Friday, 16 December 2016

PRODUCT REVIEW: Art of Football Scissorkick tee

PRODUCT REVIEW: Art of Football’s “Scissorkick” T-shirt

This week, thanks to Art of Football, I was lucky enough to receive one of their unique t-shirts from their West Ham range. I have experimented with their products before and have always been pleased with the high quality look and feel of the t-shirts they have on offer. The Scissorkick tee is inspired by that famous Di Canio goal against Wimbledon, an iconic goal in the eyes of many West Ham fans.

The Look:
As far as graphic football tees go, this one has to be up there with the best. The vibrant claret and blue colours on this shirt, against the crisp white tee makes the image of Di Canio stand out. The colours aren’t too garish and this t-shirt could be worn to complement a variety of different looks without looking out of place. As I am wearing the t-shirt it fits very well not too tight but not too baggy either, just how I like it. This gives it a very casual feel and I would not hesitate to wear this top out and about.

The Feel:
The feel of the top is of high quality. The material does not feel cheap or thin when wearing, in fact it feels thick. I can see it being a durable top and it is also very comfy to wear. Also from experience with other AoF products I can say that the printing on the top does not flake over time due to multiple washes, and is another reason why this is a great product.

The Price:
The tee is currently priced at £25, which I think is very reasonable for a item of this calibre. Even if this does put you off slightly, Art of Football currently have a 15% off everything offer on their site. I could see this being a great Christmas present for any West Ham fan, as they will not be disappointed.

Alternatively if you like the print on the top but don’t like the idea of a t-shirt, the design is also sold as a print and canvas! There are plenty of other West Ham designs on their site, so make sure to check those out.



Thursday, 29 September 2016

Where are West Ham going wrong?

Where are we going wrong?

It's all us West Ham United supporters can talk about at the moment. I haven't seen us play this bad in years, even when Avram was in charge! Slaven Bilics fall from grace in just a few months has been shocking.

He started so well, but this seasons form has just been a continuation of a bad end to last season. After the defeats to Swansea and Stoke at the back end of the season, the evidence that our defence needed strengthening was there. However, Bilic failed to act, deciding to splash his transfer budget on a load of attackers who have not started very well.

For me, the team ethic has gone. The likes of Antonio, Lanzini, Payet are not tracking back like they did last season. Noble and Kouyate have both had a dip in form at the same time, and don't seem to be able to pass to anyone I a claret and blue shirt. And the defence look shot to bits.  As for the strikers we have used so far this season, Valencia before his loan, Calleri and Zaza have been truly awful.

The team is disjointed and unbalanced.... and bang in trouble unless things change.

First of all, I would be dropping Lanzini; not because he is a bad player, but because he is a luxury we cannot afford at the moment. Swap him for Obiang or Nordtveidt to play as a holding midfielder, to protect the back line and fill the space between our defence and midfield, which is causing us problems.

Byram can come in at right back; he's not playing badly, he's just not being protected. This brings me on to Payet and Antonio. We know how good they are in an attacking sense, but last season, they were doing the dirty work.  Watch Southamptons first goal on Sunday, and watch Antonio give up the chase when Redmond breaks behind Nordtveidt. This is exactly what I mean.

Finally, I would swap Adrian for Randolph. Adrian is a good shot stopper, but let's be honest, all goalkeepers in the top division should be. It's more his distribution and decision making that causes me concern. Let's get him out the firing line and give Randolph a chance.

We have time to turn things around, and Bilic needs to start getting ruthless with those who are not performing. We have a lot of fearless youngsters waiting in the wings, let's get them ready and let them play.  Let's face it, we are at rock bottom right now, so let's try and change it!

COME ON YOU IRONS!!!

By @ChelmoHammer

Friday, 2 September 2016

The rise of Michail Antonio

Michail Antonio: Non- league to National team

When the recent England squad was announced, many expected West Ham players to star. However, only one got in and that was Michail Antonio. The Hammers midfielder could be set for his first cap for England soon, but what about the journey that Antonio took from being a non-league player to a name on everyone’s lips.

Antonio’s first club was Tooting & Mitcham United, where he played for their separate junior team for five years before joining the senior team in 2007. Antonio went on to make 45 appearances for the side scoring 33 goals before attracting the attention of Championship side Reading.

Antonio’s Reading career never really took off as he was loaned out a number of times which included clubs like Southampton and Colchester but a short spell at Sheffield Wednesday led to a permanent transfer the following season. Antonio stayed at Wednesday for two years and had various success at the club scoring 12 times in 64 appearances.

Nottingham Forest then came calling and Antonio was transferred for a fee believed to be around £1.5 million. This is where Antonio first started to grab the attention of Premier League clubs as his consistent performances led to Championship player of the month nominations and he was also voted player of the season for 2014-15 after staring every league game that season.

During the next transfer window, Antonio was subject to numerous bids from the likes of West Brom and Derby, but Antonio signed for West Ham on the 1st September 2015 for a fee of around £7 million. His start as a Hammers player didn’t go too well as he failed to really make an impact within the side, however once he got his first goal for the club in December 2015, Antonio has gone from strength to strength showcasing his ability to run at defenders, provide pinpoint crosses and also, show his presence in the air with a variety of well-timed headed goals including the first Premier League goal to be scored at West Ham’s new home The London Stadium.

Looking back on his career, it shows that Antonio has worked extremely hard to get to where he is today and based on how he is performing now, things can only get better for the 26 year old.

By Brad Freelove





Tuesday, 30 August 2016

What should we make of West Ham's start to the season?

Don’t Panic….
So with 3 Premier League, and 4 Europa League games played, West Ham United must be welcoming the International break for once. Three wins and three defeats, but it’s fair to say, we have all been feeling a bit deflated with our two defeats in the League, and the terrible exit in the Europa Laegue qualifier the other night. So I thought I would take a closer look at our start to the season, to see if I can inject a little bit of optimism back into the supporters.
Let me start with the Europa League.  An aggregate victory of NK Domzale seemed pretty straight forward, however, our 1-1 draw in Romania against FC Astra and the disappointing home defeat a week later, really showed how depleated our squad was, and how we needed some fresh blood in attack, and some players back from injury.  There is no doubting that West Ham played terrible that night, and Slaven Bilic has said how angry he was with the players.
The league has seen us start with two of the hardest games we will have all season.  Chelsea away was always going to be different from last year.  They are a new team under Antonio Conte, and have shown that they are going to be title chasers come May.  However, we didn’t play well did we…. We started ok, but when Chelsea, and Eden Hazard got into their stride, they looked dangerous.  However, they didn’t crucify us either.  Antonio has already admitted his mistake for the penalty, and had Diego Costa actually been sent off like he should have been, then it would have probably have changed the outcome of the game.  We should have held on to a point, but when you’re playing against world class players, any mistake is usually punished.
Bournemouth at home wasn’t a classic, but we showed patience and perseverance to grind out a win and get out first three points of the season.  It’s no coincidence that the winner came from Antonio after he was allowed to play in his rightful position on the wing.  With the new ground and new atmosphere, it was important to start with a win at home.
The weekends game was not a surprising result.  Guardiola doesn’t get his reputation based on failed title attempts in Spain and Germany.  He is probably the best coach out there at the moment, and to play one of his teams, at their ground, when they have started well… well it’s going to be difficult for any team who goes there.  First half was poor, we all know that, but one thing we learnt from a Slaven Bilic team is that they don’t give up.  Bilic would rather lose 4-0 and go for a point, then lose 2-0 and just try and defend.  That man Antonio popped up again, and got us back in the game.  Attacking moves were made, and we showed more guts in the second half. Ok we lost, but at least we went down fighting.
We have all seen the list of players we have out at the moment… Payet, Lanzini (just coming back), Feghouli, Carroll, Cresswell, Nordtveidt, Cresswell.  And then we have the new signings who weren’t available in Edimilson and Zaza.  With Payet, Lanzini, Feghouli Nordtveidt, Edimilson and Zaza all likely to be in the squad for our next game after the international break, the squad will look much stronger.  For me, the season starts for West Ham United on Saturday 10th September – and we need to get behind the boys.  No in house fighting, no arguing about standing and sitting, and no moaning about the likes of Tore and Valencia.  We need to stand United, get used to this move, and get behind the squad!
COME ON YOU IRONS!
Follow me on Twitter: @ChelmoHammer

Saturday, 20 August 2016

What do we do with Sakho?

What do we do with Sak?

It's been a topsy turvy year for West Ham United outcast, Diafra Sakho.  The Senegalese striker has had his problems with the law, crashed his luxury car, had Domestic problems, and injuries.  He fell out with manager, Slaven Bilic; who left him out of the team on his return, for nothing more than the fact Andy Carroll was performing well.

However, it's been this summer that we have seen Sakho take things to a new level. Handing in a transfer request, and then refusing to travel for the pre season training camp in Austria.

I was a big fan of Sakho.  His tireless running, and eye for goal gave us something we had been missing, and he has all the traits that a modern day striker needs. To sign him for £3.5m from the French Second Tier as well, I thought we had really struck gold. However, his disruptive behaviour has really taken the shine off of his West Ham career.

A failed medical for a £16m move to West Bromwich Albion has really made things awkward for the player. The chairmen and manager must have been gutted to miss out on a £13m profit for a player who doesn't want to be at the club. So what happens now?

Reports suggest Sakho is working hard in training and now wants to try and rejoin the squad for the new season. David Gold has also reported that Sak is working hard. But can a player change his attitude that quickly?  Would he be welcome back into the squad or is there a risk that he can poison the minds of the other players?

For me, the damage is done, and he should be made to train on his own, away from everyone. We have plenty of strength in depth and don't need him and his ego around a good team spirit.  I would even consider a cut price deal to get him out the club.  

Tell us what you think.


Follow me on Twitter @ChelmoHammer

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Hypothetical Hammers - UEFA Coefficients and the Group of Death

Hypothetical Hammers – UEFA Coefficients and the Group of Death

Written by Tamhas Woods

Astra Giurgiu is a name that still causes any claret-and-blue blooded Londoner to shudder with revulsion. Exactly a year ago, when Slaven Bilic entered European competition for the first time with West Ham, the Romanian minnows stunned the European scene by eliminating the Hammers over two legs.

A more forgiving West Ham fan may assert that this was perhaps a blessing in disguise, attributing much of Bilic’s impressive first season to the subsequent lack of distraction. Yet for a club that has sired some legendary greats, such as Sir Bobby Moore and Sir Geoff Hurst, losing to a team of such obscurity is nothing short of a monumental disgrace.


Under Slaven Bilic, West Ham will be facing glamorous, but very difficult ties if they can exact revenge on Astra Giurgiu. For the latest West Ham and Europa League odds, visit Matchbook.

Despite the unfortunate events of last summer, West Ham should have little difficulty in exacting sweet vengeance, but there is no place for complacency, having already lost an away leg (to Domzale) in the previous round of this year’s competition. On this occasion, Bilic faces Astra one round later than last year, and the victor proceeds directly to the group stage.

Sadly, West Ham’s UEFA coefficient reflects a team which has long been absent from meaningful European competition. Assuming that all of the seeded teams sweep the final qualifying rounds of both competitions in Europe, this low coefficient could have a negative knock-on effect.

In such a scenario, West Ham will be given the unenviable status of a Pot 4 team. Thus, Bilic’s men will be deprived of ‘gimme’ fixtures against the likes of Dundalk, instead facing the prospect of midweek trips to the San Siro or the Vicente Calderón.

So just how would the Hammers fare if those names were to be produced, and are those really the teams to avoid? The UEFA coefficient system identifies Schalke 04, Fenerbahce and Berner SC Young Boys as the most dangerous teams of each pot in such a scenario, but football is playing on grass – not paper – and the truth is, in many cases, very different.

POT 1: FC Schalke 04

Provided that all of the seeded teams at both levels survive their final playoff ties, FC Schalke 04 will be the highest coefficient-ranked team in the Europa League group stage. Even with the departure of winger Leroy Sane, Schalke have the capability to dominate the wide areas and provide excellent service to target man Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.

Huntelaar’s 16 goal haul in 2015-16 saw him crowned as the club’s top scorer, yet fellow strikers Eric Choupo-Moting and Franco di Santo were not far behind him in the goalscoring stakes. Respectively, they contributed nine and eight goals, which proved crucial in securing European football.

Prolific though Schalke may be in the second tier of Europe, they are bereft of a competitive clean sheet since 28th February, and were ultimately consigned to fifth place last season by a lack of consistency. While Schalke are adapting to life without Sane, West Ham are hailing the arrival of Ghanaian midfielder Andre Ayew, who enjoyed a strong debut season in the BPL last term.

Provided that Dimitri Payet and Michail Antonio stay, to combine with Ayew, West Ham fans will enjoy the most lethal attacks in living memory. Coefficients in this case are irrelevant – in truth, it is a disorganised Schalke team which should fear drawing West Ham from pot 4.

HARDEST POT 1 OPPONENT: Athletic Bilbao
EASIEST POT 1 OPPONENT: AZ Alkmaar

Inter Milan would normally be considered, but the Nerazzuri remain a team very much in transition. A recent 6-1 defeat to Tottenham is a prime indicator of the depths to which the men in black and blue have fallen, and their ability to withstand the newfound savagery of West Ham’s midfield is rightly questioned.

Athletic Bilbao stand out as a dangerous team in Pot 1. Barcelona and the two Madrid clubs were in a league of their own, but from fourth downwards, 2015-16 belonged to the Basque club. They won the same number of matches as recent UEL semi finalists Villarreal, and though they lost more games, Bilbao finished with the highest goal difference in that group.

Scoring just five goals fewer than Athletico Madrid also represented a huge positive for Bilbao in 2015-16, with Aritz Aduriz hitting the net 20 times in the league to establish himself as the sort of finisher that continental teams crave. In addition, Bilbao reached the quarter finals of last season’s Europa League, losing on penalties to eventual winners Sevilla.

AZ finished fourth in the Eredivisie last season, yet only narrowly avoided being sucked into the lower reaches of the top half. Though workmanlike, AZ’s wins in the previous round (against Greek minnows PAS Giannina) were not without room for improvement.

POT 2: Fenerbahce

Consistent appearances in Europe are not the only reason for Fenerbahce’s lofty standing. Last season saw Fenerbahce finish 2nd in the Turkish Superlig, with no less than 60 goals netted through a series of uncompromising performances. As such, Fenerbahce will be one team to avoid, especially with one look at the attackers at Vitor Pereira’s disposal.

Robin van Persie is arguably the biggest name in the squad, boasting nigh-unrivalled top flight experience. Though 33 now, the Dutchman’s eye for goal has not diminished, and his striking abilities are enhanced by the presence of Fernandão and Emmanuel Emenike, who complete what can be a deadly three-pronged attack.

HARDEST POT 2 OPPONENT: ...Fenerbahce
EASIEST POT 2 OPPONENT: AA Gent

For reasons already well-documented, it would be a euphemism to say that the atmosphere in both meetings will be electric if Bilic’s men share a group with Fenerbahce. In particular, the atmosphere at the Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium will be nothing short of terrifying for fans and team alike.

Identifying the easiest team in Pot 2 is a difficult task. AA Gent finished third in the Belgian Superlig last season, but had the ignominy of possessing the second worst goal difference in the top six. This is a stat which can only hinder a European campaign for Gent if shortcomings in attack remain unresolved.

POT 3: BSC Young Boys

The Swiss season is already underway, and BSC Young Boys have begun in impressive fashion. As far as Europe is concerned, Adi Hutter’s men look well placed to restore some lost pride. In their recent Champions League tie (third qualifying round), they overturned a 2-0 first leg deficit to Shakhtar, winning 3-0 in Bern to earn a final qualifying round tie with Borussia Mönchengladbach.

BSC Young Boys had an impressive run in 2014-15, before suffering a 7-2 aggregate defeat at the hands of Everton in the Round of 32. However, Azerbaijani side Qarabag made a mockery of Young Boys’ superior coefficient in 2015-16, strolling to a 4-0 aggregate win in the playoff round. This inconsistency only serves to cast doubt on the team’s European credentials.

HARDEST POT 3 OPPONENT: Celta Vigo
EASIEST POT 3 OPPONENT: FC Zürich

Under manager Eduardo Berizzo, Celta have developed into a team that plays with a high tempo, yet possesses sufficient composure to win by single goals and see games out. It was this trait which enabled Celta to qualify for this season’s UEL, and even the strongest teams will underestimate at their peril. Unlike BSC Young Boys, Celta have also improved consistently as a team.

FC Zurich has the lowest coefficient in this hypothetical third pot, but the main reason for their identification as the easiest team is simple. Zurich won the domestic trophy, but suffered league relegation, weakening the squad ahead of this campaign.

Monday, 15 August 2016

What will Andre Ayew bring to West Ham?

What will Andre Ayew bring to West Ham?

After a long summer in which West Ham have been linked to countless strikers, the Hammers surprised everyone by quickly targeting, and signing, Andre Ayew from Swansea for £20 million. This move came out of nowhere really so what can West Ham expect from their new forward?

When Swansea signed Ayew on a free transfer last summer from Marseille, the Premier League didn’t really take much notice. After scoring against Chelsea on the opening day, they certainly did. Ayew is a quick player who is able to run in behind defences and due to a low centre of gravity, he is able to turn quickly in order to get that extra yard. Also, he may look short but Ayew has scored some good headers in this time so he is also very good in the air.

The price is of course a concern and Swansea must be laughing all the way to the bank considering they got him for nothing last year and just made a £20 million profit on him. However, this does show that West Ham are willing to pay big money for the players they want and are not afraid to break their transfer record in order to get them.

Overall, I feel the Ayew will be a great signing for West Ham as he is quick, can take defenders on and is good in the air. Stick him up top with our previous transfer record signing Andy Carroll and we have a forward line which will be able to cause a lot of problems for teams this year.

By Brad Freelove