West Ham United 2 Leeds United 3 16th January 2022

Hammers Lose Thrilling Match As Leeds Revenge Cup Exit at London Stadium

Hi everyone, hope you are all safe and well.

For my own personal life, things have only got worse regarding whether we are going to move from the hotel, definitely not anytime soon. The ongoing uncertainty is traumatic and exhausting in equal measure and it’s hard to motivate myself to keep fighting on. But we do and we will. Such situations are here to test us, and it is a real test, but we have our health and a lot more than other people, so we are grateful for the roof over our heads and the love and support of friends and family. So apologies for the huge delay in posting the photos from our last home game. I hope you can all understand.

But, to the match and you could sense the tension in the crowd as they filled the stadium before the match was about to start and the Hammers slow start did little to ease the nerves of the watching fans as Leeds came to claim revenge from their recent FA Cup exit at the London Stadium only a week before.

Jack Harrison scored his first career hat trick as Leeds secured their first back to back wins this Premier League this season, and the Hammers were left to look back on missed chances, especially a last gasp effort by Bowen to draw the match that flew over the bar leaving the crowd asking “Why didn’t he use his head?”

It was definitely a bad day at the office for the Hammers, who looked a different team from the one that took advantage of a toothless Leeds team to kick them out of the Cup only 7 days before.

Moyes rang the changes to his team to try and manage what is becoming a nightmare of a schedule after Premier League teams have taken advantage of being able to postpone matches due to COVID positive cases, although the jury is out as to whether there has not been some teams who have sought to benefit from a less busy festive period whilst players are injured or away on International duty at the Africa Cup of Nations. Leeds, with 2 games more to play, had time off whilst West Ham were made to play their fixture with Norwich only 4 days before hand. 4 games in just over 2 weeks for the Hammers. 

On 10 minutes, Leeds who had been threatening in the early stages, took the lead through Harrison’s first goal, but the Hammers recovered quickly and Bowen, who has been scoring for fun recently, evaded his marker at a corner to equalise on 34th minute. But this match had much more to it than that. 

Dominating the play and finding space from midfield to the flanks, Leeds were good for their second goal before the break. With much more possession it seemed inevitable that Leeds would make their dominance count and so it was for Harrison to slip to the back post, unmarked, to put them back on the front foot. The Hammers lacked any fluidity and threat and it was a relief for the Hammers to end the first half to try and regroup.

It wasn’t until the 52nd min that the Hammers found the net again with Fornals, scoring his first goal since November, as he wrong footed Illan Meslier, cutting in on his right to score a brilliant equaliser. There was more to this game again, entertaining for the neutral but nail bitting in equal measure for both sets of fans. Leeds sensed a result was possible and on 60th minute Harrison completed his hat trick as Raphina sliced open the Hammers defence with an excellent through ball that Harrison chipped over the on rushing Fabianski.

But could the Hammers at least rescue a draw? With growing purpose the Hammers began to push further forward with Vlasic and Fornals making way for Masuaku and Yarmolenko to see out the final 20mins of what was becoming a more frantic encounter. So, it was a final chance falling to in form Bowen who could only chest over a cross that should have been headed firmly into the Leeds net to salvage something from a match that had 2 goals ruled out for offside, one for each team, that raised Leeds to 15th place, whilst the Hammers hang precariously in 4th anxiously watching results of those teams around us. 

Hope you enjoy the photos from the match, take care everyone.

Dawud

West Ham United 2 Southampton 3 26th December 2021

Saints Spoil Hammers Festive Cheer As Poor Form Continues

Southampton dampen Hammers Christmas celebrations by stealing all 3 points at London Stadium

With the first Boxing Day fixture in front of the fans at the London Stadium, the Saints were in no mood for giving as they sealed a victory in front of a less than full stadium to pour cold water over Hammers festive cheer. 

The party atmosphere was in full swing before the game, despite some fans struggling to get to the match during the Boxing Day with the impact of COVID and travel chaos that left some stranded and missing a game filled with the range of emotions you would find in a Christmas holiday movie – although the ending was not filled with the usual Hollywood feeling good theme of joy to all and the spirit of giving was definitely absent in the result.

The Hammers makeshift defence struggled throughout as Southampton looked dangerous on the attack with plenty of early pressure as Mohammed Elyonoussi fired home from outside the box beyond the diving Lucasz Fabianski to set the tone for the match. It wasn’t until just before half time that Fraser Foster was tested by Nikola Vlasic but the rebound went beyond everyone to leave the Hammers behind at the break. 

In all fairness the Saints were value for their lead at half time with the Hammers looking leggy throughout the first half and the crowd sensed this was not going to be their day. The atmosphere was decided frosty compared to previous matches and the ghost of Christmas past was leading us into another difficult festive period having not won in any competition since that amazing victory against Chelsea on 4th December. What a difference some key injuries can make to a side that was flying high in 4th place.

The second half saw the ghost of Christmas present sprinkle some hope around the ground with Michael Antonio and Manuel Lanzini replacing Vlasic and Fornals that had an immediate impact on the team. Toothless in the first half the Hammers now looked dangerous on the break. Jarrod Bowen’s corner found Antonio who was alert enough to equalise from close range. As is the way these days, celebrations don’t make goals until VAR says so, and the sprinkle of good will and increased control of the game was finally having its effect.

The game was becoming a real Boxing Day encounter with end to end play, as Declan Rice shot went just wide of the post, the Saints dashed on the break and took the lead again albeit through a VAR penalty decision against Dawson as he tumbled into the area with Armando Borja. From where we stood, it was not a a good decision and we sensed the gloom of the ghost of Christmas future casting its shadow across the pitch as James Ward-Prowse put the sleigh’s reins back into the Saints hands. 

Bowen and Said Benrahma looked to get us back into the game as Bowen’s cross was poked in to draw level again. The crowd sensed another Chelsea come back and a late Christmas present to send us away blowing festive bubbles into the night, but there was yet another twist to the story. 70 minutes in and Ward-Prowse sent over a free kick that Bednarek rose to head beyond Fabianski and the Saints grabbed the reins for the last time to steer them to their first win in seven games and 9 points clear of the drop zone. 

We paid for our first half sloppiness and despite the returning Antonio and Lanzini’s much needed creative influence and purpose in the second half, the Hammers now have one win in December and slip to 6th in the league. European hopes dashed as our dreams fade and die? Well of course not, we are halfway through the season, still in Europe and Leeds to play in the FA cup and a run of games that we will definitely earn points from coming up in the New Year schedule. Let’s not take the Christmas tree and festive decorations down just yet as there is still plenty to play for.

I hope and pray everyone had a great Christmas and wish you all the very best in the New Year. COYIs

Dawud 

West Ham United 3 Chelsea 2 4th December 2021

Hammers Come Back Twice to Burst Blues’ Bubble

I hope everyone is safe and well.

Wins don’t come better that this and the end of match celebrations reverberated in and around Westfield until the small hours with fans singing ‘West Ham are massive wherever we go’ punctuated with cries of ‘Irons!’ ‘Irons’ and ‘Stick your blue flag …..’ Well, you know how that one goes eh?

There was definitely a party atmosphere to get everyone into the early Christmas spirit, despite a disappointing set of recent results that saw us hold on for a draw against the Seagulls only a few days before. Was our good form about to fade into the busy festive schedule, or could we turn it around against Chelsea to pick ourselves up again?

Masuaku’s misdirected pass rounded off an excellent team display that saw us come back twice from being one goal down and sent those in the stand into raptures of song and applause as we saw out the final minutes of a competitive contest, albeit scattered with some more questionable refereeing. 

“I said to him I thought it was a great cross,” West Ham manager David Moyes joked of the defender’s first Premier League goal.

“It was very fortunate but in football you need a bit of fortune sometimes. In the last few games we have lost it a little bit, but today we got it back.” Tell us about it! But this was not a win born out of luck, rather through a solid team performance that showed why we are 4th in the league.

We mustn’t take anything away from the players, with Bowen taking away a well deserved man of the match award that rewarded his effort throughout the match and especially his excellently taken goal.

Thiago Silva nudged the visitors in front with a headed goal from Jason Mounts’s corner, but Mendy handed the Hammers a gift to get back into the game, the result of some excellent pressure from Bowen in the penalty area giving Lanzini the chance to bring us back on level terms.

But Mount was to have a hand in the Blues second goal with a volley off Hakim Ziyech’s cross just before half time to hand the visitors a key advantage going into the break. But we are not ones for giving up the fight and Bowen’s wonderful low strike just outside the area brought us back into the game on 56th minute and we then looked the more likely team to grab all 3 points.

Moyes got the tactics right with Craig Dawson, Moussa Diop and Kurt Zouma operating as a back three that soaked up Chelsea pressure allowing us to strike on the counter. This performance and result was just the tonic we needed after a poor run of results since stunning Liverpool at the beginning of November. 

Hope you enjoy the photos from the match.

Be safe everyone 

Dawud

West Ham United 1 Brighton & Hove Albion 1 1st December 2021

VAR Denies Hammers Win As Seagulls Steal A Point

Hope everyone is safe and well.

Apologies again for the lateness of this post. I’ve found it hard to keep up with the recent run of home games given my current personal circumstances.

On a night we needed a win, VAR denied us a second goal as the ball rolled over the line off Shane Duffy. Celebrations echoed around the ground only for the decision to go against us as Antonio was judged to have been offside before the ball had hit the defender on its way into the goal.

West Ham boss David Moyes was unhappy with the VAR decision to deny the Hammers.

“VAR is really good and the refereeing has been really good but we do not want to get rid of goals,” said Moyes.

“To rule it out and to choose to not give the goal, we’re in the business to score goals, that’s what people come to games for.

“I think it’s so hard to call that not a goal. You have to have something clear and I didn’t see a reason why that goal couldn’t stand.”

The atmosphere was tense and quieter then usual and you had a sense this was not going to be our night. We had chances for sure, beyond Soucek excellent glancing header from Fornal’s cross that gave us the advantage after only 5mins.

Indeed Fornals almost doubled our lead with an another excellent strike that hit the underside of the cross bar only for it to bounce clear – hearts in hands at as a clear opportunity to race ahead before half time had slipped beyond us.

You can see why the Seagulls are proving hard to beat and they had the lions share of possession, moving the ball about neatly at time but its wasn’t until Maupay’s acrobatic kick that they showed a real threat upfront, except for forcing two good saves from Fabianski to deny an equaliser; one from Jakub Moder in the first half and another deflected shot from Solly March at the beginning of the second half. 

Could we hold on for a win to turn our recent form around? Not on this accession and despite Brighton’s superior possession stats we had plenty of chances to seal a victory with Bowen shooting wide 15minutes before the end and both Declan Rice and Michail Antonio testing Sanchez before Maupay’s last gasp equaliser.

A hard earned draw from Brighton and definitely 2 points lost from the Hammers as we try to secure 4th spot in the Premier League before the busy festive period of games begin. 

A bad day at the office, but at least we have arrested a run of 2 Premier League defeats, albeit sandwiching a win at Rapid Vienna to secure our place in the last 16 of the Europa League. Still a lot of positives for us in an exciting season that will carry us through to the New Year without losing ground on the top of the table.

Take care everyone and be safe.

Dawud

West Ham United 3 Liverpool 2 Sunday 7th November 2021

Hammers Stun the Reds to End Liverpool’s Unbeaten Run

Hope you are all safe and well.

Firstly, my deepest apologies for the lateness of this post. But I’m still riding on it – hope you all are!

What an amazing match and an absolutely rocking atmosphere it was on the day we stunned the Reds. The London Stadium, still a contentious venue for some fans, has been a place filled with an atmosphere long unseen or heard of for sometime, but we are finally making the bowl a place that other teams fear to enter.

With chants of David Moyes Claret and Blue Army and West Ham Are Massive, Wherever We Go heard long after the match had ended and echoing around Westfield, we can finally put to bed the idea that we cannot compete with the top teams.

How many times have we said a draw would be a good result, or wished for a defeat that was not a thrashing. Since Moyes has taken over for the second time the team have performed amazingly, with each player knowing his part and fitting together in a way that is bringing in the results. 

It seems as if the team are fired up, with the desire to win back the ball, push forward with purpose and to demonstrate the breadth of contribution, goals are coming from across the team as well. It is such a wonderful feeling and the tingles you get walking up to the stadium, knowing that we will compete and see a performance that we can be proud of.

The question is, can we keep this going? Personally I don’t doubt we will do very well this year, there may be a few bumps along the way, but I’m expecting some silverware and a top 6 finish. Who’s with me?

I hope you enjoy my photos from the match.

Take care

Dawud