Thursday, 11 May 2017

Antonio The Smiling Bull Signs New Deal

So all the speculation about Antonio joining Chelsea was wrong - for now at least. The news of a 4 year deal is great, but we all know that contracts mean nothing if a player wants to go. Just ask a certain Payet.

What the contract does mean is that we should get a fair price when or if our Smiling Bull moves on. And hopefully Michel has also got another clause inserted into the deal, "Under no circumstances am I to be played at bloody right back!"

Friday, 5 May 2017

West Ham Lions 1 Tottenham Antelopes 0

Where the hell did that come from? OK, we played reasonably well at Stoke and defended well against Everton, but can anybody honestly say they saw us winning so comfortably? 1-0 may not sound like a pounding but had decent chances been converted, we would have run out 4-1 winners; and that scoreline would not have flattered us!

The chances missed? Kouyate should have netted after Lloris blocked off Lanzini; Calleri should have buried the chance he made when picking Alderwiereld's pocket in the box; and Fletcher won't have many better chances to score if he plays for another 10 years. And for Tottenham? Eriksen should have scored.

Defensively we were brilliant. Collins was a Goliath, Reid was everywhere and Fonte rediscovered his brain. Even Byram played out of his skin, making you wonder why he wasn't given more chances earlier in the season.

Look through the team sheet and you find hero after hero. Noble was back to his best, making a mockery of those who do not rate him. Lanzini was brilliant, doing a passable impression of Eden Hazard at the top of his game. And Calleri, yes Calleri, played like a young lion and gave the much vaunted Tottenham defence the run around. He may just have secured a future at the club.

Tactically we were brilliant, sitting in there, gloves raised, covering every attempted Spurs jab and when we won the ball, we sprang forward with rapier like speed. How good was that Noble pass to Lanzini? And how bad was Kouyate's follow up shot? I must admit, I thought our chance had gone in that moment.

But tonight we saw the sleeping lions roar. Who needs Payet? Who needs Carroll? Who needs Sakho? And if he is Chelsea bound, to sit on the bench and play for the stiffs, who needs Antonio?

Today we found our new home. It's been a long and winding road from Upton Park but we have arrived at last and suddenly we sit 9th in the table and can look forward to building a team to compete better next season. And until then, we can savour the life blood ripped from Tottenham's title challenge!

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Slaven Faces Exit Just Like Zola

So apparently Bilic's tenure at West Ham comes down to how we perform in the last two home games of the season.  As the final whistle blows on our miserable first season in the London Stadium Emperor Sullivan will clambour to his feet, hold his thumb out in front of him and, in a moment of high drama, either point it to the sky or down to damnation.

It is an interesting approach but it is entirely consistent. Zola suffered the same fate after "leading" West Ham to a 17th place finish with a buffer from the drop of just five points following a first season in charge of supposed "high promise". Like Bilic, Zola was hugely popular with the fans and there are still many who blame Grant rather than the Italian for what followed. But look at Zola's record since. This blog called him GianFredo for a reason - he was never cut out to manage.

Bilic is different in that respect. The guy has a track record and a much more intimidating personna. But the Bilic apologists must wonder at the poor judgement calls of the Croat this season. True there can be virtue in pig headedness but the persistence with Antonio at right back, Kouyate at centre back and right back, Randolph in goal, Snodgrass and Calleri in any position, Tore when fit and both Payet & Lanzini wide left suggest tactical myopia. All season Bilic has tried to force square pegs into round holes and the results have been disastrous.

Yes there have been injury problems but is anybody surprised? Who, outside of Bilic, believed the guff about Carroll being a new man? Who, apart from Bilic, believed that Cresswell was bionic and would never break down? Who, Bilic apart, thought that Reid would get through a full season untroubled by injury? Who, apart from Bilic, believed that Antonio could be used every game without a hamstring giving out sooner or later?

It may seem harsh to judge Bilic on home games against Spurs and Liverpool so let's judge him on the whole season. Let's judge him on that inept second half at Hull; let's judge him on pulling off Ayew and sending on Noble against Stoke; let's judge him on the failure to beat Middlesbrough at home, relying on a Payet wonder goal to secure a point; let's judge him on the double headed home hammerings against Man City and the humiliating home mauling by the less than spectacular Arsenal; let's judge him on the nervy 1-0 home victories over Hull, Burnley and Swansea...

Sullivan's thumb should already be pointing down surely?

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Bilic to give Carroll a good talking to!

So Slaven is going to have a chat with Andy Carroll about his injury record. Brilliant! I know talking therapies are all the rage in Hollywood but does Bilic really believe that he has the power of healing in his words? If so, it's a bloody shame he didn't give Andy a good talking to 24 months ago!

But who knows, if he succeeds with Carroll, Slaven might work the oracle with Sakho too, although all the rumours suggest that the manager's words have inflamed Daffy's injured ego rather than soothed his nagging ailments.

But  if Slaven really has this Frankenstein like power to reanimate, perhaps signing Sturridge might not be such a bad idea after all.

Or maybe Bilic should look further afield. I hear the scouts have identified an exciting talent in Israel by the name of Lazarus!

Monday, 1 May 2017

Pochettino Fears Hammer Blow to Tottenham's Title Charge

Even as we speak, Pochettino has retreated into a bunker beneath White Hart Lane with the Tottenham tactical brains trust, desperately seeking a plan for how to stop West Ham's rampant strike force. To misquote The Sound of Music, the challenge is how do you solve a problem like Calleri? How, exactly, do you catch a cloud and pin it down?

A Tottenham source revealed, "Poch has had to contend with some great strikers this season, players like Costa, Lukaku, Aguero and Zlatan, but none have presented the same sort of challenge as the West Ham wonderkid."

He continued, "This lad is different because he does the unexpected. Most strikers in the Prem are predictable. Give them a sight of goal and they will shoot. Give them space to run into and they will attack the space. Present them with a chance in and around the six yard box and they will open up the goal by dragging the ball sideways before firing into the net, But not Calleri."

"Look at that Rabona against Stoke! Who else would have tried that trick in that situation? Had it come off, what a goal that would have been. And to be honest, you can't legislate for that level of audacity."

But it is not just Calleri who is causing sleepless nights for the Tottenham boss. Our source contniued:

"Poch also has to factor in Carroll and Sakho. Who knows if they will make it on to the pitch and, if they do, for how long they will last. We all vaguely remember the dangers a fully fit Carroll poses but it is the half fit Carroll that worries Poch. The guy rarely breaks into a sprint anyway so he is unlikely to lose much from his game there. He is such a physical presence that should Bilic choose to use him as a totem pole, there must be a danger that a shot from somebody such as Lanzini might bounce off him and fly into the net."

"As for Sakho, we are worried that he might play in this one as he doesn't have to risk his back on a short flight or coach trip."

Then there is the threat posed by Ayew. "He is fit and fresh after being pulled before Calleri in the game against Stoke. That was clearly a Bilic tactical masterstroke, leaving West Ham utterly toothless up front against Stoke to try to lull Tottenham into a sense of false security."

It is easy to see why Tottenham are so concerned. Kane is, no doubt, studying footage of Calleri hoping to pick up tips on how to improve his game whilst Dele Alli must be hoping to emulate the movement and runs of Ayew on Friday night. It all adds up to a fascinating show down at the London Stadium, the final result of which is impossible to call.

And if Calleri starts, listen out for a new West Ham anthem:

How do you solve a problem like Calleri?
How do you catch a cloud and pin it down?
How do you find the word that means Calleri?
A flibbertijibbet! A will-o'-the wisp! A clown!