Friday, May 5

Daily WHUFC News II - 5th May 2017

Manager on Matchday

West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic shares his thoughts ahead of tonight's Premier League derby with Tottenham Hotspur at London Stadium...

Hello everyone,

We are all looking forward to tonight's game with Tottenham Hotspur, which is for me a special fixture for West Ham United. It is a derby game and derby games are always special, plus it is our first meeting Spurs at London Stadium. Of course, it also a massive game for both clubs points-wise. We need a win to be sure of being safe in the Premier League, while they are fighting for the title and need to get three points to keep the pressure on Chelsea. I am confident we will have a fantastic atmosphere at London Stadium tonight. I know our fans will get behind us and support us and we hope to reward them with a victory that we can all enjoy. Also, I made my debut at Spurs and we won 1-0 back in 1996, so I have good memories of playing against them as a Hammer. It is more special for me when we play Spurs because it is the game, no matter where we are in the table. I remember speaking to my staff at Chadwell Heath last season before we played them at Upton Park and I felt the same – it is a bit special and I'm definitely sure the atmosphere is going to be special tonight.
Of course, I am excited about this game. It reminds me a bit of the Manchester United game last season at Upton Park. It's a Friday night game, under the lights, against Spurs and they need points, we need points, so it's a massive game. If you are confident, if you are a sportsman, these are the reasons why you want to be involved in this job. As a player, these are the games you can't wait for.
OK, in the Premier League, they are all like that, but this is an extra one. Spurs at home is massive.

Come on you Irons!

Noble to draw on Spurs memories

Mark Noble set to make 17th appearance of his West Ham United career against Tottenham Hotspur
Captain first appeared against Spurs as an 18-year-old at White Hart Lane in November 2005
Noble says Hammers need to be 'solid' if they are to beat the title-chasers on Friday night

Mark Noble will draw on the memory of his first-ever appearance against Tottenham Hotspur when he lines up against the north Londoners tonight. The West Ham United captain was just 18 when he took his place in the midfield for a Premier League fixture with Spurs at White Hart Lane in November 2005. Despite facing the likes of Netherlands international Edgar Davids and former Hammer Michael Carrick, the young Noble held his own as Alan Pardew's side drew 1-1. Fast forward eleven-and-a-half years and Noble, now just three days short of his 30th birthday, will face another talented Tottenham team at London Stadium. "I was told this week that this will be the 17th time I have faced Spurs in the Premier League and, like so many of the 16 that have gone before, this is another massive game for both clubs," Noble observed. "I can remember the very first time I played against Tottenham at White Hart Lane back in November 2005, when I was just 18 – time flies so quick! We drew one-all and I was playing in a midfield against Edgar Davids and Michael Carrick. I actually scored that day but it was offside, but it is still an amazing memory! "Now we have tonight's game and Spurs want to win the title. They've been on Chelsea's tail the whole season and will want to put them under pressure. "They are a very good side without many weaknesses at all, but it's a derby, we're at home and we need to be at 100 per cent to be able to get a result. "We are going to need to be solid tonight because, although Chelsea are top, I think with the way they play and the way they are set up, for me Spurs are the best team in the league at the minute."

While Tottenham have title ambitions, West Ham and Noble need a win to ensure the Hammers are in the Premier League next season. "It's an important game for us as well, because we need points and we want to finish as high as we can in the Premier League table," the No16 confirmed. "Hopefully, we'll play as well as we can do and give Spurs a proper game, because that's what the fans expect and that's what we'll try and give them."

Finally, the skipper called on the Claret and Blue Army to roar their team on tonight, with a sell-out crowd expected to create a fantastic atmosphere on Spurs' first visit to London Stadium. "It's a London derby and it's an exciting game, but we need to channel our energies in a positive way," he said. "When you are behind us, it helps massively. We've got 54,000-odd of you here tonight and we need to hear every one of you, because Spurs are a top team and are second in the league for a reason. "We need have every little bit of help we can to get a result."

*Mark Noble was writing in Friday's 100-page Official Programme, which will be on sale in and around London Stadium tonight, priced £3.50. Alternatively, you can order a copy online here, or download the Digital issue for just £1.99 here.

Three Key Battles - Tottenham Hotspur

It doesn't come much better than facing your London rivals under the lights, and West Ham United will do exactly that when they face title-chasing Tottenham Hotspur at London Stadium on Friday. While the Hammers will be looking to extend their unbeaten run to five matches, Spurs are on the hunt for a tenth successive Premier League victory to stay in touch with Chelsea at the top of the table.
And though Mauricio Pochettino's men are looking dangerous in almost every fixture they play in, the Hammers have been stern recently in defence, keeping three clean sheets in four matches.

Let's take a look at some individual battles on the London Stadium pitch which could have a bearing on the final result…

Adrian v Loris

In goal, Adrian has taken over the reins from Darren Randolph recently, impressing in both of his two displays, shutting out both Everton and Stoke City. At the other end on Friday night will be Frenchman and Tottenham skipper Hugo Lloris, well-regarded throughout the footballing world. It's the Spaniard, however, who comes out on top in terms of both his average claim success rate and his saves per game so far this season. A world-class save is as important as a goal in huge clashes such as this, so both keepers will have to be on their toes throughout the 90 minutes.

Cresswell v Davies

With Arthur Masuaku in a race to be fit for the London derby having picked up a knock at Stoke's bet365 Stadium, it could well mean a return for English full-back Aaron Cresswell. The left-sider, like Tottenham's Ben Davies, has not played as much football as he'd have liked this season, but when he has, his statistics have been good, making two goals – one recently for Andy Carroll at Hull. Davies has been kept out the team on occasions by Danny Rose, but due to the England man's injury, the Welsh former Swansea player has been a regular in 2017. He helped Wales to the UEFA Euro 2016 semi-finals in France during the summer, but can he keep Spurs' title challenge on track on Friday?

Reid v Alderweireld

Our final pair to look at are another set of defenders, one of the Hammers' key men in Winston Reid and Tottenham's former Atletico Madrid centre-back Toby Alderweireld. The Belgian's stock has grown and grown since following Pochettino from Southampton to Spurs, and he's been one of the best defenders in the league this season. That said, West Ham's Reid has more goals, assists and better aerials won, pass success and clearances per game stats. Some might be led into thinking that makes Reid an unsung hero, but he certainly earns his praise from Hammers fans!

Tottenham play the Premier League's best football but West Ham can beat them, writes Slaven Bilic
Evening Standard

Friday night is a massive game for both clubs — West Ham versus Tottenham is always this way. I made my West Ham debut against Spurs at White Hart Lane in February 1996 and I was left in no doubt back then, by the fans, just how much importance they attach to this London derby. For me this season, Spurs have played the best football in the Premier League. I enjoy watching the way they play although I would like even more to replicate the score of that game back in '96, when we won 1-0 with a Dani goal. Attacking players such as Dele Alli, Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen inevitably take the eye but just as important are their full-backs — the way they operate is crucial to the team's success this season.
It's very demanding the way they play and it's not like old fashioned full-backs, who are there as an option. The demands on their full-backs are high and that is why Mauricio Pochettino is rotating them. Okay, now Danny Rose is injured, but even before that players such as Ben Davies and Kieran Trippier were getting a decent number of games, which shows you how demanding are those positions. Every position is crucial but if we are talking about sheer intensity, it is Tottenham's full-backs who make the difference. Somebody said to me the other day they don't have pace, but I would question that. The full-backs are pacey, as are the central defenders, but I suppose we were talking about further up the pitch. From what I see they have one speedy offensive player in ​Heung-min Son but those other players — Kane, Ali, Eriksen, all have enough pace — and a great touch. The first yard of pace is in the head, to anticipate the next move.
Luka Modric is a good example. He's not lightning quick but you still can't get near him. He's sharp, has what I call 'rear view mirrors', his touch is unbelievable and he is always moving. The best example in recent years has been Andrea Pirlo. He had no pace but when he played for Juventus or Italy, opposition managers would say "get close to Pirlo". I know I did when Croatia played Italy in the 2012 Euros. He was still most times by himself, though, constantly moving, reading the situation. He didn't need the opponents to be 10 yards away from him when he received the ball. He needed a fraction of that space, all because of his ability. We are looking forward to this game. I don't know if we already have enough points but until you are mathematically safe you cannot relax for a moment.

Spurs are good but no team are unbeatable and we were just a few minutes away from defeating them at White Hart Lane before conceding two goals in the dying minutes. We have been doing well in denying the opposition chances in recent games and, for me, we created enough chances in the goalless draw at Stoke last weekend to have won the game. After recent games, though, I have been saying the same thing: yes, we are compact and defending well as a team, but in the final third of the match we haven't quite produced the quality needed.

Tottenham have shown West Ham how to recruit on limited budget, says Slaven Bilic
By Lyall Thomas
Last Updated: 05/05/17 12:18am

Slaven Bilic admits West Ham are looking at Tottenham's recruitment model as they head into the summer transfer window. The Hammers struggled in the transfer market last summer and have endured a disappointing season in the Premier League, with the club not yet mathematically safe from relegation with three games to go. Spurs, meanwhile, are second and pushing Chelsea for the title with a net spend of only £7m over the last two seasons. Ahead of the two sides meeting on Friday Night Football, live on Sky Sports 1HD, Bilic said: "They are buying really good players and they built a really good team. "We can't look at Man City or Chelsea or Man United, or watch European football every week and say 'yeah we want him'. We have to do it with a limited budget. "Spurs have shown us - either because they were lucky or they had great scouts - that what they are doing is the way."
Tottenham will have a more difficult challenge next season when they move away from White Hart Lane, where they remain unbeaten this season, to Wembley. Mauricio Pochettino's side lost two of their three Champions League games at the national stadium this season, while they drew with Belgian side Gent in the Europa League last-32 and suffered defeat against Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-final.
West Ham have suffered from unfamiliarity in their new home at the London Stadium this term and Bilic warned Spurs they could face the same problems. "I don't know but I wouldn't be surprised. It is going to be very hard for them to replicate that atmosphere at White Hart Lane, where everywhere you turn you are close to the stands," the Croatian said "At Wembley they have already felt it this season in the Champions League. Although the pitch may be the same, it is a totally different perception. And the perception is the key. "We needed a few games to get used to it. Of course victories would reduce the time, but after defeats it's hard to say it's not important. We needed a lot of time."

West Ham ask fans for 'passion' not problems in Tottenham derby
Eveing Standard

West Ham co-chairmen David Sullivan and David Gold on Friday asked every Hammers fan attending the derby with Tottenham to show "passion" but "act as an ambassador" for the club. Matches between the teams have been punctuated by crowd problems in recent seasons but West Ham have worked hard, in consultation with the London Stadium operators and the Metropolitan Police, to ensure there are no significant problems. Some matches early in the season at the London Stadium were affected by crowd trouble but that has changed in recent months, thanks to improved stewarding and segregation. There will, however, be a major police presence at the Category C match, the highest security level, and a police statement confirmed: "The Metropolitan Police Service has an appropriate, proportionate and robust policing plan in place for the match."

In a joint statement in the match programme, Sullivan and Gold said: "Let's take this opportunity, in front of the TV cameras and a captive audience of millions around the globe, to show the passion that makes our fans famous worldwide, and to illustrate the effect your support can have on the team throughout the game. "We urge you to remember that every supporter attending the match is acting as an ambassador for West Ham United and their behaviour should reflect the values and standards of this great club. "We, and everyone else at West Ham United, are very much looking forward to tonight's game and the Claret and Blue Army showing the world what being a fan is all about — supporting with pride, passion and respect."

Carroll has missed the past two matches with a groin problem but returned to training this week and boss Slaven Bilic looks certain to include the striker in his squad, providing there is no late reaction. Carroll could start but it is more likely he will be a substitute, with Jonathan Calleri filling the striker's role. West Ham goalkeeper Adrian says he is content at the club, despite speculation he could leave at the end of the season. "I am happy here and I enjoy it in London and the West Ham fans who have always been good to me," he said.

West Ham United boss Slaven Bilic intending to recall Ashley Fletcher
John Verrall

West Ham United are set to take on Tottenham Hotspur at the London Stadium later this evening. Slaven Bilic has told Football.London that Ashley Fletcher could finally be handed another chance to start for West Ham United against Tottenham Hotspur later this evening.
West Ham's attacking options look short heading into the game, which means Fletcher could be recalled. The young forward actually played fairly regularly for the Hammers in the first half of the season, but seems to have slipped down the pecking order more recently.
Andy Carroll and Jonathan Calleri have both been used ahead of Fletcher in recent times. However, the 21-year-old may be given the nod to start against Spurs this evening. "I like him as a player, he is young with a bright future, works hard, very polite as well, good in training," Bilic said. "He played a lot more first part of the season because we had limited options. The second part, some of the players came back and it was always someone else available. West Ham United's Ashley Fletcher looks dejected after the match "But he is under consideration for tomorrow. We will see."
Fletcher's last start for West Ham in the Premier League came way back in December against Arsenal. In total, the youngster has played 13 top flight matches for the Hammers, but he is yet to hit the back of the net. If West Ham are able to end Tottenham's strong run of form this evening, and pick up a victory, they will move up to ninth in the Premier League standings.

I would have hooked West Ham striker Jonathan Calleri for unnecessary rabona... an English player would be criticised for not using weaker foot
Jonathan Calleri attempted an audacious rabona rather than use his weak foot
Had he been English, people would have criticised him for a lack of technique
By Martin Allen for the Daily Mail
PUBLISHED: 09:05, 5 May 2017 | UPDATED: 09:06, 5 May 2017

Martin 'Mad Dog' Allen returns with his latest column for Sportsmail. This month he discusses his old his most challenging opponent and that famous win against Chelsea in the FA Cup.

It made me mad to see West Ham centre-forward Jonathan Calleri try an unnecessary rabona when I was up at Stoke on Saturday as a commentator for talkSPORT. He was six yards out, with the goal at his mercy, and rather than smashing it with his left foot he tried to engineer the tricky shot with his right. It's not right that your striker can't hit a shot with his left foot. If he had been an Englishman it would've been because there's not enough technical skills training, but because he's Argentinian a bloke near me said it was a great piece of skill and he was unlucky. If it was me stood on the touchline as his manager, he would've been hooked immediately and driven straight to the airport for his trip home.

football insider
5th May, 2017, 8:54 AM
By Amir Mir

Former Premier League striker Bobby Zamora has stated that he only has love for West Ham ahead of their clash against Tottenham on Friday night. Slaven Bilic's side will welcome the title chases to the London Stadium, looking to dent their rivals' chances of catching Chelsea in the table. Spurs have won nine league matches on the bounce and go into this tricky fixture full of confidence.
By contrast, the Hammers have not won a game since the start of April when they beat relegation-threatened Swansea 1-0. Ahead of the Friday night game, the now retired Zamora sent this Twitter message to both of his former clubs. "Played for both West Hand Tottenham," Zamora wrote on his personal Twitter account. "Scored for both in this London derby. But love only one.⚒"

Bobby Zamora ✔ @RobertZamora25
Played for both @WestHamUtd and @SpursOfficial scored for both in this London derby. But love only one ⚒⚒⚒
8:09 AM - 5 May 2017
330 330 Retweets 457 457 likes

During his brief career at the Lane, Zamora only lasted one season at the club after making the switch from Brighton during the summer of 2003. He was more successful at West Ham where he found the back of the net on 38 occasions for the east London outfit. During his career, Zamora represented four different London clubs, including Spurs, West Ham, Fulham and Queens Park Rangers. Added to that, he earned two England caps during his playing days, making his debut in 2010 at the age of 29. He will be hoping the Hammers can pull off an upset and ensure they are safe for this season as one more point will help them to the 40 point mark.

Slaven Bilic admits West Ham United are looking up to Tottenham Hotspur in more ways than one
Enfield Independent

Slaven Bilic admits West Ham are looking up to Tottenham - and not just in the Premier League table. Spurs visit the London Stadium on Friday night looking to maintain their title challenge against a Hammers side still not mathematically safe from relegation. And Tottenham's steady progress over the past few years, both on the pitch and off it, means Bilic is casting an envious eye towards West Ham's London rivals. "They are buying really good players and they built a really good team," said the Hammers boss. "It's a good question, because we can't look at Man City or Chelsea or Man United, or watch European football every week and say 'yeah we want him'.
"We have to do it with a limited budget and Spurs have shown us - either because they were lucky or they had great scouts - that what they are doing is the way."

Spurs also have a stadium move to look forward to, and will play home games at Wembley next season before their new home is ready in 2018. But West Ham have endured a torrid first campaign at the former Olympic Stadium, and Bilic has warned Spurs they could struggle too. "I don't know if they will have the same problems but I wouldn't be surprised," he added. "It is going to be very hard for them to replicate that atmosphere at White Hart Lane, where everywhere you turn you are close to the stands - and at Wembley they have already felt it this season in the Champions League. "Although the pitch may be the same, it is a totally different perception. And the perception is the key. "We needed a few games to get used to it. Of course victories would reduce the time, but after defeats it's hard to say it's not important. We needed a lot of time."

Bilic has faced further speculation over his future this week but knows a win over one of West Ham's arch enemies should ease some of the pressure. "This season is not the one we wanted or that we planned, I'm not hiding from that," he admitted. "Yet anyone linked with West Ham should know we've had many unbelievable obstacles this season. They are not excuses, they are one of the reasons why it hasn't been like last year.


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