Thursday, November 15

Arnie on his bike?

The papers have made a lot out of comments Marko Arnautovic has made in an Austrian newspaper saying that at 29 he wants to "compete with the best players". His agent and brother Daniel Arnautovic says that although Marko is enjoying West Ham, "it can not be the end". It would be a surprise if Arnie left this January, but less so if he left in the summer should a Champions League club come in for him. And really you can't blame him, since he was promised a club with a massive stadium challenging for the top six, but has ended up with two seasons of battling to stay up. 

Marko's departure from Stoke suggests he looks after his own interests first. With his record of assists and goals it's hard to begrudge him having some ambition. Though Mourinho might have gone from Man United by the summer, and he would be a risky signing for a new Old Trafford boss. Similarly would Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Spurs, or Arsenal go for him with their current set of strikers? If the Hammers can have a good finish to the season we might yet hold on to Arnie. 

Wednesday, November 14

Farewell Joe Cole

Sad to hear of the retirement of Joe Cole. I was there when he came on the pitch as a kid and we were told, "you can tell your grandchildren you were there when Joe Cole signed for West Ham." He could never live up to such hype of course, but I do remember him playing his heart out during the relegation season of 2002-03 (and not asking for a transfer in the fashion of Defoe). Another highlight was his winner in the fantastic Di Canio-inspired 5-4 home win against Bradford. He was so skilful that at times he seemed to have too many tricks and needed to keep his game simpler, which he learned to do at Chelsea, winning two titles. 

When Joe returned to West Ham under Sam Allardyce he had lost his pace but still chipped in with some useful cameos and goals. While you had to admire his love of the game when he dropped down the leagues to Coventry and then signed for Tampa in the US. Cole, Ferdinand, Lampard and Carrick have all now retired and it's the end of the generation of England talent that West Ham sold. Let's hope we keep hold of the next crop of Academy youngsters. Good luck in your post-footie career Joe.

Tuesday, November 13

Is Nasri fit to wear the shirt?

Latest reports suggest that the proposed Samir Nasri transfer is stumbling over his fitness. He hasn't played for 18 months and presumably will take a long time to get back into condition. We're left wondering if he now weighs 20 stone and looks like some of the more rotund geezers in the Bobby Moore Stand. With Carroll and Wilshere in the squad you can understand why the board might not want another player who's not fully fit. But much will surely depend on the desire of the player himself. If he has the dedication to come back at the age of 31 then Nasri could yet be a quality player. There's no arguing with his ability, what Pellegrini has to quantify is his mindset.

Monday, November 12

Give 'em enough dope… Nasri to sign for Irons?

Why is it when you read the words "brilliant but temperamental" they usually apply to a West Ham signing? It seems the Irons are on the verge of signing Samir Nasri. The former Arsenal and Manchester City midfielder has served an 18-month suspension for contravening doping regulations after receiving an iffy intravenous drip in LA. (Mind you we've had a few intravenous drips and several dopes at West Ham over the years.) Now it seems Nasri's punishment is to be extended by signing for the Hammers.

The important thing to remember is that on his day he's a brilliant player. Mancini wanted to punch him when he was at Man City, but Pellegrini got the best out of Nasri with a quieter approach and won the league with him. Perhaps he was just naive with the drip, but he's now served his time and won't do it again. On a six-month deal it's not that big a gamble and he can certainly play the Lanzini role. It seems we're back to the Redknapp days of taking chances on rejects, refuseniks, rebels and rehab cases. And if we're not going to challenge the top six at least signing mavericks makes it exciting.

For Faulks' sake, sort it out Hammers

You don't get many West Ham fans called Sebastian. Literary geezer Sebastian Faulks is revealed to be a West Ham fan in the Evening Standard magazine. The Birdsong author lists Bobby Moore as his most iconic Londoner, if being born in Barking counts as being a Londoner. When asked what he would do if he was Mayor for a day, Faulks replies: "I would move West Ham United back to the Boleyn Ground and donate the Olympic Stadium to Mr Farage, Mr Rees-Mogg and Mr Johnson to run round in circles until they dropped." 

Sunday, November 11

Anderson saves point for Hammers

Huddersfield Town 1 West Ham United 1

A point away from home is not a disaster, though with £100 million spent West Ham would have hoped to gain a second successive victory against a side that were second from bottom. But it proves to be a difficult afternoon in Yorkshire, and it's certainly pretty tense getting updates on my mobile while dog-walking round a sodden Hampstead Heath.

West Ham have a poor first half. Both sides have chances early on as Fabianski tips Mounie's header on to the bar and a great ball from Diangana sends Arnautovic clear, only for Lossi to tip the ball round the post. Huddersfield's pressing gives the home side the lead after the Hammers lose possession and Pritchard fires home through Rice's legs, the defender apparently unsighting Fabianski. Town almost get a second as Billing's cross drifts on to a post and across the line, while Moiunie also forces a smart save from Fabianski.

Pellegrini beings on Hernandez for Diangana at the break and it's an improved second half from the Irons. Chicharito nearly scores immediately as Lossi smothers his effort and then Javier heads the rebound over the bar. The equaliser comes after a brilliant dummy from Anderson on the left and a reverse ball to Snodgrass. Snoddy stands up a good cross and Arnautovic, Hernandez and sub Antonio all have swipes at the ball before Anderson takes control to calmly shoot into the top corner. Three goals in two game for the Brazilian. 

Late on Diop has a header cleared off the line while Town nearly nick it as Durm shoots just wide and Depoitre fails to connect with an inviting cross. Probably a fair result overall, but we'll have to play a lot better against Man City. 

Wednesday, November 7

Blowing Bubbles in Paris

Thanks to my daughter Lola for spotting this soap at Lush in Paris. Seems like West Ham have a Parisian fan in the ethical cosmetics industry. Well, the goings on at the London Stadium have long resembled a soap opera…