Tuesday, August 15

Hammered at Old Trafford

Manchester United 4 West Ham 0

Managed to watch this while on holiday at the Grapes in Hexam, surrounded by disappointed Toon Army members who had just lost to Spurs. Once Obiang was robbed by Matic and United broke to allow Lukaku to score it was all over. Very disappointing to concede the second to a set piece and why was Masusku marking Lukaku? Zabaleta made one great saving tackle and showed a good attitude though was exposed by Rashford's pace, while Arnautocic did at least have a header on to De Gea's bar. But little else to offer from West Ham apart from a Fernandes shot saved by De Gea just before half-time.

Still, United had spent £125m on Lukaku and Matic and may well win the league on this form. Hopefully the new signings will bed in for WHU and be strengthened by the signing of Wklliam Carvalho and the return of Lanzini, Antonio and Kouyate. A terrible start but there's a long way to go yet.

Friday, August 11

A new season beckons

Well, the new season has kicked off and Arsenal have scored four at home while I have, possibly rather foolishly, predicted that West Ham will finish eighth in the Observer fan previews. Though it might be 18th, who knows? Been up in the Lake District so not much news has filtered through, apart from the fact that West Ham have signed Montenegro wonderkid Sead Haksabonovic from Swedish side Halmstads BK for £2.7 million. It makes a change to sign an 18-year-old and anyone who can make their debut at 15 surely has to be a bit special. Should be fun hearing Paul Merson try to pronounce his name, though it will cost a bit to have it on the back of a WHU shirt if they still charge by the letter. And now the Hammers prepare to kick off at Old Trafford on my birthday. What could possibly go wrong? Have to hope Little Pea stays fit and makes Jose feel green. Come on you Irons!

Thursday, August 3

Tuesday, August 1

What future for Robert Snodgrass?

With all the new signings will there be a future at West Ham for Robert Snodgrass? Teams like Sunderland and Middlesbrough are already rumoured to be interested in him, though I'm not sure we should give up on a £10 million investment. He didn't play well after joining us last season, his main contribution being an assist in Kouyate's vital goal against Swansea. Too often he misplaced passes and didn't look at all at home in a claret and blue shirt. 

But we should remember that new signings are often better in their second season and he will now have had a full pre-season with WHU. Snodgrass had scored five Premier League goals from open play (including a cracking free kick against Everton) plus a couple of penalties for Hull in the first half of last season, so we know he can do it in the Premier League. 

It's also worth noting that he's scored 78 goals in his career and was popular with the fans at Leeds, Norwich and Hull. Might a goal get him going at West Ham? We're going to need a strong squad and although Snoddy might not start, he gives West Ham options as a right winger or as a creative player behind the strikers if Lanzini is out. Rather than sell him at a loss it's surely better to give him another season to show he can produce for the Irons.

Sunday, July 30

Oh Carroll! Getting our injury crisis in early…

Andy Carroll is set to miss the first three game of the season while he recovers from a thigh injury. I'm not even sure what part of his body is injured anymore. Last season Slaven said AC was "feeling his groin" after the game at Sunderland in April and then we never saw him again. That was three and a half months ago. He's still a great player if he can make the pitch, but Andy's body just doesn't seem up to the rigours of the PL anymore. Meanwhile Antonio is on course with his recovery but will miss the first game of the season at Old Trafford and Kouyate has picked up an injury too. Oh well, at least we've got our injury crisis in early. 

On a more positive note, it was good to see Toni Martinez get a game and score with a well-taken header against Werder Bremen. With Andy forever crocked, he may well get a few more run-outs this season.

Friday, July 28

£6.5 million for Fletcher?

If West Ham can get £6.5 million from Middlesbrough for Ashley Fletcher then it's a great piece of business. That's £1.5 million more than Enner Valencia went for, who was an experienced international and World Cup star. Fletcher is a promising youngster and didn't really get enough chances last season when he could have replaced Jonathan Calleri. But even so, when he did come on late in games he didn't take the chances that came his way, such as his late dink wide against Spurs. 

He only started in two league games and scored one goal in the League Cup against Man United, though he had proved he could score regularly for Barnsley the previous season in League One. But even so, I'd say he's a £1.5 to £2million million player on current stats, not a £6.5 million player. Garry Monk presumably remembers that Fletcher was a promising youth player at Man United and is now taking a massive punt. Prices really are going crazy, with Swansea asking for £50 million for Sigurdsson, fine player that he is  — it's almost as if they're being set by our old midfielder Shaun Newton after a year of celebrating his birthday…

Thursday, July 27

Are West Ham's signings too old?

Interesting piece in today's Guardian by Jacob Steinberg, headlined, "A great window for West Ham… or sticking plasters in lieu of a plan?" He points out that though the Irons have made great signings on paper, they do not provide the pace Bilic said he wanted and they're all on the old side. Zabaleta is 32, Hart 30, Hernandez 29 and Arnautovic 28. 

In the piece David Sullivan admits that the club have gone back on their plan of recruiting youth: "We made a decision with the manager to buy players proven in the Premier League, who've been here before and who are of an age where they're not being bought for tomorrow but today. Long term it's not a great strategy, but short term it is." 

I'd agree with Sullivan that football is a short-term game and that if West Ham win a cup or get in the top six in the next couple of years then they'll look like great signings. And remember that the likes of Calleri were signed for the future. 

But Steinberg also has a point in the way the club is seemingly always changing strategy: "Robert Snodgrass, signed as Payet's replacement six months ago, has been replaced by Arnautovic after half a season. That is the price of short-termism: it exposes the lack of a plan." Click on the link to read the complete feature.