Tottenham beat London rivals West Ham but VAR grabs all of the headlines once again

For Jose Mourinho it was relief when the brilliant Harry Kane sealed victory over London rivals West Ham to make it 2-0 on the night near the end of the game. Three points had been achieved, and him and the rest of the team could breathe once more. But threatening to overshadow the game once more was VAR which affected one goal and could have done so with another.

Heung-Min Son for example had thought he had scored the opening goal, and a good one it looked too before replays showed that his toe nail was offside. At the end of the day VAR did its job, but again common sense and VAR do not go hand in hand. Offside surely should only be punished if a player is clearly offside and looking for an advantage. In this case like literally hundreds before it Son was not looking for an advantage, and he was offside due to luck, in his case bad luck.

That incident could have spelled disaster for Tottenham who really needed the win given that Chelsea had gone 9 points clear of them, and Mourinho wants a Champions League finish.

With Tottenham looking like the better side, West Ham still remained a danger with Pablo Fornals given a glorious chance to put the Hammers in front but he miss kicked the ball.

Tottenham eventually opened the scoring but it was an own goal by the Hammers Tomas Soucek just after the hour that provided it. It was unfortunate for the club but perhaps the goal was coming. However after the game West Ham manager David Moyes was enraged as he said replays could show Tottenham player Davison Sanchez had hand balled the cross. He demanded why VAR did not come into play, and by the laws that goal should not have counted. However the incident is not very clear as the ball moves so fast. The end result it looks like sour grapes from Moyes. However if VAR want to give Son’s goal offside, maybe Moyes has a point that it should have stopped the game and looked at the incident.

That goal took the stuffing out of West Ham and then Tottenham went onto win the game. It was an important win and keeps the club in the mix for a European finish.

As for West Ham they are hanging onto survival and are only in 17th place by virtue of goal difference. West Ham’s next game will be against Chelsea whilst Tottenham will play Sheffield United.

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Another defeat for West Ham hammers home appointment of David Moyes was poor

Football is here once again, but the misery continues for West Ham.

The Hammers put in a toothless display as they were beaten at home against Wolves 2-0. In truth the game was not flowing enough, perhaps the late warm Saturday afternoon played its part. However it was telling that Wolves were able to find another level to get the win and 3 glorious points.

For West Ham attentions had to quickly turn to Saturday evenings game between Bournemouth and Crystal Palace. The hammers needed Palace to win given that Bournemouth could have dumped them into the relegation zone. As it turned out Eddie Howe’s side lost 2-0. Good news for West Ham.

How much does it say about the club though when they have to look around them and rely on other results? That is a quick fix which in the long run never works out, and as it is West Ham look amongst the favourites to be relegated this season.

Currently the club are in 17th place with 27 points and only goal difference is keeping them from being in the bottom three.

Attention at this time is swung in the direction of David Moyes, a manager who already failed at the club once. In some bizarre twist of fate when the Hammers searched for a new manager they turned once again to the Scotsman. The problem with Moyes is that he hasn’t had his charge or for a better word mojo in a decade when he was manager of Everton. Though the Mersey side team won nothing under him at least they challenged for a European place, even making it as far as the Champions League qualifiers in 2005.

Since then Moyes has had nightmare spells at Manchester United and even Real Sociedad. One could argue that Moyes and West Ham could have been the perfect fit, that would have worked had he not been in charge once before.

The statistics much like the game against Wolves are damning for Moyes. From the 13 games he has managed in his second stint as West Ham manager he has lost 8 of them and currently has a win rate of just 23%. That is 6% lower than his first time in charge of the club.

As for the game West Ham never looked like being a major threat to Wolves and had just 2 shots on target the whole game.

West Ham’s next match is against London rivals Tottenham away on Tuesday. Whilst they have surprised their opponents on a few occasions Tottenham clearly have the stronger squad, and it could be just a matter of time before West Ham see themselves in the bottom three.

The Irons will welcome back striker Sebastien Haller for that game, and Moyes will be hoping that the Frenchman can make the difference in midweek. He may have to as the pressure even without the fans at games is really mounting for the manager.

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Poor results, protests to be held and a fan banned- Are West Ham in meltdown?

In football you have two stories: one is on the pitch and one is off it. This season West Ham have had negative stories on and off it.

It was clear that after a decent first season in charge Manuel Pellegrini had lost focus and the Chilean was soon sacked. But the club owners brought in David Moyes, he who was West Ham manager before Pellegrini, he who gave a winning return of just 29% and he who was deemed no good and was sacked in favour of Pellegrini. Talk about taking steps backwards.

Results under Moyes have been poor, bar his first game when the club beat Bournemouth 4-0, they also beat Gillingham in the FA Cup. Since then they have lost numerous games, the highlight being a 4-1 beating against Leicester and they have been knocked out of the FA Cup. Under Pellegrini the side were poor but were above the relegation zone, now they are in it and 18th what does that make Moyes’ status?

Fans have not been happy and this week there was a controversial incident which saw a long standing season ticket holder banned from home and away games this season. He had volunteered to be a flag bearer on the touchline, but there seemed something else behind his reasoning. That was to show the TV cameras his t shirt which read GSB out. That stands for club owners David Sullivan and David Gold and the B is a reference to Karen Brady who has also presided over the club. The board were not happy, wrote the fan a letter and now he is banned for the season.

It was a one man protest but much of the fans it seems are with him, and they want Sullivan and Gold to sell the club. It seems understandable too as so many mistakes in the transfer and recruitment of a manager have been made. From the outside at least there does seem to be a lack of ambition. There have already been silent protests and it is getting worse and worse and will do.

There is a plan to release black balloons when the club take on Liverpool at Anfield and in their next game at home against Southampton there will be even more protests. The pressure will be on Sullivan and Gold, after all who would want to stay and own a club where the fans don’t want or like you? Mike Ashley at Newcastle could sympathise with this but the anger of the West Ham fans seems more deeper and genuine.

At the root of the anger, and perhaps this isn’t every fan, but it is the stadium move. Did any long standing fan really want to move from the Boleyn Ground. If so they would have wanted a modern stadium but without the gaps to the pitch. Many fans have said there is no atmosphere at the stadium any more and in fact no home advantage as clubs like coming to play at the Olympic Stadium. Others have said that sound does not travel well and so when Hammers fans sing and try to cheer on their team it gets taken away.

Right now it feels as if West Ham need a new beginning and that is a damning verdict given that the stadium was supposed to be that.

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West Ham look likely for relegation after implosion against Brighton

Beating Brighton was the bear minimum requirement for West Ham and for the majority of their game on Saturday it looked like David Moyes team were cruising. But there would be a deadly sting in the tail.

Issa Diop opened the scoring after half an hour much to the relief of Hammer fans, when Robert Snodgrass made it 2-0 just before half time, for many that was game over. It has been proven time and again scoring just before the break can kill and change the opposition’s mindset. All looked well.

But two minutes after the break Brighton pressure led to an own goal scored by Angelo Ogbonna. The Hammers now could slowly collapse under their own pressure or march on. Ten minutes later the game looked wrapped up and it was Snodgrass again, emerging as the unlikely hero to make it 3-1 to the home side. With fifteen minutes remaining the fans were singing despite Brighton creating wave after wave of attacks, 3-1 just looked too good to be overhauled. But then again this is West Ham a club who have repeatedly blown decent leads in the past.

Pascal Grob is his name but it was Pascal ‘Grab’ on Saturday, when he scored for the away side to make it 3-2 and now there was a belief that 3-3 seemed more likely than a Snodgrass hat trick. West Ham thought they had 3 points and were now not blowing bubbles, but blowing this match. Glenn Murray, the type of striker any Italian team would love in their squad, one that isn’t consistent but will get the goal you need scored to make it 3-3 and the London Stadium turned into the biggest gob smack you could ever want to witness. VAR played out yet again, what is a game without it? Because Brighton’s goal had to be delayed and debated on for a possible hand ball, VAR decided against it and Brighton got their goal which only rubbed the salt into the wounds for the home side.

Somehow West Ham had blown it again- they hadn’t lost but being 3-1 up at home with 15 minutes left and finishing 3-3 certainly felt like it. Suddenly you were looking at a team who could well be playing in the Championship next season. The draw confirmed West Ham’s slip into the bottom three, in 18th place. Though they are just 2 wins from 14th and 3 wins from 10th.

West Ham have lost 13 games and manager David Moyes comments when he joined the club of ”I win” have certainly come back to haunt him. In the league his record reads like this: Played 6, won 1, drawn 2 and lost 3.

There is talk of relegation even though the tables show the teams in the bottom half being so close for West Ham because of their upcoming fixtures. This month will see the Hammers having to play Manchester City and Liverpool- both away games. They end the month at home to Southampton. Arsenal and Tottenham follow in March and there is a real chance that West Ham could be relegated with such tough fixtures ahead.

The Brighton game was being highlighted by fans as the one match they had to win to give them some breathing space at least, but if form continues like it has this season without any improvement then they are looking to finish the season with about 36 points, that total may not be good enough to stay up.

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Premier League: Player of the Week: Mohamed Salah

There was only one game in the Premier League in the week because last weekend the FA Cup 4th round took over domestic proceedings. The featured game was between West Ham and Liverpool, with both clubs having a game in hand because of December’s World Club Cup scheduling meaning that Liverpool were away.

The game was tipped to be in favour of Liverpool and unsurprisingly it was. David Moyes selected five players at the back as his intention was to frustrate the visitors and maybe sneak a counter goal or just draw the game. With half time closing in it did look like Moyes’ plan was working with Liverpool having all of the domination and yet the score was 0-0.

However with the pace going up another level the inevitable happened. If Liverpool were not going to score from open play then they were going to force mistakes and they were awarded a penalty. Now this was an important moment for Mohamed Salah. One of the finest and deadliest strikers in Europe is not having the vintage season that was predicted of him. In short he needed this goal.

He stood up and wanted to take it and slotted it home. The cheers from the Liverpool fans were loud not only because their unbeaten side had found a goal but also for Salah, and the hope will be that he will start to score more regularly now.

Of course it’s not all doom and gloom for the striker who does have 12 goals this season. Also he has assisted in a further 6 goals, meaning that he has contributed 18 of Liverpool’s 56 league goals so far. That is about 35% of every goal this season, pretty impressive.

Salah would cost you 15m based on his two previous brilliant seasons but he does have 79 points so far and believe it or not that places him 2nd in the fantasy rankings of all players in the major European leagues combined. An added bonus is that he hardly picks up bookings and he has just 1 yellow card so far this season.

It wasn’t just his penalty goal though that made Salah the difference in midweek. His work rate is second to none and he run the Hammers defence ragged at times, he is always looking for a creative space and he played to his strengths. His pace is simply electrifying. That is why in local press in Liverpool he was easily voted man of the match. Liverpool will be hoping that with the title run in and the Champions League restarting that the player is only now just finding his best form of the season.

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Will West Ham be relegated under David Moyes?

It’s fair to say that David Moyes second term with West Ham has not started well and the pressure will be on the club after they crashed out of the FA Cup losing to West Bromwich Albion. Is David Moyes the right choice for the club?

The Hammers have not looked good under the Scotsman with only his first game back in charge showing any positives. In that the Londoners beat Bournemouth 4-0 and showed an attacking flair so rare under Manuel Pellegrini the former coach who was given his marching orders in December only to be replaced by Moyes.

There just seemed to be a collective sigh of disappointment but inevitability when Moyes was named as manager. He had been at West Ham before of course, indeed his last job was at the club, where he had rescued them somewhat but with nullifying football and a 29% win rate. It was interesting recently when Everton visited the London Stadium. Of course Moyes most infamous years were with Everton. But both clubs are in the same boat now, the same level if you will and yet Everton have moved on and have Carlo Ancelotti as manager, West Ham are stuck in the past with a manager who doesn’t seem to have the correct ideas for the club.

Since the Bournemouth win, the Hammers have lost to Sheffield United, drew with Everton and lost in a heavy 4-1 defeat against Leicester. In between all of that was a win- in the 3rd round of the FA Cup against Gillingham, but with all due respects to the club no Premier League team would live on that win for more than 48 hours.

The club are in 17th just but a slip into the bottom three does look inevitable. In two days’ time they will play their game in hand, a match that could give them breathing space. But as luck would have it that game is against current European and World club champions Liverpool, who of course have not lost a match in the Premier League in over a year. Add to the fact that Moyes had a terrible time when playing Liverpool in the Merseyside derby and you more than likely will have another loss for the Hammers.

To add insult to injury West Ham will play Liverpool again in a few weeks time up at Anfield before having to encounter Manchester City. If we look at the clubs next 8 fixtures they will be lucky to get 7 points, based on their fixtures and by then it will be the end of March and relegation could be a possibility.

The bookmakers have Norwich far and away out to go down and next up is Bournemouth who are priced up at 1.80 (4/5). West Ham are currently 2.75 (7/4) whilst Everton who are a same boat team as we discussed before are now 66/1. See the difference?

One has to wonder what was running through the clubs owners minds when they decided that Moyes would be the right choice to lead the club forward? In truth they didn’t trust their own instinct only giving him an 18 month contract.

Everything feels so utterly predictable for West Ham right now. The fact that they went out to WBA in the cup is a feeling of deja vue over other cup years. But the fact that WBA’s manager is Slaven Bilic a former manager of West Ham and a cult player at the club just rubbed big gritty salt into the wounds of a club who also seem to have lost their identity. Bilic himself touched on this last week claiming that the new stadium for the Hammers is devoid of atmosphere.

He was 100% right of course, but now the focus has to be on what major turn of events happens next at the club. The best thing would be that the current owners sell the club on, they have had their time, and it hasn’t all been bad, just very underwhelming. The roots of the club need to be pulled out, because the Hammers do have a decent team, much too good to go down, but where have we heard that one before?

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Everton’s Marco Silva to be sacked? Perhaps it should be the board

After being destroyed 5-2 in the Merseyside derby against Liverpool, Everton reached a new low and are now in the relegation zone, what happens next? The thinking is clear and that is manager Marco Silva will be sacked, and yet it hasn’t happened yet.

Everton club owner Farhid Moshiri hinted that results needed to be improved as far back as last January when Everton were going through a miserable spell. The problem for the club is that they head hunted Silva from Watford as if he was the second coming and paid £4m for his services- you don’t do that and then sack the ‘messiah’ five months later. They held on and admittingly Everton’s results picked up near the end of the season. But this new lack of form has riddled the club since the beginning of the season, when is it enough.

Bill Kenwright on the board at Everton could be seen shaking his head when Leicester grabbed a last minute winner against Everton last weekend and that seemed to be the nail in the coffin. After all reports had suggested that Silva had one game v Leicester to keep his job. The board stepped back and gave him the Liverpool one and they conceded 5 goals. The players simply aren’t good enough and Silva does seem like the wrong manager. Should he be sacked? It looks like the right answer, the problem though is the board should go with him.

So here is the deal with the board at Everton, they have been incredibly generous at the club. In most cases fans want the board out and new ownership because of tight purse strings but this really isn’t the case at Everton, No with Moshiri backing them up and TV revenue at the highest it’s been Everton are spending money, so well done on the board for that. The problem is that the board are identfying the wrong managers to take over the club and it hasn’t just happened once or twice. Anyone remember Ronaldo Koeman? Not even Roberto Martinez was a success although he did have a very decent first season with the club.

Behind Manchester City and Liverpool Everton are the 3rd highest spenders in recent seasons, so to finish mid table and to be 18th in this season shows very poor skills at the top. Why did the board chase after Silva? On what knowledge did they want to bring in the likes of Sam Allardyce and Koeman? It shows a lack of ambition. So yes well done that the board are willing to open up the chequebook but it is bittersweet when they are not attracting top drawer managerial talent. Jose Mourinho’s move to Tottenham being an obvious recent example.

Rumours are suggesting that David Moyes who spent 11 seasons at the club in the 2000s could be coming back. Moyes did well for the club in that he had next to no budget and kept them a regular top six side, but he won nothing in that time. Moyes has been poor since leaving Everton and there is a feeling of nostalgia taking place, that doesn’t usually end well. Again if the Moyes story is true then the board are at fault and are showing a serious lack of ambition.

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Why Everton can’t sack Marco Silva right now

At the weekend Everton slumped to their 7th defeat from 13 games, but this was a loss that felt completely different from the others that preceded it. Why? Well going into the match it was clear that Everton manager Marco Silva was under pressure to keep his job. But there was confidence in the side who had recently drawn against Tottenham and beat Southampton and then Norwich arrived.

The problem with losing 2-0 to Norwich was (A) it was at home and (B) it was against the bottom club who had shipped 28 goals. It was in a nutshell a disastrous result that plummeted the club to 16th position and just four points clear of Norwich. It was a result that should have triggered Silva’s sacking, except it didn’t.

Apparently former Everton manager David Moyes is waiting in the wings and there have been reports that the club would try for Sheffield United’s Chris Wilder and Burnley’s Sean Dyche, so why not make a move? The reason seems to be what is awaiting the club fixture wise. Check this out.

This weekend Everton will play Leicester away from home. This is the same Leicester who are currently in 2nd place and are undefeated at home this season. Meanwhile Everton have lost 4 from 6 games away from home winning just one. After that game comes another away match this time to the team in 1st place- Liverpool. The Merseyside derby is always good and tense but the way Liverpool has been playing this looks like being a bad weekend for the club.

After that Everton have to play the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal. A date with Manchester City away from home awaits the club on New Year’s Day. So look at the situation from this point of view. If Everton reacted in a normal manner Silva would be sacked and an incoming manager is brought in, but look at those fixtures. Those are matches that can make everything seem rather difficult. Do Everton really want to put a new manager in that type of firing squad? One difficult game after another could build a very negative reputation.

Look at Tottenham, their appointment of Jose Mourinho was perfect for the fixtures coming up. Playing West Ham who have been very poor lately, then it was a Champions League match against Olympiacos the weakest team in their group and this weekend Spurs will be at home again this time to Bournemouth. Owner Daniel Levy has obviously seen this and eased Mourinho into the role.

The same should happen with a new Everton manager. And who knows maybe Silva’s Everton will produce the odd shock anyway. But long term it seems that Silva’s days are away from the club. It’s just the timing that counts now and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Everton change manager not now but in a months time.

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Why Jose Mourinho should never have been sacked as Manchester United manager

Since Sir Alex Ferguson left Manchester United in 2013 it has been quite a nightmarish ride for the fans who were so used to seeing multiple successes, good players and great games at the club.

It’s been a shock for United at how many plans have failed since Ferguson left. David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and current manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer have all tried to put United back on the map. But the club are certainly going backwards albeit with a certain glimmer of light, which just about still shines in the halls of Old Trafford.

In the 6 years since United have won 3 trophies, 2 of them the Europa League and League Cup were won with Jose Mourinho in charge, and he also led the club to 2nd place in the league- their best ever finish post Ferguson. One wonders if United made a huge error sacking Mourinho? Of course at the time it did look like the best option. United were losing every week and misery seemed to be engulfed with the club. For reasons we will most probably find out in a players book Mourinho had lost the dressing room, but how is that different from the other coaches who have managed at the club.

When David Moyes arrived at Everton, then defender Rio Ferdinand admitted that he had no respect for the ex-Everton manager, this before Moyes had properly overseen his first game. Van Gaal seemed like an odd appointment, a brilliant one had it been the 1990s, but in 2014? The Dutchman was well past his sell by date, he lost some games you would have expected United to win but he did win the FA Cup as a parting gift. Solskjaer started well but has been a nightmare coach for the club, some of his buys have been inspired and he wants to do his best, but he simply looks like a small fish in a vast ocean.

Mourinho needed a clear out of players if he was to stay, and the one negative you could say about him is the special one is pretty useless at rebuilding teams and leaving some sort of legacy for the next manager. But what he does deliver are trophies, he just needs the sort of players that will train hard and work hard for him, that wasn’t going to be the case at United.

Records of Manchester United managers since Sir Alex Ferguson:

David Moyes win rate= 52.9%

Louis van Gaal win rate= 52.4%

Jose Mourinho win rate= 58.3%

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer win rate (so far) = 51.1%

Everton are improving under Marco Silva but need to dream bigger

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Marco Silva has been under pressure as Everton manager this season but all in all the league standing of the club and especially their last 2 months has proven that the team are improving under Silva’s guidance.

Football doesn’t do time like it did years ago and it looked like Silva’s job was under real threat during Christmas. The rot set in around October, after losing to West Ham in the league who were struggling to get any points at the time and then getting knocked out of the Carabao Cup to Southampton who were also in poor form. The problem for Everton is that their poor form extended until the end of February and after being knocked out of the FA Cup against Millwall Silva’s fate seem sealed.

Would he have gone had Liverpool beaten Everton at Goodison Park? Possibly so- but that is the game where everything changed for the club. Putting in a solid defensive display and not afraid to come forward Everton earned a point in a match that ended 0-0. Soon after the run continued and so did form, when can one remember Everton beating the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United in short succession? The latter game ending 4-0 for Silva’s team.

If we look at the last 10 games, Everton are 3rd only behind Manchester City and Liverpool and have gained 20 points in that time, losing just 2 games and winning 60% of their games. They have scored 16 goals, which perhaps could be better but they have only conceded 5 goals. It has been a complete turnaround for the club since that Merseryside derby draw back at the beginning of March.

Players have shone too- Richarlison bought from Watford for £40m upwards has returned 13 goals in the league and 14 overall. Gylfi Sigurdsson has the same number of goals and the £50m man has really excelled under Silva. What has been really important for the club is also the way they are playing- with an attacking flair. Sure we have seen shades of negative tactics borne from the managerial periods of both David Moyes and more recently Sam Allardyce but the majority of Everton’s play and their all round attitude has been very positive and it does bode well for the future.

It will be fascinating to see how Silva approaches the summer transfer period and what new faces will come through the doors of the club. For now the club are taking small steps in the right direction. Look at last season when they finished with 49 points, they already have 53 and if they beat Tottenham on the final day of the season they will finish a massive 7 points in front of last.

Perhaps if this season had been Silva’s 3rd in charge we wouldn’t be talking about progress, but given this is his debut season with the club it will be interesting to see where he can take the Toffee’s, who from next year will have gone 25 years without a trophy, that is simply over due on anyone’s account.