West Ham show their ambition in the transfer window

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Last season’s transfer windows were hugely underwhelming for West Ham supporters. To put how poor they were into context, just three of the players acquired –Marko Arnautovic, Chicharito and Pablo Zabaleta- will continue to represent the club’s first team this campaign, with only one of them a certain starter. The contrast between that one and this is incredible. Deadline day signings Lucas Perez and Carlos Sanchez, from Arsenal and Fiorentina respectively, takes the number of additions to 10, with the majority of them likely to at least push for a first team place.

These two transfers targeted two longstanding problem areas: depth upfront and in midfield. The eight previous names added to Manuel Pellegrini’s talent pool will also cause excitement for Hammers. In defence Lukasz Fabianski is a much-needed goalkeeping option, Issa Diop and Fabian Balbuena will battle it out for a starting spot at centre back and Ryan Fredericks adds pace at full back. Jack Wilshere offers creativity in midfield following his free transfer. In the attacking areas, Xande Silva is a future prospect to keep an eye on, Andriy Yarmolenko will help add to the Hammers’ goal tally and there is of course record signing Felipe Anderson joining from Lazio, with the promise of keeping fans on the edge of their seats.

After last season’s debacle, which almost led to relegation and the response to it from supporters, especially during the 3-0 loss to Burnley, there was considerable pressure on the West Ham owners to change their approach during this window. With the appointments of Pellegrini as manager and Mario Husillos as director of football, there has been a lot more direction in the club’s recruitment this time around.

The significant thing about this for supporters –aside from the obvious fact that this should help better performances on the pitch- is that this is the first sign of what they had been promised upon their arrival at the London Stadium. When the club left Upton Park, David Gold, David Sullivan and Karren Brady promised that the move would take West Ham United to another level, with the stadium playing its part in attracting new talent.

It is impossible to pinpoint one aspect that has improved the club’s fortunes regarding transfers this time around; the appointment of Pellegrini and Husillos pushing moves through, pressure from supporters forcing their hand or a natural realisation from the owners that player recruitment needed to change. Whatever the reason, the important thing is that this has been addressed, and while it doesn’t guarantee success on the pitch, it should help the club towards their aspirations of eventually challenging for European places.

Even more importantly though, this will help to bring more of a feel-good factor to the Hammers, which has been so clearly missing since the move from Upton Park. This could bring much needed improvement for what has been a frosty relationship between the supporters and owners. When seeing the reactions from Newcastle fans towards Mike Ashley and his decision to not spend the desired sums of money yet again this summer, it is difficult to think what the reaction would have been in East London if past windows had been replicated, when last season’s protests are considered.

With attributing factors both on and off the pitch, it was imperative that West Ham had a successful summer transfer window ahead of the 2018/19 season. While the accomplishments can only be truly measured once the season has begun, the impression is that the club has spent well this summer. As the Hammers start their campaign on Sunday, in an away match against Liverpool, we can expect to see around six of the new recruits in action and while matches like this won’t define a season for a club such as West Ham, it will give a slight indication as to what the club has bought.


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Russia Star Golovin Tops World Cup Assists Chart


With the World Cup in Russia providing plenty of moments of drama, controversy and downright outstanding football, let’s now take a look at which players are helping their own country’s cause by providing the most assists. Midfielders tend to be the big hitters in this category, picking up the ball from defenders and moving it forward to their colleagues up front to dispatch the ball into the back of the net. This tournament has been no different of course, with Uruguay’s Carlos Sánchez the only non-midfielder near the top of the charts. He has provided assists for two goals from his native attacking position up front, but the others who are also on two assists (so far) are all from the middle of the park.

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Colombia Lose Composure & Match Against Japan


After losing to Japan in the opening fixture of Group H, Jose Pekerman’s Colombia must take things up a notch and sort any obvious issues out from defence to attack, if they are still looking to qualify for the knockout stages. Even though it has only been one game into the competition, the chances of qualifying are only high when you win the first match and you don’t have to depend on the results of other teams.

Focusing more on the game, the vital goals from Shinji Kagawa and Yuya Osako gave Japan the three points whilst Carlos Sanchez’s sending off in the third minute of the match, meant that it was going to be a very long afternoon for the Colombia players. The early event in the match led the South American side to being dominated on and off the ball as well as sitting deep in their own half or chasing the ball in Japan’s half.

The poor decision made by Sanchez left referee Damir Skomina with no choice but to send him off, as Kagawa converted his attempt from the penalty and gave Akira Nishino’s men the advantage. 25 minutes later, Pekerman was forced into making a quick change that saw Juan Cuadrado leave the pitch with defensive-midfielder Wilmar Barrios coming on to replace him. Due to Japan’s midfield overrunning Colombia’s time and time again, the 68-year-old manager had to ease the situation by bringing on an extra midfielder despite it meaning that his main attacking outlet would have to go off.

Los Cafeteros started to gain some momentum back into the game and were looking to find an equaliser before the half-time whistle had arrived. With just over five minutes left to go, Falcao won a free-kick in a dangerous area just outside of the penalty box. Juan Quintero confidently stepped up to take it, and somehow struck the ball under the Japanese wall and past Eiji Kawashima into the net. The goalkeeper felt he had saved it off the line, but the referee’s watch showed different and it was officially game on.

The second half was very one-sided and painful to see if you’re a passionate football fan that wants to see an exciting match, as Japan continued to dominate possession but simply could not make it all tick in the final third of the pitch. With the main focus being on the three points, the well-known team from Asia increasingly piled on the pressure which finally led to a breakthrough for Japan.

In the 73rd minute of the game, Keisuke Honda’s inch-perfect corner was met by the head of Osako, who leaped just above the opposition’s defenders before his headed attempt hit the post and into the back of the net. By then, most of the Colombia players were incredibly tired and were running out of energy as they had to chase for an equaliser once again with just under 20 minutes remaining.

However, any dreams of Colombia completing a comeback of sorts were completely shattered as the referee blew the whistle for the last time. In the end, going down to ten men and conceding a goal in the first ten minutes proved to be nothing but a double blow for Colombia as they could not get into the game properly, even after Juan Quintero gave his side the crucial equaliser just minutes before half-time.

Now, Jose Pekerman and Colombia need to have the ultimate mindset that the only way they get past the group stages is if they beat both Poland and Senegal . If things do not go down as planned, Colombia’s early exit from the competition would be seen as a pure embarrassment, which could lead the Colombian Football Federation into making a managerial change before the summer is over.

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