WHO Poll
Q: 2019/20 With seven games to go will West Ham stay up
a. Our demise was sealed when the idiots on the Board appointed Moyes, we're down
b. Despite the efforts of Moyes and the players, we will stay up by the smallest of margins
c. I'm beyond caring & couldn't give two hoots either way

Alan 1:26 Sat Feb 23
Saturday newspapers (includes West Ham)

Former Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane will not be deterred by Chelsea's transfer ban and is in line to become the new boss at Stamford Bridge. He could have £200m to spend during the Blues' appeal. (Sun)

Or Chelsea could turn to England assistant manager Steve Holland if they sack head coach Maurizio Sarri next week. (Telegraph)

Four other Premier League clubs could face transfer bans for breaching rules over signing youth players. (Mail)

Chelsea will face competition from German champions Bayern Munich in their pursuit of Barcelona's 30-year-old Croatia midfielder Ivan Rakitic.(Sun)

Arsenal have offered the job of technical director to Roma's Monchi. The Spaniard, 50, worked with Gunners boss Unai Emery at Sevilla. (Mirror)

Napoli are close to signing Arsenal and Colombia goalkeeper David Ospina, 30, on a permanent basis. (Calciomercato)

Inter Milan's 24-year-old Slovakia defender Milan Skriniar - a target for Manchester United - is close to agreeing a new contract with the Serie A club.(Sky Italia, via Calciomercato)

Paris St-Germain's 23-year-old France midfielder Adrien Rabiot - linked with Tottenham and Liverpool - has replaced his mother with a new agent following his failed move to Barcelona. (Sport, via Talksport)

PSG chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi says the club will not be forced to sell Brazil forward Neymar, 27, and 20-year-old France striker Kylian Mbappe because of Uefa's financial fair play rules. (ESPN)

Bayern Munich are favourites to sign Lille's 23-year-old Ivory Coast striker Nicolas Pepe. Arsenal, PSG and Barcelona are also keen on the forward, who has scored 16 goals and made eight assists for the French club this season. (Le10 Sport - in French)

Everton have made an approach to sign PSG right-back Thomas Meunier, 27. The Belgium international has only started 13 games this season for Thomas Tuchel's side. (Le10 Sport, via Sun)

West Brom's China striker Zhang Yuning, 22, has been released from his loan spell at Dutch club ADO Den Haag and will now join a club in his homeland. (Express and Star)

Huddersfield could be Tottenham's first opponents in the redeveloped White Hart Lane. Spurs have pencilled in their match with Brighton on 6 April to be their first game at the new ground - but the Seagulls could be in FA Cup action that weekend. (Yorkshire Post)

ITV has won the rights to show one Spanish La Liga match per week until the end of the season - but the deal does not include next week's El Clasico between Barcelona and Real Madrid. (Mail)

New England Revolution head coach Brad Friedel is targeting the Premier League in a quest to make new signings. (Goal)


Javier Hernández on hand as West Ham recover from early blow to beat Fulham

Nick Miller at the London Stadium

Attendance: 59,950

Fulham have only themselves to blame for their season, confused decision-making and erratic management probably sending them straight back to the Championship. But on this one occasion they can feel genuinely aggrieved that their fate was unfairly decided by someone else.

They were ahead and playing well against West Ham, when Javier Hernández punched home a goal and changed the course of a game that ended in defeat for Claudio Ranieri’s side.

Javier Hernandez scored a controversial goal with his left hand to help West Ham beat Fulham in the Premier League

Ranieri was furious at the time but later was more sanguine about Lee Mason’s failure to spot the offence. “It’s too easy to say yes,” he said, when asked if the handball had affected the outcome. “After the equaliser West Ham increased their confidence, and we were a little scared. It was a big pity the referee was covered [unsighted].”

Replays seemed to show Mason had a good view of the incident but the referee was far from the only one to miss it: only a couple of Fulham players protested and it did take four or five replays to be 100% sure the touch came from hand rather than head. Still, perhaps the forward’s guilty glance like a child with his hand in the sweet tin might have been proof enough. “Only he knows the truth,” said Ranieri, smiling ruefully.

The West Ham fans had cause to make noise when Diop headed the home side into a 2-1 lead before the half-time break

It had all started so well. Ryan Babel gave Fulham the lead in the third minute, sweeping home after a low Ryan Sessegnon cross fell perfectly in the six-yard box, and for about 20 minutes Fulham were purposeful, strong and in control. It felt strange. It felt like it could not last, although legally speaking it should have. The controversial equaliser came from a Robert Snodgrass corner, improperly cleared and turned in at the far post. Just before the break West Ham were ahead, again from a Snodgrass corner but this time it was fair, Issa Diop given all the time and space he needed to batter a close-ranger header past Sergio Rico.

Fulham were slightly the better team after half-time but as Ranieri said that did not translate into many real chances. The home crowd was roused first by the return of Manuel Lanzini, on as a substitute after missing the season to date with a cruciate ligament injury, and then West Ham’s third goalin the final moments, Michail Antonio bouncing a header in from a Marko Arnautovic cross.

Fulham remained in the game until second-half stoppage time when Antonio sent a bullet header into the away side's goal

It was West Ham’s first win in six weeks, gratefully received even if the performance was not dazzling. “After those 10 strange minutes [at the start] we dominated the game,” Manuel Pellegrini said. “It was a good performance.”

For Ranieri and Fulham, who are eight points from safety, time is running out. “It’ll be a miracle [to survive] but we must fight together,” he said. “I believe in my players. They lack experience but they have a very big heart. We have to believe that something will change.”


Fragile Fulham let early lead slip to fall to another damning defeat at West Ham

Sam Dean, at the London Stadium

Of all the sorry images that may come to define this sorry season for Fulham, the sight of Javier Hernandez punching the ball into their net here will surely prove to be one of the most agonising.

It was a moment of desperate misfortune for Claudio Ranieri and his troubled group of players, a genuine injustice against a team that needs every break it can get in this most miserable of campaigns.

It felt like Hernandez’s goal symbolised more than just a dreadful refereeing decision. As well as slapping the ball into their goal, the West Ham striker was also landing a punch on a team that was already on its way down.

Ranieri’s side are not out – not yet – but Premier League safety appears increasingly unattainable, especially if they remain this short of luck. The video assistant referee will prevent these errors next season but there is little evidence that Fulham will be here to feel the benefit.

Did the handball change the game? “It’s too easy to say yes,” said Ranieri, whose side had taken an early lead through Ryan Babel. The truth is that there are other issues for him to deal with in the aftermath of this latest defeat, not least the largely spineless attempts of his players to find a way back into the game after they had fallen behind.

The referee’s error was obvious but Ranieri’s side did not help themselves with their defending. They never do. After Hernandez’s equaliser, Fulham withdrew into themselves, cowering in the face of the home side’s power on set-pieces. Issa Diop headed the second goal for West Ham, before Michail Antonio added a late third at the end of a flat second half.

Ranieri later insisted that his players have “very big heart”. It was not on show here, when the Fulham players looked defeated long before Antonio’s header.

“I believe in all of my players,” said Ranieri. “They lack experience. They have to believe something can change.”

There were scuffles in the away end in the second half, showing that the strains of such a dreary season can take their toll on even the most placid group of supporters. It felt like Ranieri was speaking to the fans as much as the players when he called for faith.

“The level of confidence increases when you win and now that’s a long time ago,” Ranieri said. “For me, it’s important that they train well – this means they believe. It will be a miracle but we must fight together. If you fight, you have a chance.”

All the anger and sorrow in the away end made for quite the contrast with the West Ham supporters, who enjoyed the victory and savoured the return to action of Manuel Lanzini for the first time this season.

Manuel Pellegrini’s side had won only once in their previous seven Premier League games before this meeting with the division’s most charitable defence.

“We started so, so bad,” Pellegrini said. “But I think after those 10 strange minutes, it was very strange, we dominated the game. We scored three goals, created many chances and Fulham did not have many.”

The West Ham manager said he had seen the handball on the television replays but pointed out that few Fulham players had made extended protests against the referee’s decision.

“I do not think it was the goal that decided the game,” Pellegrini said. “We scored three and their goalkeeper saved four or five more chances.”

At least Babel’s goal, his first in the Premier League for 3,000 days, will provide some encouragement for Fulham. It was created by Ryan Sessegnon, the golden boy restored to the line-up after four matches on the periphery, who picked out the Dutchman with a low cross from the left.

For a brief moment, it felt like a new Fulham. Then West Ham won a corner and Ranieri’s side reverted to type. Sergio Rico, their goalkeeper, punched the ball directly up into the air and then watched, motionless, as Antonio turned the falling ball towards the outstretched arm of Hernandez. The replays on the big screen, showing how Hernandez had jabbed the ball like a boxer, only served to fuel the fury of the Fulham fans.

Their team had to react positively, though, but instead they crumpled.

Little more than 10 minutes after Hernandez punched in the first, Diop crashed his header, from a Robert Snodgrass corner, down past the helpless Rico.

Ranieri hooked Sessegnon and midfielder Jean Michael Seri at the interval but still the visitors struggled to respond.

The arrival off the bench of Lanzini and Marko Arnautovic soon added a new dimension to the West Ham attack.

Declan Rice went close in the dying moments before Antonio nodded home a powerful third from Arnautovic’s cross.

Fulham, meanwhile, can only pray that their luck will turn.

The 4th Official

West Ham United Ready To Compete With Southampton For This Dutch Sensation: Is He Worth The Fuss?

According to Calciomercato, West Ham United are set to compete with Southampton to sign striker Kasper Dolberg from Ajax. The Danish forward has made a name for himself with a number of stellar performances for the Eredivisie outfit and has attracted the attention of the Premier League clubs.

West Ham United have quite a few forwards in their ranks including the likes of Marko Arnautovic, Lucas Perez and Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez. However, barring Arnautovic, neither of the other two forwards have been able to make an impact with their performances in the Premier League since their arrival at the club (notwithstanding Chicharito’s ‘hand goal’ last night). Same is the case with the injury-prone Andy Carroll.

This is where the need of bringing in a new attacker comes into play, and Dolberg could turn out to be the perfect inclusion to the West Ham lineup. His pace and ability to score goals from a variety of ranges can come handy for Manuel Pellegrini’s side if the Chilean can land him in the summer transfer window.

The player missed a lot of game time in the last term due to an injury. After he came back into the squad, he has been frequently rotated with the veteran striker Klaus Jan Huntelaar. The player has, however, showed his potential in whatever chances he has had this season so far, scoring nine times in 11 league starts.

The possible departure of Arnautovic had created a ruckus at West Ham United during the January transfer window. The player, however, decided to stay put at the club but in all probability, might be on the move in the next summer transfer window. If this happens, then it would be a major blow for the east London club. In such a scenario, they should look at bringing in someone like Dolberg to save themselves from a crisis in the striking department.

Besides, if the Austrian stays back at the club in the next season as well, then he would need a viable backup to share the bulk of goalscoring. With Chicharito, Perez and Carroll not being able to do justice on most occasions this season, Dolberg can come into the side as a perfect backup for the talisman Arnautovic.

Pellegrini has done well to get his team into the top ten after a poor start to the season. However, he should be well aware of the fact that to keep on performing well in the future, he will need quality players in his squad and the Hammers should go all in to bring Dolberg to the London Stadium next summer.

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

Whitester. 5:23 Sat Feb 23
Re: Saturday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan great skills.

Mex Martillo 4:02 Sat Feb 23
Re: Saturday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan 1:37 Sat Feb 23

Thanks Alan 1:37 Sat Feb 23
Re: Saturday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

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