It looks as if a former Manchester United fans favourite is on the move, and he might well be going back to his old stomping ground.
Evra is now 35 and his contract at Juventus is due to expire at the end of the current season, thus allowing foreign clubs to begin negotiations over his signing.
West Ham and Manchester United have been linked with the experienced full-back and with the player now left out of Juventus’ squad, it seems more likely that a move back to England may be on the horizon.
Evra has only made 6 Serie A appearances this season, with the younger Alex Sandro now seemingly the clubs favoured left back option. It is not clear whether Juventus intend to extend Evra’s contract beyond the conclusion of this season and that would allow either West Ham or Manchester United to sign him for free, or pay a small fee in January and get him now.
However, his agent Federico Pastorello played down the chances of the France international departing the Italian champions midseason.
“It’s not certain he will leave Juventus,” Pastorello told Juvenews. “We’ll see what happens over the next few days.”
It’s probably silly to bother looking at Evra’s statistics from this season considering how little he has played, so let’s go back to last season, where he was still a fairly regular presence in the starting eleven.
Making 26 appearances in Serie A, Evra proved that despite his age, he is still a very reliable defender, averaging 1.49 interceptions and 1.53 aerial duels won per 90 last season. He was also influential going forward, as always, completing on average 23.92 forward passes and on 1.01 key passes per 90, a good amount for a full back.
His attacking influence may fade as he continues to age, but the experience and defensive know-how that Evra has is mental and will only get stronger with age. As West Ham’s ship continues to shake, you can see why they would like a player of his ilk and experience in their defence.
For Manchester United, they do not have an established left back at the moment, with Luke Shaw struggling to return to form since his long term injury and Darmian seriously struggling to impress. Marcos Rojo is another option in that position but he is playing a lot better in central defence and I’m sure that Mourinho will be keen to try and keep him in that favoured central role.
If Evra has an offer from both clubs it’ll be interesting to see what decision he makes. At West Ham, he is more likely to play regular football, but his history at Manchester United will surely have a huge impact on his decision. I think if United’s interest is genuine, then Mourinho will be keen to add Evra for his off the pitch contribution as much as anything else.
It is fair to say that this season has not gone to plan for Slaven Bilic and West Ham. In a bid to turn the Hammer’s fortunes around, the club have reportedly sent letters asking their Premier League rivals for help in the January transfer window, according to The Telegraph.
Tottenham are the only one of the Premier League big hitters not to receive a letter from West Ham chiefs as the Hammers plan some very smart January transfer business. Letters were reportedly sent to Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool and Manchester City asking if any of those clubs have fringe players that the Hammers can sign on loan for the rest of the season.
With many players not becoming available that Slaven Bilic will want to sign until the summer transfer window, this plea to sign players with Premier League experience at the top clubs would seem like a good plan. Having sent a general letter to those five clubs, The Telegraph claim that West Ham have further enquiries regarding loan moves for Michy Batshuayi, Daniel Sturridge, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial as their search for a striker to sign in January begins.
In addition to this, the Hammers are also going to make enquiries over the availability of Chris Smalling, Branislav Ivanovic, Mamadou Sakho, Mathieu Debuchy and Carl Jenkinson. However, many of the highlighted players above are unlikely realistic targets for West Ham for two reasons.
First of all, it is well documented that clubs are often not prepared to loan out or sell players to Premier League rivals, unless it is at the right price. With loan moves being proposed by the Hammers, it is unlikely that clubs such as Manchester United and Liverpool will allow key players such as Sturridge and Martial to leave the club, even if it is on a loan basis.
Secondly, I feel the wages that West Ham would have to pay these players would not be within their price range, they simply would not be able to compete with the Premier League big boys. Would the players highlighted take a pay cut in favour of a move to West Ham when many get regular game time anyway? Probably not.
Although West Ham’s idea of taking Premier League players on loan for the rest of the season seems good business at first glance, the proposed deals not only look unlikely, but they look impractical as well.
There are some players there that are more realistic though, with the Gunners reportedly willing to allow Debuchy and Jenkinson to leave should the offer be right. But Jenkinson’s most recent spell at West Ham didn’t go too well, so I’m not sure how the fans would feel about that one should it happen. Smalling is also an interesting one should Manchester United sign their reported target, Victor Lindelof. The young central defender is being linked with a big-money move to United and with Eric Bailly already at the club and Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones impressing at the heart of defence at the moment, how much football will Smalling be playing in the new year?
Arsenal’s squad looks stronger than ever and considering their performance to date, the Gunners fans must surely be happy with the team’s performance and their summer activity in the transfer market.
But with the title race so close this season – Arsenal could always benefit from additional talent. But signing a player in January is always a risk, especially if it is a player that will have to adapt to a new league and possibly a new language – so winter signings can often have an adverse effect on momentum. But the possible signing I want to talk about is Dimitri Payet, who has been linked with a move to the club in recent weeks. The experienced West Ham midfielder rose to prominence last season and excelled in England and on the international stage at Euro 2016. But this season he has seriously struggled in a very poor West Ham team, he looks disinterested and appears to be pushing for a move away from the club. Aged 29 it would be understandable if Payet was eyeing a move to one of Europe’s bigger clubs before the sun sets on his career. West Ham are seriously struggling this season – after their European adventure was cut short, they are now languishing around the relegation zone and it does not look like they will be able to match the player’s ambitions moving forward – he wants to be playing Champions League football and his quality deserves it.
Should he become available I’m sure there would be a long list of admirers. The likes of Real Madrid and Paris-Saint Germain were linked in the summer, but if Arsene Wenger were to offer him an option to stay in England and London then I think he would certainly be interested.
Do Arsenal need Payet? Should he join the club I think he would have to settle for a role on the wing, but I think he can still play very well in that position. Whilst Arsenal do have plenty of wide options, they are all still very inexperienced and inconsistent, I think a player of Payet’s quality would certainly aid the squad in their title quest and in Europe moving forward. The likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Alex Iwobi and Jeff Reine-Adelaide would not see their development damaged too much with the arrival of Payet. Iwobi is still only 20 and has proven that this season he cannot perform at a high level consistently, he still has a lot to learn and players like Payet are brilliant to learn from. Jeff, aged 18, is not yet ready for the limelight – a loan spell would do him good. Whilst Arsenal are looking to give the Ox a new contract, the 23-year-old is also one who struggles for consistency. Welbeck (26), Lucas (28) and Walcott (27) are the other wide options with Alexis Sanchez now finding his best form through the middle. Walcott and Welbeck can both be considered injury prone after their records in the recent past and Lucas is still settling in to English football, with his best form coming in the Champions League.
A player of Payet’s quality is always welcome in my opinion. He’s proven his quality in the Premier League and for France – and Wenger will not have missed that.
Yes Arsenal’s options would be crowded should Payet join, but Arsenal so often suffer from injury problems in the latter stages of the season and that derails their title challenge. They also struggle when trying to contend in Europe, the league and the FA Cup, with the squad being stretched and tired legs seeing the team drop points. Not only would Payet be an option out wide, but he’d provide a great rotation or backup option for Ozil at number 10. Arsenal have no natural replacement for the German should he suffer an injury and trying to shoehorn Ramsey or promote Jeff too quickly would surely not be a good idea. Payet could provide that extra bit of quality that helps Arsenal go all the way in the title race, and perhaps to the next stage in Europe.
Arsenal fans, would you pay £30million for Dimitri Payet should he become available for that price in January? Let me know in the comment section below.
Arsenal put in an outstanding performance at the London Stadium on Saturday evening, making light work of West Ham, brushing their London rivals aside, winning 5-1 in a completely dominant display.
Alexis Sanchez took full advantage of a defensive error from West Ham to give Arsenal the lead in the first half, laying the ball across to Mesut Ozil, who was left with the easiest of tap-ins.
Arsenal continued to dominate proceedings going into the second half, and Alexis Sanchez managed to double the Gunners’ lead in the 72nd minute, and then scoring Arsenal’s third on the 80th. West Ham managed to pull a goal back through Andy Caroll, but this was quickly cancelled out by an Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain goal to put the Gunners 4-1 up.
It was a beautiful performance from the Chilean and you don’t need statistics to show you that, but here’s some anyway. Crucially he scored 3 goals and made 1 assist. He had 5 shots, 4 of them on target and 3 goals. He was also very creative, making 5 key passes on the night. He completed 3 dribbles, 2/2 long balls and 47 passes in total.
Sanchez completed the Arsenal rout with just four minutes of normal time to go, with an exquisite chip over the goalkeeper. Here is how the Arsenal fans on Twitter reacted to the Chilean’s performance.
Sanchez is simply unstoppable
— Fadhil (@fadhilmayati) 3 December 2016
— EnExodus (@enexodus) 3 December 2016
Sanchez is a freak, close control, ability to evade defenders in tight areas & willingness to shoot make him unplayable at times. #WHUvAFC
— Derryn Thomas (@derryn_thomas) 3 December 2016
Alexis Sanchez what a player. Made the goal for himself.
— kiran (@GeekyGooner) 3 December 2016
— Stuart Thornley (@stutopshelf) 3 December 2016
What a player Alexis Sanchez is 👏🏼
— AJ (@alexmarkillie7) 3 December 2016
BEST PLAYER IN THE LEAGUE.
— IslingtonGoonerAFC (@Born_a_gooner) 3 December 2016
Goooooooal Sanchez the little wizard done it a again scoring goals out of nothing. He does makes football looks so easy & lovely to watch
— Latua Adeniji (@Latua7) 3 December 2016
Although West Ham are not in the best of form, the 5-1 win sends a real statement out to the rest of the Premier League. Sanchez has been a key figure for the Gunners this season, and you can certainly question where the Gunners would be without him. As long as he plays well, the team plays well and Arsenal will need him to stay fit, as the Premier League title is within their reach, especially following this emphatic win.
With the January transfer window right around the corner, clubs are preparing themselves to sign the right players, whether that be to push them for the league title or to guide them to a European place / relegation freedom.
One rumour in England that has caught everyone’s eye is that West Ham United are apparently preparing to offer up to £25 million for Bournemouth hot shot Callum Wilson once the transfer market reopens in January, according to the Guardian.
The Hammers have been injury riddled thus far this season with injuries to the likes of Andy Carroll and a fresh injury to Diafra Sakho, which will see the West Ham forward miss six weeks. They’re stretched for depth in the forward department, with England born Wilson leading the list of potential incomings to reduce the problems for Slaven Bilic.
After fighting hard for a European place last season, their poor start to the season see’s the Londoners just one point ahead of the relegation zone after struggling to settle into their new home after leaving Upton Park.
Summer signings Simone Zaza and Jonathan Calleri have struggled to settle in the Premier League and are both shadows of what abilities they posses, with the former coming under strong criticism from the Irons faithful with a new petition going around with fans willing to pay for his flight back to Turin.
Although West Ham are willing to offer up to £25 million for the striker, Bournemouth will remain resilient and not flirt with any ideas of a sale for their top goal scorer, especially after the start they have made sitting 12th in the league after some great displays. After rejecting a £15 million offer from West Ham back in May, it’ll be interesting to see what happens after the player signed a 4 year contract in July.
Wilson himself seems happy in Bournemouth and is a key player to Eddie Howe’s impressive project, he would certainly challenge the likes of Zaza and Calleri to become number one at West Ham but we take a look at how he compares with the Hammers forwards.
Playing the number 9 role is all about scoring goals, of course. But, in modern day football you are also relied upon to create chances too with Zaza coming out on top in this trait by creating 1.56 chances per 90 minutes thus far this season, Wilson is in second place with 0.72 with Hammers man Calleri third 0.65.
Speaking of more responsibilities than just scoring goals in the number 9 role, assists is another key ability to possess as an attacking player and the attacking trio are yet to manage a single assist between them in the league with 13 games gone, which, to be honest is quite a worrying stat to say the least.
When you receive the ball in between the lines as a striker you can often be expected to pick up the ball and run at the defence. Zaza again impresses significantly with successful take on’s managing 60% with West Ham compatriot in second place on 50%, Cherries man comes last in this race with 26.32%.
Of course, now the most important trait deadly strikes must carry, goals. Bournemouth hot shot Wilson annihilates his two opponents in this genre with 0.41 goals per 90 minutes thus far, with both West Ham players hitting blanks, scoring zero goals so far this league campaign. This is one stat which will certainly sparkle in Bilic’s eye as goals for the London side have dried up, and Wilson will certainly add to that.
At 24-years-old, Wilson would be an immense purchase for West Ham, he is still young and will only improve as times goes on. The problem for them is, Eddie Howe will be reluctant to sell and has no need at all, after the TV money injection last summer clubs the size of Bournemouth are in no need or desperation for money, money which 5 years ago they would only dream about.
The plus side for Hammers fans is the club look set to sign a striker in January, but in my honest opinion I don’t think they will persuade Bournemouth to sell, better yet, I do not think Wilson will want to leave either with his current club currently in a promising place under the talented Eddie Howe.
Manchester United hosted West Ham on Sunday afternoon in a game they had to really win to keep pace with their title rivals after Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City all ground out wins at the weekend.
It wasn’t the case though and it started so terribly for the home side when Sakho headed in from a Payet cross just 90 seconds into the game. United did equalise from a Ibrahimovic header but there were no more goals in what proved to be United’s fourth consecutive draw at home in the league. One player who stood out for Man Utd on the day was defender Matteo Darmian – but not for playing well.
Darmian was widely praised in his debut season for Manchester United but since then he has really struggled in the Premier League. The fans were not happy at all with his performance on Sunday and it seems the defender has lost his way, with some fans even calling for him not to play for the club again.
West Ham winger Antonio had the beating of Darmian all night. The English midfielder excelled over the Italian both defensively and offensively and the United mans crossing was a cause for particular frustration from the United faithful. Here’s some statistics to back up these thoughts: Darmian was pretty ineffective defensively, making 0 interceptions, 0 blocks and just 3 tackles. Going forward he wasn’t much better, completing 0 dribbles, making 0 key passes, 0 through balls and 0 accurate crosses. Those statistics make for pretty grim reading for the defender and this was certainly not a case of where statistics didn’t tell the whole story because they told the exact story – Darmian was completely useless on the day.
Why is he starting ahead of Luke Shaw after a series of poor performances? This is just one of an artillery of questions that the United fans are now asking. Here’s how the fans reacted on Twitter to his performance.
Don't want Darmian to ever play a game for MUFC
— ∆ (@TheAntonioCross) November 27, 2016
Darmian and rojo not good enough, Zlatan needs to be dropped for Rooney or martial as striker
— Alan Sylvester (@alansilly) November 27, 2016
@WestHamUtd Antonio. Best player on the pitch today – terrorised Darmian all game, endless energy.
— Mr Teee (@MrTeeem) November 27, 2016
Darmian offered absolutely nothing
— Counselor (@sheyhundavid) November 27, 2016
How can we still be playing Darmian in 2016? Offered nothing today as usual
— temini (@SO_temini) November 27, 2016
Lingard, FELLAINI and Darmian are TRASH.
Need to be booted out asap.
— Yash Khopkar (@KhopkarYash) November 27, 2016
Manchester United now sit a massive 11 points behind league leaders Chelsea, and with the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool and even Arsenal also hitting form lately, it may not be unreasonable to already write Mourinho’s men off in the title race. Just 13 games in that is a pretty horrific performance from Mourinho and United. Something needs to change quickly and whilst I don’t for one second place all the blame on Darmian, he certainly appears to be one of a number of problems currently at the club.
Spurs looked as if they were about to lose their Premier League unbeaten record at the hands of West Ham, and it took a very late comeback from Spurs to seal the win and maintain that unbeaten record.
Slavan Bilic’s side found themselves 2-1 up with just a couple of minutes to go, but saw their lead evaporate before their very eyes, two Harry Kane goals robbing West Ham of the three points at the death.
Mauricio Pochettino made two changes in the second half, Dele Alli and Heung-min Son coming on in place of Vincent Janssen and Mousa Dembele, and it was Son who made a huge impact when it mattered.
He broke free down the left-hand side and delivered a delightful low cross for Harry Kane to convert with just a couple of minutes of normal time left to play. That was not his only key contribution. Son caused trouble again down the left and was brought down in the box. Mike Dean pointed to the spot and Kane stayed cool to win the game for Spurs.
Tottenham fans were delighted with the South Korean’s display, and here is how they as well as other fans reacted on social media to Son’s game changing display.
— The Spurs Bible (@The_Spurs_Bible) 20 November 2016
— The Hotspur Life (@HotspurLife) 19 November 2016
Son provided the explosiveness and width we were missing, and Kane took his chances brilliantly.
— The Hotspur Life (@HotspurLife) 19 November 2016
Heung-Min Son had such a big impact on the game today, his influence has gone completely unnoticed by most. #COYS
— Hotspur Related (@HotspurRelated) 19 November 2016
— Ricky Sacks (@RickSpur) 19 November 2016
Son Heung-min is back, guys. Huge impact.
— Chris Miller (@WindyCOYS) 19 November 2016
HARRY KANE AND SON HEUNG MIN MASTERCLASS WEST HAM HAVE BOTTLED IT
— Jake. (@YedIin) 19 November 2016
Son Heung-Min is an absolute worldclass footballer.. Single handedly turned the game on Spur’s favor when he come on
— Magic Conte! (@EliteConte) 19 November 2016
Son has been one of Tottenham’s best performers this season. He stepped up and played well when Harry Kane was out injured, and has continued his excellent form. He will be one of Spurs’ most important players when they travel to Monaco in midweek in a must-win fixture.
West Ham haven’t had much to cheer about this season but here’s a stat that will certainly make the fans smile a little.
One player who helped West Ham to a European place last season was Dimitri Payet. He took the league by storm and was arguably one of the best players in the Premier League last season. Admittedly he has been a little less effective this season, not scoring as many goals and in particular, his free kicks haven’t been hitting the back of the net.
Some fans have even started to call him a one season wonder, dubbing him ‘Dimitri Quiet’ this season. But is this criticism fair? Statistics suggest that although his goals may have dried up a little, Payet is still as creative as ever and perhaps his teammates are the people letting him down. This statistic from Squawka shows that in Europe’s ‘top 5’ leagues, the West Ham man has created the most chances with a whopping 4o already. Payet is in good company too with Mohammed Salah (39) and Angel Di Maria (37) making up the top three.
The statistics continue to back up Payet. He has an average league rating of 7.65 on WhoScored, that’s more than any other West Ham player. He’s also managed a respectable 4 league assists in 9 league games. He only has one goal but after a long summer playing in the Euros for France, you cannot expect Payet to immediately pick up the same form he showed last season.
Even the very best players suffer a bit of a post-tournament hangover and take a while to click back into gear. I actually think Payet has continued to play well, certainly one of if not West Ham’s best player so far this season. Admittedly that is not saying much because of West Ham’s poor football at the moment, but if Bilic wants to see the best of Payet again he needs to get the players around him performing to a higher level, the club cannot afford to be dependent on one player.
The worry now for West Ham and their fans is that Payet could look elsewhere. The 29-year-old Frenchman will not want to spend the prime years of his career at a club that looks like they have no chance of finishing in the European spots this season. He has been linked with the likes of Real Madrid and Paris-Saint Germain, so should a club like that come knocking, I cannot see Payet wanting to hang around for much longer should the current climate at the club be sustained.
West Ham have endured a far from perfect start to the Premier League season. With the clubs ambitions far outweighing their current performance, Bilic needs to change something in January, and before he looks at making new signings he needs to get rid of the players that are not pulling their weight. Here’s three players he needs to bin.
1 – Gokhan Tore
He might only be on loan but the deal is very pointless. The Turkish winger just doesn’t look right at West Ham and cutting the loan deal short seems a sensible solution. It would allow for a more effective replacement to come in and stop the club wasting any more money or time on this deal. I think Bilic needs to replace Tore with a Premier League proven wide man – as Tore appears to not be well suited to the English game. It seems the West Ham hierarchy are not happy with his performances so far, however reports suggest that the club will have to pay a £2.5million fee to send Tore back to Besiktas early… ouch. West Ham do not want to become the QPR of the Premier League though and harvesting players that are not good enough can often be the start of a slippery slope.
Things haven’t been going to plan so far for Slaven Bilic and West Ham United this season. They crashed out of Europe at the first hurdle (again) and are languishing in the bottom half the Premier League. Despite making several additions in the summer, it just hasn’t worked out. The Hammers need reinforcements in January, but they need to be the right ones. I take a look at three signings I feel would be suitable.
1 – Jermaine Defoe
A lot of the experimental signings West Ham have made from outside the Premier League have not worked out. That, and the fact that the next transfer window is in January, the middle of the season, shows that Bilic should not take risks and invest in some proven Premier League players. Few come more Premier League proven than Jermaine Defoe. His previous with Tottenham may irk a few fans, but the fact is he would greatly improve West Ham’s attacking options – even if he is just used as a sub. He wouldn’t cost a lot of money and with Sunderland (even at this stage) looking certain to go down, Defoe would surely jump at the chance to play for a club like West Ham.
West Ham reached the quarter finals of the FA Cup with an impressive 2-1 win over London rivals Chelsea on Wednesday night.
One player who did impress on the night was West Ham’s Michail Antonio. The Englishman has played at both right back and right midfield this season, but on Wednesday night he led the line as a striker. The Hammers have struggled to find a reliable number 9 this season, and that has just been part of their big early season problems. But Bilic has obviously seen potential in Antonio as a striker, he has strength and pace and is also very good in the air. He’s scored a lot of goals from the right and it seems sensible to give him a go upfront. He’s played there a few times already, but it was on Wednesday night where he really excelled there, and certainly looked more useful than Simone Zaza in that position.
Antonio played as a lone striker and came up against new Chelsea summer signing David Luiz, who cost €35million. But on the night Antonio made the Brazilian look nothing like that value.
Here’s how the fans reacted to his performance on Twitter.
Antonio up front today was immense, ran himself into the ground. As did all of our players, what a great night
— West Ham Stuff ⚒ (@WestHamStuff) October 26, 2016
MOTM @Michailantonio by far anyone notice he offered to play RB and stopped Slav from taking Lanzini off because Ed was injured, superb! ⚒
— Samm. (@samuellwalkerr) October 27, 2016
@Raashaad Antonio was everywhere mate – played as a lone striker & destroyed Luiz. Feel sorry for David for when he has to face his family.
— West Ham Central (@WestHam_Central) October 27, 2016
Spare a thought for David Luiz. Michail Antonio absolutely tore him to bits, poor guy probably doesn’t know what day of the week it is
— West Ham Stuff ⚒ (@WestHamStuff) October 26, 2016
Michail Antonio playing up front once again. Tells you a lot about #WHUFC‘s poor recruitement during the summer.
— Benny Berger (@benny_berger) October 26, 2016
Antonio worked tirelessly up front, humiliating David Luiz several times throughout the game. It is great for West Ham that they have a player like him, who is so versatile and willing to work hard no matter where he plays. Excelling in striker just shows how Antonio was certainly not a right back. His defensive abilities are not great at all, but he has so much to give going forward. He really works hard, has a great leap, strength and pace, whilst his dribbling skills are also of a very high quality.
Maarten Stekelenburg – Everton
Well, I doubt Stekelenburg has quite had a performance like he did at the Etihad stadium in his whole career. The 34-year-old was absolutely fantastic for his club and saved two penalties which he made look routine, there comes a stage in the game where City must have thought they weren’t going to score, he was near on unbeatable between the sticks and was unlucky not to keep a clean sheet which he thoroughly deserved.
César Azpilicueta – Chelsea
Reverting back into right-back in a back three seemed to be very more comfortable for Azpilicueta, we have seen him occupy the left-back position more often than not in recent seasons but he looked very much at bay in his new (old) position in the back three and showcased a solid performance against the Premier League champions.
Azpilicueta gained possession nine times against the Foxes, more than any other Blues player and helped his side keep a clean sheet.
Winston Reid – West Ham United
Finally, West Ham gets back to winning ways after an impressive display at Selhurst Park in their 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace.
Winston Reid was very impressive and was solid at the heart of the Hammers defence which went on to help the club keep a clean sheet on away soil, in a tough physical battle against Christian Benteke Reid come out on top overall and helped his side take the three points, a exceptional performance.
David Luiz – Chelsea
Much like Azpilicueta, Luiz found himself in a back three under Conte’s new formation for the Blues which inevitably worked. Luiz was absolutely sublime during the course of the 90 minutes and gave the Foxes hitman Jamie Vardy a very tough afternoon after pocketing him quite comfortably.
He won his duels, swept up any attacks and played the ball efficiently from deep, a solid display whilst nearly getting him-self on the scoresheet…. At both ends.
José Holebas – Watford
Scored an absolute thunderbolt striker in Watford’s 1-0 victory over Middlesbrough, scoring form outside the box to the top left hand corner of the goal giving the goalkeeper no chance.
Holebas was efficient going forward and was just as instrumental defensively giving the Boro’ players a very tough afternoon after a superb performance.
Joe Allen – Stoke City
Joe Allen has been majestic all season and is single handily winning games for the Potters, three goals in four games thus far for the Welsh Pirlo whilst being a real nuisance for the opposition to cope with.
He has kick started his career after having a tough time under Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool and is slowly becoming one of the most key players in Mark Hughes squad, and if the Stoke man can keep up his consistent form I can certainly see himself get in double figures for the season.
Manuel Lanzini – West Ham United
West Ham looked much back to their old selves against Crystal Palace on Saturday evening and star of the show was their majestic Argentinian Lanzini who was a real problem for Palace all game.
He scored a well taken goal and drifted between the attack midfield and winger role throughout, he retained possession up the pitch with a 90% pass accuracy and linked the attack and midfield exquisitely making four key passes whilst having two shots, both of which tested the keeper and one paving out to be the winning goal.
Dele Alli -Tottenham Hotspur
Dele Alli scored Spurs’ equalizer as the North Londoners remained unbeaten thus far this season. The English international caused havoc all afternoon and tested the West Bromwich Albion goalkeeper numerous times, including one beautifully taken goal in the second half, showing composure and coolness whilst being surrounded in the penalty area.
The 20-year-old has become key in the Spurs’ side and has continued to shine again this season, scoring in back to back Premier League games for the first time since April 2016 he is starting to find his goal-scoring boots again.
Mesut Ozil – Arsenal
After a slow start to the Premier League campaign Mesut Ozil is starting to pull the strings again for the Gunners and has started to add more goals to his game too.
The German international has been excellent in recent weeks and scored the winning goal in the exhilarating 3-2 victory over Swansea, his winning goal come from a volley after a perfect ball from Alexis Sanchez, a partnership that could see Arsenal go far this season.
The Arsenal playmaker completed 53 of his attempted 58 passes against Swansea in the opposition half, as always brilliant.
Theo Walcott – Arsenal
Is this the year Theo Walcott finally shows his worth? The Arsenal forward score two well taken goal, and show have had a hat-trick or even four goals after hitting the post / crossbar twice in the 90th minute.
Walcott has often come under strong criticism for not nailing down a starting position for the Gunners on a consistent basis, but after a summer of hard work he looks set to score double figures this season.
When he is in this form he is arguably impossible to defend against, something Arsenal will relish in the coming months.
Junior Stanislas – Bournemouth
Bournemouth or Barcelona? After their comfortable 6-1 demolishing of Hull it didn’t look like a side that would be in a scrap for survival come the end of season, maybe they won’t?
Stanislas was the best of the bunch scoring two goals and also grabbing an assist in there massacre of the Tigers.
The Bournemouth man could have scored more after hitting the woodwork and going close on another occasion during the game after an exceptional performance by the Cherries forward.
West Ham moved out of the relegation zone on Saturday evening, picking up a vital 3 points away to Crystal Palace thanks to a Manuel Lanzini goal.
The Hammers played much better than they have of late, though they were maybe fortunate to pick up the three points after Cristian Benteke fluffed his penalty. With Creswell sent off in the latter stages, it meant West Ham had to hold on to get only their 2nd win of the Premier League season.
They have a lot to thank Lanzini for for winning this game. Not just the goal, but the little Argentine was majestic throughout. He played in an attacking midfield role, mainly on the right hand side but drifted throughout. He helped West Ham retain possession high up the pitch with a brilliant 90% pass accuracy, and linked midfield with attack so well making 4 key passes. He had 2 shots, both of which were on target and one resulting in a goal.
It may be somewhat surprising, but Lanzini actually has a very good workmate and can do a lot of defensive work as well as attacking. We saw that box-to-box ability showcased against Palace on Saturday evening where he put a lot of pressure on the Crystal Palace midfield, in total making 5 successful tackles, a huge amount for an attacking midfielder. It was refreshing to see because in this bad period of form for West Ham, it is important that their players show desire and he epitomised that word in this game.
Here is what the fans have had to say about Lanzini’s performance on Twitter.
Love you Lanzini 😍 Hammers, we can enjoy the rest of the weekend! ⚒ pic.twitter.com/lyec9JVCZp
— West Ham Social (@WestHamSocial) October 15, 2016
Manuel Lanzini what a player. Insane scouting from Bilic.
— Uber West Ham (@UberWestHam) October 15, 2016
This proves it, Lanzini is world class. What a performance today⚒⚒ https://t.co/3uF4kjHEnA
— Payet FK (@payetFK) October 15, 2016
When he’s motivated, lanzini is a class act. Important goal….now let’s push on hammers.
— Harry White (@harrytwhite) October 15, 2016
After a mixed season on loan last time around, Lanzini seems to be flourishing now that he has signed for the Hammers permanently. He understands the team, his role and seems settled into London life. It is important that Slaven Bilic can continue to get the best out of the youngster as he has a huge amount of potential and with Dimitri Payet aged 29 and perhaps likely to leave next summer, West Ham will need a new star in their midfield and Lanzini looks like he has the potential to fill that void.
It will be important now that Lanzini shows that same desire in future matches for West Ham, as they need him to be as influential if they are to lift themselves into the top half of the table, something that must be their absolute minimum expectation for the season.
– Article by James Ash –
The proverbial storm clouds are gathering at the Olympic Stadium and there is little sign of the sun piercing through them to help change the miserable forecast for West Ham United. The Hammers, who thrilled many last season with their performances, are struggling in their new home – but it shouldn’t be a surprise.
Moving stadiums is never easy. Moving into a stadium that it is perceived to be relatively cheap is even harder, and moving into a stadium at the tax payers’ expense is intimidating. Not only is the club involved faced with the difficulties of adapting to new surroundings, there are heightened levels of public scrutiny and expectations.
As I tweeted yesterday, it would be a tough task to put a list together of football clubs that deserve to move into a stadium, but I don’t think West Ham United would have been on it. The club’s move to the Olympic Stadium in Stratford from Upton Park is hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons at the moment, and results on the pitch are not helping.
A club with, for better or worse, strong traditions and a universally recognised history was never going to settle into an Olympic venue overnight. However, the issues the West Ham board is now facing are bigger than just teething problems – they are attacking the club’s soul. Now, let’s be clear, I am not saying West Ham is less deserving than any other club, but the club is now facing an internal struggle that many from the outside believe could have easily been avoided.
Despite all of last season’s suggestions that Upton Park was a beloved as the club’s legendary players, the move to a bigger ground was the right decision to make. It had to be. Bigger crowds, more income. It’s one of the few ways to properly compete in modern football. Let’s ignore how the stadium was acquired for the time being.
However, once the deal to move to the Olympic Stadium was confirmed, West Ham had a duty to make the transition easy for its fans and its players. Let’s take the new rules and restrictions effecting the paying punters. There’s been violent infighting and even when the side won a Europa League qualifier in July, some fans weren’t overly convinced with their new home.
But here’s the biggest problem so far: don’t stand, and try not to sing too loudly. It’s hardly the right way of re-creating the Boleyn atmosphere. We can understand that a key to getting attendances up is to bring more children into the ground with family-friendly atmospheres – but to telling fans to change their habits before they’ve had the chance to remember where the loo is isn’t exactly a warming welcome.
This sort of change needs to be organic – an evolution not a revolution. The club could have slowly introduced new rules after discovering which areas of the ground suited its range of supporters instead of dictating terms to the people it relies on to make this move work.
The players are also struggling. Could it be the manager; could it be the stadium? It’s hard to tell right now, but it’s very likely some of the squad will blame the stadium – and their new training facilities – on the poor form rather than themselves.
There’s no doubt that a few good results will help lift the clouds, but for now, West Ham needs to decide what sort of club it wants to be and set out a clear plan on how to make that happen. Otherwise, the Olympic Stadium could be home to a club that isn’t just losing football matches but losing its identity.
These are the Fresh Football player ratings for West Ham vs. Southampton.
Forster 6 – Forster had little to work for with thanks to the Southampton defence, but as always, he claimed each and every cross with confidence
Cedric 6 – Cedric took up some superb positions but failed to come up with the goods. He so nearly could have had an impressive game.
Fonte 7 – Fonte was back to better form today with some intelligent passes and well timed interceptions. Much more of this please.
Van Dijk 8 – calm on the ball and physically dominant. Van Dijk is well and truly placing himself amongst the League’s best defenders.
Bertrand 8 – Bertrand was incredible in all areas of the pitch. As ever, he was strong in his decisions and in carrying them out. West Ham found no joy down the left side of the pitch.
Romeu 9 – Romeu was my man of the match. Not only did he win the ball back on numerous occasions, but he also built from deep, constantly offered himself as an option when others are on the ball and he even initiated multiple counter attacks.
Hojbjerg 7 – the more Southampton fans see from this man, the more they love, and rightly so. He was controlled, classy and positive on the ball.
Davis 7 – Davis covered his ground superbly, however, he stalled a number of attacks with some slow decision making. He was brilliant on all other areas.
Tadic 8 – Tadic is flourishing under Claude Puel and it seems like he’s loving every last minute of it. He found pockets of space and his team mates with absolute ease throughout the game. In addition, he was as cool as you like with his finish too.
Redmond 7 – Redmond is already showing growth at Southampton. His movement and ability to work the channels cause the West Ham defence multiple issues.
Austin 8 – Austin done what Austin does best, and that’s find the back of the net. It must also be noted that he played a sensational pass into the feet of Tadic for the Serbian’s goal too.
Subs: Ward-Prowse 6.5 – he scored a valuable goal in the closing stages of the game, helping to put the final nail in the coffin.
Long 6 – he had little time to impact the game, but he hurried the West Ham defence in the final minutes.
Adrian 7 – without Adrian the game could have finished 6-0. He made a number of very impressive stops, in particular one save against Tadic whilst the game still had all to play for.
Nordtveit 4 – he was playing out of position and boy did it show. Nordtveit was at fault for the first goal and was continually troubled throughout the game.
Ogbonna 5 – Ogbonna was dragged out of position on too many occasions with thanks to Tadic and Redmond’s movement.
Reid 5 – like Ogbonna, he is capable of performing far better. The Southampton attack gave him a real test throughout.
Arbeloa 5 – Arbeloa failed to make an impact and was under pressure all afternoon
Noble 4.5 – Noble was played in a packed midfield to help nullify Tadic, but that plan clearly didn’t come to fruition.
Kouyate 5 – the Southampton midfield had Kouyate running around mindlessly on many occasions.
Antonio 5 – he’s been in superb form in recent weeks, but Bertrand showed his class today.
Payet 5 – In truth, it’s hard for Payet to play well when everyone around him is struggling so badly, but nevertheless, he failed to impact the game.
Lanzini 5 – Romeu ensured that Lanzini had almost no joy through the middle.
Zaza 4 – it’s been one to forget for Zaza as his worryingly poor start at West Ham continues.
Subs: Feghouli 6 – he found some nice areas in Southampton’s half but couldn’t quite make that final ball.
Fletcher 5 – not much more can be expected from such a young player when others are failing to carry out the most simple of tasks
As values of players increase and prolific consistent points-scoring players start to become clearer to Fantasy Premier League players, managers may have to save a little money in the midfield area in order to sufficiently strengthen the defence or the attack and stick with the strict £100m budget.
Here are five low priced midfielders that we feel will not only keep the cost down, but also bring vital points into your squad.
1) Robert Snodgrass- Hull City
16/17 Total Points- 31
Robert Snodgrass is one of the main attacking threats for Hull this season, and following his move from relegated Norwich, the winger has overcome a horrific injury and is back to his his best.
The Scotsman has scored three goals this season in five games, and at just £5.7m, he is a bargain who will score you points in the midfield, having picked up 31 this season, making him the highest scoring Hull City player.
Hull have a couple of tough fixtures coming up. They make the trip to Anfield on Saturday before hosting Chelsea the week after. However, fixtures start to get a little less harsh after the October international break with a trip Bournemouth followed by a home game against Stoke. Plenty of opportunities for Snodgrass to score more points.
As gameweek six approaches, Fantasy Premier League managers will be looking at who to transfer in ahead of the sixth instalment of Premier League action, but here are three players that we strongly advise avoiding including in your squad ahead of the 11:30 deadline on Saturday morning.
1) James Collins- West Ham
The West Ham defence has been to blame for West Ham’s recent troubles. Although some of the goals scored against them have been of high quality, shipping over three goals per game over their last three is not a record that will please Slaven Bilic.
Watford and West Brom have not looked like teams who are likely to score four in a match, but they have managed to do that in matches against the Hammers.
If you are looking for clean sheet points, then James Collins, or any of the West Ham defensive unit for that matter, are not players to have in your squad. They come up against Southampton this week, who have not been clinical in front of goal thus far, but that could change against a shaky West Ham defence.
Here are Fresh Football’s ratings for the Hammers first Premier League game at the London Stadium against Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth.
West Ham United
Adrian – 7.5
Cannot remember him touching the ball in the first half. Had more to do in the second-half though, great save on the 52 second minute to deny king followed by two brilliant reflex saves in stoppage time.
Sam Byram – 7
Solid defensively and offensively, put in some dangerous crosses but was booked for some rash tackles.
Winston Reid – 6.5
Very quiet first half but was solid against a quick attacking line, had plenty to do in the second half and continued to be dominant at the back.
James Collins – 6.5
Much like Reid, quiet on the defensive front in the first half, but composed on the ball and had the better of his man.
Arthur Masuaku – 7
Very good first start for the left-back, kept Ibe at bay and was solid defensively, was always an outlet going forward too.
Havard Nordtveit – 6
Strong in the middle of the park and kept things ticking, struggled a bit in the second half as Bournemouth found new life.
Cheikhou Kouyate – 7
Played as the box to box midfielder with Nordtveit sitting, supported the attack and defence well, all round good performance.
Gokhan Tore – 8
Brilliant play and skill on the right flank and often got the beating of his marker. nearly scored an acrobatic volley in the 58th minute and assisted brilliantly in the 84th, after getting the better of his man and putting in a perfect cross.
Mark Noble – 7.5
Was at the heart of most things in the first half and struck some quick counter attacks with exquisite passing, was more quiet in the second half but another good game from the Hammers captain.
Michael Antonio – 8.5 (MOTM)
Playing in midfield after his horror show against Chelsea at right back, was ok in the first half but did switch off at times, touch wasn’t great but was always looking to make something happen. Scored the winning goal in the 84th minute heading in Tore’s cross which saw him just edge his West Ham teammate (Tore) to MOTM.
Enner Valencia – 6
Quiet and frustrating afternoon for Valencia, was kept at bay by the Bournemouth defence and certainly didn’t do enough as a lone striker.
Artur Boruc – 6
Made a few good saves and more or less dominated his area, could not do much for Antonio’s goal.
Adam Smith – 5.5
Did not support the attack like he did last week and was a rare outlet for Ibe, had his hands full with Antonio.
Simon Francis – 6.5
Very solid first half, often had the ball and tried to build up the play, much the same in the second.
Steve Cook 6.5
Much like Francis, was good on the ball and did not give the West Ham attack a sniff on the ball.
Charlie Daniels – 5
Had a very tough afternoon against Tore who got the beating off him to regular.
Jordon Ibe – 5.5
Frustrating first half, always looked positive on the ball and looked to run his man, needs to release the ball quicker. In the 50th minute he hesitated to shoot and fluffed his pass.
Harry Arter – 4
Was very quiet in the first half and got himself sent off for two ridiculous yellow cards, Howe will be fuming.
Andrew Surman – 6.5
Found it difficult to control the game as Nordtveit and Kouyate dominated the middle of the park, come more to life in the second half and was at the heart of the midfield battle.
Ryan Fraser – 5.5
Byram kept him quiet in the first half but the winger certainly showcased his speed at times, much the same in the second half too.
Callum Wilson – 5
Poor first half, did not create anything and was easily marked out of the game, was a passenger again in the second half.
Joshua King – 6.5
Likewise, similar to Wilson in the first half, poor showing from the striker. Came to life in the second half and saw a brilliant shot saved in the 52nd minute, he nearly got the Cherries a point in the 92nd minute but a fine save from Adrian again denied him.
Jonathan Calleri – 5
Was anonymous apart from missing a one on one in the 94 minute.
Ashley Fletcher – N/A
Pedro Obiang – N/A
Lewis Grabban – 4
Did not do much when he come on.
Nathan Ake – N/A
Dan Gosling – N/A
West Ham are closing in on the transfer of an exciting Premier League attacker after agreeing a fee with the club.
According to Sky Sports, West Ham have met Swansea’s £20million valuation of Andre Ayew. The versatile forward is likely to complete a move to the London club before the season starts next weekend. A week ago Sky Sports reported that Swansea were set to bid £20million and now they report that Swansea will accept that bid should Swansea secure the signing of a replacement. Swansea are eyeing Borja Baston as a potential replacement for Ayew according to Wales Online, and they have already signed Fernando Llorente.
Ayew would probably have no hesitation in signing the contract at West Ham. The location of London is an obvious draw whilst the clubs new stadium and ambitious recruitment will also be attractive to the player.
Swansea will be happy to net £20million from Ayew’s sale considering he didn’t cost them a penny just 12 months ago.
Although West Ham have been searching for a central striker, Ayew can play there quite well. WhoScored note that he scored 6 goals in 9 starts at centre forward, not a bad return at all. In total Ayew scored 12 Premier League goals and made 2 assists last season.
With the Hammers lack of quality central striking options it is possible that Ayew could be signed to play up front. So how does he compare to West Ham’s options from last season? We took a look at the stats.
Firstly I wanted to take a look at goals scored per 90. That is the main thing the Hammers were missing last season afterall. Ayew managed a very respectable 0.37, that’s very good when you consider he played many matches in wide areas. Andy Caroll tops the list on 0.56 but the other strikers are behind Ayew (Valencia – 0.35, Sakho – 0.30). There is a similar pattern when you look at shot accuracy, Carroll leads the way again with 57%, whilst Ayew is 2nd on 50%. In terms of key passes, it is Carroll who leads the way again on 1.12 per 90, Ayew is last in this area on 0.65.
The problem with Carroll is, despite his impressive statistics he struggles against the lower Premier League clubs and his consistency is troubled by injuries. West Ham fans will hope Ayew can be more consistent if he did arrive.
Is Ayew a nice middle-ground between Carroll and the more agile strikers? The statistics certainly paint that picture. Enner Valencia leads the way with successful take ons (1.33) and Carroll is last on just 0.44. Ayew managed 0.86 and he certainly has more pace than Carroll.
One area for concern is potentially Ayew’s lack of creativity. Despite playing in a wide forward role last season, Ayew managed just 2 assists in 34 games. That certainly is a worry and it is backed up by his poor key passes tally of just 0.65 per 90. Carroll uses his body and touch to create openings for others and leads the way between the four forwards in terms of key passes (1.12).
Of course statistics don’t tell the full story and we don’t know exactly how well Ayew will fit in at West Ham if he does join, but it’s clear that the player is a proven Premier League talent that certainly has the potential to improve Bilic’s starting eleven.
Bilic is likely to demand more running from Ayew who was often perceived as lazy by many Swansea fans during many games last season. West Ham fans will know though that Bilic has the potential to motivate players and get the most out of them physically.
It’ll certainly be interesting to see how Bilic decides to line up next season with the likes of Feghouli and potentially Calleri and Ayew in a new look Hammers attack. Will it be enough to take them into the top four? We’d love to hear your thoughts, tweet us @FreshFootball on Twitter.
West Ham United finally look set to land a new high-profile striker this summer after having several setbacks in bid to find the right man to lead their forward line.
According to ESPN, the Hammers are now in advanced negotiations over a potential £24 million move for Carlos Bacca.
The AC Milan hit-man is available this summer and the Hammers have identified him as a key target, Bacca is looking to leave Milan this summer due to the club’s failure to qualify for Europe.
Slaven Bilic has been desperate to land a top quality striker this summer and has missed out on number 1 target Michy Batshuayi who has completed a move to Chelsea, they also look set to lose out on Alexandre Lacazette after the player himself rejected the Hammers three times and now Arsenal, PSG, and Atletico Madrid have joined the race to sign the French international.
But, a deal for Bacca is a real possibility this summer, the 29-year-old has reportedly entered negotiations with the club and the deal is now deemed at an “advanced stage”.
West Ham will be desperate to get the deal done and dusted as Champions League sides Atletico Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain are also said to be interested in signing Bacca.
West Ham have failed to land a number of high-profile strikers this summer and are desperate to sign the Colombian international in the coming weeks.
Bacca has spent just one season in Serie A after joining AC Milan last summer, he enjoyed a successful season and found the net 18 times in his debut campaign.
Milan signed Bacca from Sevilla in 2015 and he has made 38 appearances for the club, the Colombian international has also represented his country 33 times scoring 13 goals.
Bacca, who is and out and out striker really likes to dribble with the ball and try to get at defences, he is a pure number 9 and has a good goal to game ratio at every club he has been at, this doesn’t come as a surprise at all as his main strength is his finishing, something that has definitely caught the eye of West Ham manager Slaven Bilic.
Bacca is a real old fashioned centre-forward, a poacher in the box who offers a fantastically lethal threat in front of goal, but the natural striker does not offer much else in terms of build-up play.
West Ham will not worry too much about his build-up play though, they have one of the best creators in Europe, Dimitri Payet and will want Bacca using his killer instinct in front of goal.
The 5 ft 11′ striker does show a few obvious weaknesses though, Bacca’s passing is deemed quite weak and he only managed 13.98 successful passes per 90 minutes last season, this is outshone by Andy Carroll, West Ham United’s current striker who managed 16.72.
Carroll, who played 11 games less than Bacca last season also managed an impressive score of 0.56 goals per 90 minutes, which is once again superior to Bacca who scored 0.51.
Carroll who found fine form last season burst into life after scoring a hat-trick against Arsenal, he managed several impressive performances for West Ham and also managed to create chances as well as score goals, he created 1.25 chances per 90 minutes which once again sees him high-ranking than Bacca who managed 1.17.
Another weakness of Bacca’s play is his offside awareness, he is often caught flat-footed when receiving the ball and is not quick enough to get in an onside position, this is of course a worry for the Hammers but it is something Bilic will be able to work on in training.
Bacca has a £24 million release clause in his contract with Milan, and his agent Sergio Barila claimed the Hammers have already had one bid rejected but discussions are ongoing.
Sergio Barila revealed that Atletico and PSG are interested in Bacca, but also said there is interest elsewhere without naming West Ham.
“All I can say is that these clubs are not the only ones who have made a move for him,” Barila said. “Other big clubs have enquired about him.”
Barila added: “There was firm interest from China in January with substantial offers, but Carlos wants to be a protagonist at the highest levels in Europe still and he has no intention taking [China] into consideration. There will be time for this kind of choice later, certainly not now.”
Bacca is on holiday following the Copa America Centenario, where he helped Colombia to a third-place finish, and Barila said: “When he gets back, we’ll talk to Milan and evaluate the situation.”
Bacca has been spoken about for several years around Europe and has been linked with a move to England before as Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United were all reportedly interested in his signature.
West Ham certainly look set to finally land a high-profile striker after showing real signs of intent so far this summer but not managing to complete the deal, Bacca, who is 29-years-old will certainly add goals and experience to West Ham’s forward line and help the club have a successful season, not just in the league but Europe as well.
David Gold, since becoming the joint owner of West Ham United, has really been through the ups and downs of English football. Within two years of coming to the club, Mr.Gold and West Ham had powered through a relegation into the Championship, followed by a promotion back into England’s top division in 2012. The East London club saw many faces appear and disappear from the managerial dugout, including Gianfranco Zola, Avram Grant and Sam Allardyce.
It was only in the summer of 2015, where Sam Allardyce announced his departure shortly after a 2-0 defeat to Newcastle United. After much speculation of the new manager, former player Slaven Bilic became the East London club’s newest manager. It did not take him long to settle into his role as he announced, shortly after his arrival, his first signing at the club, Sampdoria’s Pedro Obiang. With a move to the Olympic Stadium on the horizon, as well as a Europa League appearance, West Ham looked to make some serious moves to show they mean business this season. However before the Premier League season had even started, West Ham faltered to Romanian side Astra Giurgiu, and were knocked out in only the third round of the competition. But the future seemed bright for the Hammers, as Bilic had strengthened the squad with stars such as Dimitri Payet, Manuel Lanzini and Angelo Ogbonna from Marseille, Juventus and Al Jazira respectively. As an admirer of the French Ligue 1, the signing of Payet was frustrating for myself, as I knew the talent West Ham had snapped up.
It is fair to say that this frustration carried on into the first game of the season for myself, being an Arsenal fan and all. West Ham dominated a strong Arsenal side away from home, with the Frenchman Payet and 16 year old Reece Oxford dominating the midfield. This result came as a shock to everyone, as West Ham had failed to beat Arsenal in their previous 15 attempts. Although this was followed by back to back defeats, West Ham went on to once again dominate as they recorded a 3-0 win over Liverpool at Anfield. It was fair to say that heads were starting to turn as West Ham beat Manchester City, Champions Chelsea and Southampton comfortably leading up to Christmas. Unfortunately, dropping points here against the soon-to-be relegated teams was the downfall of the season as a whole, but really showed that the club were moving in the right direction.
For much of the season, West Ham United were in the top 4. Now that is a statement I thought I’d never hear in my footballing life. If someone had said that West Ham and Leicester City would spend the majority of the season in the top 4, I would have told them to turn off their Playstation and go and watch a game. But to their credit, West Ham really should be proud of their 7th place finish, considering this was the first season with Slaven Bilic. They made a real statement of belief to all the other teams in the league, and this really was with a somewhat limited budget and busy summer fixture list such as the Europa League qualification matches starting in July.
For next season, West Ham will have Europa League football, a new found belief and a brand new 60,000 seated stadium to move into prior to the season starting. The Stadium will give West Ham an enormous matchday revenue and will surely expand their transfer budget to all new heights. Although the lack of Champions League football may restrict the top stars from move to East London, the ability to pay a much higher wage will definitely entice stars across the World to travel to the club. The Club as a whole has transformed in mentality, as they’ve gone from signing players such as Matt Jarvis for £11million to beginning to bring stars such as Dimitri Payet for the same price. And with rumours of Alexandre Lacazette and Michy Batshuayi across different media outlets, the future looks bright for the boys in claret and blue.
West Ham are desperate to add attacking signings to their squad next season, but have so far been frustrated in their attempts to lure the likes of Michy Batshuayi and Alexandre Lacazette to the club. The latest reports indicate they may have shifted targets and they may be more successful this time around.
With Batshuayi joining Chelsea and Lacazette rejecting a switch to the Hammers, Gomez may be a more realistic candidate to improve the spearhead of West Ham’s attack.
Gomez is still officially a Fiorentina player, although he spent last season on loan at Besiktas. Besiktas are desperate to sign Gomez permanently though after he scored 27 goals in 33 games during his loan spell. It is this form which earned his place in Germany’s international squad for Euro 2016. Gomez is a seasoned international, scoring 29 goals from 68 caps.
Despite playing in the Turkish league, a division that can be considered easier to score in, Gomez’ goalscoring rate was phenomenal last season, scoring 0.93 goals per 90 minutes. On top of the 27 goals, he notched up 4 assists and made 23 key passes that season, statistics that highlight his ability to also be creative as well as score goals. Gomez is certainly not the most mobile striker though and much like they do when Andy Carroll plays, if West Ham were to stick Gomez up front, they will need to play to his strengths in order to get the best out of the German.
Whether Gomez will fit in England is a gamble, if you visit this website you can find out more about this.
Gomez would also be an awful lot cheaper than the other striking options West Ham have attempted to make so far this summer, with a valuation of around £5million mooted. This could allow more budget for Slaven Bilic to spend elsewhere.
West Ham are also favourites to sign Yannick Bolasie, although Manchester United and Liverpool are also interested according to The Star. Bolasie could be available this summer with the arrival of Andros Townsend at Crystal Palace already providing the club with a replacement.
Bolasie, 27 has previously been a target for Tottenham and it is thought that the player would like to move to a club with more of a realistic chance of finishing in the top four next season. Despite Pardew’s ambition, it is likely Bolasie will push for a move this summer and West Ham could be the ideal destination with the player thought to be keen to stay in London.
Bolasie’s strengths are clear. He managed an amazing 3.25 successful take ons per 90 minutes last season and that pace and directness will certainly be helpful for the Hammers who sometimes lacked enough attacking quality last season.
Bolasie scores on average one goal per 5 games, which means he is a decent goalscoring option, but not the most prolific. He would play out wide for West Ham if he signed and probably start for the Hammers, something that Liverpool or Manchester United are unlikely to offer the 27-year-old.
Barcelona are reportedly willing to allow defender Thomas Vermaelen to leave the club this summer, despite Marc Bartra already making way. Liverpool and West Ham have been linked with bids for the former Arsenal captain.
The Belgian has failed to set the world alight since his £10million move to Barcelona and with the Spanish club now focussing on signing Samuel Umttiti from Lyon, Vermaelen is likely to look for a move away in order to play more regular football.
The 30-year-old Belgian has struggled for game time in Spain and that has mainly been down to his persistent injury problems. Of course that will be a worry to potential new clubs although with the quality he occasionally showed for Arsenal in England previously, he may be worth the risk at a reported €10million.
In the 2009-10 season Vermaelen was named in the Premier League Team of the Season and scored eight goals in all competitions. If he can replicate form like that, particularly his goalscoring form then he will provide significant quality to whichever team he opts to join.
Vermaelen played in just 10 La Liga games last season and is likely to demand first team assurances at the club he chooses to play for next.
The transfer fee shouldn’t be a problem for either club with Barcelona asking for a relatively low amount. His next destination will ultimately boil down to which club can convince him to join them. Both have the power to offer high wages, but the manager and potential game time will play the most significant roles.
Liverpool’s lack of Champions League football or European football altogether next season has certainly damaged their pulling power, as shown in the case of Mario Gotze.
West Ham have new hope under Slaven Bilic and will hope the Olympic Stadium and previous dealings with Barcelona will help their bid to sign the Belgian. Alongside Winston Reid, Vermaelen could form a very solid defence. West Ham didn’t so much struggle defensively next season, but they need to add some top level experience to their defensive ranks in order to seriously sustain their top four bid.
Liverpool, on the contrary did struggle defensively last season. Klopp was never quite sure as to what his best defensive pairing was and I am personally not too sure that Vermaelen is established enough to guarantee an improvement to that defence. Despite his goalscoring ability and eagerness to succeed, Vermaelen is very much prone to an error in a similar way to Klopp’s current options. The Belgian is a bit erratic and is unlikely to provide the Liverpool defence with the stability and experience that they so desperately need. What will appeal to Klopp is the aggressive, hard working style that Vermaelen plays with, but if that comes at the expense of too many errors the German needs to evaluate whether or not the move is really worth it.
Either way it looks very likely that we will see Vermaelen back in the Premier League soon. We can look forward to some good defending, errors and spectacular goals from defensive. Thomas, it’ll be good to have you back.
West Ham are set to be one of the busiest clubs in the transfer window from the Premier League. Their ambitious owners are keen to add more quality that could see them take a top four spot. Here are three updates from a Sky News reporter about West Ham’s transfer activity of late.
1 – Bid placed for Carlos Bacca
A bid has been placed for AC Milan striker, Carlos Bacca, according to reports from Italy. Bacca is a 29-year-old striker who would certainly add experience to the West Ham frontline. He’s not as prolific as some of the clubs other targets, but he does score his fair share of goals and would be an improvement on the clubs current options.
Sky in Italy: West Ham have made £15m bid for Carlos Bacca. AC Milan want £19m. They paid £23m for him last summer. He’s 30 soon #WHUFC
— Kaveh Solhekol (@SkyKaveh) 30 May 2016
Bacca has scored 18 league goals in 38 Serie A games for an underperforming AC Milan side this season. His link-up play is a weakness, but if West Ham are just looking for a finisher, then Bacca is a decent option for them. Bacca has a good first touch and is very good off the ball, often getting into goalscoring positions. Despite his age, the 28-time capped Colombian has a good initial burst of pace to get away from defenders.
David Sullivan has confirmed that West Ham will sign a £30million striker this summer, as part of their summer spending.
Alexandre Lacazette was the clubs number one target, but he looks set to turn down a move to West Ham after a £31million West Ham bid was rejected. Lyon want £40million to part with their main forward, but it is now understood that the player is not keen to move to Slaven Bilic’s side.
West Ham have an interest in several strikers and their top target now appears to be Marseille’s Michy Batshuayi. The Belgian international is set to resolve his future after the European Championships is over, although like Lacazette, he has clubs with Champions League status interested, and that makes it hard for West Ham to compete, despite the money they have.
West Ham have new found wealth thanks to their inheriting of the Olympic Stadium. The new stadium gives the club more revenue and the club plans to use this on new signings to strengthen the team and take them into that elusive ‘top 4’.
According to The Mirror, West Ham will continue to try for even more ambitious signings with moves for Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Jamie Vardy mooted. Both of these signings seem incredibly realistic, but after signing Carlos Tevez in 2006 as relegation strugglers, you would be foolish to complete write anything off when it comes to West Ham.
Sullivan told West Ham’s official website: “We have done well with our signings and we hope we can sign a few more this summer who will do equally as well or better.
“We know that we need a top striker which is the hardest thing to sign. We need a 20-goal-a-season striker and that will cost us £25m or £30million. That is where the bulk of the money goes.
“We also need the occasional long shot which is the cheaper player that may come good. We want to sign more players.
“There might be a few fringe players who we will let go and use that to bring in two or three more players.
“We have already signed one player for next season and there will be other signings. I would think that four, five or six players will come in this summer depending on how many go and hopefully we do just as well or even better next season.”
Sound good West Ham fans? It really does seem as if West Ham and Sullivan mean business this season. They appear extremely keen to add significant quality to their team and it looks as if they wouldn’t worry about spending at least £50million this summer, with most of that money going towards a top striker, something the club desperately lacks at the moment.
Batyshuayi may, at this stage, be the most realistic signing. The 22-year-old has scored 17 Ligue 1 goals this season and has confirmed he will join a new club after Euro 2016.
There isn’t long to prepare for the European Championship and as the season begins to draw to a close, this is the key time for English players to perform at the highest level, in a bid to land a seat on the plane to France.
There is the usual fear of becoming too optimistic about England’s chances, but the statistics in the Premier League show that it’s the English players who have made a real impact this season and it’s not the usual suspects either.
The performances of some of England’s footballers has been astonishing and the likes of Harry Kane (Tottenham) and Jamie Vardy (Leicester) lead the scoring chart (Kane with 22 goals, Vardy with 21) and many youngsters have shone thus far, including Ross Barkley (Everton) and Dele Alli (Tottenham).
Turning our focus to West Ham, this weekend saw a stunning display between West Ham and Arsenal, locked 3-3 at full time after an exhaustingly intense battle in the last London derby with The Gunners at The Boleyn. Andy Carroll stole the player of the match award with a terrific hat-trick over 8 minutes, the goals came across both halves in the 44th, 45th and 52nd minutes. Irons manager Slaven Bilic took advantage of Arsenal’s short defenders, like Gabriel and goalkeeper Ospina, and stuck the 6″4 giant at the spearhead of West Ham’s attack, where he was able to tower over Arsenal’s defence. Could he have a similar effect against some defences at the Euros?
Hodgson’s Options: Carroll, Kane, Vardy, Rooney, Sturridge
Against England’s best options, Carroll provides a unique attacking option. His Total Duels won stands at 44.06% and is the highest of the 5 due to his large presence in attack, this will be vital against the smaller defenders and help create more space for a faster striker like Vardy or Kane to get on the end of chances. Although Carroll only has 7 goals in 25 appearances, it is certainly the big games he is up for with 6 of his goals coming against tougher opposition (3 vs Arsenal, 2 vs Chelsea, 1 vs Liverpool). His usual problem has been injuries but this season Carroll has remained largely fit and there is also the fact he has played for England at big tournaments, scoring vs Sweden at Euro 2012 with a phenomenal header we can all remember.
Carroll’s Total Shots is the second highest (3.78 per game) whilst his Goals Scored (0.65) and Shot Accuracy (61%) hold up well against his competitors so there is plenty of reason to believe he is worthy of consideration at the very least. It is unfortunate that Carroll’s club counterparts, such as Mark Noble or Aaron Cresswell, have not found a place in Hodgson’s heart yet but there is still time for them all to earn it. Especially with a realistic shot at winning the FA Cup this year.
Latest reports have revealed that West Ham will not be turning the loan deal of Alexandre Song into a permanent one. The Cameroonian international, 28, is currently on a season loan from Spanish giants FC Barcelona but has failed to secure much game time under current boss, Slaven Bilic.
Song previously had also spent last season on loan at West Ham, under ex-manager Sam Allardyce, where he totalled 28 league appearances. However, an injury early on in the season saw him sidelined for 4 months and he has since struggled for game time resulting in only 12 league appearances, of which he has started just 8.
West Ham did have the option to sign Song permanently and Barcelona were willing to let him leave for free, but negotiations early on in the season were rocky as Song held out for a 3-year permanent deal. Originally, they had intended on signing Song on a permanent deal during the summer but his injury threw talks against the grain and now it appears it may be too late.
Given Song’s indifferent form, it is difficult to pinpoint his statistics for this season. From what we have seen, there has been a sharp increase on what he produces, particularly in terms of his passing. Admittedly, this could be due to Bilic’s revamp of West Ham and his tactic influence but an admirable increase nonetheless, especially where we see Song producing more total passes per 90 minutes.
At a parallel score of 1.64, he is making just as many interceptions as he did last term and his Total Duels has only slightly dropped by 1.19 per 90 minutes. It can be quite difficult to understand why Bilic does not favour Song the way that Allardyce did.
In comparison, we can see that there is some evidence on Song’s absence. The other candidates are covering better for their defence, which Bilic holds in high regard as part of his game, and the trio of Noble, Kouyate and Obiang contribute to more interceptions and commit less fouls than Song which would have been vital during the early months of the season, in which West Ham were often the more defensive side during a match. Now in April, West Ham have been shocking the nation with some of their results and have switched to a much more attacking style, here is where it has become difficult to fit Song into the style of play.
In summary, Song has not performed poorly on any scale, however, it appears to be a matter of other options providing better than he does. Including his injury, it is probably in the teams best interest to allow Song to head back to Barcelona, especially with the seemingly impending arrival of Havard Nordtveit from Borussia Monchengladbach.
Dutch star Georginio Wijnaldum, 25, could well be on his way out of Newcastle United should they be relegated this season, after just one season with the Tyneside-on-sea giants.
The Magpies currently sit in 19th place in the Premier League and look dangerously close to dropping down into the Championship, a league that last years Eredivisie’s Player of the Year will surely feel is below his batting range. With 7 games to go and Newcastle sitting 6 points away from safety, survival is seemingly bleak, especially after losing 3-2 to Norwich in a pivotal relegation dog-fight.
Despite a poor season for Newcastle as a club, Wijnaldum has been a diamond in the rough scoring 9 goals in 31 league appearances. That includes an incredible four goal in the demolition job of Norwich, in the reverse fixture back in October 2015. He makes up 29.03% of their total league goals this campaign, not bad at all for your debut season in the Premier League.
It may come as a surprise to some that Wijnaldum has given to Newcastle just as much as he did last year with PSV. From our analysis it is clear he has improved on his attacking side of his game, even though he would have faced a much more difficulty this year, as last year PSV walked the Eredivisie by a margin of 17 points and had the likes of Memphis Depay who himself scored 22 league goals during the 14/15 campaign.
His pass completion remains of high quality, chances created, assists and shot accuracy have seen a sharp rise also. All he would need to do is score 6 Premier League goals this year to complete overhaul his previous season in terms of production. Previously he scored 14 league goals with PSV in the 14/15 season and will only look to improve on that and with West Ham improving by the week, it would seem like a wise move to dive-in for the talented Dutchman. However, Tottenham are also rumoured to be in the mix and should both clubs decide to formally bid, it will certainly be a test of who can produce the best honey pot in luring Wijnaldum.
Producing the same analysis statistics, we can compare Wijnaldum with West Ham’s very own talisman, Dimitri Payet. Arguably the Premier League’s best signing this summer, Payet has produced some phenomenal displays which hav catapulted West Ham up the table and in contention for a serious Champions League spot.
In terms of pass completion and shot accuracy the two seem very similar, with both providing high level performances. Similarly, both are used on field as a focal point and seem to be the pivot on their respective teams attacking displays. At West Ham, Wijnaldum would be surrounded by more influential players and this would further increase his productive side in attack.
It is no secret, however, that Payet has been much more productive and West Ham as a team have been much more efficient. With Payet’s chances created, at 3.88 per game, it is clear to see he is the target man going forward and with the addition of Wijnaldum this would offer West Ham the extra dimension and extra pivot in the midfield. Most notably, Wijnaldum has been ever present for Newcastle this season and alongside the likes of Payet, Lanzini, Antonio and Valencia, West Ham would be making a real shot for contention at becoming a Champions League side, just in time for the move to the brand new Olympic Stadium.
After a less than glamorous start to life at Anfield, it appears Christian Benteke is on the radar for West Ham United. The Belgian target man, 25, has scored just 8 goals in 35 appearances this season, compared to 15 goals in 34 games for Aston Villa during the 2014/15 campaign.
Irons chairman David Sullivan has admitted “he [Benteke] is a player that we admire”, although they may face stiff competition from the likes of Juventus and Atletico Madrid for the Belgian’s signature. Benteke’s reported wage of £120,000 per week may be a big put off for West Ham, who also have other striking targets.
Marseille’s Michy Batshuayi, 22, has been linked since February when chairman Sullivan’s son, Jack Sullivan, posted a picture on Twitter of him wearing a Marsielle shirt with ‘Batshuayi 22’ on the back. Jack has often been a great source for West Ham gossip before official releases, and his young eccentricity often leads him to be at the forefront for breaking news. Batshuayi would reportedly cost a surplus of £30million to prise him away from the French side and it will be interesting to see how high West Ham can go to compete with Europe’s elite clubs, especially as there is a very real chance of Europa League or even Champions League football next season. Batshuayi has been in impressive form, scoring 17 goals in 39 appearances for Marseille in all competitions this campaign.
France international Alexandre Lacazette has been heavily linked with a move away from Olympique Lyonnais and West Ham will face competition from the likes of Tottenham, Juventus and Atletico Madrid for the 24 year-old’s signature. 16 goals in 37 appearances for Lyon this season means interest is high and will only result in a higher transfer fee, again, something West Ham will need to consider if they are really to go toe-to-toe with top clubs.
In terms of Ligue 1 goals this season, Lacazette (14) is slightly edging Batshuayi (13), although both are way behind the League’s top scorer Ibrahimovic (27), who is linked with just about every top club in Europe, at the ripe old age of 34. He was even on West Ham’s radar at one point but interest from the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United seems to have cooled West Ham’s attempts at signing the sensational Swede.
From a statistical point of view, we see Batshuayi has the most assists (8) from the least chances created, making him the deadliest of the three hit-men. Benteke has struggled for goals at Liverpool but that is due to him not being able to fit into the current system. As a target man he requires the team to be built around him but Liverpool have rarely offered that. He has however managed to create 1.75 chances per 90 minutes, the highest of all three players. The high amount of chances that Lacazette can provide will also be useful for West Ham’s surrounding attacking players, such as Antonio or Payet, who will also be looking to grab plenty of goals next year.
If we dive further in and look at West Ham’s current band of strikers, either Batshuayi or Lacazette offer a vast improvement in terms of goals, but Benteke would provide the pivotal Premier League experience and whether or not Liverpool has worked out for the Belgian, we have seen him prove himself in the Premier League previously with Aston Villa. Carroll, Sakho and Valencia have all had rocky seasons in terms of fitness meaning they have struggled for games, between them Carroll has the most league appearances with just 19. Emenike looks to be a temporary solution until the end of the season, a change of artillery up top is definitely needed as West Ham now look for that potent goalscorer to spearhead their attack and seriously attempt to become a top club in the Premier League.
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