries, struggles in the new
London Stadium home, a lack of a consistent, reliable goalscorer and the
departure of star playmaker Dimitri Payet. Now, pundit Jamie Redknapp has
told the Daily Mail that he thinks West Ham cannot afford to panic at this
crucial stage of the season, and must make a decision on Bilic's future at
the end of the campaign. "West Ham may have lost their last four games but I
would not dream of getting rid of Slaven Bilic at the moment. Now is not the
time to panic," said Redknapp. "Who are they going to get at this stage of
the season? Bilic has had to contend with the loss of his best player in
Dimitri Payet and get used to the new stadium."
"Bilic is going into the final year of his contract and that can leave the
manager in an uncertain position with the players. West Ham need to address
Bilic's contract in the summer," he added.
ANDY TOWNSEND HITS OUT AT WEST HAM FANS, LABELS THEM DELUDED
3rd April, 2017, 9:15 PM
By Harvey Byrne
Former footballer turned pundit Andy Townsend has hit out at sections of the
West Ham fan base and labelled them "deluded". The Hammers are currently
struggling in the Premier League in 14th place with just six points
separating them from Hull in 18th. Over the years the east London club's
support have been urging the club to progress up the English pyramid while
playing proper football, fans have called the 'West Ham Way'. It is believed
that former boss Sam Allardyce ultimately lost his job for playing in an not
so pretty way and he slammed Hammers supporters back in 2015, calling them
"brainwashed". Now, Townsend has taken a similar approach and believes
portions of the West Ham support are deluded for thinking the way that they
play is more important than results out on the pitch. "It's whichever way
you want to look at it," started Townsend speaking to BBC Five Live on
Monday evening. "Are you a fan that just wants to see your team win, or are
you a fan that wants to turn up every week and you want to see the beautiful
game rolling around it. "Now, that's what Sam's saying 'get real, get real'
you want to survive and you want to play regular Premier League football
then we've got slug it out with everybody else. "So, whatever West Ham
historically have done, I think personally is I come from that school of
thought. I know that Slaven as much as he would like to play, his first duty
is to win, just to get over the line. "If fans only want to see their team
go and play wonderful football and aren't bothered about results then I'm
afraid that they are deluded."
BBC 5 live Sport ? @5liveSport
Slaven Bilic is under pressure in East London.
Are #WHUFC fans' expectations unrealistic?
8:32 PM - 3 Apr 2017
21 21 Retweets 46 46 likes
West Ham only returned to the Premier League in 2012 after spending a season
back in England's second tier. They have since moved into their new London
Stadium while entering the qualification stages of the Europa League twice.
However, this season has not gone to plan so far and Slaven Bilic's side
have another tough test coming up on Wednesday evening in the form of London
Red Bull takeover would've been the best thing to happen to West Ham
When reports emerged in December that West Ham United turned down a £650
million takeover from Red Bull, there was misplaced relief.
People don't like change, it's a common human trait, but the reaction to
reports that the Austrian drinks giant wanted to buy the East London club
were extreme to say the least. Irrational fears were spouted on social media
after The Telegraph reported Hammers co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold
had turned down the huge bid. Supporters were worried the marketing machine
would come in and rename the club, change the badge, the kit and all but
erase Bobby Moore from the history books. In reality none of those things
would have happened, if there is one thing Red Bull isn't... it's stupid.
The company, worth over $8billion, has wide ranging sporting interests
across the globe and is famous for spending big and wisely to make a success
of its ventures. In Germany, the club Red Bill Leipzig - which was
originally fifth division side SSV Markranstädt before being purchased and
rebranded - is reviled mainly because the owners have done everything in
their power to invest as much as possible to make the team a success. And
they have done just that with the side rocketing up the leagues and now
sitting pretty in second place in the Bundesliga behind runaway leaders
Bayern Munich and are set for next season's Champions League.
Two big problems the Hammers have is a lack of the kind of investment needed
to challenge the top six from Sullivan and Gold and the new ground. The oval
bowl is not condusive to a generating the kind of intimidating atmosphere
which made Upton Park famous with fans not close enough to the pitch. Had
Red Bull taken over it would have surprised nobody had they bought the
stadium outright and redeveloped it into a proper football stadium. And in
terms of branding Red Bull would have been the ideal people to take West Ham
to the next level. As an established, Premier League outfit with a huge
stadium, in all likelihood Red Bull would have renamed the stadium the Red
Bull Olympic Stadium, which is certainly no worse than the London Stadium,
for a large sum of money which in turn would have given West Ham the freedom
to compete with the big boys in terms of Financial Fair Play. Fans feared
the club would be selling out or selling it's soul had Red Bull taken over.
In truth that has already happened without any of the success to go with it.
WEST HAM WANT BILIC TO MAKE KEY CHANGE AFTER WITHERING STAM ASSESSMENT –
3rd April, 2017, 8:11 PM
By Harry Sykes
West Ham want Slaven Bilic to shake up his backroom staff after Jaap Stam
suggested the intensity of Reading's training sessions was too much for
Reece Oxford, according to a report. The Times claim Hammers chiefs will try
to persuade the manager to change his support team after he snubbed the
club's offer of new fitness and first-team coaches in December. It is said
the West Ham top brass believe that a the appointment of a fresh face who
can help drill the players might address concerns about the fitness of the
squad. There have been suggestions that Bilic's long-term fitness coach
Miljenko Rak, 69, could be aided by a younger man more in tune with modern
preparation and injury prevention methods. It has not gone unnoticed by
supporters and critics that West Ham have had great difficulty this season
in getting their best players on the pitch at the same time. An injury
crisis has robbed Bilic of key trio Winston Reid, Pedro Obiang and Michail
Antonio, as well as long-term absentees Angelo Ogbonna, Gokhan Tore and
Diafra Sakho. West Ham lost 2-1 away to Hull on Saturday when they conceded
a goal in the last ten minutes for the third time in the past six matches.
Moreover, the Times report that Reading manager Stam suggested that Oxford,
the defender who has been on loan from West Ham since late January,
initially struggled to cope with the intensity of his training sessions.
Oxford has made just three substitute appearances, for a combined total of
38 minutes, since joining the Championship's fifth-placed club on deadline
day. He had been expected to play a much more significant role for the
promotion hopefuls after announcing his arrival in the West Ham senior side
with a series of polished displays last season.
West Ham United will not get £16m for Diafra Sakho now
The Senegal striker has struggled with injury all season. West Ham United
fans are still waiting to see Diafra Sakho in action again this season. He
last played, and scored, in a 1-1 draw with Manchester United in November.
Since then, he has been out with a back problem and West Ham have missed his
goalscoring habit. But they very nearly sold him in the summer anyway. In
the summer he tried forcing through a move to West Brom, in a deal reported
by the Birmingham Mail to be in the region of £16 million, which would have
been a club record for the Baggies. However, he failed a medical at the club
and returned, tail between legs, to the Hammers.
The problem for West Ham now is this … who in their right mind would pay £16
million for Sakho now? His failed medical at West Brom appears to have been
justified, based on his lack of action this term. No team will want to
splurge out that amount of money for a player they will not consider fully
fit. West Ham will simply have no chance of getting that amount of money for
the player this summer.
Why did Ashley Fletcher's transfer from Manchester United to West Ham go to
It took eight months to get to this stage
18:31, 3 APR 2017
More than eight months after he originally signed for West Ham, Ashley
Fletcher's transfer fee has finally been settled. You can read our original
piece this morning of the deal here. It currently stands at £1m for the
20-year-old, who joined the Hammers from Manchester United back in the
So, what exactly is a transfer tribunal and why was Fletcher involved in
As Fletcher was under the age of 24 and had reached the end of his contract
at Old Trafford, a tribunal was needed to set a fee. Whatever value the
tribunal comes up with, that's final. The player has already changed clubs -
Fletcher was officially unveiled a West Ham player in July - and the fee now
set cannot be appealed.
Manchester United and West Ham couldn't agree of a fee for the striker but
as he reached the end of his deal at Old Trafford, he was technically a free
agent but was approached to sign for the Hammers while he was still a United
player. There was also interest from Leeds United in the striker as well,
who could have valued Fletcher differently.
There is, in fact, a proper name for this tribunal - The Professional
Football Compensation Committee (PFCC). It's not permanent but four of five
people will get together to thrash things out when it's neccessary. It's is
normally made up of people within football that have some sort of legal
experience, such as a football secretary or a lawyer.
A representative from the Professional Footballers Association will also be
on the tribunal, as will someone from the League Managers' Association. We
should know the identities of who made up the PFCC in the coming days as
they aren't known until a decision is made as to ward off any outside
PFCC hearings require each club to provide evidence to support their
valuation of the player in question - in this case, Fletcher. United may
have suggested more, the Hammers may have suggested less.
The committee will take into account the costs of both clubs in operating an
academy, as well as the age and number of appearances for the player, the
length of time he was registered with his first club, the terms offered by
both teams to the player, the status of the two clubs, interest shown by
other clubs who wanted the player r and any amounts paid by the original
club to acquire the player in the first place.
As mentioned earlier, the fee is final - currently £1m - but that could
rise. The PFCC often requires clubs to make a basic fee payment (that's the
£1m) and then further payments to be made in the future. Think of it like
when new signings contract when they are given goal bonuses, appearance
bonuses etc etc.
So, should Fletcher become a first team regular and bang in 25 goals next
season, United should expect a nice little payment from east London. If West
Ham sell on Fletcher, United will get a portion of that as well.
Fletcher's eventual fee could rise another £1m to £2m if he meets an
appearance clause inserted in his contract. Current Hammer Aaron Cresswell
went through a transfer tribunal as well whe he signed for Ipswich Town from
Tranmere Rovers. Cresswell was 21 when he rejected a new deal at Tranmere
and signed for Ipswich on a three-year deal. The PFCC decided that Ipswich
had to pay Rovers an initial £240,000, plus £45,000 if he made up to 60
appearances. Another £100,000 would have gone to Rovers had Town been
promoted to the Premier League, which they weren't. Finally, Rovers received
20% of the fee West Ham paid to Ipswich to sign Cresswell back in 2014,
which was a reported £3.75m.
A SHAKE UP AT THE EMIRATES?
By Iain Dale 4 Apr 2017 at 09:10
Given that we have now lost four games on the spin and haven't won in six,
one could be forgiven for thinking that the team needs a bit of a shakeup at
The Emirates on Wednesday. At Hull we performed well in the first half, but
as usual this season we couldn't keep it up for a full ninety minutes. I do
wonder whether fitness is something to do with it, but I suppose we'll never
know. If anyone has access to the 'distance run' in each game, I wonder how
near the bottom of the league table we'd be.
I think it may be time to bring back Adrian. Darren Randolph has let in some
soft goals in recent games and no longer looks the goalkeeper he did when he
In defence Aaron Cresswell's position is under threat. He always looks
dangerous going forward but his primary responsibility is to defend, and in
that regard he has looked rather lax of late. However, let's remember the
understanding he has built up with Andy Carroll and that he provided the
cross from which Carroll scored on Saturday. However, I have been really
impressed with Arthur Masuaku, although we should remember that the worst
game he had for us was when we lost so badly to Arsenal at home in November.
In midfield and up front we have fewer options for change, although Michail
Antonio and Diafra Sakho may play a role, if only from the subs bench. If
Sakho is fit, I'd thrown him on from the start to play alongside Carroll.
He's clearly raring to go and a Carroll/Sakho partnership could wreak havoc
in the Arsenal defence. But if they play together, we certainly need to
bombard the penalty area from the wings.
So here's my team to play Arsenal…
Adrian, Masuaku, Collins, Fonte, Byram, Kouyate, Noble, Lanzini, Carroll,
Subs: Randolph, Feghouli, Snodgrass, Ayew, Fernandes, Cresswell, Rice