Sunday, May 21

Daily WHUFC News - 21st May 2017

Preview – Burnley

All the need-to-know information ahead of Sunday's final day trip to Burnley...

When and Where?

Burnley v West Ham United
Premier League
Sunday 21 May 2017, 3pm BST
Turf Moor

What's the Story?

Dead rubber? Not a bit of it.

Sunday's final day game between Burnley and the Hammers may come around with both teams sure of their Premier League safety, but there is still plenty to play for.

With just three points separating Leicester in eleventh and Watford in 16th, a finish in any of those positions is possible for both teams, with Burnley able to drop as low as 17th should results go against them.

That equates to millions of pounds difference in terms of Premier League prize money, not to mention pride, so both sides will be keen to end the campaign on a high.

West Ham secured their safety with their 1-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur two weeks ago, but could not build on that last Sunday as Liverpool left London Stadium with a 4-0 win under their belts.

Burnley have made sure their top flight stay will extend into another season with four points from their last three games, coming from a 2-0 victory at Crystal Palace and 2-2 draw with West Bromwich Albion.

However, like the Hammers, they also tasted defeat last time out, as Junior Stanislas and Josh King struck to give Bournemouth the points by the odd goal in three.

When West Ham met Burnley at home earlier this season, the Hammers celebrated a vital 1-0 victory with Mark Noble scoring the goal, following up to knock home after Tom Heaton saved his penalty at the end of the first half.

Team news

The Hammers' injury list for this game is an extensive one, with Winston Reid the latest to join the absentees after he underwent surgery this week on a knee injury which he had been playing through for some time.

He joins Cheikhou Kouyate and Mark Noble in going under the surgeon's knife in recent weeks, but all three should return in time for the start of pre-season.

Michail Antonio (hamstring), Pedro Obiang (ankle) and Diafra Sakho (back) remain out, but Angelo Ogbonna returned to the squad last week following his knee injury and is available for selection at Turf Moor.

For Burnley, Sean Dyche has far fewer injury concerns, but the three he does have are significant.

Standout centre-backs Michael Keane (calf) and Ben Mee (shin) are both doubts, which would mean Irishman Kevin Long and James Tarkowski will deputise.

Otherwise, experienced midfielders Dean Marney (knee) and Joey Barton (suspension) are the Clarets' only other absentees.

Player head-to-head

Vokes v Ayew

How do I get to the game?

Train services to Burnley are available via a number of routes, from London Euston changing at Preston, from Euston changing in Manchester, or from Kings Cross and a change at Leeds. Click here to plan your journey.

News on the roads can be found by clicking here.

A cloudy day is forecast for Burnley on Sunday, with temperature at kick-off of 16C (61F).

How can I watch the game?

The match is not being broadcast live in the UK. However, if you are tuning in from abroad you may be able to watch in your territory. Check our widget below for full details.

You can follow all the action as it happens live right here on Our Match Centre has live audio commentary, social media updates and photos. Get involved in the conversation on social using #BURWHU

Lanzini receives first Argentina call-up

Manuel Lanzini has received his first Argentina call-up
The midfielder has been in fine form for the Hammers this season, scoring eight goals, including the recent winner over Spurs at London Stadium
The 24-year-old is in the squad for friendly fixtures against Brazil and Singapore

West Ham United midfielder Manuel Lanzini has been called-up to the Argentina national team squad for the first time.

The creative 24-year-old has been rewarded for his two outstanding seasons in English football and will join up with the South Americans for their upcoming fixtures against Brazil and Singapore.

Lanzini, signed from Al Jazira Club prior to the start of last season, initially on loan before he made his move permanent, has represented La Albiceleste at U20 level before, though never the senior team.

The West Ham talent was also due to represent his country at last summer's Olympic games in Rio, but was forced to pull out with a knee injury.

He will now have the chance to turn out alongside the likes of Barcelona star Lionel Messi and Juventus' Paulo Dybala – who are also in the squad – when Argentina face first five-time World Cup winners Brazil in Melbourne on Friday 6 June before travelling to Singapore to take on the hosts four days later.

Both fixtures are international friendlies, but Lanzini will be keen to impress ahead of the nation's 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Uruguay, Venezuela and Peru next season.

Lanzini has had a fine season in Claret and Blue this term, performing as one of the Hammers' standout players, scoring eight Premier League goals and subsequently bettering last season's tally of six.

The midfielder has also won over the Claret and Blue Army with his incredible London derby record – nine of Lanzini's 16 West Ham United goals have come against clubs from the capital.

Further, three have been against rivals Tottenham Hotspur, most recently in the London Stadium meeting between the sides earlier this month, when the diminutive midfielder's goal was the only strike in the 1-0 victory.

Hammers to target quality over quantity

Slaven Bilic says West Ham United will target quality over quantity in the summer transfer window.

The Hammers signed a dozen senior players a year ago, but the manager says they will look to bring in a smaller number of top-class players to bolster his already strong squad.

However, Bilic conceded that competition for the small and select band of players who are both available and within the Club's budget will be fierce.

"We want to improve," he confirmed. "We don't need squad players and all that as we have enough of them. OK, if someone goes we can refresh the team, but what we need is a couple of real players who can improve our game.

"I ain't gonna talk about names or even talk about positions now, but we are aiming to do it, like I'm pretty sure any other team in any other league is planning to do.

"You have all your wishes and all your plans, no matter how much money you have, on the one hand, but on the other I spoke to most of the other managers after the games in my office and it wasn't a surprise to me most of the players on our list are on the lists of ten other clubs in the Premier League. We are all aim for the same players!"

The aim, therefore, is to spot and secure the game-changers before he becomes a must-have target for 'bigger' clubs, as West Ham did with the likes of Dimitri Payet, Manuel Lanzini and Cheikhou Kouyate in recent years.

"It's not easy," said Bilic. "Dimitri Payet was like hitting the jackpot! When it was done it was done in one week, like under cover or under the radar. We did it before the big teams even started to think about it.

"Those kind of things are the best. Those kind of players, they lift your whole team and your season. Then the clubs who do those kind of deals they usually finish high. But it's very difficult to find them."

Bilic also claimed West Ham will not make the same mistake in the summer transfer window as they did a year ago by putting all their eggs in one basket for certain individuals.

The Hammers manager admitted that the Club spent too long chasing Alexandre Lacazette and, when they failed to capture the Lyon and France striker, their back-up options had already been snapped up by rivals.

At the same time, Bilic also talked of the need to be realistic when targeting potential new signings.

"We are not looking at that level, take out those," he said. "We are not looking for the [Antoine] Griezmanns. We know it's out of our range to get them. We would like them but we are realistic.

"Last year we tried to do something like that. We were in talks with Lacazette, and maybe we spent too much time hoping. We spent a lot of time on that. The Board really tried and then it did not happen and, as a result, we missed out on some of our number two and number three choices.

"Our shopping list this time is not similar to Manchester United or to Chelsea or Liverpool."

Byram - We want to reward the fans

Sam Byram wants to reward the Claret and Blue Army with a season-ending victory at Burnley on Sunday afternoon.

West Ham United travel to Turf Moor knowing a victory could see them finish eleventh in the Premier League at the end of a long and, at times, challenging campaign.

One constant throughout has been the loyal and vociferous supporters who have travelled 2,859 miles to cheer their team on at the Hammers' 19 away top-flight matches. Byram says their presence will be a huge incentive to claim victory in Lancashire.

"Being a professional and being competitive and training and wanting to win every day, I think that's the main thing," he said, when asked how the Hammers would find motivation for Sunday's fixture.

"It's still a game at the end of the day and everyone inside the dressing room wants to win and get the best out of each other.

"To add to that, we've got a lot of fans travelling a long way and we don't want to disappoint them either. It's definitely going to be one where we're looking to finish high and with a win."

West Ham will need to play well at Turf Moor, where Burnley have claimed 33 of their 40 points and know another home win would see them leapfrog Slaven Bilic's side in the final Premier League table.

"We know they are very solid at home and are a good team, but we obviously want to try to keep a clean sheet and take our chances when we can," Byram confirmed.

Whatever happens at Burnley, Byram believes West Ham have done well to navigate their way through a difficult campaign.

With the stadium move, injuries and the departure of star player Dimitri Payet to contend with, the Hammers have had a lot to deal with, but secured safety comfortably enough in the end.

Now, the No22 is targeting a victory at Turf Moor that will send the squad into the close-season with a spring in their step.

"Last year, despite how well we played and how high we finished, I think it was always going to be a challenge with the new stadium which is very different to Upton Park," he observed.

"We've had a lot of frustrating results and a few games where we've conceded quite a few goals. The last five games, bar Liverpool, we've kept four clean sheets and played well, so I think it goes both ways.

"I definitely feel we are more settled and getting used to playing there [at London Stadium] and the fans are starting to warm to it, so hopefully we can finish on a high against Burnley and start fresh next season.

"There have been a lot of highs and lows as well. Next season, we need to enjoy more positive moments. We've done well to secure safety and in the manner we did against Tottenham in a night match in front of a full house was really good."

Manager on Matchday

Slaven Bilic pens his thoughts ahead of West Ham United's final match of the 2016/17 Premier League season...

Good morning everyone.

I want to start by thanking every West Ham United fan for their support this season. It has not been easy at times, but you have been there every game, cheering, singing, supporting us and it means a lot.

We are very motivated to finish the season with a victory at Burnley. We are professional and we are prepared and we want to win the game.

We know it will not be easy, though, as Burnley are good at home. They have won most of their points at Turf Moor and will be very keen to finish their own season with a victory in front of their fans.

As you know, we have many injuries at this time. We will be without some senior players, which means we have brought some of our promising young ones with us as part of the squad.

Whatever happens this afternoon, I believe this season will benefit us in the long run, a lot.

Last season was great and it was easy and everybody wanted to give each other a high five and all that, but when you are going through the tough times, you see people's real character.

Even last season, we had a patch before Christmas when we had eight injuries at the same time, when we went on a long run when we didn't win a match, but we didn't lose either.

I thought to myself and said to my staff that was great, because when the other players come back, we are going to be good – and so it turned out.

That was a very important part of the season. This year also, you build your character the best during the tough spells and tough times in every walk of life.

Now, we have had those tough times and with the quality of players we have, the addition of some more this summer, some better performances, and avoiding so many injuries next season, we can be good again.

All that, plus the character that we've built and settling in more at the new stadium makes me very hungry and optimistic for the new season.

Before then, we have one more match to play this season and we will try our best to win it.

While some people say it is a 'dead rubber', there is no such thing in the Premier League. Every position is worth £1.9m in prize money, so a win and finishing a few places higher can help us when it comes to the transfer window this summer.

Thank you all again for your support this season. I have always known how special the West Ham United fans are, and you have proved that again and helped us get over the obstacles that were in our way.

Enjoy the game and enjoy your summer!


Three Key Battles - Burnley

West Ham United head into their last Premier League game of the season knowing a win against Burnley at Turf Moor could see them finish as high as eleventh in the league table.

Defeat and an unfortunate swing of other results could potentially see Slaven Bilic's team end the season in 16th, meaning Sunday's Claret showdown is still of huge importance.

At home is where Sean Dyche's side have picked up the majority of their 40 points so far this campaign, but the Hammers have beaten Burnley in the teams' last four meetings and will be confident travelling to Lancashire.

For the last time this campaign, we've taken a look at three players from each side who could be going head-to-head on Sunday…

Lowton v Byram

With the right-backs in action at Turf Moor likely to be Matthew Lowton and Sam Byram, we've had a look at the statistics of the Leeds United academy pair.

Former Aston Villa man Lowton has played the majority of Burnley's fixtures in the top flight this season, and the 27-year-old has a couple of assists to show for it.

Byram, on the other hand, has missed large chunks of the campaign through injury, but has impressed this year, contributing not only going forward but with his defensive duties, as the above statistics show.

The 23-year-old went close to scoring his first Hammers goal in the early stages of the side's last fixture – against Liverpool – and will be hoping for an opportunity to have another crack on Sunday.

Westwood v Nordtveit

In midfield, Ashley Westwood has featured in Burnley's last three matches, while Havard Nordtveit has also seen more game time in the second half of this season.

And the Norwegian Hammer has impressed in the centre of midfield, playing in his natural position after a stint at right-back earlier this term.

The former Borussia Monchengladbach man's stats are good too, with more tackles, clearances and aerials won per game than Burnley's Westwood.

With Mark Noble and Cheikhou Kouyate out the side with injury alongside Spaniard Pedro Obiang, Nordtveit is seizing his chance in the team and will hope to continue to do so at Turf Moor when he lines up against Dyche's outfit.

Vokes v Ayew

Finally, the two goalscorers likely to line up against each other on Sunday are Sam Vokes – who has nine Premier League goals this season – and Andre Ayew, on five for the campaign.

The Ghanaian has been key since he returned from the African Cup of Nations in February, bagging four goals and making two in the 12 Premier League games since.

Vokes, of course, came into the season off the back of a terrific UEFA Euro 2012 campaign with Wales, and he's carried on that excellent form to fire Burnley to safety this season.

With just two wins in 15 since the beginning of February though, the Clarets are in poor form and West Ham will be hoping to take advantage of that to end their season on a high note in the north west.

West Ham's Slaven Bilic setting his sights high next season
Last Updated: 20/05/17 1:27pm

Slaven Bilic believes West Ham could be capable of securing a top-six finish in the Premier League next season. The east London club bring their current campaign to an end on Sunday when they travel to Burnley. They currently stand 12th in the table with a realistic chance of improving their position by one spot, although they could also slip down as far as 16th. West Ham have endured a topsy-turvy season which has seen crowd trouble at the London Stadium, as well as the departure of Dimitri Payet in January. Bilic will meet co-owner David Sullivan on Monday and the Hammers boss has already set his sights on a vast improvement in 2017/18. Make no mistake, I enjoyed last season more than this one. The Croatian said: "The ambitions are: the minimum to finish in the top 10, but with the hope or plan to break into the top eight, top seven or top six. "It's going to be very hard, you saw last year that it is possible but you have to tick all of the boxes. You have to have a good transfer window, keep clear of injuries and settle down in the stadium. "It's not going to be blooming all of the time but we feel it's our home. We had some really good performances and some really bad performances there. "This should all help us being better next season, knowing that all the other teams will do the same. "Make no mistake, I enjoyed last season more than this one but you become stronger, not only as a manager or not only as an individual player but you are building the character of the team. "We need a break and rest to prepare for next season but then again, on the other hand, we can talk about that on Monday because I am very, very motivated for this game."

David Gold issues bleak outlook for West Ham's youth players
By Lyall Thomas
Last Updated: 21/05/17 10:25am

West Ham co-chairman David Gold has issued a damning outlook for the club's youth players, confirming their prospects of playing in the first-team look bleak.
The Hammers are looking to improve considerably in the summer transfer market after a poor season under Slaven Bilic, and Gold expects their side to be one full of "seasoned internationals".

David Gold ✔ @davidgold
I think we all have to except that it is extremely unlikely that a teenager will break into a PL team full of seasoned international. dg 11:41 AM - 20 May 2017
211 211 Retweets 236 236 likes

Promising youth players such as Reece Oxford and Josh Cullen have been shipped out on loan this season and Gold was forced to respond to fan complaints after celebrating Cullen's part in the League One play-off final with Bradford. He said on Twitter: "I think we all have to (accept) that it is extremely unlikely that a teenager will break into a (Premier League) team full of seasoned international(s). "Playing teenagers doesn't guarantee success. Hull came fifth (in number of youngsters played) and got relegated. Chelsea came last and won the league. "Sam (Allardyce) played the teenagers at Nottingham Forest (in 2014) and we got beat 5-0. "Teenagers gain experience by going out on loan to the first (or) second division and the Championship."

Manager Bilic gave several youngsters a chance in the Hammers' ill-fated Europa League qualifying campaign, such as midfielders Marcus Browne and Quina, as well as Oxford and Burke. Bilic also admitted ahead of the team's final game of the season against Burnley that Declan Rice could feature in place of the injured Winston Reid at centre-back.

West Ham co-owner David Gold slammed by fans after dismissing chances of youngsters breaking into first-team
Gold suggested there were no teenagers ready to break into Slaven Bilic's side and fans reacted angrily
The Mirror
17:45, 20 MAY 2017

West Ham co-owner David Gold has been slammed by the club's supporters after controversial comments on social media. Gold hit out after being reminded of the lack of action given to youngsters by Slaven Bilic this season. The Hammers are one of six Premier League clubs to not give any minutes to teenagers - a far cry from the 2,140 minutes afforded by Everton boss Ronald Koeman. The likes of Reece Oxford and Burke. both loaned out this term, were individually mentioned but Gold dismissed the chances of any youngster breaking into the first-team. "I think we all have to except that it is extremely unlikely that a teenager will break into a PL team full of seasoned international," he wrote on Twitter.

David Gold ✔ @davidgold
I think we all have to except that it is extremely unlikely that a teenager will break into a PL team full of seasoned international. dg 11:41 AM - 20 May 2017
212 212 Retweets 238 238 likes
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James Corden ✔ @JKCorden
I can't imagine how I'd feel if I was a young player at West Ham reading that from the chairman.
2:28 PM - 20 May 2017
1,775 1,775 Retweets 5,748 5,748 likes
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Dean Ashton ✔ @Dean36ashton10
I'd think il go a club where they are willing to give young players a shot!
5:15 PM - 20 May 2017 · Norwich, England
143 143 Retweets 390 390 likes

His comments were met with an angry reaction with celebrity supporter James Corden leading the criticism. Former Hammers striker Dean Ashton also weighed in and suggested such words could lead to academy prospects seeking a move elsewhere. But Gold showed little remorse, first pointing at the success of Chelsea (no minutes to teenagers) as an example of a tried and tested method.

David Gold ✔ @davidgold
Playing teenagers doesn't guarantee success. Hull came 5th and got relegated. Chelsea came last and won the league. dg
11:51 AM - 20 May 2017
14 14 Retweets 58 58 likes

David Gold ✔ @davidgold
Sam played the teenagers at Nottingham Forest and we got beat 5-0. dg
11:59 AM - 20 May 2017
34 34 Retweets 56 56 likes

David Gold ✔ @davidgold
Teenagers gain experience by going out on loan to the 1st 2nd division and the championship.
5:32 PM - 20 May 2017
15 15 Retweets 70 70 likes

He also reminded fans of the humiliating FA Cup defeat at Nottingham Forest, where a young side was thrashed 5-0. Gold wasn't done there and insisted the club's youngsters would be better served out on loan at a lower-league side. West Ham bring a frustrating campaign to a close away at Burnley on Sunday.


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