Friday, May 5

Daily WHUFC News - 5th May 2017

Preview - Tottenham Hotspur

Where and when?

West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur
Premier League
Friday 5 May 2017, 8pm BST
London Stadium

What's the story?

The first London Stadium derby between the Hammers and Tottenham Hotspur takes place on Friday night with both teams keen for the points.

While the Hammers are looking for the win which will mathematically seal their Premier League spot, Mauricio Pochettino's men have their eyes on closing the gap to Chelsea at the top of the standings.

Trailing the Blues by four points, they will be hoping to use Friday's match as a chance to apply pressure on the west Londoners, who are not in action until Monday.

However, West Ham will recall their last home match against Tottenham, when Spurs arrived in east London knowing three points would have taken them above Leicester City and to the top of the league.

But the Hammers had other ideas, and Michail Antonio's early header ensured the final Boleyn Ground meeting between the teams would end in the hosts' favour.

It looked as though November's game at White Hart Lane would have the same outcome when Manuel Lanzini put West Ham 2-1 up midway through the second half, but a brace of late goals from Harry Kane gave Tottenham a dramatic victory which they have barely looked back from

Nine consecutive Premier League wins have brought them onto Chelsea's coattails, with Pochettino's team continuing their considerable progress of the last couple of seasons.

For West Ham, a run of four undefeated has taken them to the brink of mathematical safety and they would love to get the job done on Friday.

Team news

The Hammers will hope to have both Andy Carroll and Arthur Masuaku available to take on Tottenham on Friday.

Carroll has missed the last two games with a groin problem, while Masuaku was forced off at half time of last weekend's 0-0 draw at Stoke City after picking up a knock. Both players trained on Thursday with a view to being involved in the matchday squad.

However, Pedro Obiang (ankle), Michail Antonio (hamstring) and Angelo Ogbonna (knee) are out, while Diafra Sakho misses out due to a back injury.

Tottenham's long-term absentees Erik Lamela and Harry Winks are out, but left-back Danny Rose is getting closer to fitness.

Mousa Dembele could return after sitting out their North London derby victory over Arsenal last time out.

Player head-to-head

How do I get to the game?

Click here for our comprehensive Matchday Guide, covering everything from directions to catering options and more.

Services running through Stratford Station across National Rail, London Underground, London Overground and TfL Rail are scheduled as normal. Click here for the latest on National Rail services and here for Transport for London.

A cloudy evening is forecast for Friday, with temperature at kick-off at 12C (54F).

How can I watch the game?

This match is being broadcast live in the UK on Sky Sports. Check our widget below to see if the game is being shown in your territory. You can also follow the action as it happens right here on, with live audio commentary, social media updates, in-running stats, photos and more. Get involved in the conversation on social using #WHUTOT.

Five Talking Points – Tottenham Hotspur

The major discussion points as West Ham United prepare to host Premier League title-chasing Tottenham Hotspur at London Stadium...

1. Forward thinking

Slaven Bilic revealed that Andy Carroll's availability for Friday night's London Stadium derby with Tottenham Hotspur will not be confirmed until the last-possible moment. The England man has been sidelined with a groin injury in recent weeks, while Diafra Sakho and Michail Antonio are both out for the season with back and hamstring problems respectively. With uncertainty over Carroll's fitness, Bilic's forward thinking will most likely centre around Argentinian Jonathan Calleri or Ghana star Andre Ayew. Alternatively, against an in-form Spurs, he could take a leaf out of Sam Allardyce's book and go for the 'false-nine' formation which earned the Hammers an unforgettable 3-0 win at White Hart Lane in October 2013. Alternatively, the Claret and Blue Army sang the name of young Ashley Fletcher at Stoke City last weekend, but would the manager feel comfortable sending the 21-year-old into such a high-profile fixture when he has played just 30 minutes of first-team football in 2017?

2. History repeating…

When Tottenham Hotspur visited the Boleyn Ground on 2 March 2016, victory for Mauricio Pochettino's side over Slaven Bilic's team would have taken them top of the Premier League. As it turned out, West Ham United produced one of their best performances of a memorable season to win 1-0 through Michail Antonio's early header – and such was the quality of the Hammers' performance that the victory margin could have been far wider. Fast forward 14 months and Spurs are again vying for the title, with a win on their first visit to London Stadium taking them to within a point of leaders Chelsea. Every West Ham fan would no doubt love to scupper the north London club's championship challenge for a second season running, so can history repeat itself?

3. Kane and Alli

If West Ham United are to stop Tottenham Hotspur on Friday evening, they will need to slow arguably the Premier League's best attacking partnership. England internationals Harry Kane and Dele Alli have combined for 38 goals – just five less than the entire current West Ham United squad – and eleven assists in the top flight this season. Add in the craft of Christian Eriksen, the power of Moussa Dembele and Victor Wanyama and the knack of being in the right place at the right time of Son Hueng-Min, and you have a versatile unit that can hurt you at virtually any time. Kane has five goals in nine career appearances against West Ham, including two late strikes in Spurs' 3-2 win at White Hart Lane in November That said, he has not always enjoyed playing against the Hammers, having ended on the losing side in four of those nine matches.

4. Friday night lights

West Ham United will host their first-ever Friday night Premier League fixture when they welcome Tottenham Hotspur to London Stadium on 5 May for an 8pm kick-off. The Hammers have contested four previous Friday games in the Premier League, but all have fallen either on Good Friday or Boxing Day, so have kicked-off in the afternoon. Friday's derby will not be West Ham's first Friday evening match of the season however, as Manchester City visited for an Emirates FA Cup third-round tie in January. Incidentally, West Ham have faced Tottenham on a Friday three times previously, all at White Hart Lane. First, on Boxing Day 1958, Jon Bond, John Dick, Vic Keeble and a Ron Henry own-goal scored a 4-1 First Division win for the newly-promoted Hammers. Then, on Good Friday 1965, Ronnie Boyce, Johnny Byrne, Geoff Hurst and Harry Redknapp got the goals as the Hammers thumped Spurs by the same scoreline in the First Division in N17.
However, the north Londoners got their own belated revenge on Boxing Day 1986, when they ran out 4-0 victors.

5. Top-six target

As every West Ham United fan is no doubt award, the Hammers' record against the top six was exceptional last season, with the east Londoners collecting 19 points from 12 games against the Premier League's leading lights. This season has been a different story. West Ham have won just ONE point from the ten matches they have played against the current top six so far – from a 2-2 draw at Liverpool in December. With home matches against Spurs and the Reds to come, the Hammers have two final chances to chalk up that elusive first win over top-six opposition. If they do so, Slaven Bilic's side will also guarantee their Premier League status.

Bilic hopeful on duo's fitness

West Ham United boss Slaven Bilic hopes Andy Carroll and Arthur Masuaku will be available to face Spurs on Friday
Carroll has been missing for a fortnight with a groin problem
Masuaku, however, was forced off in the Hammers' last fixture against Stoke City

Slaven Bilic is hoping to have Andy Carroll and Arthur Masuaku fit to face Tottenham Hotspur on Friday evening. The England centre-forward has missed West Ham United's last two games with a groin problem, while the French full-back was forced off with a knock at Stoke City at half-time on Saturday. However, the Hammers boss has revealed that both will train at Rush Green on Thursday with a view to being included in his matchday squad for the final London Stadium derby of the season. "A few days before the Stoke game, Arthur got a knock on his foot and he didn't train for a few days – nothing broken but it's very sore," Bilic revealed. "He played against Stoke but he could only manage for 45 minutes, but he's going to train [on Thursday] and then we're going to decide for tomorrow night. "Andy has trained individually for a couple of days now, he's going to try today and then we will see. "I hoped he was going to be OK for the Stoke game but he wasn't so I don't know. If you ask me in one hour [after training] then we will know, but not now, it is too early."

While there was encouraging news regarding Carroll and Masuaku, the manager revealed less positive developments regarding Diafra Sakho.
The Senegal striker has endured a difficult season that has seen him appear just four times in the Premier League and total just 181 minutes on the pitch. The No15 underwent back surgery in November and, after initially returning to training and Premier League duty, has now suffered a setback and will not appear again this term. "In the beginning of pre-season, Sakho got injured, came back in the game against Spurs away, he played a bit and in the next game we played Man United away," continued Bilic. "He did his hamstring, and was out for the operation and was out for four or five months, he came back and now he has got another problem. It's really a problem
"He's not fit for tomorrow and again it's his back and unfortunately he is out for the season. He's been very unlucky."

Tickets are still available for Friday's eagerly-anticipated clash with Tottenham on the Ticket Exchange here.

Slaven expecting 'special' atmosphere

Slaven Bilic relishing Friday's Premier League fixture with Tottenham Hotspur under the London Stadium floodlights
West Ham United manager has been impressed with title-chasing Spurs this season
Hammers need a win to ensure their Premier League status

Slaven Bilic is expecting a 'special' atmosphere when Premier League title-chasers Tottenham Hotspur visit London Stadium on Friday evening.

Spurs have impressed many this season, both with their ability to win football matches and the style with which they have done so, and Maurico Pochettino's men arrive in east London on a run of nine straight top-flight victories.

Bilic's West Ham United will attempt to end that streak and extend their own unbeaten run to five matches in the process, with a home win ensuring the Hammers' Premier League safety – but the manager knows that task will be far from easy.

"They are the club for me which is playing the best football," Bilic confirmed. "Don't get me wrong, Chelsea well deserve to be on top but Spurs are playing maybe the best football.

"Of course when you play against those kind of teams, home or away, first of all you have stay focused and compact, and concentrate throughout the whole 90 minutes and that is the key. Of course, apart from that you have to make something up front."

"I have nothing but praise for them and I have been watching them all season and I'm thinking how did Chelsea manage to make that [four-point] gap?

"Because Tottenham has been really good throughout the whole season and then I remember that one period when they were a couple of times without Harry Kane, but this second one was not as bad as the first one.

"That first time [he was injured], they lost or drew a few games that, if you are challenging for the title you can't afford really. Before that and after that and especially now in the last couple of months you can see their results, they are winning a lot of games.

"They are a team that is in form. OK, the last couple of away games, they won at Swansea and Palace without being that impressive, but they won games that could easily have been drawn or lost."

While he and his staff and players will have to plan to stop the Spurs juggernaut, Bilic knows the Hammers will be highly motivated to dictate the game on their own terms on Friday night.

Fourteen months ago, West Ham dented Tottenham's title charge with a 1-0 win at an 'electric' Boleyn Ground, and the manager expects a similarly raucous atmosphere at London Stadium this time around.

"This is a big match anyway, it's a derby whether you need the points or not," he observed. "They need points, we need points, it's a massive game for them and it's a massive game for us of course. "We'll try to get that point or points to definitely mathematically and theoretically secure our [Premier League] status.

"You don't need extra motivation when you play against Tottenham. I remember last season's game at Upton Park when we beat them 1-0 it was one the most electric atmospheres.

"We also played a good game against them at White Hart Lane [in November] when we were leading up until a couple of minutes to go and obviously we conceded two goals in two or three minutes, so it's a massive one.

"It's a big game for us, a big game for our supporters, it's a London derby under the lights which makes it also a bit more special and we are ready for that."

West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur
Venue: London Stadium


West Ham will give fitness tests before Friday's game to Andy Carroll and Arthur Masuaku, who are nursing respective groin and foot problems. Diafra Sakho, Michail Antonio, Pedro Obiang and Angelo Ogbonna are all out for the season.

Tottenham's Danny Rose is not due to start full first-team training until next week so again misses out. Erik Lamela, Harry Winks and Cameron Carter-Vickers are out for the rest of the campaign.


Jonathan Pearce: "I've said on the BBC that in 30 years of commentating on Spurs this is the closest I've seen to a Tottenham title-winning side. But they must win this. "The 1986-87 Clive Allen goal-glut side and the Gazza-Waddle team were thrilling. But this side is more balanced, potent, secure and consistently good at the right time. "A 10th league win on the spin for the first time since 1960 would guarantee Champions League group stage football. "But West Ham, needing victory for mathematical safety, are on a revenge mission having been denied a win at White Hart Lane by two last-gasp Harry Kane goals in November. "He could win it again in a fierce encounter."

Twitter: @jpearcefootball


West Ham manager Slaven Bilic: "This is a big match anyway. It is a derby, whether you need the points or not, it's a derby game against Spurs at our stadium.
"They need points, we need points, so it is a massive game for us and a massive game for them. We will try to get the points that will mathematically secure our status."

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino: "Of course it is a great opportunity to close the gap but we are playing another derby against West Ham and it will be very tough. The pressure is on us to win. "The team this week is in a good mood after the victory over Arsenal but this will be another difficult game and we need to be ready to fight."


I still think the title is beyond Tottenham because I do not see Chelsea slipping up - but I don't see Mauricio Pochettino's side dropping points either.

Prediction: 0-2



West Ham have won only four of their last 19 Premier League matches against Spurs, including one of the last five - at Upton Park last season.
The Hammers are vying to beat Spurs at home in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1998-99 and 1999-00.

West Ham United

West Ham have won just one of their last 11 Premier League matches (D5, L5).
However, they could go unbeaten in five consecutive league games for the first time this season.
They are winless in all 14 matches this season against sides currently in the top eight of the table (D4, L10).
The Hammers have dropped a league-high 22 points from winning positions this season.
Eight of Manuel Lanzini's 13 Premier League goals have come in London derby appearances.

Tottenham Hotspur

Spurs have won nine consecutive league games for the first time since a run of 13 in a row in 1960.
They have earned 147 points since the start of last season, 15 more than any other team. They have also scored an unrivalled 140 goals.
Tottenham are targeting their 24th league win of the season, a total they last managed in the 1966-67 campaign.
Harry Kane has scored 18 goals in his last 20 Premier League London derbies.
Kane and Dele Alli have 38 league goals between them, the most by a Spurs pair in a Premier League season since 1994-95 when Jurgen Klinsmann and Teddy Sheringham also managed 38.

SAM's verdict
Most probable score: 1-1 Probability of draw: 22%
Probability of home win: 20% Probability of away win: 58%
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 matches.

Written by Elliot Pollard @ellpol1.

The signing of 33 year old Jose Fonte in January 2017 came as a surprise to most West Ham fans as it appeared to be a position where the club had significant depth; especially as fan favourite James Tomkins was deemed surplus to requirements just 6 months previously and sold to rivals Crystal Palace. However when the news of the injury to Ogbonna came to light it was seen as a good replacement, bearing in mind the defensive troubles the team had experienced so far in the season.

Having rejected a new contract at Southampton, the experienced international centre back signed for a fee of £8 million on a two and a half year contract with a 1 year option. I have to admit at the time I thought it was a decent signing, a player who always impressed me every time I watched him. Fonte's consistent defensive performances and his excelling leadership qualities made him one of the most desired centre backs in the Premier League.

Because of this I am very surprised how much he has struggled in our team. His debut against Man City was an absolute disaster as the whole team was ripped apart and shipped 4 goals, with Fonte also conceding a penalty. Although Fonte has gradually improved game by game I, am still waiting for a totally convincing performance from the European Championship winner.

What is interesting is the fact that Bilic did feel the need to strengthen in the centre back position following Ogbonna's spell on the side line, even though we had the experienced James Collins and promising Reece Oxford in the ranks. Young Reece was sent on loan to Reading following the arrival of Jose, to see out the remainder of the season under the influence of Jaap Stam.

It was obvious that prior to the arrival of Fonte, Bilic did not rate Collins. This was evident in the home game against Leicester when Reid picked up an injury after 18 minutes and replaced him with Snodgrass, pushing Kouyate into the CB position rather than introducing Collins as a like for like replacement. Since this game though Ginge has had a decent run in the team, starting the last 6 games, keeping 3 clean sheets and even chipping in with a goal!

According to Squawka, Collins has outperformed Fonte this season and also averaged more blocks and clearances per game. Having said that Jose does average more interceptions, which suggests he may read the game better than James, who adopts more of a body on the line approach to defending.

So far Collins has been everything I expected from Fonte, aggressive, organised and has lead by example. James's performance's, particularly against Swansea, have been excellent and it comes as no surprise that the team has started to pick up more points since his introduction to the starting 11. Not only has the Welshman been excelling on the pitch, his post-match gestures in the last 2 home games have been very admirable, climbing into the stand to give away his shirts to young fans as chants of "there's only 1 ginger Pele" ring around the stadium!

Many hammers fans are calling for Bilic to give more of a chance to the academy players, and next year both Reece Burke and Reece Oxford will be returning from there loan spells. That means we will have Reid, Ogbonna, Fonte, Collins, Oxford and Burke battling for 2 or 3 starting positions. Where does Fonte rank in this list? It makes me think that both Reece's will have to be sent out on loan again in order to get some decent playing time.

Although giving the youth players a chance seems to have worked for a lot of clubs, including Fonte's old side Southampton. It doesn't appear that the loss of there Captain has left much of a hole in the Southampton team and it has presented an opportunity for 23 year old Jack Stephens, who has performed well since his run in the team.

Unfortunately I don't think Bilic has had the luxury opportunity to introduce any of the younger players this season due to our unstable form and ultimately he decides when they are ready; however with a strong end to the season there is no reason why he can't blend a few in.

Having praised Collins highly I still think we are yet to see the best of Fonte and I believe he is getting better each game; however do you think we would have signed another centre back if Fonte wasn't available? I'm not sure we would have.

Written by Max Reader, @reader_max

This season has been a difficult one. Many complications and issues regarding the London stadium or transfers even policing have been criticised in the media in which cannot be beneficial for the club in anyway. In my opinion it is time to move on from this as a club and as supporter it is also crucial that slowly but surely get use to our new surroundings at the London stadium. Knowing this there are many factors of which can help us gradually improve in all areas as a club.

After this season the board in my opinion must review the stadium situation with great care. Seating, policing and the overall setting looks likely to change in my opinion with the board hard at work. As mentioned before the green astro turf surrounding the pitch looks set to be changed to claret. This move by the board is an interesting one knowing that this one part of the stadium can be changed. So, does this mean that other parts of the stadium can be changed? In my opinion if things were to change more seats within the stadium must be changed to either claret or blue to familiarise ourselves with the stadium much like the colour of the seats that were at the Boleyn. This factor can add a more 'West Ham' feel around the stadium further on easing us into our new home more. Where supporters sit is another issue, supporters of whom are season ticket holders are likely to have been use to the surrounding within the same areas of the Boleyn for years so this therefore again is another way in which gradually getting use to where you sit will develop in a positive manor in a matter of time, again let's ease into the new surroundings of the London stadium. Policing now in my opinion is an important issue. I feel the board did not for see this issue when moving into the stadium but thank fully now it looks like this issue is going to be sorted out in a matter of time. The Boleyn stewards always were friendly and to be honest embraced the supporters, looking after them before during and after games. Filming fans standing I feel is an awful measure in order of policing, no one payed good money for being filmed by awful stewards after all. To change things within this situation I feel trying to involve former Boleyn stewards would be key in again easing to a friendly new atmosphere within the London stadium, this has been suggested before and in my opinion one suggestion the board must take forward.

Now onto the recruitment front, in my opinion this summer is crucial in helping gain in terms as our strength within the premiership. I feel a new goalkeeper is crucial, Adrian in my opinion has been an excellent goalkeeper for years now and should be tied to the club for longer whether first or second choice goalkeeper he is class, as a professional and around the club! A goalkeeper of whom has a stature that can save us points within the next season is crucial someone like Pickford even Fabianski from Swansea would be an excellent signing obviously as another option would be hart but it is seen whether he would join us, I would love to sign him though! As said before I feel a right back must be signed early in the window. Depending on what formation we play next season I feel signifies what right back to invest in. If we play with wing backs a pacier full back is required. Defensively in the central of defensive I feel Reece Oxford now has the opportunity learning from experienced players like Fonte and Collins. Further on up the pitch I feel a creative player and maybe even a winger may be needed to also further on add more pace to the team and creativity that we lost after the Payet situation. Now finally onto strikers, I feel we need three strikers for next season with a couple of our current strike force leaving. Sakho and obviously calleri should leave in my opinion. Sakho has constant attitude problems and now constant injuries also I feel he has now nothing to offer under Slaven Bilic and to not disrupt further proceedings he must leave, its unnecessary. To start next season with some practically new striking options would be excellent, players like Batshuayi, Modeste, Josh King or even Daniel Sturridge would add quality to our squad and crucial players who can score goals but also are players that all different in contrast to each other seen via height or pace for example.

Even after this season and its complications the future still is bright now with the gradual process of moving into our new stadium currently taking place. As long as everyone continues to be behind the team of which I have no doubt about I hope we can push on knowing what great supporters we are! Finally, I would like to thank everyone who helped me be able to write this piece and I hope to write another piece soon I'm relishing this opportunity!

No surprise as Sakho ruled out for season
Filed: Thursday, 4th May 2017
By: Staff Writer

Diafra Sakho will not play again this season after sustaining yet another 'back injury'. The Senegal striker, who has appeared just four times for West Ham this season due to a succession of mysterious ailments was finally ruled out for the rest of the season by Slaven Bilic during his pre-match press conference this morning. "At the beginning of pre-season Sakho got injured," said Bilic. "He came back and did his hamstring, and was out for four or five months after an operation. "Now he has got another problem. It's really a problem. He's not fit for tomorrow, it's his back again. Unfortunately he is out for the season. He's been very unlucky."

Sakho's first appearance this season came against Friday night's opponents Tottenham last November, a match in which he lasted 61 minutes before being replaced by Simone Zaza. The following week he scored his one and only goal this season in a 1-1 draw at Manchester United - a match in which he managed a whole 66 minutes. A further five months passed before the 27-year-old forward returned as a 64th-minute substitute in the 3-0 defeat at Arsenal. His fourth and final appearance this season - and almost certainly his last for the club - came as a second half sub in the goalless draw with Everton at the Olympic Stadium a fortnight ago

Tottenham's lasagne-gate against West Ham remembered
By Nick Wright
Last Updated: 04/05/17 9:09am
Ahead of Tottenham's Friday Night Football clash with West Ham, we remember Lasagne-gate, the food poisoning controversy that infamously cost Spurs a place in the Champions League on the final day of the 2005/06 season…

Tottenham will be aiming to keep the pressure on Premier League leaders Chelsea when they face West Ham on Friday, but the short trip to east London also evokes memories of an unhappier time. It was against the Hammers, a little over a decade ago, that they endured one of the most traumatic episodes in their recent history.

In May 2006, Tottenham travelled to Upton Park only needing to match Arsenal's result against Wigan in order to clinch the final Champions League spot at their rivals' expense. It was a tantalising possibility, but disaster struck from an unlikely source.

Or should that be sauce? It all came down to an infamous lasagne. Tottenham's pre-match meal caused an outbreak of vomiting and nausea among the players at their Canary Wharf hotel on the eve of the game, and the effects were obvious as Martin Jol's off-colour side succumbed to a costly 2-1 defeat the next day.

Everything had seemed so serene just 24 hours earlier. Spurs were a point ahead of Arsenal having clinched a valuable draw at Highbury and beaten Bolton at White Hart Lane in their last two games. Michael Carrick and Robbie Keane had shaken off injuries, and Spurs seemed destined to join Europe's top table and shake off an old inferiority complex in the process.

But late on Saturday night, instead of dreaming of the Champions League, many of Tottenham's players began to fall ill. "Lasagne and spaghetti Bolognese were on the menu, we ate, and then in the middle of the night we started dropping like flies," reflected Jermaine Jenas. "It was mayhem."

Carrick and Keane were among the afflicted, so too were Edgar Davids, Aaron Lennon and Michael Dawson. The situation was so drastic that Spurs requested a postponement, only to be told that a failure to fulfil the fixture could lead to a points deduction. Jol had little choice but to field many of the players who had spent the previous evening - and much of the morning - being violently sick.

Jenas recalled players vomiting in the dressing room toilets before kick-off. Out on the pitch, it didn't take long for West Ham to take advantage. Carl Fletcher scored the opener after just 10 minutes, and while Jermain Defoe did manage an equaliser shortly before half-time, the depleted visitors soon started flagging. "A lot of the lads were running on empty - literally," added Jenas.

By the time Yossi Benayoun put West Ham back in front in the 80th minute, Arsenal were already 4-2 up against Wigan thanks to a Thierry Henry hat-trick. Tottenham's fate was sealed, and as Arsenal celebrated a happy climax to their final game at Highbury, Spurs trudged back into the Upton Park dressing room in despair.

"We had 10 players feeling sick overnight," said Jol after the game. "We asked to postpone the game for 24 hours but we didn't want to risk sanctions. We took a gamble but I think you saw we weren't strong enough. We're in Europe and that's the main target but to be fourth for most of the season and lose it on the last day is a big disappointment. We're gutted."

"I couldn't believe it," added Defoe. "Such an important game and seven of the lads were sick. I still respect guys such as Michael Carrick, who went out and played even though they were struggling." Teemu Tainio, another player who had been affected, would later describe it as the biggest disappointment of his career.

Jol insisted Spurs would not appeal for a replay, but the focus soon turned to the cause of the bug. A sample of the lasagne was taken and an investigation was launched, but 10 days later, the Health Protection Agency cleared the London Marriott hotel of blame. Rather than food poisoning, the investigation found that norovirus, a form of viral gastroenteritis, had been the root of the outbreak.

The official verdict did little to quell Tottenham's suspicions, and their pain endured for years afterwards. Spurs did not achieve Champions League qualification for four more years, and it is only now, 11 years on, that they have finally finished above Arsenal. After years of pain, they will be hoping to put lasagne-gate behind them once and for all on Friday night.

The facts revealed: How do West Ham solve a problem like Diafra Sakho?
What on earth should the Hammers do with their injury-prone striker?
Football London
15:38, 4 MAY 2017

Was it really any surprise when Slaven Bilic revealed earlier today that Diafra Sakho is done for the season? The Senegalese striker has suffered a recurrence of his back injury which caused him to miss the back end of last season and the first four months of this season. Bilic, who looked utterly exasperated when he told the assembled media at Rush Green of Sakho's latest setback, has a very big decision to make over the future of the 27-year-old at the club. Sakho has one year left on his deal and is unlikely to get that extended. While there can be no doubt of his actual goalscoring talent, the amount of minutes the hitman plays completely overshadows it.

As you can see from the table below, put together for by Ben Dinnery, Injury Data Analyst at Premier, you can see just how much time Sakho has missed. Tbale shows he has missed 574 days injured since Aug 2014

So, what can Bilic do with his injury-prone striker? Well, he has three options. Keep and hope he gets fit, keep him until his contract is up, or try and shift him on. The last one is going to be the most difficult because as it stands, Sakho has absolutely no value at all. What on earth could West Ham realistically get for him if they were to put him on the market? £10m max? His injury record scuppered a deadline day move to West Bromwich Albion last summer, with the Baggies believing Sakho wouldn't pass the medical. What proof is there to say that won't be the case this time around? Sakho is under contract until the end of next season so feasibly, the club can keep hold of him. Therein lies two options for Bilic.Does he keep the striker as part of the first team squad and hope he suddenly becomes injury-free and can play, giving him a season to prove his worth to the club? It's highly unlikely, given just how much time the frontman has missed.
Or, does Bilic keep him on the books but, simply, not play him? He won't risk getting injured again and can be sold either next January or simply released at the expiration of his deal. Either way, it's extremely tough to see Sakho having a future at the club after this latest setback. Both him and Andy Carroll are not holding up their ends of the bargain this season and it could spell the end for both of them in claret and blue. Is there a club out there willing to take a gamble? Maybe a return to France where he joined the Hammers from could be an option but a Premier League taking a shot? No.

Marco Silva swapping Hull City for West Ham could impact Andrew Robertson's future
Danny Owen

Hull City's Andrew Robertson has been linked with Liverpool but would he follow manager Marco Silva to West Ham if he's appointed to replace Slaven Bilic? Even if Hull City tumble out of the top flight in the final three games of the season, manager Marco Silva will still emerge with his reputation majorly enhanced. The cynics may have doubted the 39-year-old's ability to rescue a seemingly sinking Hull ship (we're looking at you Paul Merson) but his astute understanding of the transfer market, ability to organise a defence and sterling home record means The Tigers now have their destiny in their own hands. West Ham supporters may only wish Slaven Bilic was as competent in those three critical managerial attributes. As such, The Telegraph reports that The Hammers could turn to Silva if they decide to part ways with the Croatian after a disillusioning campaign. And with Silva having brought a number of his trusted lieutenants, such as Evandro and Omar Elabdellaoui, to the KCom, you could expect him to repeat the trick at West Ham. Therefore, could his potential move to the capital put the claret and blue's in pole position for Hull left-back Andrew Robertson? The Daily Mail reported last month that Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has identified the £8 million-rated Scotland international as an ideal addition for The Reds. Considering James Milner has spent the entire season in the back four, Robertson's arrival would surely go some way to solving their problem position. However, West Ham have had their difficulties at left-back too. Aaron Cresswell has struggled with injuries again this season and, despite a late burst of form, doubts persist around the future of summer signing Arthur Masuaku.
Therefore, Robertson could be one of the first names on Silva's wishlist if he swapped Hull for The Hammers. Technically gifted with an excellent cross, targetman Andy Carroll would surely benefit from Robertson's wand of a left foot.


Diafra Sakho's 2016/17 season has virtually been spent entirely in the treatment room. After falling out with the coaching staff last summer with the club looking for a marquee striker signing to seemingly replace him, Sakho's season got off to a slow start with the striker refusing to take part in pre-season activities. A £16m move to West Brom was in the pipelines and set to be completed before the Baggies pulled out of the deal because they weren't convinced by the players medicals that he'd be a safe purchase. The striker underwent back surgery last year which kept him out until November where he made two appearances, scoring away at Manchester United, before suffering a thigh injury which would sideline him for another couple of months. Sakho returned to the pitch during the away defeat to Arsenal but refused to travel to Sunderland 10 days later because he was told he wasn't going to start the match despite him believing he was fit to do so. After a cameo appearance against Everton two weeks ago, Sakho was omitted from the squad which drew at Stoke last time out and many were asking why – well now we have our answer. Slaven Bilic has confirmed that the Senegalese striker has suffered another serious injury setback which will rule him out for the rest of the season. It's believed that this is another recurrence of his ongoing back issues that have plagued him for the best part of 18 months. West Ham will be in the market for a striker or two in the summer and will be eager to part ways with Sakho if they can find a willing buyer.

Full transcript as Slaven Bilic faces the press ahead of West Ham hosting "the best team in the country" in Spurs
The Hammers boss spoke to the media ahead of Friday Night Football
Football London
11:15, 4 MAY 2017

Slaven Bilic spoke to the press at Rush Green on Thursday morning ahead of tomorrow's London derby against Tottenham under the lights at the London Stadium. Spurs arrive in E20 having won nine Premier League games on the bounce while the Hammers are unbeaten in four, desperate to extinguish their bitter rivals title challenge. Bilic updated the masses on injury news ahead of the game and why he thinks Spurs are the best team in the countr. Here's every single word the boss said during the broadcast section of his pre-match press conference.

Any injury news?

Arthur Masuaku got a knock a few days before Stoke, had a knock on his foot and then he didn't train for a few days. It's nothing broken but very sore, he could only manage 45 minutes and will try today and depending on this, we will see for tomorrow night.
Andy [Carroll] has trained individually for a couple of days and again, he will train today but the rest is the same. I thought he'd be OK for spurs game but I don't know ask my in one hours time, it's too early.

Are you looking forward to Friday's match?

This is a big match, it's a derby. Whether we need the points or not, Friday night, derby game against Spurs at our stadium, they need points we need points, it's a massive game for both of us and of course, we want that point that will mathematically ensure our survival.
You don't need extra motivation to play against Tottenham. Last seasons game at Upton Park when we beat them 1-0, it was electric. We also played a good game against them at White Hart Lane this season when we were leading with a couple of minutes to go but then lost. It's a big game for us, for the supporters, London derby, under the lights which makes it a bit more special so yes, it's a massive one and we are ready for that.

What's the latest on your future?

It's not the time to talk about my futute. It's not about me, it's about the club. I have read a lot of stories but I am very calm, focused on the game tomorrow. I told you just now, the only thing I am thinking about is the game against Spurs, that's all I am going to say about it. I have been asked about it more than a few times in the last few months and I always answer them in the same way.

What is your opinion of Spurs?

They are the club playing the best football. Don't get me wrong, I think Chelsea well deserve to be on top because they have not had a bad hole in their season but Spurs are playing this season the best football. They are a really good team with great individuals and of course, when you play against those teams home and away you have to be focused, compact and concentrate throughout the whole 90 minutes.
Apart from that, you have be ready up front to take advantage of their mistakes if they make it.

Are you surprised at how worse off now than last season as you have mostly the same players?

It's not as it was. If you have a look at how many players we have had available throughout the season, the difference to last year is huge. But I don't want to talk about that, I want to talk about Spurs game. But what you just said it is not that it isn't true, it's just the opposite, we have been without many players in positions where they help you to win games, nowhere near last year.

How do you beat Spurs?

I have nothing but praise for them, I like watching them all this season and how Chelsea have managed to make that gap as well because Tottenham has been good for the whole season. I remember that one period when a couple of times they were without Harry Kane, that first one they drew a few games that if you are challenging for the title you can't afford. Before that and after that, especially in the last couple of months, the are winning every game they are playing so they are in form. OK, last couple of away a games they won but in both of them they were not that impressive. They won the games though, but they could have drawn or lost.

Are you interested in signing Jermain Defoe?

It is not the time to talk about transfers. Now it's all Tottenham.

Do you want him?

It's all Tottenham.

Is this a bad time to be facing Spurs?

I don't think about that when it is time to face them. They are in form, they have been for the last couple of months and are playing good and we have to be aware of that. But as I said, we have to be positive. We are four games unbeaten and we have three clean sheets in four games, their last two away performances they are giving us hope and the reason to believe. Yes they are playing really good football - electric, pace, physicality, passing, changing the positions, players in really good form but our form has improved also and we are positive and optimistic.

How crucial are the past three recent clean sheets for confidence?

Clean sheets are crucial. They are not only giving the confidence to the defence but to the whole team and it's a pattern. It's a great cornerstone to bring into the next football game so three clean sheets, they boost our confidence. We know because very, very recently, without being extremely lucky. We deserved all three of them. It is good because now we know what we have to do as individuals and as a team.

West Ham's first London Stadium season: a terrible experience or a step forward?
The Guardian

Thursday 4 May 2017 11.59 BST Last modified on Thursday 4 May 2017 12.07 BST
From a business perspective, it was not hard to understand why West Ham United found it impossible to resist the allure of London Stadium, with its agreeably large capacity, vast corporate facilities, proximity to the capital's centre and Olympic legacy. It seemed to tick all the boxes for a club looking to reach the next level, as long as everyone kept in mind the football team that was going to play there. They would have to feel as comfortable as those sitting in the posh seats. After almost a year in their new home, they don't.

West Ham's players have played ball in public, obligingly telling the world about what a thrill it is to play in such a wonderfully modern stadium, even though they have suffered some dreadful humiliations there this season. But the truth is different in private, where the brave faces disappear and the grumbling begins. Slaven Bilic's team feel so uneasy in the new stadium that one senior player describes the Stratford experience as "terrible".

The obvious counter to such complaints is that West Ham have a poor home record because they are a poor team who are led by an average manager. In normal circumstances, that would be enough. West Ham endured enough ordeals at Upton Park to know that a stadium's power is limited. True, Manchester City have hit nine without reply on their two visits to the London Stadium, Arsenal won 5-1 and even Astra Giurgiu came away with a 1-0 victory that saw the Romanian underdogs qualify for the Europa League, but what's new? When West Ham were relegated in 2003, they didn't win at Upton Park until the end of January.

There is finite value to be gained from romanticising Upton Park. The atmosphere could be damagingly poisonous, the facilities were tired and the transport links were dismal. It held 35,000 and West Ham made £26.9m in matchday revenue last season. The London Stadium holds 57,000 and West Ham are seeking permission to increase its capacity to 66,000. Supporters with open minds simply had to do the maths to understand the board's position and accept that this was West Ham's chance to take on Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur on a stronger financial footing.

Those who are less certain can expect West Ham's vice-chair, Karren Brady, to point to 52,000 season-ticket holders, 10,000 under-16s who regularly attend matches, 36,000 members and a waiting list for season tickets that stretches to 55,000. She is also proud of the club's rise to 18th in the Deloitte Money League after turning over £144m in 2016. Season ticket prices have been frozen.

The numbers are impressive. Yet where there was excitement about new possibilities last August, by October there was cynicism over slapdash summer signings, stewarding and ticketing problems, an increasingly lacklustre atmosphere, violence inside and outside the ground and the awkward sight of large pockets of empty seats during some games. Post-match queues for trains at Stratford have tested even the mildest of tempers, which definitely wasn't in the brochure.

It would all be easier for supporters to stomach if the team were in better shape. There have been flashes of promise – Andy Carroll's overhead kick against Crystal Palace, the League Cup win over Chelsea in October – but the experience has been disappointing overall. Having challenged for Champions League qualification in their smaller, traditional ground last season, West Ham have flirted with relegation this time. Fifteenth with three matches left, they could still be relegated if results go against them. The London Stadium move was not made with the Championship in mind.

The running track is a huge problem but is here to stay. This is the price to pay for playing in a quasi athletics arena
West Ham will be fortunate to survive another year of this. They host Tottenham on Friday and Liverpool on Sunday. Lose both matches and they will end the season with six home wins, four draws and nine defeats, having lost just twice in the league at Upton Park last season.

In different circumstances, Spurs would undoubtedly view a trip to West Ham as tricky. It certainly was when their title challenge faltered under the lights last season, Michail Antonio scoring the only goal on an evening when the Hammers fans gave Mauricio Pochettino's team the most inhospitable of East End welcomes.

That closeness, that claustrophobia, has been conspicuous by its absence this season. Because of the running track, the players struggle to feel the atmosphere and the distance from the pitch prevents the crowd from getting on top of visiting teams. The place simply feels too big for a team of West Ham's stature at the moment and it was striking to hear Pep Guardiola make that point after City's 5-0 win in the FA Cup in January. "Today we controlled a bit more, through the passes," Guardiola said. "The pitch, the stadium, helped us in that sense. It looks like it's bigger. It's an impression."

The pitch at Upton Park was 100.5m x 68m, while the London Stadium is five metres longer and the same width. However Guardiola's comments echoed ones made by Sir Trevor Brooking, who warned that teams would raise their game at Stratford. The psychological impact of playing in a stadium regarded as a soft touch cannot be underestimated. Without that home advantage, West Ham's frailties become even more exposed. Tottenham are likely to enjoy themselves on Friday evening.

Some progress has been made off the pitch. The fault for many of the early problems belonged to the stadium operators rather than West Ham and they have mostly been ironed out. The club's response to the trouble that marred the cup win over Chelsea was strong and there has been no repeat of those disgraceful scenes.

But other issues won't go away in a hurry. For all that it takes time to turn a house into a home, this is a venue with architectural flaws such as the large gap between the tiers, the effect of which is to make the stadium feel disorienting, too spaced out and cobbled together. The running track, meanwhile, is a huge problem but it is here to stay. This is the price to pay for playing in a quasi athletics arena.

The point of going to football instead of watching on television is to smell the action. Sit too low and you will struggle to see the other end; too far back and it feels like you are in a different postcode. You drift off. You leave early. You decide that was a waste of money. You stay at home next time.

What was it all for? West Ham's owners, David Gold and David Sullivan, are determined to challenge the elite. There is an iron belief that moving was the right decision and it is possible to be sympathetic towards the argument that expanding Upton Park would have made little impact on the club's finances because the surrounding area was so cramped.

Equally, however, the London Stadium gamble will only be seen as a success if West Ham move forward on the pitch. That was the deal: turn 112 years of history into flats, focus on the brand, change the badge on the shirt, sell popcorn to tourists – just have something to show for it at the end. Only one thing will compensate supporters who feel a loss of identity and connection with their club: trophies. The stakes are high.

Gold and Sullivan are determined to challenge the elite. There is an iron belief that moving was the right call
But the last of West Ham's four major honours was the FA Cup 37 years ago. Their highest finish, achieved in 1986, is third. They have been relegated four times since then. Bilic recently said that Bayern Munich and Juventus benefited from moving to new stadiums. Yet both of those clubs left running tracks behind. They have also enjoyed a touch more success than West Ham, the fourth biggest club in London.

It is already crowded at the top in England. The historical power of Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United gives them a head start. Chelsea and City are owned by billionaires. Tottenham, cleverly run, are on the rise. Where is there room for a club that sells Dimitri Payet and signs Robert Snodgrass? The competition is not hanging around. Elsewhere in the city, Chelsea have unveiled plans to redevelop Stamford Bridge and Tottenham are putting the finishing touches to the new White Hart Lane. Neither ground will feature a running track.

Expectations rose dramatically and instantly when West Ham swapped E13 for E20, but they are yet to respond in the transfer market and are almost starting from scratch this summer.

These are still early days, of course, and it is hard to put a timeframe on how long West Ham will have to wait before flexing their financial muscles. It could take one year; it could take 10. If it is to be the latter, the pressure will intensify as doubts grow and patience wears thin.

est Ham leave it late on Andy Carroll call as Slaven Bilic hails Tottenham season
Evening Standard

West Ham will make a late decision on Andy Carroll before Friday's derby at home to Tottenham. The striker, whose career has been plagued by injury, has missed the past three matches with a groin problem. Slaven Bilic said on Friday: "Andy has been training for a couple of days. I don't know if he will be ready but we will see how he is in training." Left-back Arthur Masuaku is also doubtful and, like Carroll, faces a late decision. "Masuaku has a knock on his foot," said Bilic. "There's nothing broken but it's sore. We will try him and see."
Both teams need points for contrasting reasons, with Spurs going for the title and the Hammers looking to guarantee their top-flight status. Bilic said: "This is a big match anyway but we need points and they need them, too, so it is a massive game for both of us.
"If we remember the game last season when we beat them 1-0, it was one of the most electric atmospheres. Also this season we were leading at White Hart Lane with a couple of minutes to go but conceded two goals."
Bilic was again asked about his future, following several reports this week that it is dependent on his team's performances in the next two games, which also includes Liverpool at home. "I am very calm," said the West Ham boss. "I have been asked those kind of questions more than a few times this season and I have answered them in the same way."
Bilic also confirmed that he is an admirer of Spurs this season. He added: "Chelsea deserve to be on top but Spurs are maybe playing the best football throughout the whole season. "When you play against those kind of teams you have to stay focused and be compact. I have nothing but praise for Spurs and have enjoyed watching them."

West Ham United's Andre Ayew relishing tough test against Tottenham Hotspur under the lights
Published on: 04 May 2017

Ghana and West Ham United Star Andre Ayew is looking forward to the London derby against Spurs this Friday with a win on his mind.
The former Swansea City forward was backed by the hierarchy after he reacted furiously to being subbed in the stalemate against Stoke City over the weekend. West Ham are undefeated in their four games and have kept a clean sheet in three of their last four games, giving their boss Slaven Bilic confidence going into this one. But Spurs have grit and are very aggressive in front of goal this season and still have a chance to win the league title if Chelsea decides to throw it away. "We are looking forward to the Spurs game with a lot of believe because of the way we have played in last few games," Ayew said "We will be up for the change and hopefully it's a good game."

The Ghanaian is the clubs record signing and has recovered from a difficult start to score five goals this season.

West Ham FC news: Arthur Masuaku and Andy Carroll rated doubtful to feature against Tottenham
By talkSPORT - @talkSPORT
Thursday, May 4, 2017

West Ham duo Arthur Masuaku and Andy Carroll are both doubtful for Friday night's crunch London derby with Tottenham. Winger Masuaku was forced off at half time during the Hammers' goalless draw at Stoke City last weekend, while Carroll has been unavailable for the last two fixtures due to a groin strain. Slaven Bilic confirmed he would give the duo the maximum amount of time to recover ahead of Spurs' visit to the London Stadium, but admits both remain doubtful. "Masuaku has a knock on his foot," Bilic revealed. "He's going to train today and then we will decide before tomorrow night. "Andy will also train to day and then we will decide tomorrow. "Will he be fit or not? I don't know."

Has Dries Mertens' wife scuppered a mega money move to West Ham this summer?
Damien Lucas

West Ham United know they need to get it right in the transfer market this summer after a terrible season of recruitment but things haven't started well. Co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold were full of promises last summer as the club left its beloved Boleyn Ground home of 112 years for the 60,000 seater Olympic Stadium. Some supporters remain sceptical over their motives of publicly announcing they would spend over £30 million on a "marquee" striker signing, suggesting it was a ploy to sell season tickets. If it was, it worked, as 52,000 signed up for them - second only to Manchester United. Reports have suggested the club tried to land some top players but the likes of Michy Batshuayi, Alexandre Lacazette and Carlos Bacca were not so keen.
Instead a glut of poor signings diluted the quality of Slaven Bilic's squad and the Hammers have endured a torrid season since, and still require another win to seal their Premier League safety. But if reports from Italy are to be believed, this summer's recruitment drive hasn't started well either. That's because Napoli have rejected a £25 million bid from West Ham for Belgian international Dries Mertens after the player's wife insisted on staying in Naples, according to Italian journalist Raffaele Auriemma. Speaking on Radio CRC, writer and presenter Auriemma claimed that the 29-year-old is now set to extend his contract with Gli Azzurri instead, as reported by Hammers fan site Knees Up Mother Brown. "Mertens will sign within a matter of hours," said Auriemma. "He was convinced by his wife who who wanted to stay in Naples. Napoli have already rejected an offer from West Ham of €30million for the Belgian."

It will be encouraging for supporters to see the club looking to embark on their summer business nice and early. But West Ham must start to do some proper investigation work before going after a player to save face. Otherwise the club could put other stars off if they are seen to be consistently turned down and end up having to settle for average players again. Mertens is a huge step up in quality and would make a superb replacement for the departed Dimitri Payet. But with no European football on offer the club may have to be more realistic in their targets, or pay over the odds to land the players that can get them there.

West Ham have a habit of pulling off the unexpected late in the season
Peter Thorne

West Ham face North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur at the London Stadium on Friday night. It is a crucial match for both teams for completely different reasons.

Spurs, of course, need three points to maintain the pressure on Chelsea at the top of the Premier League. Any dropped points at Stratford will probably ensure the title travels back to West London.

West Ham's need is a little more difficult to fathom. Saturday's dull 0-0 draw against Stoke at the Bet365 Stadium left the Hammers needing another win to be mathematically certain of top level football next season. Currently at 39 points, it's likely Slaven Bilic's men have enough points already but, but being the only club to suffer relegation with 42 points, Hammers fans are understandably reluctant to ever feel entirely comfortable until the final table is printed.

A win against the team Hammers fans love to hate would be a massive boost for Bilic. The manager needs one. Shaky in defence, lacking creativity in midfield and with little attacking threat, West Ham have limped through the season. Entertainment has been at a minimum and Bilic's position has come under threat as a result. Two wins against Spurs and Liverpool in the club's last two home games may be the only thing that can save the manager's job.

It would be a brave man to bet against Spurs perhaps, but the Hammers have form in this situation. The East London side have an unerring ability of spoiling the party of teams reaching for the summit.

Spurs themselves have suffered from it. The famous "Lasagne Gate" match in 2006, which West Ham won 2- 1 to deny Spurs a Champions League spot, was played against the backdrop of food poisoning amongst the entire Tottenham side. The team had stayed overnight in a Docklands hotel and, though completely spurious, the rumour that a vindictive Hammers supporting chef had spiked the team's food was given huge credence in the East End.

Perhaps a more prescient example, however, was the superlative display by goalkeeper Ludek Miklosko who pulled off one wonder save after another to deny Manchester United the league title back in 1995. As a result of Miklosko's heroics that afternoon, Blackburn Rovers went on to lift the title. The Manchester United team that day talk about it still.

It's often forgotten, however, that just weeks earlier an average mid-table West Ham team had dented Blackburn's run-in with a comprehensive 2-0 win at home. Had Blackburn not been soundly beaten that afternoon they may not have needed the Hammers' help on the last day.

Surely the finest example of West Ham's habit of pulling off the spectacular, though, was the 1991-92 season; a campaign that ended with the club getting relegated in 22nd place. Manchester United under Alex Ferguson were chasing the title and visited Upton Park in late April. The Hammers, inept all season, played like Barcelona in a display Ferguson called "obscene," running out 1-0 winners. It was virtually the only decent performance from the club all season and it handed the title to Leeds United.

Hammers fans never forgot Fergie's outburst, but there was little to criticise the United boss for. In view of how the team had played all that season, his criticism was totally correct. Even half as much passion and commitment in the rest of the campaign and West Ham would have been present in the opening Premier League season in 1992-93 instead of trying to navigate their way from the Championship.

Times have changed, of course, and West Ham's ability to turn their home into a cauldron of noise may be a thing of the past. Friday night will put it to the test.

Tottenham will feel they have too much in reserve to fall this time. Mauricio Pochettino has given the North London side more resolve and a touch of steel that previous Spurs sides have lacked. Unbeaten in the Premier League since mid-February, Tottenham have the drive and confidence to run Chelsea to the very last game.

But there's always an air around West Ham in matches like this. It may not be the Boleyn under floodlights, but this is an opportunity for the club to stamp a mark on their new home in Stratford. Friday night is important for the Slaven Bilic certainly but it's even more vital for the Hammers' frustrated fans.


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