Posts Tagged ‘West ham’

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Some tricky decisions for Alan Pardew and Newcastle for the West Ham game

By Stefano on May 3rd, 2013

Following an embarrassing 6-0 hammering by Liverpool, and after a week where newspapers were warned against revealing the extent of Newcastle’s dressing room tensions, this weekend’s trip to West Ham feels like a particularly important game for Alan Pardew.

Newcastle are now in 17th, just one point away from the drop-zone. They could do without further selection issues, but the suspension of Mathieu Debuchy following his unnecessary dismissal against Liverpool last Saturday gives Pardew with another selection headache at right-back. Luckily, he has a variety of options in that position, Danny Simpson is apparently fit after a couple of injury lay-offs, but James Perch and Vurnon Anita appear more likely to be selected in defence.

Perch has been fielded in the centre of midfield recently, but it probably makes sense for him to be shifted to his natural position at right-back. He’ll be up against West Ham’s left-winger Matt Jarvis, and while Perch can struggle against intelligent movement, he’s decent when battling against tricky but predictable players like Jarvis.

This would allow Anita to come into the side in the centre of midfield, although Pardew might name both players on the team-sheet, and we’ll still be unaware of precisely where they’ll play, as the duo are capable of playing in either position.

But Pardew will also be aware of Andy Carroll’s presence upfront against his former side; he’ll primarily be battling against the centre-backs, but he might also draw wide to meet diagonal balls, and while Perch isn’t the tallest, he’s got five inches on 5’6 Anita.

This post courtesy of Pick Our Team is by Michael Cox. PickOurTeam is a new type of football community giving fans an opportunity to have a meaningful say on the formation and selection of their team. PickOurTeam is the voice of the fans – collecting views on who should play where and ratings on how the players, manager, and referee perform each week. Every match the findings are compiled and presented back to the fans. The article was originally posted here.



Arsenal and Spurs target Mohamed Diame about to sign new deal at West Ham

By Stefano on January 31st, 2013

A few days ago it seemed like a done deal that West Ham’s Senegalese midfielder Mohamed Diame would be heading to either Arsenal or Spurs.

Goal is reporting that the player is heading for Karen Brady’s office, but not to sign for another club.

Goal says

It is expected that Diame will sign an extended deal on improved terms that will remove the release clause inserted into the agreement he signed when he joined last summer on a free from Wigan Athletic.

Manager Sam Allardyce suggested on Tuesday that there remained a possibility that the midfield powerhouse could leave before Thursday night’s transfer deadline.

However, West Ham appear to have won their battle to hang on to the Senegal international after offering improved terms earlier this month.

So why didn’t the two North London clubs move for a player who would have added some serious steel to their midfield? One theory is that the managers were put off by Diame’s attitude – he was reported to have been late for a key meeting at West Ham and  there were rumours of a dispute with Sam Allardyce which the manager subsequently denied.

It might also be that there was confusion over Diame’s release clause which was widely reported to be £3.5 milion, but in reality was probably a much higher figure.

Or it could be that he is happy to stay West Ham?


BBC reports that Arsenal and Spurs target Mohammed Diame will sign new contract at West Ham

By Stefano on January 30th, 2013

At one point it seemed like West Ham’s Mohammed Diame was within a few hours of becoming an Arsenal player. Then yesterday it appeared as if he would be on his way to White Hart Lane.

The latest news from West Ham is that the player is not only staying with the Hammers but may even sign a new contract.

Don’t hold your breath though for this is the player that Hammers’ boss Sam Allardyce says “changes his mind from one hour to the next.”

However the BBC’s Ben Smith has just posted this on the Beeb’s sports website

“West Ham are increasingly confident that he (Diame) will sign a new contract with them in the coming days. Contrary to reports, Diame’s release clause is closer to £7m than £3.5m, but West Ham are hopeful that any new deal would see that removed and end speculation on his future.

“The one variable in all this is the player himself.”

Both Arsenal and Spurs are apparently looking for a central, defensively minded midfielder and Diame would fit that bill. It seems now though that both teams will wait until the summer to strengthen.


Allardyce acknowledges he ‘might lose’ Diame. But will it be to Arsenal or Spurs?

By Stefano on January 29th, 2013

Interesting quote this morning from a press conference given by West Ham boss Sam Allardyce.

Asked about what the situation was with Mohammed Diame Allardyce seemed to acknowledge that the controversial midfielder could be on his way out of Upton Park.

Allardyce said ‘It is total confusion. I’m as confused as anyone. I hope we don’t, but we might lose him.’

Diame, who has played superbly for the Hammers this season has been tracked by Arsene Wenger for quite some time. However some sources, well the Metro are suggesting that Spurs may have moved ahead in the race to sign the player. The rumour is that he has a £3.5million buyout clause in his contract, but in reality the clubs may expect to pay a lot more than that for his services.


Why Mohamed Diame makes sense for Arsenal and will be the club’s next signing

By Stefano on January 24th, 2013

Only a week to go before the transfer window shuts and Arsenal are still in search of reinforcements. Arsene Wenger has suggested he will add two players to the squad and given the others players he has mentioned it would appear that top of his wants list is a striker and combative central midfielder.

While he is  a long way off on the former, the latter could be an easier process as I think he may have found the ideal player in Mohamed Diame .

Even though he played a very small cameo in last night’s game between Arsenal and West Ham and his team were down to ten men after the injury to Potts, Diame still did enough to catch the eye. He is such a large imposing figure that even without touching a ball he adds presence to a side.

Last night he started on the left side of midfield and undertook a few runs at the Arsenal defence one of which caused Sagna real problems. He then shifted to the right hand side for the last couple of minutes of the game looking to create opportunities for the Hammers on the break.

He is clearly the lynch pin of the West Ham midfield, Allardyce certainly thinks so which explains why he is so keen to keep him, and they sorely missed him during the ten minutes of madness at the start of the second half last night.

So why then I do expect Mohamed Diame to be an Arsenal player in hours rather than days?

1 He is a proven Premiership player – Take a look at Man United. When Fergie wants a player in that he will mould his his team around he always shops in the Premiership. Think about it – Ferdinand, Rooney, Carrick, Young, Van Persie. He is happy to take chances with players and some come off (Ronaldo) while others are less successful (Nani) but on the whole United like players with proven Premiership experience.

It works at Arsenal too, and Wenger clearly knows this. With Arteta there was no time spent letting him finding his feet acclimatising to the rigours of English football. He had been playing in Britain for nearly a decade so he just got on with it and slotted in from the start. Arsenal need reinforcements to help propel them to that Champions League fourth spot not gambles for the future – save those for the summer.

I think Diame would slot in easily and quickly at Arsenal which is an essential attribute of a winter window purchase.

2 He is versatile – Diame is tough in the tackle and solid at the back, yet when given the chance to push forward he can take players on and set up chances. He can do both the defensive midfielder and box to box midfielder too.

As I wrote before

For me Diame is a slightly more defensively minded version of Diaby, minus the dodgy ankle, and his versatility would be a key ingredient for the Gunners. Put it this way opposing teams would never know what type of Arsenal midfield they were dealing with and that unpredictability would cause opposition managers real headaches.

If Jack Wilshere is the future of Arsenal he needs to play alongside a midfilder who will curb their attacking instincts and let the England player express himself. Diame could be the man to play this role.

3 He’ll come cheaply

The player clearly wants to leave West Ham and given his £3.5 million transfer trigger he wouldn’t dent Arsenal’s cash stash too greatly. Of course he will cost more than that amount and probably a lot more if other clubs start sniffing around – but he won’t end up being too expensive.

4 Wenger is running out of options – It still puzzles me a little why Wenger, who was keen on Yann M’Vila for so long, didn’t bid for the Rennes midfielder. It is clear that M’Vila wanted to come and he also would have been add steel to the Arsenal midfield. I guess his bad boy reputation put Arsene off. The sad truth is though that there really aren’t that many option left now for Arsene, especially with Premiership experience. Wigan’s James McCarthy is a possibility, and there’s that fuzzy haired fella from Everton too.

5 Diame could play in the Champions League – Diame could start against Bayern if required. Also if Arsenal, didn’t qualify for the Champions League this year it would be less of an issue for the player than it would be say some bigger money signings from outside the Premiership.

So what is stopping Wenger? Diame’s fitness – he had a heart scare a few years back? The feeling that he is a bit of a mercenary – after all he has only been a West Ham player for a few months. The ongoing search for British talent?

Ultimately I think that none of these are insurmountable and that Mohammed Diame will be an Arsenal player some time this week. It just makes sense.

Pic from Wikipedia


Arsenal update – Mohamed Diame ‘set to be Arsenal’s first signing?’ and why it is a great move

By Stefano on January 22nd, 2013

There’s a lot of buzz this morning about the possible transfer of West Ham’s central midfielder, Mohamed Diame, to Arsenal. And much of it has been fuelled by Arsene Wenger who told reporters earlier “He has a great presence in the games, I have seen him have a big impact,” reports that Wenger will make one more check on Diame’s fitness on Wednesday – when the two teams meet at The Emirates – before triggering the £3.5 million release clause in his contract. The site suggests that Diame will be Wenger’s first window signing.

Diame’s versatility would make him a good buy for the Gunners – see here to find out why. He would be an ideal Wenger purchase too as he could be picked up cheaply.

Diame joined The Hammers on a free transfer from Wigan Athletic last summer and has been in superb form this season.

he would also be free to play in Arsenal’s upcoming Champion League games against Bayern Munich.


Why Mohamed Diame could be Arsenal’s best bit of transfer business this window

By Stefano on January 17th, 2013

It has been a busy day for Arsenal transfer rumors and this time the source of them is none other than the manager himself with his praise for both Wilfried Zaha, and tantalisingly for Gunners fans, Edinson Cavani. There is however one rumour that won’t go away and that does appear to make a huge amount of sense and that is that Arsene Wenger is looking to add West Ham’s Mohamed Diame to his midfield.

Last night’s victory over Swansea was great for the team, but in some ways it raised more questions than answers. Ignoring the obvious ones like trying to accommodate Theo Walcott in his favoured forward role I am instead going to look at how Jack Wilshere was able to put in such a commanding display yesterday. If you didn’t see it Wilshere put in his best performance since his return from injury. He was a colossus in the midfield pushing the team forward, creating chances for Giroud and Walcott and ultimately scoring the wining goal himself.

One of the reasons I think that he was able to play in  a more Steven Gerrard-like way for the Gunners was that the midfield had at its heart a pair of players who have strong defensive qualities. Francis Coquelin was resolute in front of the back four and he was ably supported by Abou Diaby who, while happy pushing forward from time to time, spent a lot of time in the centre of the park mopping up Swansea’s attacks and trying to find both Wilshere and Cazorla.

The dilemma for Wenger is this. As brilliant as Diaby can be he is never going to play more than 20 games a season for the side. And as for Coquelin, I am not sure that Wenger is convinced that he has the strength or the talent to play that role week in week out for the team. Normally his place would be taken by Arteta, who has at times been sublime for the Gunners in the past seventeen or so months with his metronomic passing skills. Arteta is by no stretch of the imagination a defensive midfielder in the mould of the man who he replaced Alex Song. And while he may be the answer for some games, he certainly isn’t the right player for every game.

Nope if Wenger is going to shape his team around Wilshere playing in the hole and Cazorla, who can play anywhere in the middle of the park, then he needs a midfield enforcer to allow his talented players the freedom to attack. And last night in the game between West Ham and Man United Wenger would have been reminded what a great fit Mohamed Diame would be for his side. He was tough in the tackle and solid at the back, yet when given the chance to push forward he took players on and set up chances. He just seems to have that physical presence that Arsenal, with its smaller players seem to be lacking.

For me Diame is a slightly more defensively minded version of Diaby, minus the dodgy ankle, and his versatility would be a key ingredient for the Gunners. Put it this way opposing teams would never know what type of Arsenal midfield they were dealing with and that unpredictability would cause opposition managers real headaches.

Of course fancying a player and then getting him to sign on the dotted line is a long and troublesome process. Diame appears happy at West Ham. And even though he would come comparatively cheaply – a fee of around £7 million might be enough to prise him from the Hammers – the player himself might prefer what is shaping up to be an interesting future in East London rather than heading northwards.

Arsenal have been associated with a long line of combative midfielders in the window and I guess had M’Vila not had his moments of madness he might have been an Arsenal player by now.

Ultimately the arrival of a super star striker like Cavani, might be the catalyst that changes Arsenal’s season. However from a tactical point of view signing Diame might have a huge impact.


Arsenal update: West Ham’s Mohamed Diame a target

By Stefano on January 15th, 2013

With Mikkel Arteta out for three weeks Arsenal have been linked with a few defensively minded midfielders. Yann M’Vila and Étienne Capoue have both been mentioned in dispatches but one possible solution that The Sun is touting this morning is West Ham’s Mohamed Diame.

The player has been linked with Arsenal before and now it seems that the Gunners are considering a quick move for the 25 year old Senegalese star.

There are a few questions over the player’s fitness in that he tore a hamstring last month. Diame was however an an unused sub in Saturday’s game with Sunderland and he is expected to start in the FA Cup replay at Manchester United on Wednesday.

He could be picked up relatively cheaply at around £3.5 million.

Meanwhile the same paper is reporting that previous Arsenal target Yann M’Vila will sign for QPR today for a fee of around £7 million.


Would Frank Lampard leave Chelsea for another Premiership club? Everton? Man United? Arsenal?

By Stefano on January 7th, 2013

So it appears that Frank Lampard is on his way out of Chelsea. The departure of the 34 year old midfielder, who has been at the club for 11 years, has a whiff of ravens leaving the Tower of London about it. But his exit from the Blues was pretty much confirmed at the weekend with the player expected to depart in the summer.

But where will Frank be off to next? According to Goal today he isn’t short of offers. The website says that Everton have already had an offer rejected and that Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham are among the clubs who have asked to be kept informed of the 34-year-old’s situation. The Daily Mail is running the story too.

At first glance it seems unlikely that the ultra loyal Lampard would ever go and play for one of Chelsea’s rivals. However, he does want to continue playing and, according to Goal again has ruled out a stint in Italy or Spain.

The obvious destination for the player would then be the MLS following in the footsteps of David Beckham and Thierry Henry.

The key question though is does the player think his carer at a top level is finished? And is now the right time to head west? Given his time again would Beckham have moved to the MLS when he did when he arguably had at least a couple of years when he could have played in a premium European league? Lampard is older than Beckham was when he moved to the Galaxy, but the Chelsea player seems very fit, not too lacking in speed or agility and certainly still has a keen eye for as goal.

Maybe it is due to diet, or better injury management, but over footballers seem to be playing longer and older players are more in demand than they used to be. Van Persie went for £25 million while nudging 30, and Arsenal may be about to spend £16 million on a 31 year old. At United Scholes and Giggs, who are closer to 40, seem to be going on forever.

Lampard might be too ‘True Blue’ to consider signing for one of Chelsea’s direct rivals, but then again he knows he will have one last big pay day and maybe money might trump sentimental loyalty. And would the move to United be so bad? Fergie apparently would sign the player tomorrow and the way in which the United boss has extended the careers of several of his players might swing it.

The other alternative would be a return to his first club West Ham. With Cole now at the club and move to the Olympic Stadium in the offing I wonder if Frank might see the East London club as a project that he could help develop.

Pic Mark Freeman (Wikipedia)


Breaking – Official. Holtby signs for Spurs – no move until July though. Arsenal’s Chamakh signs on loan for West Ham

By Stefano on January 4th, 2013

So there you have it. Official confirmation that Schalke’s energetic midfielder will be joining Spurs in July. the player whose father is English and is an Everton fan, had also been on Arsene Wenger’s radar, but has opted to join the North London Whites rather than Reds.

The official word from Spurs is

‘We are delighted to announce that we have reached agreement with Germany Under 21 captain Lewis Holtby to join the Club in July from Bundesliga side Schalke, subject to a medical. The creative midfielder began his professional career with Alemannia Aachen and his impressive performances in the German second division soon caught the attention of a number of top-flight Bundesliga sides before he made the move to Schalke in the summer of 2009.’

Also new in is that Arsenal striker Marouane Chamakh has joined West Ham on loan until the end of the season. The player has been a huge disappointment for The Gunners scoring just eight goals since he signed in 2010. Hope he re-captures some of his old form at his new club. More here.

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