Friday, April 7

Daily WHUFC News - 7th April 2017

Bilic - Duo should be fit for Swansea

Slaven Bilic expects both Andy Carroll and Michail Antonio to be fully fit
for Saturday's clash against Swansea City
The pair were both replaced during the side's 3-0 defeat to Arsenal on
But the problems both suffered should be nothing to worry about come the
weekend, claimed the boss

West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic is hopeful that influential duo Andy
Carroll and Michail Antonio will be fit and ready to take on Swansea City at
London Stadium on Saturday. The pair were both replaced in the Hammers' 3-0
defeat at Arsenal on Wednesday, with Antonio coming off at half time, while
the returning Diafra Sakho was introduced midway through the second period
for Carroll. And many feared the worst when their numbers came up due to
respective injury problems that have kept them out of action in recent
weeks. Bilic moved to reassure supporters, however, that both are still in
line to play their part in the vital Premier League clash against Swansea at
the weekend. About Carroll, he said: "Andy felt a groin at half time against
Arsenal, but it was not major. It allowed him to play for another 15 minutes
and then we wanted to replace him. "This morning, it's not worse – it's OK.
He has a good chance – he has a good chance of playing on Saturday, for
sure. "Andy is vital to us, of course. It's vital on Saturday and we need
everyone now that can help us in this situation."

Antonio was recently withdrawn from Gareth Southgate's England squad due to
a hamstring strain, but the winger suffered no similar problems at the
Emirates and was instead replaced for a different reason. "For Mikey, the
press connected it with a problem with his hamstring, and normally that
would be the case when a player has recently come back from injury, so it's
normal," Bilic continued. "Fortunately, it had nothing to do with the
hamstring, but it was just when we had the lunch yesterday at the hotel, he
felt really sick, and he vomited a lot. "The doctor and the medical staff
gave him some vitamins and all that, and he was OK to try and play some part
of the game. "But at half time, we decided that we were going to basically
take him off and rest him for Saturday. "He is feeling much better this
morning. He has stayed at home but he's feeling much better. If it
progresses like this, then he should also be good for Saturday. That's it
for injuries, basically."

U17s win J-League Club Challenge

West Ham United U17s have clinched the J-League Club Challenge title
They beat local side Gamba Osaka in the final 4-2
Bernardo Rosa was awarded MVP after scoring five times, twice in the final

West Ham United U17s beat local side Gamba Osaka 4-2 to clinch the J-League
Club Challenge title. The Hammers were beaten by their final opponents in
the group stage, but the victory never looked in doubt as Danny Searle's men
dominated from start to finish. Bernardo Rosa scored twice in the triumph,
taking his competition tally to five, and he was given the tournament's MVP
award. Amadou Diallo and Reece Hannam scored the other two goals, as the
Hammers completed a terrific week in Japan. "Coming out to a tournament like
this is the unknown. Although we won two game on the first day we looked a
bit lethargic," admitted head coach Searle. "The second day was much better
and today I think our class came through. We've got the youngest squad here
and to come here and evolve the way we did is very important."

The Hammers made the perfect start to the final when Ben Johnson's terrific
cross was nodded home by Rosa. However, local side Osaka, who beat the
Hammers 1-0 in the group stage, responded immediately. A long ball over the
top of defence was finished well. Searle's players had improved as the week
went on and bounce back well to lead by two at the break. Rosa volleyed home
excellently and that was followed by Amadou Diallo's neat finish from a long
kick by keeper Joseph Anang. Osaka responded in the second half to put the
game back in the balance, but the Hammers sealed the tournament victory when
Hannam drilled home brilliantly from just inside the box. "When we did the
pre-match today, we said 'you know what the standard is and you know what
type of football they play," added Searle. "We grew into the game well and
I'm glad the boys achieved what they did today. It's an excellent

West Ham (v Gamba Osaka): Anang (Sanneh); Johnson, Dalipi (Okotcha), Wells,
Hannam; Coventry, Mingi (Forson); Ngakia (King), Rosa, Diallo; Adarkwa
(Ashby). Subs not used: Watson, Chesters.
Goals: Rosa (2), Diallo, Hannam.
Bookings: Diallo.


This article is written by former Hammers favourite Mark Ward, who was ever
present in our most successful season in 1986. You can can catch Wardy at
each of our events where he is happy to discuss all things West Ham with
you. Make sure you get your tickets for Saturday's event with Keith Robson
today from this link:

After our fives loses on the bounce its time for the players and management
to dig deep and get a result at home to Swansea on Saturday. Tottenham did
us a big favour beating the Swans last night.

There are loads of opinions about the poor season the Hammers have had and I
am not having the change of stadium as any excuse. Bad recruitment YES!!
When a player leaves to sign for another club they play at a different
stadium, train at a different training ground and may live in a different
area of the country. I cant recall a player saying he could not perform
because of the change of stadium. The facts are a pitch is a pitch bar a few
different dimensions. Whether you are in England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales
or the Moon it's a game of football. Put it this way my brother works in a
gang of builders they could be on a job for a year to 6 months. When they
move to another site or city they cant make an excuse of the changes. Its
there livelihood and their job.


Noble: the biggest game for a while
Filed: Thursday, 6th April 2017
By: Staff Writer

Mark Noble says that this weekend's relegation clash against Swansea will be
the club's biggest game for some considerable time. The club captain
returned to the starting line-up at The Emirates last night but was unable
to prevent Arsenal securing all three points with a comfortable 3-0 win.
Within moments of the final whistle, Noble's attention had already turned to
this weekend's encounter with the Swans, who are currently five points
behind West Ham but just two from safety. And he urged all Hammers fans to
briefly forget the negativity associated with the current campaign and unite
behind the team. "We need the fans on Saturday for sure, all of them in full
voice," he told "Let's hope we can reward them and give them a
little bit of something back with three points. "In my eyes, it's the
biggest game we've had for a long time. We need to get the three points,
simple as. We have Swansea and Sunderland in the next two and we need points
in both of those games to ease the pressure. "The group and the team are
remaining positive. We just need to go about our business professionally in
the next couple of days and pick each other up, ready to go again on
Noble also defended under-pressure goalkeeper Darren Randolph, who many
onlookers felt was at fault for Arsenal's opening goal last night. "We
defended so well in the first half - and then you get that little bit of
misfortune," he mused. "A couple of players run across Daz [Randolph] and he
doesn't see it, that's what happens. "That goal really killed us and we
couldn't hold on after that."

Fifty years ago today, Ron Greenwood showed us how to play
Filed: Thursday, 6th April 2017
By: Paul Walker

It was the Beatles' fault really with all the current fuss about the 50th
anniversary of the release of Sgt.Pepper.

My era you see. I was a teenager, the '60s were in full swing and West Ham
had won the FA Cup, the European Cup Winners' Cup... oh, and the little
matter of the World Cup.

And the music was better than any of this Simon Cowell rubbish we have to
put up with these days. And I'd just discovered Soul and Motown. What more
could a young man ask for?

The painful trip back from Hull (I might have mentioned it previously)
inspired these memories. Wine and the iPlayer helped, along with an
newspaper article about the Sgt.Pepper album.

You get to start looking for memories of something better, and five
successive defeats and a real relegation fight now suggests some positive
distraction is in order. So what was my beloved West Ham doing 50 years ago,
the season of 66-67, compared to the horror stuff we are being subjected to

Just how would this motley crew of now compare to the heroes of my past?

Silly question really. Embarrassing really. That 66-67 season produced the
most amazing week of football I have ever seen West Ham play. Our current
side, with their pitiful 41 goals so far in the league, will have to go some
to match the 80 that the Irons notched in the league back in 66-67.

And in one marvellous week in the November of 66, West Ham were unstoppable.
A 6-1 home win over Fulham on 5 November, followed by a 7-0 League Cup win
over Leeds two days later and then a 4-3 demolition of Spurs at White Hart
Lane on the following Saturday.

Geoff Hurst scored eight of those 17 goals, John Sissons netted four and
Martin Peters managed a meagre three. In that season, Hurst, Peters and
Johnny Byrne scored 70 goals between them. Makes you think!

Frankly I see nothing these days to match the excitement, joy and awe of
those days. The way we are drifting towards the drop, defeats at Hull and
now Arsenal makes folk like me long for the old days, our old stadium and a
team to be proud of.

And when people keep telling me our current players are bigger, quicker,
fitter and technically better, I--and folk of my generation--know better.
Maybe they don't drink as much lager now as they did then, but, hey, we all
need a few beers at the moment!

Fifty years down the line, has the music improved? Not really. Is the
football better to watch? Certainly not. Would any of this current West Ham
side get into the team of 66-67, on talent, notwithstanding the Olympic
fitness levels of today? Not a chance.

Now I expect the youth of today, the sports scientists with their
overflowing data we are subjected to now, to howl me down. Of course
football is better now than 50 years ago, they will claim.

Sorry I know better. This piece was partly inspired by a 53-year-old codger
who was commenting on one of my articles this week, when you could sense the
frustration of what he is watching now and what you expect from West Ham.

You really had to have seen Budgie Byrne, the mastermind behind that magic
week of November 66, to know what I mean.

Looking at those three games, Ron Greenwood named the same team for each
match. None of this rotational nonsense. In the Fulham game it was 1-1 at
the break, but West Ham then scored five in 19 minutes. It has taken them
four games to score five currently.

The Leeds game was next. I recall being at college in Harlow with a dodgy
old Ford Anglia, heaven knows how I got it there and back. But it was worth
it, one of the best games I have ever seen West Ham play. Hurst and Sissons
both scored hat-tricks and we utterly destroyed the hated Yorkshiremen.

I have never been able to find any footage of this match, having searched
You Tube, does anyone know if there is anything around?

Then after all that we go to Spurs and play them off the park in front of
51,000. A miraculous week, I doubt will ever be better for intensity. Oh,
and there were no subs then either. And where did we finish that season? A
lowly 16th, scoring 100 goals in all matches--conceding 84 in the
league--and providing the sort of all-round entertainment that epitomises
what West Ham are all about, the true West Ham way.

And the comparison between the teams and, say, the side we put out at Hull,
for example. Embarrassing really. Jim Standen or Darren Randolph in goal.
Got to be Jim, he could even win the County cricket title with
Worcestershire that year, and was as brave and sure of hand as they come.

Full backs? Eddie Bovington and John Charles against Sam Byram and Aaron
Creswell. Well, Bov would have scared Sam just looking at him, and Charles
was grossly under-rated and a better defender.

And the rest? Martin Peters against Cheikhou Kouyate, Ken Brown against Jose
Fonte and Bobby Moore against James let's stop being silly
here. Peter Brabrook or Sofiane Feghouli, Ronnie Boyce or Robert Snodgrass
and John Sissons against Andre Ayew. Now stop laughing all you old timers
out there!

And the other two. Johnny Byrne or Manuel Lanzini and Geoff Hurst against
Andy Carroll. Hurst scored 41 goals that season. End of debate. Lanzini has
true talent, but fades from games and struggles a bit physically.

I just wish you young folk could have seen Byrne, who but for injury would
have been in the England World Cup-winning team, no doubt, instead of Roger
Hunt. After Moore, Byrne was my all-time hero.

Sadly too much booze and injuries did for him in the end. He passed away in
South Africa at 60. But me and many of my generation will never forget his
genius, playing behind Hurst. They scored 50 and 57 goals between them in
successive seasons.

But in true West Ham tradition, things changed very quickly. Byrne was sold
to Crystal Palace in the February, and we lost seven league games on the
trot at the back end of the season--so Greenwood would have been sacked by
David Sullivan under his six loses and out theory.

Mind you, as Byrne was in the Third Division then, Sullivan would have tried
to sign him on loan with a potential to buy later.

In fact, we only drew the last game after that, at home to Manchester City.
Times were a' changing, Ken Brown left at the end of the season, Standen was
soon to lose his place to Bobby Ferguson, while only champions Manchester
United--who won the title at the Boleyn with a 6-1 victory in May--scored
more goals than the Hammers that term.

But that's West Ham. Brilliant and barmy in one amazing season. So 50 years
down the line, that's what this current crop have to live up to. It's no
contest really, even if there was a lot more lager about in those days.
Sgt.Pepper was released in June of '67, a masterpiece, but I loved my
Hammers more.

There are a few more falling out of love with them at the moment, a rented
ground and a seemingly soulless team. Maybe they will prove me wrong, maybe
they will beat Swansea on Saturday, but match what we had 50 years ago? No

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

6th April, 2017, 3:56 PM
By Alex Stevens

Sam Byram has not developed as hoped at West Ham amid growing doubts about
his future at the club, according to a report. The Times claim the Hammers'
defensive frailties stem from their signings, namechecking the arrival of
Byram from Leeds in January 2016. It is said that the right-back, 23, has
not developed as hoped during his 15 months at West Ham and that the club
are paying the price for his slow progress. There is a growing sense that an
exit is on the cards for Byram this summer, with him allowed to leave on a
season-long loan or possibly even on a permanent transfer if the London
club's valuation can be met. The Times report that West Ham are closing in
on the signing of The Elland Road academy product has failed to gain the
trust of manager Slaven Bilic since his transfer in January 2016. The
Premier League club are on the look out for a new right-back after
struggling to find a consistent performer in that position in the last two
seasons. Byram has struggled to settle at West Ham since his £3.75million
transfer from boyhood club Leeds, where he made 143 senior appearances after
emerging from the youth set-up. He has made just 21 appearances in all
competitions and suffered a series of niggling injuries that have prevented
him from nailing down the right-back spot. However, even when he has been
fit, manager Bilic has often turned to emergency options, with defensive
midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate and right-sided attacker Michail Antonio
preferred in Byram's favourite position.

Thumping desks, Antonio's fitness and "vital" Swansea clash - the full
transcript of Bilic's West Ham press conference
Slaven Bilic came out fighting at his press conference
Football London
15:18, 6 APR 2017

Under pressure manager Slaven Bilic thumped his desk THREE times to enforce
just how vital West Ham's match with Swansea is this weekend at his
pre-match press conference at Rush Green. Five straight defeats have seen
the Hammers slump to only five points outside the Premier League drop zone
ahead of the game at the London Stadium on Saturday Which direction the
three points go in could have an enormous impact for both teams. With last
night's 3-0 defeat to Arsenal still fresh in the memory, Bilic came out
fighting at Rush Green and launched into a rallying cry for the West Ham
fans, staff and non-playing squad members to be in this together.

Here is the full transcript from the broadcast section of the press

On injuries to Antonio and Carroll

Andy felt a bit of a groin problem, he reported it at half time but it was
like not major or whatever. It was OK to play for another 15 iminutes and
then, I decided to replace him. This morning it is not worse, it is OK so he
has got a good chance to make it for Saturday. It is vital for us he plays,
we need everyone now. That can help us in this situation.

Mikey, fortunately it had nothing to do with his hamstring. When we had
lunch at the hotel yesterday, he felt really sick and vomited a lot. The
doctor, medical staff, gave him some vitamins and he was OK to try and play
some part but then at half time, we decided to rest him for Saturday. He's
feeling much better this morning. He stayed home and feeling much better so
if it progresses like this then he should be good for Saturday and that's

On confidence within the squad

We have had five defeats and it's very bad, to be fair. It's not that we
realise now that we need points, we knew it already and we really want to do
it on Saturday. We have the determination and everything, we need to show
that character and quality now and to stop this run of results immediately
on Saturday. We know the position we are in, it's us who are to blame. First
of all, it is my responsibility of course but now it's about time to get
points to get us out of possible trouble. Of course its my responsibility. I
am not talking about the blame but it's the managers responsibility and my
job to take the defeats on my chest and then lift them team for the game
against Swansea.

The biggest two games of your career coming up?

It's interesting for the media to call them D-Day or whatever. Look, they
are massively important games. I have had those kind of games before, some
players or all have them at some point. They are not do or die situations
but we don't want to get there. We won six of nine before these five
defeats, we were in a good situation but there was a lot of points to play
for and so now, it's of massive importance.

Collins on "disaster" if Bilic was sacked

There's no time to talk about individuals, whether it is me James Collins,
Mark Noble, whoever. There is a club here and the future of this club that
we don't want to get in the situation where we have to win THAT game. I
didn't smell this, I didn't think we would lose five games. We deserved
something out of some of them - not yesterday, they were better than us. But
every opponent before that, we could have or should have got points. But
it's us who are to blame, it's my responsibility now. We have to think only
about the team. Not a team of 11, a team of 60,000, plus 18, plus staff and
everybody else, 20 more people, the players who aren't involved that will be
there. I will never stop believing in myself but to make others believe in
you, you have to do better.

Is "The West Ham Way" out of the window this weekend?

We have got to play football. Our run of games are affecting how are
playing. Every game we start from zero, but you don't bring the goals that
you score previous game into the next one. But, the previous game, or the
way you train, it affects your confidence and how you approach that game.
"We don't have it on a level that is required for a top level of football.
It would be stupid for me to come here and say we are flying high on
confidence because we are not. We have leaders, we have a team and if we
stick together we can approach the game with confidence. It's not can we do
it, we have to do it and we have got to do it on Saturday. It'll be
extremely difficult but is also a great challenge to be a part of for me as
a manager.

What's going wrong?

If i could then it wouldn't happen, we'd stop it. Probably, most definitely,
there were some games that we drew or we should have lost, or that we win we
should have drawn. It started with West Brom when we lost in the last
minute. It's definitely set pieces, that's wrong. They have cost us goals
against Chelsea, Bournemouth, Watford, Hull, Leicester an they are very
important. Leicester's two goals when they were leading were from set pieces
and it affects you. We can say there are individual mistakes too and there
are and we have made too many of them. As a team we can get the confidence
back, individually it cant be great after 5 defeats. But, if we are together
as a unit, all of us. We have got to belief, if we have that belief we can
get it back. It is something different than confidence.

On Boxing Day win against Swansea

The players know we won that game but it was ages ago. 4-1, really good game
for us but they were in trouble then. We will never lose the belief, that
can help us to get the confidence back. Belief is permanent.

Six issues Slaven Bilic must address to stop West Ham relegation slide
Slaven Bilic must spark a revival ahead of crunch Swansea clash
Evening Standard

James Collins was spot-on when he described Saturday's match at home to
Swansea as West Ham's "biggest in many a year". Slaven Bilic's fragile team
have lost five in a row and are dropping down the Premier League like a
stone. At the end of February they were ninth in the table and 12 points
above the relegation zone. Following their 3-0 defeat at Arsenal last night
they sit precariously, just five points ahead of third-from-bottom Swansea
and cannot buy a win.

So what must they do to spark a revival? Here are six areas that need to be
looked at.

Show some character

Five successive defeats have eroded the confidence to such an extent that,
as Collins admitted: "There only needs to be one thing that goes against us
— and we crumble." West Ham need to start believing in themselves again —
and quickly otherwise things will only get worse. When things go against
them, as happens in football, they need to keep their heads up, show a
little swagger and remember what they achieved last season and how hard they

Stop the slow starts

Too often this season West Ham have been off the pace from the kick-off.
That has to change on Saturday. Swansea may have improved recently under
Paul Clement but they are five points worse off than Bilic's side and there
are good reasons for that. West Ham need to come out of the traps quickly,
put their Welsh opponents on the back foot right from the start, instead of
the other way around.

Take home comforts

The move to the London Stadium has not been without problems but West Ham
have been there for almost a season and it's time they embrace their new
home. West Ham should remember they also suffered relegation at the fondly
remembered Boleyn Ground so it's time to put any lingering negativity behind
them and look forward to regularly playing in front of almost 60,000 fans,
with all the advantages that could bring if they give the supporters the
encouragement they need to really get behind their team.

Tackle the No1 question

It's time for Bilic to look again at the goalkeeping situation. The manager
dropped Adrian last November after several eccentric displays and, for a
time, Republic of Ireland international Darren Randolph showed it was right
to make him the No1. Recently though, Randolph looks as if he has been
affected by the loss of confidence within the team and against Leicester —
and again last night — has conceded poor goals when the ball has bounced
just in front of him. It would be a big call to bring back the Spaniard who,
before this season, had done so well but it is worth considering.

A change on the right?

Bilic has not many options following more injuries that have blighted his
season but there are one or two areas worth scrutiny. Andre Ayew, the £20
million signing from Swansea, had an unfortunate start at his new club when
he was injured in his first game and spent three months out. He's back fit
but is still not making the impact Bilic hoped for. It might be time to
replace him with Robert Snodgrass who, although not pulling up any trees yet
either following his January arrival from Hull, needs to be playing in his
favoured position on the right, rather than on the other flank.

Service issue for Andy

No Premier League defender relishes marking Andy Carroll but the big man
needs proper service. The striker needs to have a run on defenders rather
than, against Arsenal last night, hopeful straight balls being lobbed up to
him. Wide players, supported by full-backs, need to get behind opposition
defences — and Carroll will do the rest. The Hammers need him scoring if
they are to end their slump.

James Collins issues West Ham relegation warning ahead of 'biggest game in
years' against Swansea
Evening Standard

West Ham defender James Collins admits the club are in danger of being
sucked into the Premier League relegation fight after losing their fifth
match in a row last night. The Hammers were beaten 3-0 at Arsenal and are
now just five points ahead of third-from-bottom Swansea, who were ahead
until the 88th minute against Tottenham last night before losing 3-1. And
experienced defender Collins summed up the importance of Saturday's home
match against the Welsh side when he said: "It's a massive game, the biggest
at West Ham for many a year because, if we don't win it, we're sucked right
into a relegation fight."

Wales international Collins has come into the team following an injury to
Winston Reid and was one of the few positives for West Ham at The Emirates
last night. "We did alright in the first half, we knew we had to defend well
and we did that," he added. "At the moment, though, it seems there only
needs to be one thing that goes against us — it doesn't even have to be a
goal — and we seem to crumble, which is disappointing. "We can't go a goal
behind and think the game is over. At the moment, it looks as though, if we
don't keep a clean sheet, we're not going to get any points. "We need to
re-group quickly, have a couple of good days' training and then make sure we
get those three points on Saturday. "Confidence is low at the moment and you
can see that when we go a goal down, but we know we can play well, as we did
when we beat them [Swansea] 4-1 earlier in the season. "At the moment the
heads are going down, which is not good, so we need to have a little chat
before Saturday's game. "As for myself, I think I've done okay since I came
in, but we've still lost both games. Everyone needs to look at themselves
and their performances. The next two games, against Swansea and then
Sunderland, are huge."

West Ham manager Slaven Bilic said of the Swansea clash: "We need that win.
Okay, we are at home and they have improved, but they are five points behind
us and there is a reason for that. "We are in the fight now. It's not being
negative, it is being realistic."

West Ham fans turn on Jose Fonte after defeat to Arsenal
The 33-year-old has struggled since his arrival
Football London
10:56, 6 APR 2017

West Ham fans' patience with Jose Fonte - which was wearing thin anyway -
appears to have snapped after Wednesday nights 3-0 defeat at Arsenal. Fonte
and James Collins put in a decent first 45 minutes at the Emirates before
really struggling after the break as Mesut Ozil turned on the style in N7,
dictating play and inspiring the Gunners to an ultimately comfortable
victory. The Portuguese centre half, signed for £8m from Southampton in
January, has yet to keep a clean sheet in claret and blue and has only
conceded less than two goals in one game, the 1-1 draw with Watford back on
February 25. The 33-year-old has looked good in spurts but isn't quite
showing the form that saw him help Portugal to Euro 2016 triumph last summer
and to be fair to Fonte, he has admitted as such himself. But that's not
enough for some Hammers fans, who have taken to social media to vent their

West Ham Fan @WestHamFan20
Jose Fonte is the worst defender I've ever watched
9:32 PM - 5 Apr 2017

Sam Harris @Sam7Harris
@GChannon_ Agreed mate..worst signing we have made since Savio..Jose Fonte
9:16 PM - 5 Apr 2017

Tom @gurlersan95
Jose Fonte is such a fraud.
9:08 PM - 5 Apr 2017

Ross Dunn ? @RossiDunn
Jose Fonte is a liability
8:55 PM - 5 Apr 2017

Claret + Blue Blood @ClaretBlueBlood
I actually hate Jose Fonté
8:10 PM - 5 Apr 2017

West Ham News @WHUFC_News
Oxford couldn't do any worse than Fonte surely
10:38 PM - 5 Apr 2017

West Ham Italy @martelliditalia
Roger Johnson is better than Fonte.
9:33 PM - 5 Apr 2017

Irons News @IronsNews
Fonte is possibly the clumsiest defender I've ever seen play for West Ham,
and that's saying something!
8:56 PM - 5 Apr 2017

Why it would be wrong if West Ham sack Slaven Bilic - the owners need to get
real about their expectations
It wasn't the Croat's decision to move them into the uncomfortable,
irritable atmosphere in Stratford
The Mirror
11:10, 6 APR 2017

If West Ham are going to sack Slaven Bilic, it's not the right decision. The
owners say he's safe, but no one ever is. Five defeats in a row, some truly
terrible performances and a tendency to collapse certainly don't back up my
case or his, but hear me out. Last year the Croatian led West Ham into the
Europa League, they finished just four points behind fourth place. Clearly
he had them batting above their average. Not an overachievement akin to
Leicester, but a serious overachievement. New manager, last year in the old
famous home, and just as those factors conspired to propel them forward so
others have tugged them back this season. No doubt they have underachieved,
but they will win the two games they need to stay up, and is it really too
different to what they are used to?
They are one point better off than this stage in 2011, one point worse off
than 2014, and four points worse off than 2013. West Ham have a squad that
belongs in mid table. They will have some spikes, they will have some dips,
but essentially West Ham with their current set up belong between 15th and
8th. West Ham supporters might have higher expectations, two spring to mind
immediately but it's unrealistic. The owners have a vision of Champions
League football, but if you think you can move into a bigger stadium and
that translates to breaking into a top four that not even Arsenal,
Manchester United and Everton can get in, then you're on a different planet.
There will be good seasons and bad seasons, but West Ham are at the
beginning of a project, why dismantle it now? Bilic has been back at West
Ham for five minutes, and his track record with Besiktas and Croatia stands
up to scrutiny. This season he has had to put up with an unthinkable injury
list, a loss of form to key players, poor recruitment, and rather unhelpful
musings from his chairman on the club website. Plus let's be clear, it
wasn't the Croat's decision to move them into the uncomfortable, irritable
atmosphere in Stratford. The fans, the press, the players, the officials,
the locals and probably Newham Council's accountants aren't happy about the
move. No one likes it, and until West Ham as a whole learn to love their new
home issues will remain. The problems are well known and it would take as
long as it takes to get a tube out of there to list them. It's been a rough
move, Slaven Bilic shouldn't pay the price for the botch job. No it's not
the only issue. Right back selection always gets a mention, and who
sanctioned the deal for 33-year-old Jose Fonte? He's not beyond reproach but
he's a good manager, this time last year they'd just beaten Spurs, drawn at
United and Chelsea and come back from three down to draw with Arsenal. It
wasn't long ago that West Ham were in the Championship. Champions League? Do
me a favour. You don't get long in the Premier League, but if West Ham want
the bright light's of Europe they need to play the long game.

"Poor purchases leave Bilic under immense pressure" - what the papers say
after West Ham slump to fifth loss in a row
The Hammers were down 3-0 by Arsenal at the Emirates on Wednesday night
Football London
10:03, 6 APR 2017

These are tough times at West Ham as they slumped to a fifth straight defeat
on Wednesday night, this time at the hands of Arsenal.
Just five points separate the Hammers and the drop zone and with the likes
of Hull City and Swansea playing much better football and getting better
results, the pressure is on. Slaven Bilic admitted his team are now in a
relegation battle after extending their winless streak to seven games and
picking up only two points from a possible 21. Peter Thorne from ESPNFC says
the Hammers players are the ones underperforming. "Bilic still has many fans
on his side, but the Hammers are suffering from some poor purchases last
"One argument says the Croatian wasn't given enough to invest by the board,
but the fact is a good deal of the money that was made available has been
spent on underperforming players. Bilic needs to stop the rot quickly."

Matt Lowton from the Mail said that West Ham suffered because they couldn't
get the best out of Andy Carroll. "Slaven Bilic is under immense pressure
now, another defeat forcing him to concede that West Ham are in the
relegation battle. "West Ham's attempts to exploit the aerial threat of
Carroll, who scored a hat-trick against Arsenal last season, were proving
unsuccessful. "After the break Arsenal were very much the dominant side."

David Hynter praised Mesut Ozil as the difference maker as the pressure
ramped up on Bilic. "It was an evening when Mesut Özil made the difference.
At last. The playmaker scored his first goal since Dcember 10 with a curling
shot into the far corner and he also laid on the second for Theo Walcott.
"West Ham were left to consider a must-win home game against Swansea City on
Saturday. "We are in that fight now [at the bottom]," Bilic said. "It's not
being negative. It's being realistic."

by Austin Ditlhobolo
Thursday Apr 06, 2017. 11:00

West Ham United midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate is concerned by the team's
current poor form in the English Premier League (EPL). The Hammers were
thrashed 3-0 by their London rivals Arsenal in their latest league game
which was played at the Emirates Stadium n Wednesday night. This was West
Ham's fifth consecutive defeat in the league and the London-based side are
also winless in seven matches.
As a result the Hammers are five points above the relegation zone and
Kouyate believes that a few wins will see them secure their status in the
elite league. "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," Kouyate told "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," he added. "But most importantly
we need to work together and be positive."

The Senegal captain, who has been used in defence and midfield this season,
has made 26 league appearances for the Hammers in the current campaign.

West Ham were relegated the last time they lost five Premier League matches
in a row - will they survive this time?
Evening Standard

Wednesday night's defeat to Arsenal was West Ham's fifth successive top
flight defeat - and the last time that happened they were relegated. Not
since the 2010-11 season have the Hammers endured a run as poor as this, and
interestingly, it comes at a similar stage of the campaign, too. West Ham
lost to Manchester United, Bolton, Aston Villa, Chelsea and Manchester City
between April 2 and May 1 back in 2011, before a draw at home to Blackburn
stopped the run. West Ham's final victory that season came against Stoke
City – taking them to 31 points. The Hammers' most recent win this season,
the 3-1 victory at Southampton, took Slaven Bilic's side to 31 points.
Now the Hammers find themselves just five points above the drop zone with
seven matches left to play, and it's Swansea City up next at the London
Stadium. The Swans are back in the drop zone following their dramatic, and
crushing, late defeat to Tottenham.

Slaven Bilic admits Swansea clash is "very, very vital" as West Ham slide
towards drop zone after Arsenal defeat
The 3-0 setback at the Emirates was West Ham's fifth on the spin to leave
them just five points clear of the relegation zone
The Mirror
09:36, 6 APR 2017

Slaven Bilic admits it is now "very, very vital" that West Ham beat Swansea
this weekend. The Hammers boss saw his side slump to their fifth successive
defeat, this time to Arsenal, on Wednesday night. It leaves the Irons 15th,
just five points off the drop zone with the relegation scrap against the
Swans to come at the London Stadium on Saturday. The game will be the third
of four from which Hammers chairman David Sullivan had insisted two wins
were "vital". West Ham were beaten by Hull last Saturday before losing to
the Gunners.
Bilic said: "A win in this game [Swansea] is now very, very vital. We have
to start winning games. We are in that fight now. Its not being negative.
Its being realistic." The Croatian is under heavy pressure despite being
issued with a vote of confidence last week by the West Ham board. Bilic
admitted his side are suffering from a lack of confidence after being sucked
into the bottom six. He added: "After five defeats of course you can't talk
about great confidence. Now is the time to show leadership. There is only
one game for us.
"I haven't lost my belief in them – they are good players. We just need that
win. [Swansea] are five points behind us. I am not expecting the beautiful
game on Saturday – we have to win and give everything."
Michail Antonio was withdrawn from the 3-0 defeat at Arsenal but Bilic
insisted it was not because the England forward was injured.
"He was sick. He'd been vomiting earlier in the day." said Bilic. "So we
decided to save him for Saturday." Striker Andy Carroll was also substited
on the hour but Bilic played down fears of a possible groin injury. He went
on: "Andy Carroll said at half time that he had a groin problem. But the
medical team said it was OK."

Dean Ashton blasts West Ham's transfer business and warns former club in
real danger of Premier League relegation
By Alex Varney - @lexvarney
Thursday, April 6, 2017

Dean Ashton claims West Ham are paying the price for poor recruitment. The
Hammers have endured a difficult second season under boss Slaven Bilic and
five successive Premier League defeats have dragged them into a relegation
battle. Bilic's position is now being called into question but, according to
Ashton, the club's problems stem from failing to adequately improve the
squad last summer.
"The recruitment hasn't been good enough - it is as simple as that," said
the former West Ham striker, speaking to the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast.
"They have brought in players for the Europa League. "They were thinking
they were going to be in Europe so they brought in players that would
supplement the squad who had played European football. When they crashed out
they had to play these players because of injuries. "The squad is nowhere
near good enough. "Players that come in don't improve the first 11, and that
is not good enough at Premier League level. Having been soundly beaten by
Arsenal on Wednesday night, West Ham are just five points off the bottom
three. The gap could be shorter by the end of the week, with 18th placed
Swansea visiting the London Stadium on Saturday. And Ashton admits he is
worried for his former club. He said: "When you get a certain amount of
points as they did six or seven games ago, you sit and relax and think 'we
are safe', but actually teams down there go on great runs. "When you are
down there you suddenly pick up results that you shouldn't and West Ham are
massively sucked in. It is a worry to be honest."

Alvaro Morata to West Ham: Shock reports claim Hammers have held talks with
Chelsea target
WEST HAM have made contact with Real Madrid over a summer swoop for Alvaro
Morata, according to shock reports in Spain.
By Marc Williams / Published 6th April 2017

Morata has often been linked with a move to the Premier League over the past
few years. Real re-signed the Spanish striker from Juventus last summer with
widespread reports claiming they would then look to flog him off and make a
quick profit. Morata instead stayed with Real and has scored 16 goals in 35
appearances for Zinedine Zidane's side this season. But his future is once
again a hot topic of debate. Spanish outlet Don Balon sensationally claim
that West Ham have approached Real over the possibility of signing him this
summer. Morata, rather unsurprisingly, is against such a move, insisting he
should be setting himself higher targets. Don Balon add that West Ham's
London rivals Chelsea are among a batch of other Premier League clubs keen
on the 24-year-old. Blues boss Antonio Conte is big fan of Morata and is
eager to bolster his ranks at the end of the season but will face
competition from Juve who are still hoping to bring the forward back to

Slaven Bilic 'realistic' about West Ham relegation battle ahead of crunch
Swansea game
Evening Standard

West Ham boss Slaven Bilic is willing to play ugly on Saturday if it can
secure his side the three points they desperately need against Swansea City.
The Hammers suffered their fifth defeat in a row at Arsenal on Wednesday, a
creditable first half display proving to be in vain as Mesut Ozil, Theo
Walcott and Olivier Giroud secured the London derby for Arsene Wenger. Bilic
admitted that Arsenal were thoroughly deserving of their victory but his
focus was already moving to the visit of Swansea to the London Stadium on
Saturday, a match that has suddenly taken on dramatic importance for West

With 15 minutes left on Wednesday the Hammers were hovering just three
points clear of the relegation zone and whilst Tottenham's late salvo
ensured that the gap to Swansea is now up to five points Bilic was in no
doubt as to the importance of his next game. "It is the vital game. We have
to start winning games," Bilic said. "This is a very strange league, you can
win against a team that you don't expect to and vice versa. But we can't
count on that. We have to start picking up points because we've lost 15 in
the last five games.
"I told the players don't think about Sunderland, Everton, Stoke etc. Think
only about Swansea. It's only one game. After that we have one week to
prepare for a game against Sunderland. "We are in that fight now. We have to
be realistic, it's not being negative, it's being realistic. We have to get
the gap back to where it was five games ago."

The Hammers have not kept a clean sheet since mid-January and for the third
time in four matches conceded three goals against Arsenal, who ran rampant
in the second half as West Ham's resilient defence tired in the face of the
constant probing of Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and company. Despite their
recent struggles Bilic is convinced his squad are capable of turning it
around but admitted it may require a back-to-basics approach to get the win
West Ham desperately need. "We have one squad. We have these players. I've
never lost my belief in them. They're good players. But we need that win,"
Bilic told Standard Sport. "We are playing at home, against a team who is
playing well but five points behind us. We have to give everything and
concentrate. The best way to get our confidence back is with a win. "Make no
mistake I am not expecting the beautiful game on Saturday. We have to win
it. We have to show everything."

With their relegation rivals in improving form Bilic set his players a
target of "the magic number" 40 points to guarantee survival.
However he hopes that Tottenham's late treble to turn a 1-0 loss into a 3-1
win over Swansea will aid West Ham's cause and take the momentum out of the
Welsh side's fight against the drop. "It's a confidence killer. It's like
when we lost to Spurs after we were winning 2-1. Especially in that
situation it harms you like nothing. "I haven't seen Swansea's game of
course but they probably played well. To keep Spurs at bay for so long
either they were very lucky or really good. Probably both. "It's a killer
but also a big warning for us."

Slaven Bilic shares what he told West Ham United's players after defeat to

West Ham United were beaten 3-0 by Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium
yesterday. Slaven Bilic has told West Ham United's official website that he
remained calm with his players, despite their defeat to Arsenal last night.
West Ham were beaten 3-0 at the Emirates Stadium, after putting in yet
another disappointing display. The Hammers have been in very poor form of
late, and they have now been dragged into a relegation fight. West Ham are
only five points above the relegation zone, with their next match coming
against Swansea City at the weekend. If the Hammers are to lose to Paul
Clement's side then they really will be in huge trouble. But Bilic insists
that now is not the time for West Ham to panic. He said: "I told the guys
'OK, forget tonight, we have a few massive games in front of us'. We have a
huge game in the Premier League, a very important game, against Swansea on
Saturday and we will fight to keep Premier League status."
West Ham go into their match against Swansea in terrible form, after failing
to win in any of their last seven outings. If the Hammers were to lose to
the Swans, they could be just two points above the drop zone on Saturday,
which would put Bilic's job under further pressure.


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