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West Ham Looking Good Ahead of London Derby


The Premier League resumes on Saturday following a busy period of mid-week games. 

With the Champions League and Europa League final group games also coming up, teams have their work cut out but two teams who do not have to worry about European competition are West Ham United and Crystal Palace.

The Hammers have their sights firmly set on the top half of the table and this is one match in a series of games West Ham will expect to win.  If they can pick up maximum points, it could be a good Christmas period for the club.

Crystal Palace may be outside the relegation zone but they cannot afford to switch off in the battle against the drop.  A win in this match would ease their worries and move them within 3 points of their opponents.

Wet Ham were being held to a 0-0 draw at home by Cardiff City on Tuesday night and with Marko Arnautovic going off in the first half, things were not looking good.However, West Ham came out in the second half and produced a good display to see off the Welsh club by scoring 3 goals only to conceded one themselves late on in the game.

That result means West Ham have won three of their last five Premier League matches, including the last two and trends show they have lost one of their last five.  In addition to the win over Cardiff, the Hammers have defeated Burnley at home and Newcastle United away.

West Ham have won four of their last seven games at home but have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last six.

Crystal Palace were very disappointing in their 3-1 loss against rivals Brighton and Hove Albion on Tuesday night. The Eagles were 2-0 down when Brighton were reduced to ten men but conceded another goal just before half-time.  Crystal Palace pulled one back towards the end of the match but it was a poor performance overall.

Having picked up a point at Old Trafford and defeated Burnley, both without conceding a goal, Crystal Palace returned to their previous ways at Brighton.  That result means Crystal Palace have won just one of their last ten games in all competitions and trends show they have kept only two clean sheets in those ten matches.

Crystal Palace have lost five and drawn one of their last six away games in all competitions.

Looking ahead to the team news and West Ham will be without Marko Arnautovic who went off in the previous match with a hamstring injury.  The Austrian joins Aaron Cresswell, Ryan Fredericks, Andriy Yarmolenko, Carlos Sanchez, Manuel Lanzini and Winston Reid on the treatment table.

Crystal Palace could receive some positive news on the injury front with defender Scott Dann and striker Connor Wickham working their way back to fitness.

West Ham will believe this game presents a great opportunity for them to make it three wins in a row in the Premier League.  Their form in comparison to Crystal Palace’s suggests the Hammers will pick up the 3 points.

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West Ham and Burnley Hope to Move Clear of Bottom Three


There are several Premier League games to look forward to on Saturday afternoon and there is a huge match at the London Stadium as West Ham United host Burnley.

This game has a lot riding on it in terms of the bottom half of the table.  Burnley start the weekend sitting just 3 points clear of the relegation zone in 15th place while West Ham have the same number of points as Burnley but sit two places above them on goal difference.

A win for either team in this match would be a huge boost to their moral and move them further away from the bottom three.

West Ham come into this game having failed to win their last four games in all competitions. There have been three defeats in that run, two in the Premier League and one in the League Cup on Wednesday night.

Premier League form shows West Ham have been involved in some tight matches recently but have failed to come out on top.  The Hammers lost 1-0 at Brighton and Hove Albion before being defeated 1-0 at home by Tottenham Hotspur.  Last weekend West Ham were held to a 1-1 draw at Leicester City but did well with ten men for much of the game.

Trends show West Ham have lost one of their last three home Premier League games and have picked up good results by defeating Manchester United 3-1 and drawing 0-0 with Chelsea.

Burnley have struggled over the past couple of weeks having looked to have regained some form in the Premier League. The Clarets defeated Cardiff City 2-1 away from home and picked up a point in a 1-1 draw at home with Huddersfield Town.

However, what followed was a heavy 5-0 loss at the home of the champions, Manchester City and a 4-0 reverse at home to title challengers, Chelsea.  Burnley are always going to be underdogs against these teams but both were very disappointing results.

Trends show Burnley have been in a slump for some time and they have won just two of their last twenty matches in all competitions.  They have lost by 2 or more goals in 50% of their last twelve games and have failed to score in four of their last six away Premier League matches.

Looking ahead to the team news and West Ham have a lengthy injury list which includes Winston Reid, Manuel Lanzini, Andy Carroll, Jack Wilshere, Carlos Sanchez and Andriy Yarmolenko.  Mark Noble is suspended following his sending off last week.

Burnley are without the injured Nick Pope and Stephen Ward but Ben Gibson and Aaron Lennon are close to making a return and could feature in the starting XI.  Ashley Westwood could step in for Jack Cork in midfield.

West Ham have been struggling in recent weeks and have several players injured but Burnley have been poor so far this season.  With home advantage, West Ham will feel this is a must-win game and the Hammers should have enough to take maximum points in what could be a low scoring match.

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West Ham to tame the Shrews

Premier League West Ham face a banana skin on Tuesday night, as the Irons host high-flying League One outfit Shrewsbury in a FA Cup third round replay.

The first leg at the New Meadow finished goalless, but the tie has to be decided on Tuesday night.

West Ham have been in decent form of late in all competitions, having now gone five games unbeaten. Last time out David Moyes side recorded a vital 4-1 win over Huddersfield Town.

Their recent games have been relatively low scoring with under 2.5 goals scored in four of their last six games in all competitions.

The Hammers have a poor recent record in the FA Cup, as they have failed to win in their last four games in the competition. Their recent home record has also been poor, as the team from the English capital have won just two of their last seven games on home soil. The Irons have also lost their last two home games in the FA Cup.

Shrewsbury are flying high in League One, second in the table and in the automatic promotion spots under Paul Hurst.

However, the Shrews head into this game on the back of a 3-1 defeat at Blackburn Rovers last time out. The defeat ended an 11 game unbeaten run for the visitors in all competitions.

Shrewsbury’s recent games have been low scoring, with under 2.5 goals scored in seven of their last nine games in all competitions. A contributing factor in those low scoring games has been the Shrews stellar defensive displays, as they have kept clean sheets in six of their last eight games in all competitions.

Hurst’s side have enjoyed a mixed recent away record. However, they have lost just one of their last five outings on home soil.

Sportseconds predicts that this game will be another tight affair and end all square, with the tie decided in extra time or on penalty kicks.

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Brighton and West Ham Look to the Top Half of the Table

The Premier League action gets underway early this weekend as West Ham United welcome Brighton and Hove Albion to the London Stadium on Friday night.

The away team start the weekend one place higher in the Premier League table than West Ham but only on goal difference. Both teams are on 8 points and start 15th and 14th respectively. Despite being only 2 points clear of the relegation zone, a win for either team will see them move into the top half of the table.

West Ham come into this match on the back of a 1-1 draw at Burnley on the weekend. With Burnley sitting comfortably in the top half of the Premier League table this was a good result for the Hammers, despite conceding a late goal.

Wet Ham started the season with three straight defeats but have turned things around recently, losing only one of their last five league games.

In addition to the draw with Burnley there have been wins over Huddersfield Town and Swansea, both at home and a 0-0 draw at West Bromwich Albion. The defeat came at home against Tottenham Hotspur.

Trends show West Ham have been good defensively at home and have kept a clean sheet in six of their last eight home matches in all competitions.

Brighton make the trip to the London Stadium having picked up a point in a 1-1 draw at home against Everton on the weekend.

Much like West Ham, the Seagulls will be disappointed they did not get all 3 points having led the match into the final few minutes only to concede a late equaliser from the penalty spot.

Brighton have won just one of their last five games in all competitions and that was a 1-0 home victory against fellow Premier League new boys Newcastle United. While Brighton have done well at home in the top-flight, playing away from home has proved tough.

Trends show Brighton are yet to win a game away from home in the Premier League, despite having four attempts. The only point the have won on their travels came in a 0-0 draw at Watford. The other three matches have all ended in defeat at Leicester City, Bournemouth and Arsenal.

Brighton have scored just one goal in their four away games and will need to improve that statistic if they want to start climbing the table.

Looking ahead to the team news and West Ham are likely to be without central defender James Collins who is injured. There are also fitness concerns over Michail Antonio.

Brighton will be without the injured duo of Shane Duffy and Steve Sidwell for this match. Tomer Hemed is suspended and Davy Propper is rated as doubtful.

Brighton’s struggles to score goals away from home is going to be problematical in this match. West Ham have defeated both Huddersfield and Swansea at home without conceding this season and like to keep clean sheets at home.

West Ham to win to nil seems like the most likely outcome from this match.

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Burnley 1 West Ham 1: Late Wood goal salvages point against 10-man Hammers

Burnley stretched their unbeaten run in the Premier League to six games as a late Chris Wood header secured a 1-1 draw against 10-man West Ham at Turf Moor.

Michail Antonio had given the Hammers a first-half lead before Andy Carroll received a red card, after picking up two bookings in two minutes for almost identical offences.

Antonio missed two golden opportunities to extend his side’s lead in the second half, while Clarets’ substitute Johann Gudmundsson crashed a long-range shot against the post as the hosts pushed for an equaliser.

Just as it looked that Slaven Bilic’s side would hold firm and record a first away win of the season, Wood rose highest to send a thumping header past Joe Hart with five minutes remaining.

Nick Pope, fresh from signing a three-year contract earlier in the week, got down well in the early stages to keep out Antonio’s effort from just outside the penalty area.

His West Ham counterpart, Hart, was then called into action twice in quick succession to keep out Scott Arfield’s low drive from distance and Wood’s powerful header.

Hart was then the unlikely provider for Antonio’s opener in the 19th minute. Ben Mee failed to clear the England goalkeeper’s thumping clearance, allowing the former Nottingham Forest man to latch onto it, skip past Pope and stroke into an empty net.

It was then Carroll’s turn to elbow his way into the headlines.

Just moments after earning a yellow card for a meaty aerial challenge on James Tarkowski, the 28-year-old inexplicably crashed into Mee – once again with his elbow – to receive the third red card of his career.

The Clarets, looking to take immediate advantage of their numerical superiority, believed they should have had a penalty when Wood was brought down by Hart as he latched onto Robbie Brady’s incisive pass. Referee Stuart Attwell, though, deemed Hart to have sufficiently diverted the direction of the ball.

Antonio was inches away from getting his second just after the restart as he agonisingly failed to make contact with Manuel Lanzini’s teasing cross, which flashed across the face of goal.

A sumptuous move involving Javier Hernandez, substitute Pedro Obiang and Lanzini then played in Antonio again, but his first-half composure deserted him and his shot was too close to Pope, who duly pawed away for a corner.

Substitute Gudmundsson came desperately close to an equaliser midway through the second period as his long-range effort crashed back off the post and fortuitously bounced off the sprawling Hart to safety.

Burnley continued to press and they got their reward in the 85th minute as former Leeds striker Wood bagged his third league goal of the season. The New Zealand international was perfectly placed to meet Gudmundsson’s whipped cross and head past Hart for a share of the spoils.

Key Opta stats:

– Burnley have gone six top-flight games without defeat for the first time since February 1975.
– West Ham have won only one of their last 12 away games in the Premier League (D5 L6).
– Since Slaven Bilic took over at West Ham, the Hammers have picked up 12 red cards in the PL, three more than any other side.

– There were just 99 seconds between Andy Carroll’s first yellow card and his second.

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West Ham 1 Swansea City 0: Sakho saves the day for Hammers

Diafra Sakho came off the bench to fire West Ham to a last-gasp 1-0 home win over Swansea and save Slaven Bilic from a fresh wave of scrutiny.

Senegal striker Sakho bundled in a killer 90th-minute cross from fellow substitute Arthur Masuaku to secure a vital second victory of a difficult Premier League campaign to date.

The Hammers had looked short on attacking ideas throughout a frustrating afternoon and the second-half substitution of Javier Hernandez was greeted with boos by the home fans, but they were soon in raptures as Bilic’s gamble paid dividends.

Under pressure after taking just one win from six league outings, the Hammers boss partnered Hernandez and Andy Carroll in attack in an attempt to outgun a goal-shy Swansea.

But it was the Swans who settled the quickest into their new 4-4-2 as Paul Clement’s move to a diamond midfield resulted in a several tidy passing moves in a subdued first half.

The second half continued in a similar trend until Sakho’s timely intervention, ruining what would have been the visitors’ first away clean sheet against West Ham.

Michail Antonio passed a late fitness test to start on the right of a four-man midfield and the winger looked lively early on, forcing Lukasz Fabianksi to claw a miscued volley away from the top-left corner.

Swansea joined the hosts in fielding two out-and-out strikers and a swerving effort from one of that pair, Wilfried Bony, drew a strong hand from Joe Hart in the 15th minute.

Pablo Zabaleta then produced an important block to spare his goalkeeper from more work as the Swans began to turn their dominance of possession into an attacking threat.

The visitors did receive a let-off just prior to the half-hour mark when Renato Sanches, who was dropped for last weekend’s 2-1 defeat against Watford, escaped with only a yellow card for a late, studs-up challenge on England full-back Aaron Cresswell.

And, after Fabianksi collected a tame Andre Ayew header, both sides had reasons to welcome the end of a tepid first half.

Carroll seemed destined to break the deadlock when Antonio dropped an inviting cross to the far post, but the ball just evaded the forward’s outstretched left boot.

Bilic called Manuel Lanzini from the bench just after the hour in search of more creativity, although their growing momentum was momentarily halted when Fabianski required treatment following a heavy fall.

With both sets of forwards failing to fire, Swansea left-back Martin Olsson almost surprised Hart when his clever right-footed attempt curled narrowly around the left upright.

But, after Carroll struck the crossbar from one fine Masuaku delivery, the left-back repeated the trick in flashing a low ball across the face for Sakho to gleefully tuck away.

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West Ham must cut out mistakes after Man City loss

Slaven Bilic warned West Ham to cut out the mistakes or face being punished as they were in Friday’s 3-0 pre-season loss to Manchester City.

Goals from Gabriel Jesus, Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling saw Pep Guardiola’s side to a comfortable win in Iceland, where the Hammers were caught cold.

It was a disjointed display from the London club, who were missing some players through injury, and manager Bilic conceded they fell a long way short of the level of their opponents.

“The difference is that the pace and quality that they have is scary, and you could see that,” said the Croatian.

“In the second half, we had some moments in the game which were good and some opportunities but not goalscoring ones, apart from a couple.

“When we took the ball from them or when they lost possession, which was not very often, we could have opened them up because they play very high, and one proper and not very difficult ball, we could have caused them problems, but we didn’t and there was the difference.

“When we made a mistake, as we did before the first goal, they punished us straight away, either with a goal or with a big chance.

“So I’m not overwhelmed and I’m not disappointed because it is part of pre-season and we will not only play against clubs like this in the Premier League.

“That said, you can’t make mistakes like this, and to be fair we were making them last year, like when we played Man City at home when their first goal was similar. After they score, it is then a big problem for you to turn the game around.

“When you don’t do those kind of mistakes, like for example against Spurs [in May], then you have a chance. We did the mistake very early in the game and then it’s very difficult.”

In better news for the Hammers, Bilic confirmed Marko Arnautovic had merely suffered a cramp before being substituted in the second half.

West Ham kick off the new campaign at Manchester United on August 13.


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Hislop believes Hart can help West Ham reach top eight

Hammers boss Slaven Bilic secured Hart’s services on a season-long loan from Manchester City during a busy transfer window in which fullback Pablo Zabaleta has also arrived on a free transfer from the Etihad Stadium.

Hislop, who made more than 100 league appearances for West Ham between 1998 and 2002 before rejoining the club for a second spell in 2005-2006, praised the manager’s additions to the squad and picked out Hart as the key acquisition.

“This transfer window has been a significant step forward because the board said they wanted to get quality in, and that’s exactly what they have done,” Hislop told the club’s official website.

“Of all the signings, I think Joe’s is the most important. I am biased in that regard but Joe ticks a number of boxes when it comes to signing a top-class goalkeeper.

“He has the carrot of a World Cup 12 months away and, being aware that there is a pack of young goalkeepers eager to take his number one jersey, I am sure he will produce the performances that ensure he is England’s first-choice at Russia 2018.”

Bilic hails arrival of ‘massive player’ Arnautovic
West Ham coach Slaven Bilic has described Marko Arnautovic as a “massive player” following his switch from Stoke City.
West Ham bring in Arnautovic from Stoke in club-record deal
West Ham United have signed Austria forward Marko Arnautovic from Premier League counterparts Stoke City for a club-record fee worth up to £25 million ($41.04 million).

Hislop added: “Up front, Javier Hernandez is an instinctive finisher who will get you goals. He can be a streaky scorer but, when he is on form, he is almost impossible to stop.

“It’s going to be tough for West Ham to break into the Premier League’s top six, but if any clubs are going to surprise those above them, it will be either West Ham or Everton, for me.

“If things go well and the new signings slot in and the players avoid injuries, then I believe West Ham should be finishing in the top half and challenging for the top eight.”