Pellegrini makes massive mistake as West Ham’s season is almost over

West Ham were shocked and gave a shocking performance in the Carabao Cup to lose 4-0 to League one side Oxford United in midweek, and one wonders how long this negative effect will last with the Londoners.

The cup competitions can often serve a surprise as the so called giant killing teams of the lower leagues play their best games and up their performance.. Losing to one of the lower league teams happens to most of the big clubs, particularly those who rest their star players.

However, it is the manner in which West Ham disintegrated which is of most concern. A 4-0 loss is more than poor and 3 of Oxford’s goals were scored in 29 minutes in the second half as the Hammers simply collapsed. For Fantasy Football managers, cup competition can be tricky. For those who look to place bets on cup competitions, you should look no further than Amazing Bet which allows you to take advantage of offers from bookmakers as well as guide you to better betting odds. Amazing Bet also provides you with information on where and how you can place Free Bets.

Manager Manuel Pellegrini did make changes to his side that beat Manchester United in the league just a few days before, 9 changes in all, but there was still plenty of quality on the field including new signing Pablo Fornals who has been very underwhelming since joining the club on a coat tail of hype from Villarreal.

Pellegrini was forced to bring on regulars early in the 2nd half such as Mark Noble and Sebastian Haller but the irony was that when more experience and quality came on the Hammers lost the plot and Oxford United actually improved.

It is bizarre to think that the Hammers have started the season well and just beat Manchester United but this cup defeat was a stark reminder that worse things could be round he corner for the club.

There has to be criticism pointed at Pellegrini though- for example why make so many changes? Yes games come thick and fast and he rightly pointed out that you need to utilise your squad. But what justification did he seek in making those changes? For example had this been a midweek Champions League game he wouldn’t have made the changes which leads us on to suggesting that Pellegrini in actual fact disrespected the competition and it has widely back fired onto him and the club.

The irony is West Ham are one of those well known clubs alongside Everton for example who have not won a major trophy for a long time. Next year will mark 25 years for Everton and 40 for West Ham. Again did Pellegrini rest players just so West Ham could finish in the top 10? What are their aspirations in a very difficult league? Shouldn’t the club really be chasing a cup and giving it a go?

With this cup gone, West Ham’s season already looks exposed. They aren’t ready for a top 4 place and don’t look up for a Europa League one either. That leaves the FA Cup then which doesn’t start for them until January.

The shock remains with Pellegrini, for such an experienced coach to get this so painfully wrong is mind boggling.

Top 5 Premier League flops in 2019/20

The Premier League has been able to bring in some of the very best players over the years. With buckets full of money through television deals improving your team hasn’t been that hard, but that doesn’t mean there have been some poor buys when clubs have previously thought that they have either got a bargain or spent a small fortune of what they believe to be the next best youngster.

This season alone makes no exceptions. Below we have a top 5 list of the biggest flops in the Premier League so far. True these same flops could end up being amongst the very best players come the end of the season, but with all justification all of these players have hardly got off to the starts that their clubs would have wanted. Yes it is early in the season but let’s not forget we are almost at a third of the way through.

Moise Kean- Everton

Moise Kean cost Everton £25m and that seemed like a bargain. Kean who was playing for Juventus at the time has been seen as Italy’s next best striker. He is 19, quick, versatile and very confident. Once it looked like Juventus had wrapped up last seasons Serie A title he got his chance in the team and came in and couldn’t stop scoring goals. He scored 6 from his 13 games in the league. Everton were quick off the mark to get him, but he has been a shadow of the player that graced Juventus. From his 9 games so far in the league he has yet to score, and has been some what of a disappointment.

It has got to the stage now where Marco Silva, the Everton manager has been starting him from the bench. Obviously the change of country and culture has not been easy on the player and let’s admit he is still only 19, he probably has a bright future ahead of him. For now Everton looked to have overspent and what will Kean be realistically thinking? One day training with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, the next can’t start a game at Everton.

Pablo Fornals- West Ham

A lot was expected of Pablo Fornals whose silky attacking play was supposed to make West Ham a better team going forward. But he has been very quiet, and is now enjoying more time warming the bench. Fornals has never scored many goals but in his role as an attacking midfielder he is supposed to supply them. Fornals is yet to score in the league but did do so in the Carabao Cup. Costing £24m from Spanish side Villarreal Fornals has been a big disappointment so far, he simply doesn’t seem settled with the pace of the game and looks at this point to be too predictable. He is West Ham’s 2nd ever most expensive signing.

Nicolas Pepe- Arsenal

Nicolas Pepe was incredible last season for French Ligue 1 side Lille, his 22 goals from 38 games helped greatly in Lille upsetting the odds and finishing as runners up to PSG thus qualifying for the Champions League.

It was first a surprise that Pepe did not opt to stay with Lille on their European adventure instead choosing Arsenal who are playing in the Europa League this season. But of course the lure of playing for a famed club in the Premier League and a better salary was enough for the player. Here’s the thing though, Pepe has scored just once in his 9 league games. Possibly we can point to the fact that Pepe does not start every game and also Arsenal manager Unai Emery hasn’t always been using the player as a classic centre forward, they have Pierre- Emerick Aubameyang for that. But when he isn’t scoring goals one has to wonder who will for the Gunners?

It’s not all bad for Pepe, he has shown flashes of his brilliance and has scored a few goals in the clubs Europa League campaign. But at a cost of £72m it’s fair to say that the Gunners would have expected a little more from the player.

Harry Maguire- Manchester United

Harry Maguire was so good for Leicester at the back that he has become an England international and had a very good World Cup tournament last summer. This led Manchester United to go big on the defender and splash out £80m on him. But the magic simply hasn’t clicked. United were very leaky before Maguire joined and remain that way. Even when they rarely win games these days they keep on conceding. Maguire has been a very solid player and knows how to score goals from set pieces, inevitably he is going to become better and feel more fitted in at his role with the Red Devils. For now the club are going to suffer a little before that happens.

The big question mark is the initial fee. How can any player cost so much when they have won zero trophies? Of course the fee isn’t Maguire’s fault at all, that’s what it takes for an English international in the Premier League to join another team in the same league. The pressure is on Maguire though to establish himself within the team, for now it almost feels like he is hiding.

Tanguy Ndombele- Tottenham

When you think of how far Tottenham have come in the last few seasons, it makes how they have started this one mind boggling. They didn’t lose any key players in the summer and yet seem to have returned to a mid 1990s version of themselves. They will get better of course, this is the Champions League finalists from last season, but for now they have quite a few problems on their hands.

Famous now for not spending big money in transfer windows, they spent almost £60m acquiring the signature of Tanguy Ndombele from Lyon. This felt like a strange decision, given that Ndombele who had had a decent season for the Ligue 1 side clearly wasn’t even their best midfielder last season. However trust had to be put into Mauricio Pochettino, that’s who he wanted and that is who he was going to get. Ndombele has scored a couple of goals and made an assist and that isn’t too bad, but again much more was expected of him, he needed to be the glue that sets the quickest in this very talented team of players. It might still happen, for now there has to be question marks over whether Lyon saw Tottenham coming with that fee.

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Marko Arnautovic gets his wish and leaves West Ham to play in China- is it the right move?

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He’s gone Marko Arnautovic finally got his wish to leave West Ham and has joined Chinese super league team Shanghai.

West Ham were so annoyed by this that they issued a very short statement to the fact and failed to even add the usual all the best wishes to the Austrian player. Arnie as he is known to West Ham fans made his feelings clear a early as January and tried to force the move then but the Hammers were having none of it.

But now he is gone and it is thought that West Ham have had to sell him for a cut price £23m instead of the near £30m they would have preferred. But was Arnie right to leave?

Though there is a feeling of bad blood between both parties, this does feel like the right decision. Why would West Ham want a player who was not commited to the cause, isn’t it just correct to sell the player? Also on his side he isn’t getting any younger. So why stay at a club who will be struggling to fight for honours next season?

Of course money is the real issue and Arnie can expect to earn near to £300,000 a week with Shanghai, a kings ransom and he could never have got that at West Ham, plus he is 30 and not getting any younger, this last big contract gives him the chance to earn well and set himself up.

Shanghai are champions too and he will be made to work hard to retain their trophies and silverware will be a reality for the player out in China.

It’s hard luck to West Ham and one will wish that the club can learn from buying a player who perhaps never had his heart setteled on the club. He scored goals and looked like a great buy, yes, but at the same time he struggled to get goals and play well against the better teams and that was also the problem. He was simply never a top level drawer player and West Ham should be able to move on from his departure which it shouldn’t affect them as much as it could.

West Ham have bought Pablo Fornals and are now in the hunt for Celta Vigo’s Maxi Gomez that is the real top drawer there and those players should be enough to make Arnie’s loss a distant memory.

Villarreal prioritise defence in summer transfers

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With La Liga clubs spending in excess of €800m in June 2019, most sides are looking to settle down and prepare for the new season, which kicks off on August 18.

However, one club that looks to be just getting started in their transfer dealings is Villarreal, with around €45m coming into the club from player sales so far.

Manager Javier Calleja has allowed fringe players Roberto Soriano and Nicola Sansone leave to Serie A side Bologna, for a combined fee of €15m, whilst key midfielder Pablo Fornals has moved to West Ham for €30m.

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Juventus or Real Madrid? Where will Paul Pogba end up?

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It is no secret that Paul Pogba has not enjoyed the greatest of times at Manchester United and the Frenchman looks set to leave the club this summer, but who for?

Reports have suggested that Fabio Paratici the sporting director of Juventus is in London and having talks with Manchester United representatives about Pogba joining the club. Actually he would be re-joining since United bought Pogba from the Old Lady back in 2016. What has been interesting is that if Juventus do buy Pogba then the player has spent his footballing career switching from these clubs alone, since he started his professional career with United back in 2010.

One wonders if Pogba’s indecisions and playing back and forth for the same clubs sums up his career thus far? The midfielder remains an enigma- a delightful player to watch on the ball and fearsome coming forward but his total inconsistency marks him out to be a player that may well end his footballing career as simply a footnote in the history of the game.

Alongside Juventus’ interest seems to be another and that is Real Madrid who are rebuilding this season after a chaotic last one. Los Blancos have already spent near to £300m on acquiring five players including Eden Hazard and it is thought that coach Zinedine Zidane would love to work with Pogba. Pogba himself may feel that a fresh change is needed from returning to Italy again. One thing is clear and that is United could do with offloading a player that they already know could fetch the club upwards of £100m and release funds to invest in players that want to play for the club and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Keeping with United they have upscaled their interest in Crystal Palace player Aaron Wan-Bissaka who impressed this past season as the Eagles finished strongly. But the talking price seems to be spiralling out of control and one figure has the Palace player at £70m. For now he is on top of Solskjaer’s list and United agree to that sum it seems highly unlikely that they won’t get their man.

West Ham raised eyebrows by purchasing the exciting 23 year old Pablo Fornals. The attacking midfielder cost the Hammers just £24m which is seen as a bargain in today’s football. He comes from Villarreal and even though he had an average last season he is seen as a very good prospect and will add attacking flair to West Ham’s forward line.

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Pablo Fornals: Lowdown on West Ham’s latest signing who is more than ready for English football

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Over the past few seasons, it’s been quite easy for a young individual to announce himself as a player with an immense career ahead of him and be regarded as the next big talent. However, the situation has quietly been different for Pablo Fornals, someone who was a regular starter in midfield and was a key player for La Liga side Villarreal. However, the club and player did not have a solid season as per their normal standards, as the lack of consistency and squad quality became concerning month by month.

Fornals only returned to Villarreal in the summer of 2017 after spending five beneficial seasons in Malaga’s first team as well as their reserve team, and was recently linked with a £24million move to Premier League’s West Ham United. With the deal now becoming official yesterday, it would mean that Villarreal would be making an estimate profit of around £15million and potentially any add-ons or bonuses, which is quite good for a player that was seriously looking for a move since the January transfer window.

Before West Ham smartly snapped him up, both Arsenal and Napoli were interested in the Spaniard a couple of week ago, but were no longer looking at the player and have moved onto the other midfield targets they have in mind. The Yellow Submarines have not seen many major departures so far this summer, but it has shockingly began with Pablo Fornals moving from sunny Spain to rainy England.

It’s time to look at everything you will want to know about the 23-year-old…

Villarreal background

Over the last 10 to 15 years, Villarreal have been recognised for the types of centre-backs and central-midfielders they have purchased for quite a bargain, before going on to developing and nurturing them into top quality players. The likes of Giuseppe Rossi, Joan Capdevila, Marcos Senna, Ruben Cani and currently Bruno Soriano have played for this beautiful and passionate club, individuals who have given their all on the pitch whilst becoming fan favourites during their good moments and bad moments.

The current Villarreal squad is still blessed with quite a number of individuals that are born and raised in Spain, including the experienced Santi Cazorla, captain Bruno Soriano, the calm and collected Vicente Iborra and Gerard Moreno, someone who has not had the best of seasons in front of goal but will always be a huge aerial threat, as long as the crossing is effective from the flanks.

Which world-class central-midfielder is he similar to…

It’s still early days for Fornals to be dubbed or regarded as the next Cesc Fabregas or Koke, however, his style of play is very similar to team-mate Santi Cazorla, who once upon a time was a crucial player for Arsenal and was seen as one of the most underrated players in England. With his constant knack for wanting the ball and his ability to dominate it whilst being seen as the focal point of the midfield, he is able to avoid the press with his dribbling skill as well as his intelligent movement.

On top of that, he is more than capable of producing a large number of perfectly-timed passed thanks to his range of passes and his sharp vision to even attempt, which is something that many central-midfielders don’t take the risk to complete. The style of play of both himself and Cazorla is something to admire, given that the latter flourished in the Premier League and the former will without a doubt, do the same as long as a system is in place and the team is built around him, and no one else.

Strengths

Complete midfielder. Not many players within La Liga, especially from outside of Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid, can boast about playing in a number of tactical roles within midfield whilst dominating the match and the opposition. Due to this natural blessing, Fornals’ quality has always been undervalued, purely because of the other talented midfielders and attacking-minded players produced within Spain.

Being a player that does not rely on pace or physicality, the Castellon-born midfielder has proven himself to be dominant on both sides of the pitch. From completing the second most key passes (42) and fourth most successful dribbles (39) when compared to the rest of the squad, he has actually achieved more than expected as the side have recently not been known as a possession-based team. Thanks to his intelligence and positive thinking on the ball, he is able to work really well within tight areas and has the actual ability to get past one or two defenders or midfielders without even trying.

Weaknesses

Although it will be his range of passing as well as his rising quality to get the best out of the midfield that may be what the West Ham supporters will be looking forward to the most. However, Fornals’ has had a bit of a consistency to give away cheap fouls and also in a number of dangerous positions. Unfortunately for him, the Premier League referees will not be be too lenient and inconsistent like the ones in La Liga.

On the other hand, it is ideal and useful to have a player that is quite stocky, aggressive and is willing to go into the much needed tackles and tactical fouls. With a number of players that come to play in England from other European countries, they tend to lack the defensive duties or the mentality to help the team to retrieve possession, which will surely not be a problem for Pablo Fornals at all, as he always puts the team before him.

How would he fit into West Ham?

Fornals could potentially play alongside Mark Noble and just ahead of defensive-midfielder Declan Rice in 4-1-4-1 formation, which is a system that manager Manuel Pellegrini has used time and time again, that has allowed the Hammers to play with the ball confidently and also more productively.

Given that Jack Wilshere has become unreliable and is still battling his own injury issues whilst both Mark Noble and Robert Snodgrass are starting to age and decline, it makes sense Pellegrini’s side to continue to play their football in a 4-1-4-1 setup, providing more space and time for Fornals to pull the strings deep in midfield or to advance up the pitch in possession to create chances for his team-mates or for himself.

With a lot of things spicing up for West Ham, including the fact that they have been scouting and recruiting players effectively for the last couple of seasons. It wouldn’t be a total surprise to see them aiming for a Europa League spot finish for the upcoming campaign, despite the competition from the likes of Everton, Leicester and Wolves.

On the other hand, the budding transfer of Fornals and Celta Vigo’s Maxi Gomez could prove to be perfect signings in the long run, and only if the East London side go on to finish within the top seven, especially in what could potentially be a really competitive season. Now that the deal is official, the Spanish international will certainly be regarded as one of the best signings of the summer window and also for such a really low fee.

La Liga Weekend Picks – Round 8

garcia4With a full fixture list coming up in La Liga this weekend, there is plenty of action to sift through – making the weekend picks this time won’t be the easiest job! There are some cracking fixtures to come, as always – Real Madrid travelling to the impressive Alaves will be worth watching on Saturday, while Sunday’s pick of the matches sees fourth placed Atletico Madrid taking on fifth placed Real Betis. Both sides are tied on points and have decent defences, though the hosts are ahead on merit of having scored three more goals (and conceding one less). With that in mind, let’s go for a 4-3-3 here and see which players are worth considering for you to bring in to your fantasy team this coming weekend.

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La Liga Weekend Picks – Round 2

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The first weekend of the season in La Liga saw Real Madrid, Barcelona, Levante, Real Socieded, Sevilla, Huesca and Athletic pick up victories, while Valencia and Atletico Madrid shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw. Let’s take a look at which players could shine for their clubs this weekend.

GK – Oier (Levante)
Oier was one of five goalkeepers in La Liga to pick up seven points at the weekend, helping Levante win 3-0 away at Real Betis. Valued at 5.50m with a promising set of fixtures coming up, the 28-year-old could be worth looking at.

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Plain sailing for Villarreal’s Yellow Submarine

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With so much of the La Liga focus this season on high flying Barcelona and an under performing Real Madrid, Villarreal will be happy to be operating under the radar.

The Yellow Submarine has enjoyed another excellent season at the top table in Spain, currently in fifth place in La Liga, and on a six-game unbeaten league run.

The highlight of their recent fine form came in the form of a 1-0 win against Real Madrid, courtesy of a brilliant late goal from midfielder Pablo Fornals.

That result flagged up what any keen watcher of La Liga this season would already have told you, that Villarreal are no longer a surprise package, but an established name in the division. Continue reading