All the early team news and background for Saturday's return to the Boleyn
WEST HAM UNITED v MANCHESTER UNITED
BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE
SATURDAY 2 APRIL 2011
• West Ham United welcome the Barclays Premier League leaders to the Boleyn
Ground looking to make it four home wins in a row in all competitions for
the first time since September 2008.
• Back-to-back wins for the first time since February 2010 over Liverpool
and Stoke City followed by a goalless draw at Tottenham Hotspur a fortnight
ago have seen the Hammers climb out of the relegation zone into 17th place.
• West Ham have not kept three clean sheets in a row in the league since
March 2009 when they secured 1-0 wins against Manchester City and Wigan
Athletic and a goalless draw with West Bromwich Albion.
• Manchester United are five points clear at the top of the table but will
be aware they were beaten 4-0 in a Carling Cup tie at the Boleyn Ground on
30 November. They have also failed to win eleven of their 15 away matches
• West Ham have lost just one of their last seven Barclays Premier League
matches, defeating Blackpool, Liverpool and Stoke City, drawing at Everton,
West Bromwich Albion and Tottenham, and losing narrowly at home to
• Before the 4-0 Hammers win in November, Manchester United had scored 13
goals without reply in the previous five meetings between the sides. The Red
Devils triumphed in every one of those contests and had actually won
previous last half-dozen encounters.
• The Hammers' last Barclays Premier League success was a 2-1 triumph at
home on 29 December 2007, thanks to Matt Upson's late headed winner.
• West Ham will appear live on television for the 17th time this season,
with Saturday's fixture being screened on Sky Sports. The Hammers have won
five, drawn three and lost eight of their previous 16 live-televised matches
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Last time out
Saturday 19 March 2011
Barclays Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur 0-0 West Ham United
West Ham United: Green, Jacobsen, Da Costa, Upson, Bridge, Noble, Parker,
Hitzlsperger, O'Neil, Cole (Obinna 78), Ba
Subs not used: Boffin,
Saturday 19 March 2011
Barclays Premier League
Manchester United 1-0 Bolton Wanderers
Manchester United: Van der Sar, Evra, Brown (Fabio 46), Smalling, Evans,
GIggs, Carrick, Nani, Valencia, Rooney, Hernandez (Berbatov 46)
Subs not used: Kusczak, Gill, Park, Gibson, Owen
Goal: Berbatov 88
West Ham entertained Manchester United on 30 November in a Carling Cup
fifth-round match. The Hammers won 4-0 thanks to two goals from Jonathan
Spector and a second-half double by Carlton Cole.
West Ham United: Green, Ben Haim, Upson, Spector, Faubert, Tomkins (Reid
74), Kovac, Boa Morte, Barrera (Hines 76), Cole (Stanislas 89), Obinna
Subs not used: Boffin, Parker, McCarthy, Piquionne
Goals: Spector 22, 37, Cole 55, 66
Manchester United: Kuszczak, O'Shea, Smalling, Evans (Brown 72), Fabio
(Rafael 65), Obertan, Fletcher, Anderson, Giggs, Hernandez, Bebe (Macheda
Subs not used: Amos, Park, Carrick, Eikrem
• West Ham's record home win against Manchester United was a 5-1 success in
the old First Division on 11 October 1930.
• Manchester United's biggest triumph in east London was a 6-1 victory on 6
• The two sides have already met in the league this season when Manchester
United won 3-0 at home at Old Trafford on 28 August. A disputed penalty for
an apparent foul by Jonathan Spector on Ryan Giggs saw Wayne Rooney score
from the spot before Nani (50) and Dimitar Berbatov (69) rounded out what
proved a comfortable home win.
• Saturday's fixture marks the 122nd competitive fixture between West Ham
United and Manchester United. The Hammers have won 42, the Red Devils 55 and
there have been 24 draws.
• Avram Grant and Sir Alex Ferguson met as the Chelsea and Manchester United
managers in the 2008 UEFA Champions League final. The match finished 1-1
before the Reds won 6-5 on penalties.
• Thomas Hitzlsperger celebrates his 29th birthday on Sunday. James Tomkins
was 22 last Tuesday.
• West Ham have been caught offside (100) more times than any other side in
the top flight this campaign.
• Edwin van der Sar is second in the Barclays Premier League race for the
golden glove with 12 clean sheets. Only Joe Hart on 13 has more. Van de Sar
is in line for his 600th league match.
• Dimitar Berbatov is leading the race for the Golden Boot with 20 goals.
• Nani has had more shots off target than any other player in this season's
Barclays Premier League with 57. He has also had more assists (16).
• Manchester United have scored more late goals in the last ten minutes of
match than anyone else, with 13.
Last six meetings (Premier League unless stated)
30 November 2010 - West Ham United 4-0 Manchester United
28 August 2010 - Manchester United 3-0 West Ham United
23 February 2010 - Manchester United 3-0 West Ham United
5 December 2010 - West Ham United 0-4 Manchester United
8 February 2009 - West Ham United 0-1 Manchester United
29 October 2008 - Manchester United 2-0 West Ham United
Overall record v Manchester United (all competitions) W 42 D 24 L 55
v Tottenham Hotspur (all competitions) W 44 D 34 L 57
• Frederic Piquionne and Robbie Keane are both in contention to start,
meaning a full-fit complement of forwards in Avram Grant's squad.
• Jack Collison was due to figure for the reserves in Friday afternoon's
home match with Manchester United at Bishop's Stortford FC.
• West Ham manager Avram Grant is still without long-term absentee Peter
Kurucz (knee) and Junior Stanislas (groin).
• Kieron Dyer (Ipswich Town), Jordan Spence (Bristol City), Frank Nouble
(Charlton Athletic) and Olly Lee (Dagenham and Redbridge) are out on loan at
• Manchester United are definitely without the suspended Paul Scholes and
• Also out are Anderson and Anders Lindegaard (both knee), while Rio
Ferdinand (calf) and Darren Fletcher (virus) are also set to miss out. Sir
Alex Ferguson will also be missing Owen Hargreaves with a shoulder problem,
while John O'Shea and Rafael have hamstring issues.
West Ham United
2009/10 Premier League 17th (35 points)
2008/09 Premier League 9th (51 points)
2007/08 Premier League 10th (49 points)
2006/07 Premier League 15th (41 points)
2005/06 Premier League 9th (55 points)
2004/05 Championship 6th (73 points - promoted via play-offs)
2003/04 Championship 4th (74 points)
2002/03 Premier League 18th (42 points - relegated to Championship)
2001/02 Premier League 7th (53 points)
2000/01 Premier League 15th (42 points)
2009/10 Premier League 2nd (85 points)
2008/09 Premier League 1st (90 points)
2007/08 Premier League 1st (87 points)
2006/07 Premier League 1st (89 points)
2005/06 Premier League 2nd (83 points)
2004/05 Premier League 3rd (77 points)
2003/04 Premier League 3rd (75 points)
2002/03 Premier League 1st (83 points)
2001/02 Premier League 3rd (77 points)
2000/01 Premier League 1st (80 points)
• Saturday's referee is Lee Mason.
• His most recent Hammers' match was the 3-3 draw away to West Bromwich
Albion on 12 February 2011, with his last Manchester United game coming on
28 December and a 1-1 draw at Birmingham City.
• West Ham United defender Jonathan Spector joined Manchester United as a
17-year-old in 2003. The United States international, who has a German
passport, spent two seasons at Old Trafford - making eight appearances for
the first team - before moving to Charlton Athletic on a season-long loan in
the summer of 2005. Spector left Manchester United for West Ham in June 2006
for an initial fee of £500,000.
• Manchester United have two former West Ham United players in their squad.
England defender Rio Ferdinand made 158 appearances for the club between May
1996 and November 2000, scoring two goals. Midfielder Michael Carrick scored
six goals in 159 appearances between July 1999 and May 2004.
• Among the other players who have represented both clubs are Roy Carroll,
Noel Cantwell, Luke Chadwick, Billy Grassam, Paul Ince, Ralph Milne,
Frederick Milnes, Frank O'Farrell, Stuart Pearson, Dave Sexton, Teddy
Sheringham and Raimond van der Gouw.
• This match is sold-out. For general ticket information, click here.
• Saturday afternoon's forecast in east London is for an overcast day with
temperatures peaking around the 16C mark.
Reserves 0-1 Manchester United
Jack Collison returns as the Hammers host the Red Devils in the Barclays
Premier Reserve League
WEST HAM UNITED v MANCHESTER UNITED
BARCLAYS PREMIER RESERVE LEAGUE
FRIDAY 1 APRIL 2011
West Ham United reserves 0-1 Manchester United reserves
94 mins - That's full-time. It was a keenly-contested game, but one scrappy
goal was enough for Manchester United to take all three points. West Ham's
players look very disappointed. They didn't do a lot wrong, but have still
ended up on the losing side. One major plus was the appearance of Collison,
who showed plenty of glimpses of the talent he undoubtedly possesses. The
reserves return to action on 12 April when Aston Villa are the visitors to
Woodside Park for a 7pm kick-off. Before then, exclusive post-match reaction
and highlights will appear on whufc.com and West Ham TV soon.
93 mins - Less than 60 seconds left now and the ball is deep inside the West
Ham half. Looks like a second successive defeat unless something miraculous
91 mins - Collison shows fine control again before poking the ball through
to Ilunga, but he's offside. He crosses and Sears sees his shot saved by
Johnstone. It wouldn't have counted.
91 mins - We are into the first of at least three added minutes.
89 mins - Tombides tries to win a corner off Thorpe, but the ball goes
straight behind for a goal kick.
88 mins - Time is running out as Abdulla and Collison combine before the
former crosses from the left. Vose wins the header and it's on goal, but is
an easy claim for Johnstone.
86 mins - Moncur delivers a decent free-kick that eludes Ilunga and bounces
into the arms of Johnstone. Any sort of touch would surely have taken the
ball into the net. Unlucky.
85 mins - Sears is brought down by Thorpe about 35 yards out. Before the
free-kick is taken, Edgar is replaced by Dominic Vose.
83 mins - Good hold-up play from Tombides wide on the right. He lays the
ball back to Moncur, who loses his marker and shoots, but the ball flies
over the crossbar and the stand behind the goal.
81 mins - GOAL! That's a soft goal to concede. Norwood clips the corner to
the near post where Stech challenges a host of players. The ball drops to
Keane, whose shot loops over the head of Ilunga and into the net. Lingard is
on for King.
80 mins - Sears released Tombides down the left channel. He takes a touch
and looks up and tries to pick out Moncur, but Thorpe is there to stab the
ball behind. The corner is cleared and Vermijl streaks past Abdulla. He cuts
the ball back for Tunnicliffe, but Ilunga is there to block the ball behind.
79 mins - The sun is shining now but so far the improved weather hasn't
brought us any goals. This has been competitive, but there has been a lack
of goalmouth action at both ends. Tunnicliffe needs some repairs to his
right hand. I think Faubert accidentally trod on him a minute or two back.
77 mins - Collison draws some cheers as he does a couple of drag-backs to
lose two Manchester United players inside his own half. Quality play from
the Wales midfielder.
76 mins - Faubert heads behind for a corner. Norwood chips the ball up to
the near post where Stech claims. Manchester United come again moments later
and Ilunga challenges King and the ball rolls behind.
73 mins - The youngsters over in the opposite stand to me are singing 'West
Ham', but it's the away side who are inspired as King shoots powerfully from
25 yards. Stech tips over for a corner. McNaughton clears and Sears wins a
throw near halfway.
72 mins - Wooton shoves Tombides to the ground. Free-kick about 35 yards
out. Faubert delivers and the ball drops to McNaughton, but his pass to
Edgar is mis-placed and the visitors clear.
71 mins - Moncur releases Collison. He carries the ball 30 yards but is
caught in two minds. His cross is easily claimed by Johnstone.
69 mins - Petrucci works some space about 25 yards out, but he doesn't catch
his shot strongly and Stech collects.
68 mins - King flashes an angled drive across the face of goal and behind,
drawing 'Oooohs' from many of the 1,106 fans inside Woodside Park.
64 mins - Faubert crosses low towards Collison, but Wooton sticks out a leg
and diverts the ball behind for a corner. Faubert delivers and the ball is
cleared. The Red Devils break and, although McNaughton clears the initial
danger, Abdulla is caught in possession and nearly made to pay by Dudgeon.
McNaughton blocks and Ilunga finally clears.
62 mins - Petrucci cuts inside on to his right foot and shoots, but it's
blocked by the knees of McNaughton.
60 mins - It's Driver who is replaced by Collison. Faubert goes to
right-back. Cole is replaced by Petrucci for the visitors.
59 mins - Collison is preparing to come on. He has his No14 shirt on and is
having a quick drink. He has a big smile on his face. Manchester United are
also preparing a substitute.
57 mins - Chances at both ends in the space of 30 seconds. First, Keane gets
past Ilunga and crosses, but Eyjolfsson clears with a diving header. Edgar
then releases Faubert, who crosses low to the edge of the box. Tombides
shoots, but it's blocked by Wooton.
56 mins - Collison has plenty of supporters here this afternoon. Zavon
Hines, James Tomkins and Danny Gabbidon are all here to cheer their mate on.
54 mins - King causes trouble down the left and both West Ham centre-backs
are out of position when the ball is crossed low to Tunnicliffe. He takes a
touch 22 yards out before shooting, but Ilunga blocks and Abdulla slides in
52 mins - Collison is warming-up to my right. The word is that he will play
between 20 and 30 minutes.
51 mins - Two rows in front of me are Avram Grant, Paul Groves and Kevin
Keen. Goalkeeper coach David Coles is also here. The quartet travelled up
the M11 after first-team training was completed at lunchtime.
50 mins - Edgar chips the ball over to the byline for Driver, who volleys a
fine cross into the mixer. It bounces up off Thorpe but drops to a
Manchester United player and the visitors clear their lines.
48 mins - McNaughton is penalised for an aerial challenge on King. Norwood
sends the free-kick over and it flashes through the crowded penalty area and
bounces out for a goal kick.
46 mins - Driver almost has a moment to forget as he completely misses his
kick on the edge of the penalty area. Thankfully, Stech is alert and comes
out and picks up ahead of Tunnicliffe.
46 mins - Sears and Tombides get the second 45 minutes up and running after
a short delay while we wait for Abdulla and Edgar. The sun is trying to come
out here as the second half begins. No changes from either manager at
Half-time score - West Ham United reserves 0-0 Manchester United reserves
46 mins - Abdulla heads clear to Tunnicliffe, who tries an ambitious
first-time volley from 25 yards. It bounces well wide of the left-hand post.
Stech clears upfield and that's half-time.
45 mins - Tunnicliffe tries to dink a ball over McNaughton for Vermijl, but
Eyjolfsson is there to nod the ball safely into the arms of Stech. We will
have at least one minute of added time.
42 mins - Tombides shows a nice turn of pace, spinning away from Wooton
before shooting from about 25 yards. The shot is always rising, though, and
flies into the front of the stand.
41 mins - Moncur wins a corner, but it's taken short and wasted. King runs
50 yards with the ball but his cross is cut out by McNaughton and Driver
40 mins - Close! Sears finds Edgar and he accelerates between two defenders
before pulling the ball back, but it's between Tombides and Faubert. Moments
later, Edgar crosses again, but the angle is against Driver as he heads
39 mins - Faubert robs Dudgeon and Edgar and Tombides are two-on-two, but
the former is held back and West Ham have a free-kick 40 yards out. Faubert
curls it over, but it's too deep and bounces behind for a goal kick.
37 mins - Moncur holds off Vermijl and finds Driver, who releases Faubert
down the right. He crosses and Wooton concedes a corner. The delivery is
deep to Edgar, who retrieves and crosses high, but Johnstone collects.
34 mins - The threat of Sears has forced a change in formation from the
visitors. Keane has come across to right-back and Brown is now playing in
midfield. Dudgeon has gone to left-back.
33 mins - Sears is involved again, running down the left and cutting inside
before shooting. The ball hits the roof of the stand.
31 mins - That's the best chance of the game. Ilunga takes a quick free-kick
on halfway before over-lapping Sears. The left-back receives the return ball
and crosses to Edgar, who takes a touch and shoots, but Wooton is there to
head the ball over the bar. From the corner, the ball drops to Moncur 25
yards out. He catches his shot flush, but it hits a defender.
28 mins - Driver makes a fine interception on halfway and finds Faubert. He
feeds the ball left for Sears, who touches it left to Edgar. He beats Brown
on his outside and runs into the box before going to ground. Tentative
claims for a penalty are waved away by the referee.
26 mins - Eyjolfsson gets too tight to King and ends up pulling back the
No9. Free-kick to Manchester United about 28 yards out, just left of centre.
Norwood curls a superb effort over the wall and Stech dives full-length to
push the ball around the post. Stech claims the corner.
24 mins - Driver is back on. West Ham go on the attack and Sears bursts past
Brown. However, the ball bobbles as he passes left to Tombides, allowing
Tunnicliffe time to slide in and clear the ball for a throw.
22 mins - Callum Driver goes up for a header and takes a whack on the back
of the head for his troubles. Lomas sends Modelski out to warm-up. The
physio comes on to tend to Driver.
21 mins - The playing surface is not making passing football the easiest
task in the world. We're at the start of April, of course, and Bishop's
Stortford have had a busy season in the Blue Square South.
18 mins - Now a chance from a set piece for West Ham as Faubert is bundled
over by Wooton. Edgar chooses to shoot from about 35 yards and his effort
hits the wall.
16 mins - Driver clips Dudgeon wide on the left and the visitors have a
chance to get some quality into the box. Norwood bends over the free-kick
and it bounces awkwardly past Stech and just clears the far post.
13 mins - Stech claims a long throw and immediately belts the ball upfield.
Brown slips and Tombides would be in, only for the clearance to skip off the
turf and out for a goal kick at the far end.
11 mins - Edgar gets free down the left and has time and space to cross. He
checks on to his right foot and crosses. The ball hits Thorpe on the head
and is going into the net until goalkeeper Johnstone palms it around the
post. The corner is won by Tombides, but his header hits a defender and the
ball is cleared.
10 mins - That's a decent chance. Faubert bulldozes through one challenge
before playing a one-two with Tombides. He crosses from near the corner flag
and Sears is unmarked on the penalty spot, but cannot direct his header on
7 mins - Stech is called into action again. Larnell Cole shoots from 25
yards and the ball clips Driver and loops towards the top right-hand corner.
The Czech Republic U21 stopper tips the ball over. The corner is delivered
to the near post and flicks high off the head of McNaughton and safely into
the hands of Stech.
7 mins - Sears has a run down the left before prodding the ball inside for
Edgar, but it's too strong and the visitors are easily able to clear.
5 mins - It's been a rather subdued opening so far. The gusty wind is making
it a bit difficult to get the ball down and play for both sides.
2 mins - Manchester United create the first chance. The ball drops to
Tunnicliffe 25 yards out, but he drags his shot into the ground. Vermijl
slides in and his initial shot is blocked by Stech before he stabs the
rebound into the net. Thankfully, Vermijl was flagged offside.
2pm - Tunnicliffe and King get the game up and running, but the ball is
punted straight out of play on the near side.
1.59pm - Manchester United will get us underway when the PA announcer has
finished running through the two sides!
1.57pm - The two teams emerge from the tunnel, led by captains Callum
McNaughton and Scott Wooton.
1.50pm - There is a very healthy crowd in, as I said, certainly a few
hundred. The two teams have headed back to their dressing rooms for their
final preparations. The mid-morning sunshine has disappeared behind some
grey clouds. Let's hope we don't have any rain.
1.30pm - Collison is out warming up with his team-mates for the first time
in more than a year. He has a big smile on his face, as you might expect.
There is quite a decent crowd in at Bishop's Stortford, including children
from two local primary schools.
1.15pm - There will be more than 50 scouts at today's game, no doubt hoping
to spot some talent that might provide their club with some quality next
season. The Football League loan deadline has passed now, but players will
be keen to find themselves regular first-team football in 2010/11 in the
shape of a loan move.
1.05pm - While we're on the subject of the reserves, the away match at
Wolverhampton Wanderers has been put back 24 hours and will now take place
at AFC Telford United on Wednesday 27 April. Kick-off is at 7pm. Back here
at Woodside Park, goalkeepers Marek Stech and Sam Cowler are the first two
Hammers out to go through their pre-match warm-up.
Good afternoon and welcome to Woodside Park for today's Barclays Premier
Reserve League clash between West Ham United and Manchester United.
The big team news is that Jack Collison has been named among the West Ham
substitutes and could make his first club appearance since the 3-0 Barclays
Premier League defeat by the Red Devils at Old Trafford on 23 February 2010.
Since then, Collison has been ruled out with a serious knee injury, but he
is now well down the road to recovery.
The home side will be keen to get back to winning ways after going down to a
4-1 defeat at Blackburn Rovers on Monday and will be boosted by the return
to reserve-team duty of Freddie Sears, Herita Ilunga and Julien Faubert.
Holmar Orn Eyjolfsson also starts four days after scoring the winner for
Iceland U21s against England on Monday evening.
Manager Steve Lomas will also be eager to avenge the 7-1 Premier League
thrashing he suffered as a West Ham player at Old Trafford eleven years ago
For the visitors, five of the starters were also in the XI that knocked West
Ham out of the FA Youth Cup at the fourth-round stage on 19 January.
West Ham United reserves: Stech, Driver (Collison 60), Ilunga, McNaughton,
Eyjolfsson, Abdulla, Moncur, Edgar, Faubert, Sears, Tombides
Subs: Cowler, Modelski, Vose, McCallum
Manchester United reserves: Johnstone, Brown, M.Keane, Wooton, Thorpe,
Norwood, Vermijl, Tunnicliffe, King (Lingard 81), Cole (Petrucci 60),
Lomas hails Collison return
Steve Lomas has highlighted the plus-points from Friday's reserve league
defeat by Manchester United
Steve Lomas was taking the proverbial positives out of Friday's 1-0 Barclays
Premier Reserve League defeat by Manchester United - not least Jack
Collison's comeback. Lomas' West Ham United produced a committed,
whole-hearted display against the Red Devils, only to see their efforts
undone by Michael Keane's scrappy 81st-minute winner at Woodside Park. The
full-back struck after Marek Stech was unable to claim Adam Norwood's
left-wing corner, looping his shot over Herita Ilunga and into the net from
eight yards. Dylan Tombides, Anthony Edgar and George Moncur all had chances
to score for the hosts, while there was also the welcome sight of Collison
returning from 13 months on the sidelines with a serious knee injury.
Collison successfully came through a 30-minute substitute appearance,
earning praise from his manager and a warm welcome from team-mates Danny
Gabbidon, James Tomkins and Zavon Hines, as well as the 1,106-strong crowd.
"I thought we did a lot of good things," Lomas told West Ham TV. "I thought
the manner the boys went about their jobs was good, I thought we probably
completed the better chances in the first half - Dylan had a free header and
obviously Anthony Edgar was unlucky with a shot that got blocked. "While
it's still nil-nil, you are always liable that something like that can
happen and it was a very scrappy goal. Marek [Stech] had done very well with
most of the things he had come for and I think he knows that, if he comes,
he has to collect. "Obviously to get beaten by a goal like that was very
disappointing but, like I said, there were plenty of positives - Jack
Collison coming back after a year was a big boost for the kid. I've been
there before, in the gym for a year while the lads are outside, and just
wanted to play football. That was a big boost for him and a big boost for
While the result itself was not what Lomas or his players would have wanted,
the former West Ham midfielder was delighted to see Collison back in action
after an extended and, at times, gruelling period in the treatment room.
"He's a good footballer, there are no two ways about it. That'll never go
away and you just hope that all the work he has done to strengthen is knee
is going to hold up. "We've got to treat him right and it was correct to
just give him 30 minutes. It's a natural progression. He's such a good lad
and so wants to play football, so it was a big boost for him."
The Hammers' hopes of lifting the Southern Division title have now all but
evaporated but, with three fixtures still to play, Lomas is still hoping for
a positive climax to the season. "I look back and we've had three games in
ten days, two of them away from home, and a lot of our lads might not be
used to that. I think that's a plus, because they're getting to learn that
you've sometimes got to play three games in ten days and physically it's
demanding. "I can't fault their work-rate and attitude on Friday because I
thought it was first-class. They went about things the right way. They
probably didn't create quite as much as we'd have liked, but the pitch was a
bit lively - it was a typical end of season pitch where you've got to watch
everything on to your boots - but there were a lot of plusses and some
things that we'll work on. "The lads are developing and as long as I see the
effort and them trying to do the right things, I'll be happy. I obviously
wasn't happy with the defeat, but I was happy with a lot of things."
Hammers represent Young Lions
West Ham United continue to be well represented at all levels with England
Leo Chambers and Blair Turgott have both had a week to remember with England
at age-group level. Chambers was part of the Under-16 side that won the
Victory Shield home-nations tournament with a 2-1 win against Scotland in
Morecambe. The Hammers centre-back made his Under-18 bow for the Academy
last Saturday and followed that up by playing the entire game against the
Scots and putting in a strong defensive display. Meanwhile, Blair Turgott
and Matthias Fanimo could be playing at the UEFA European Under-17
Championship this summer after the Young Lions beat Spain 2-1 in a decisive
Elite round qualifier. Turgott, who scored two in two previous matches to
set-up the Spain showdown, and Fanimo should both figure in the eight-nation
finals in Serbia between 3 and 17 May,. After Jordan Spence and James
Tomkins both played for the U21s on Monday in a 2-1 friendly defeat by
Iceland, the next young Hammers to represent the Young Lions will be George
Moncur and Robert Hall. They are in the squad to face Italy in a friendly in
Carpi on 12 April.
Mine's a large one!
Filed: Friday, 1st April 2011
By: Staff Writer no.2
For the benefit of those who haven't quite worked out what day it is yet, of
course they're not going to move the Boleyn brick by brick to Stratford.
That would be as silly as changing the lyrics to "Bubbles", sending Kieron
Dyer to spend some time with Dr Brian Cox at the Large Hadron Collider or us
ground-sharing with Millwall . All of which "happened" on this day in the
past. So, before Barry Hearn starts to threaten legal action over the price
of a pint in the new hostelry, we are happy to confirm that the Boleyn will
be staying right where it is. We still can't guarantee you'll be served
before the Olympics start though!
West Ham United v Manchester United - Match Preview
Filed: Friday, 1st April 2011
By: Preview Percy
Preview Percy has taken time out from moaning about the cut in his winter
fuel payments to give us his usual warped view of this weekend's
Next we have a visit from the club from Salford that nobody likes.
It's a middle of the night (oh alright Saturday lunchtime if you insist)
kick-off at 12.45pm and, I am reliably informed that there are no
engineering works on our bit of the District Line. Transport for London you
spoil us. Don't get used to it though – the men leaning on their shovels
will be back for every Saturday 'twixt now and season's end. Except for 23rd
April. When we're away anyway.
The other United (so named to ape their betters who adopted the name well
before they did) come to the Boleyn sitting rather unconvincingly at the top
of the league at present. Their last six league matches have seen them win
three and lose three (compared with our own 3-2-1 record). Tellingly, whilst
their last 6 at home have all been won, their form on their travels has been
patchy at best where they've won two (at Wigan 1-0 and 3-2 at Blackpool),
drawn one (0-0 at Spurs) and lost three (2-1 at Chelsea, 2-1 at Wolves and
3-1 at Liverpool). So the fact that they remain top of the pile has much to
do with the fact that other teams in and around the top have failed to
capitalise on the leaders' stuttering form.
One shouldn't go much further without mentioning the fact that their manager
won't be down in the dugout to give his wisdom and guidance to the match
officials, having finally incurred the wrath of the FA after so many years
of getting away with it. The down side to this is that he's likely to be
seated in the upper tier of the West Stand where those of us from the home
for the bewildered like to reside on matchdays. I realise that Ferguson is
also of pensionable age but we do have standards in our part of the ground.
So if he so much as thinks about trying to nick my tartan blanket to keep
warm I shall have no hesitation in administering a short, sharp shock with
my brand new Dyer 5000 walking stick.
There is of course a nice irony in the fact that Ferguson will have to climb
the stairs to the posh seats following an attack on referees from whom his
side have traditionally received so much help over the years. You only have
to look at the match-changing penalty decision given to his side in the
rather fortunate 3-2 win at Blackpool a few weeks ago to see how little has
changed despite all the mind-games. As Avram Grant pointed out in response
to Ferguson's latest efforts to influence matters, he should try being us
before he complains too much.
In goal they will feature Edwin Van Der Saar, a goalkeeper who is so old he
could probably fit in in our part of the ground without looking out of
place. Of course goalkeeper is the one position where players tend to
improve with age and the Dutchman has indeed enjoyed a decent season. He's
announced his intention to retire at the end of the current term though
there is a continuing campaign to have him change his mind.
They have problems in defence at present. Former Hammer Rio Ferdinand is
out. Although it was thought that the real England skipper would be out for
the rest of the season the latest prognosis is that he may be fit for the
run-in, though not for this week. Ferdinand has spent much of the season in
the treatment room. This is presumably a different treatment room to that
occupied for much of the year by our own Kieron Dyer. Which is a shame
really as they could have swapped holiday stories from old trips to Aya
Napa. I understand they made full use of their hotel carvery last time they
were there judging by the number of Google entries that appear with the word
"Roast" next to their names.
Ferdinand's partner in their first choice central defence has been Nemanja
Vidic who, like Ferdinand, has been suffering from a calf muscle problem.
Unlike Ferdinand, Vidic was on international duty in midweek, somehow
escaping from the general principle that Man Utd players should only play
international matches when it suits Man Utd. Quite how Ferguson reacted to
the news that Vidic had played all 90 minutes of Serbia's Euro 2012
qualifier against Estonia we can only speculate.
The central defensive area has been further weakened by the absence of
Northern Ireland international Jonny Evans whose tackle on Bolton's Stuart
Holden last weekend saw him pick up a three match ban. I say weakened,
arguably the reverse is true if his performance in the 4-0 Carling Cup
drubbing is anything to go by. The injuries and suspensions will mean that
Vidic will be partnered by Chris Smalling who, commentators love to point
out, was playing non-league football last Tuesday or something.
In midfield they'll also be without Paul Scholes who, for some reason, seems
to escape censure from commentators for the quality of his tackling. Whilst
anyone else who picked up 10 yellows in 21 domestic appearances would
probably be castigated by the media, with the telly boys every two footed
lunge is greeted with a cheery "well that's Paul Scholes for you".
Nani appears to have recovered from his near-death experience at the hands
of Carragher the Scouse donkey and will be a danger both from play and
play-acting, whilst Antonio Valencia, named after that famous Spanish
football club FC Antonio, may start this one after successfully recovering
from a horrible ankle break/dislocation he sustained back in September
against Rangers in the so-called Champions League. It was the sort of injury
that, back in the days when I first started watching football, would
probably have meant an end to the player's career. To us old timers it is
astounding that the player is playing at all let alone six months or so
after sustaining such an injury. How medical science has come on over the
Up front they'll have the scouse chubber Wayne "Lock Up Your Grannies"
Rooney alongside one of Javier Hernandez or Dimitar Berbatov. Hernandez
wears a shirt bearing his nickname "Chicharito" which means "Little Pea" a
problem suffered by many of us in the old folks home. Meanwhile rumours that
Spud-Face's shirt will bear the name "Shrek" in future seasons are of course
scurrilous and should not be given any credence.
And so to us. Team news is that nobody seems to be bearing any ill-effects
from the recent round of internationals. Arsenal's Wilshere may have picked
up many of the headlines in the 2-0 stroll against the Land Of Not enough
Vowels in the LLLLLanguage. However it was pleasing to see many pundits
recognising the role played by Scott Parker in providing the platform for
the rest of the team. It was, of course nice that we were only playing a
pretty awful Welsh XI who didn't exactly stretch Scotty, the match
resembling a light training session with the lot from over the Severn Bridge
playing the part of the cones. There are still concerns over Parker's
shoulder and calf but most sources suggest that he should be ok.
Freddie Piquionne will be available for selection having recovered from the
match-ending assault by Robert Huth in the 2-1 FA Cup defeat to Mike Jones a
few weeks ago, whilst Robbie Keane will also be available having been ruled
out by red-tape against Spurs.
Carlton Cole will also be available for selection despite having "tweeted"
(as I believe you kids call it) that he would not be in the squad, the
message appearing as some sort of April Fool joke. Stephen Fry eat your
On the injury front there was heartening news as Jack Collison played the
last half hour of the reserves' 1-0 defeat to the Salford Second String. The
club are rightly taking it easy as to the player's return and I suspect it
may be next season before we see him making a regular appearance in the
The draw at Spurs saw us get back on track after the Stoke farce and the Cup
defeat seems to be treated as the referee-inspired blip that it undoubtedly
was. Despite being on the back foot for periods at White Hart Lane there was
an air of calm about proceedings which wasn't there at the start of the
season and this gives me grounds for optimism this weekend. The visitors
haven't travelled well in recent weeks and the slightly makeshift nature of
their central defensive partnership is something that may interest Ba who is
an awkward customer at the best of times.
Prediction? Well though there is a small note of caution sitting at the back
of my head – let's face it for all their manager's posturings they do get
the rub of the green with officials – I'm in a good mood as my Saga Holiday
brochure has just arrived. So I'll throw caution to the wind and go for a
2-1 win and a relaxing Saturday afternoon watching the other results come
Enjoy the game!
Last season: Lost 0-4: The injury list got longer as Zavon Hines' season
came to an end. Robert Green threw up on the pitch. They were flattered.
Danger Man: Nani: will be a threat, particularly if he concentrates on
staying on his feet.
Referee: Lee Mason: Last seen officiating in the amazing 3-3 draw up at West
Brom in which it seemed that a player would have to virtually kill, maim or
disfigure someone to give away a penalty. Winston Reid in particular had
cause to thank his lucky stars.
Daft Fact Of The Week: ITV commentator Clive Tyldesley is paid £10,000 each
time he mentions their European Cup win over Bayern Munich, with a £5,000
bonus if he can get it into a match between two sides outside the Premier
League. So successful has Tyldesley been in his endeavours he has been able
to purchase three Caribbean islands on the proceeds and he was on the verge
of putting in a bid for Libya until recent events made negotiations a bit
West Ham v Man Utd preview
Hammers looking to repeat Carling Cup success earlier this season
Last updated: 1st April 2011
West Ham: WLDWWD
Man Utd: LWWLLW
West Ham: Jack Collison
Man Utd: John O'Shea, Rio Ferdinand, Wes Brown, Rafael, Darren Fletcher,
Man Utd: Jonny Evans, Paul Scholes
Sky Bet odds: West Ham 7/2 Draw 5/2 Man Utd 4/5
Sky Bet Tip: West Ham to draw with Man Utd, 5/2.
Bet on this match
Opta stat: Javier Hernandez has scored 10 goals from just 14 shots on target
and four headed goals from just five headers on target.
LIVE ON SKY SPORTS
West Ham v Man Utd
12.30pm, Sat, Sky Sports HD2, Sky Sports 2 and online with Sky Player
Manchester United will be aiming to apply the early weekend pressure in the
Premier League title race against a West Ham United side in need of the
points in their bid for survival. The current leaders can boast an enviable
recent record against Saturday's opponents after winning the last five
Premier League meetings without conceding a goal. However, West Ham were the
first team to inflict defeat on the Red Devils this season following a 4-0
victory at Upton Park in the Carling Cup quarter-finals in November. The
Hammers ultimately lost to Birmingham City in the semi-finals, but have been
in encouraging form of late following just one defeat in six league games.
That sequence has lifted Avram Grant's side out of the relegation zone and
has been aided by the return to fitness of Thomas Hitzlsperger. The Germany
international has formed an impressive midfield triumvirate with Scott
Parker and Mark Noble, while the goals of January recruit Demba Ba have also
reinvigorated West Ham. The Red Devils' bid for a record-breaking 19th
title, meanwhile, has stuttered in recent weeks on the back of three defeats
in six matches and the trip to Upton Park will be a fifth away game out of
seven. Upton Park has been a graveyard for United's title hopes in the past,
most famously in 1995 when the Hammers held Sir Alex Ferguson's side to a
1-1 draw as Blackburn Rovers hung on to win the league. With a five-point
cushion over Arsenal, and a nine-point advantage over reigning champions
Chelsea, albeit having played a game more than both clubs, Ferguson will
want his team to pick up a win at West Ham to put his team's title rivals
Hammers boss Grant has more options to choose from than for some time and
both Frederic Piquionne and Robbie Keane are available for the game.
Piquionne missed the 0-0 draw at Tottenham Hotspur last time due to a foot
injury, but the international break has allowed the striker to return to
fitness. Keane missed over a month with a thigh problem but, having made a
brief substitute's appearance against Stoke City in the FA Cup, the on-loan
forward had to sit out against parent club Spurs before playing for the
Republic of Ireland last weekend. Influential midfielder Parker picked up
shoulder and calf injuries on England duty, but he is expected to be fit to
start on Saturday.
The visitors continue to experience defensive problems ahead of the journey
to the capital, although captain Nemanja Vidic should be fit to start. Vidic
has recently been sidelined with a calf injury, but played for Serbia in
midweek and should partner the improving Chris Smalling at centre-half.
Jonny Evans is suspended after being sent off in the 1-0 win over Bolton
last time, while Rio Ferdinand, John O'Shea, Wes Brown and Rafael are all
injured, so Fabio may start at right-back. Paul Scholes serves the second
game of a suspension for accruing 10 yellow cards this season, and Darren
Fletcher is still struggling with a virus after almost a month out, bur the
likes of Antonio Valencia, Anderson and Park Ji-sung are available. Dimitar
Berbatov could also earn a recall to the starting line-up after coming off
the bench to score the winner against Bolton, while Wayne Rooney was excused
from England's friendly draw with Ghana on Tuesday.
Possible starting XIs
West Ham: Green, Jacobsen, Da Costa, Upson, Bridge, Noble, Parker,
Hitzlsperger, O'Neil, Ba, Piquionne.
Man Utd: Van der Sar, Fabio, Smalling, Vidic, Evra, Valencia, Carrick,
Giggs, Nani, Rooney, Berbatov.
Grant eyes bright future
Hammers boss optimistic for club's future
Last updated: 1st April 2011
West Ham manager Avram Grant claims the future for the club is bright should
they stay in the Premier League this season. The Hammers have endured a
tricky campaign under the Israeli coach and are currently 17th in the table
with eight games remaining. They take on Manchester United in a crunch
encounter on Saturday and seem to have turned the corner after a tough
start. Midfielder Mark Noble argued earlier in the week that the squad could
push for UEFA Champions League football next year, and Grant is also
optimistic for the future. "It is good that players have ambition but first
we need to stay in the league," he said. "As I said when I came here, and
even when we had difficult times, we have a vision at this club. "Part of
the vision is to be in the top third of the league and I think we can do it,
but we need to do it step by step. "First we need to stay in the league,
second we need to analyse what we can do better in the next season. "One
thing I agree with Mark about - without mentioning the Champions League - is
that this team is a good team and we can improve. In the next year we can
get better and better."
West Ham's good run has coincided with Thomas Hitzlsperger's return from
injury, but Grant is not wondering what could have been had the German been
fit from the start of the campaign. "My father always told me to look
forward so to look back is only to learn from things," he added. "We didn't
have Thomas and we know if he had been with us maybe we had, not for sure,
more points. "He is a very good player, a very good person and a top
professional," he added. "You know we took him at the start of the season
and he was our first signing because we saw that he would add a lot to the
midfield. "He is a player that knows how to do everything: defence,
movement, assist and scoring goals. "We missed him a lot and now we are
playing like we did in the preparation games and his contribution you can
see. It has been good and it can be better."
What's the Story With Carlton Cole?
April 1st, 2011 - 10:54 am by Iain Dale
West Ham Till I Die
What on earth is going on? This is from Carlton Cole's Twitter feed in the
last few minutes…
Got into training feeling good to find I'm not in the squad for this weekend
due to certain issues can't say too much at the mo..
Don't wanna make the situation worse. Gonna still train hard and be ready
for the next match coyi. I now the boys can get 3 points 2moro
What are these "certain issues"? Surely not to do with his comments on
Twitter on Wednesday during the England match? Or is it something more
UPDATE: As GoatyGav says, it could be an April Fool… or….
Karren Brady's football diary
KARREN BRADY - First lady of football
Saturday, March 26
WE always wish our players the best of luck before internationals but, to be
honest, what we really hope is that they return fit and well. You can
imagine our anxiety about Robbie Keane when we knew he would be playing for
the Republic of Ireland today. We had to go along with the striker's
calculation that he had fully recovered from the calf injury he suffered
days after signing on loan from Spurs. He expected to be substituted fairly
early but didn't come off until only three minutes were left, having scored
in a good win. Now we wait, fingers crossed, that there will be no reaction.
Sunday, March 27
ANYONE else sick to death of 'Cesc for Barca' stories? They have been
running longer than The Mousetrap it seems to me and, similarly, the end
result remains a mystery I no longer care about. The bidding begins again
today with comments from president Sandro Rosell that there's no way on
earth Barcelona will pay £43million for the Arsenal midfielder. Why doesn't
he just shut up then? Surely his club have made more illegal approaches for
the magical little entertainer than an obsessed punter at the kerbside. And
that's just how they strike me - all mouth and bulging trousers.
Monday, March 28
FAR from screaming about how badly players behave, I think it's a wonder
many turn out as well as they do. Simply put, parents can be a pain, or much
Mothers are the more exacting. Their chief concern is that the manager
cannot see their son is the greatest prospect since George Best. Too many
dads see pound notes first, the son's development a far-off second. One
turned up at the training ground threatening to shoot the whole staff unless
a release was signed to let his lad go to another club. Another demanded to
know why his didn't earn as much as Wayne Rooney, who was 17 at the time.
That's almost funny.
Much less so was the behaviour of one father who stole his son's credit
card, ran up a £15,000 debt and went back to his native country. The player
cried from the shame of it in my office and so did I in disgust at how he
had been treated. I gave him the money to pay it off.
Tuesday, March 29
MANCHESTER UNITED are named in an online survey as the most hated company in
Britain. I'm not sure whether this emotion was brought about by contempt for
the Glazer family or because the survey was taken in Liverpool. Anyway,
tonight, in the Wembley draw against Ghana, we saw the outline of a
promising England team of the future and I can quite see such players as
keeper Joe Hart and Jack Wilshere - who has a great dad who is a big West
Ham supporter - winning 100 caps.
The same could be true of Andy Carroll but strikers of his style are bound
to be more vulnerable to injury as well as the kind of hero worship and
jealousy he's bound to attract. Carroll seems an outgoing type, to say the
least, and he has to try to follow Capello's advice about control of his
Wednesday, March 30
MIKE ASHLEY is not going to win any Toon popularity award. Yet he should be
given credit for the enormous sums of money he is losing on Newcastle, as
his accounts up to last July reveal today. A year in the Championship proved
costly to the tune of £42million so fans should go easier on the criticism.
However, I can't let one comment from his chief executive Derek Llambias go
quietly. Rubbing his boss with the embrocation of gross flattery, he says:
"Quite honestly, Newcastle United would not be here without him." Quite
honestly, that's rubbish. The club is bigger than him, just as West Ham is
bigger than us all. Newcastle United will exist when Mike Ashley has gone to
the great casino in the sky.
Thursday, March 31
AS a manager previously, Kenny Dalglish always seemed rather angry about
something or other. This time around he's entirely different and it is easy
to understand why people close to him liked him so much. I suppose he feels
more relaxed now that he's home again at Anfield. He understands Liverpool
is more than a club and that the challenge is to revive its unique appeal as
the working-class art house of football. Necessary though it may be, leaving
Anfield for him would not be a simple act of moving the bootroom to the
depths of a new stadium because it would tear out a small piece of his
heart. Today, as Kenny muses about the near impossibility of adding a
sponsor's name to Anfield, Chelsea accept they are unable to find a company
to pay £100m to tie their name to the Bridge. I have to say, in terms of
historic grounds, Chelsea couldn't tie Liverpool's boots.
Friday, April 1
LOOK, it's no April Fool's jest to say that West Ham will beat Man U
tomorrow at Upton Park. We are ripe for it. There is a terrific energy about
the club at the moment, as if the doldrums are behind us and we're sailing
to safety. OK, so I'm tempting fate.
However, Fergie's team must be on edge after a modest set of results and,
although I suspect United will prove to be more resilient than Arsenal and
the other Premier League contenders, they will have no sharper opponents the
rest of the domestic season than our current side. Ferguson, a master of
psychology, has tried to take the weight off his players by saying that
winning one major trophy will represent success. I'm not at all sure he
would regard victory in just the FA Cup as such.
But, in the end, United should secure a boring, boring Double.
Matthew's loving the Upson downs
By ANDREW DILLON
MATTHEW UPSON admits playing for West Ham will make or break you. In just
over four years, the Hammers skipper has seen bubbles burst with lows, more
lows, even more lows... and the odd high. Drama is never far away whether it
is regular relegation battles, wrangles off the pitch, epic cup wins,
heartbreaking cup defeats, takeovers, stadium battles or riots on the
terraces. So much so that today's match at Upton Park can be billed as Mad
Utd versus Man Utd. Typically, they are battling for survival as they take
on the league leaders, with just eight games left to save their skins.
Luckily, Upson does not do boring, as a turbulent season even by West Ham's
standards heads towards a nerve-jangling climax. The centre-back, 31, said:
"Things have been so up and down and we have had to roll with the punches.
It can make you strong or it can ruin you. "At the end of this season I'll
have been here for 4½ years. We had one season under Gianfranco Zola where
we gave ourselves half a chance of getting into Europe but then finished
ninth. "Other than that, it's been a scrap. We've had to deal with a lot
this season and, if you're not careful, that can get on top of morale. "But
the lads seem more organised now and seem to have shaken it off. "I don't
want a boring season ever and there's never a dull moment here. At least if
you're at the bottom of the table there's a bit of drama and passion. "I
realise fans are probably pulling their hair out but I do want success
which, this season, means staying up. "It's a rollercoaster here but I've
loved it right from the start." Matthew Upson was speaking at a joint West
Ham and Kickz multi-sports community initiative for kids.
Grant: It has Scott to be Parker
AVRAM GRANT insists Scott Parker should be named Player of the Year when the
PFA announce their award in two weeks' time. West Ham boss Grant said: "I
don't see anyone better this season. "He gives everything for the team, he
always trains well, he is always positive and he is a great example for
other players. "The Footballer of the Year is someone who must set an
example on and off the pitch and there is no doubt he has been a good role
model for young players. "He is one of the best I have ever worked with."
April Fools Cole and Wilshere have last laugh on Twitter
Published 23:01 01/04/11 By Neil McLeman
Carlton Cole and Jack Wilshere were happy to play the fool yesterday.
England striker Cole used his Twitter page to crank up the laughometer on
April Fool's Day by claiming he had been dropped for today's home clash with
Manchester United. He tweeted: "Got into training feeling good to find I'm
not in the squad for this weekend due to certain issues can't say too much
at the mo." Cole later added: "Haha I'm just playing. I'm a fool everyday.
Well that's what they tell me" The West Ham forward's latest venture in
stand-up follows remarks he had to be removed in midweek before the
international with Ghana. Cole wrote: "Immigration has surrounded the
Wembley premises! I knew it was a trap! Hahahaha" Realising that his
comments were causing offence, Cole tweeted: 'To my Ghanian brothers dont
take it so seriously, its just jokes! Youve played well! Done africa proud!'
Cole was joined in April 1 japery yesterday by Arsenal's Jack Wilshere. He
tweeted: "Hello everyone...got some bad news..boss told me he wants to sell
me in the summer, gutted but have to listen to the boss!!! The teenager
later wrote: "APRIL FOOLS....not leaving really...had some of you though
right? Hope everyone has a good Aprill especially Arsenal :)"
Hammers boss blasts Capello for not going Green
Published 23:00 01/04/11 By Neil McLeman
Avram Grant has blasted Fabio Capello for failing to give Robert Green the
chance to banish his World Cup nightmare. The West Ham keeper has been in
the squad for the last five England matches but has not played since his
World Cup howler against the USA in Rustenburg. For the friendly against
Ghana in midweek, the Italian made major changes to the team which beat
Wales yet kept Joe Hart in goal. And Grant insisted it is poor treatment for
the No.1 he claims is currently "the best goalkeeper in the country". He
said: "Rob Green should have got some game time after being called up by
England. It was unfair to take him and not play him because he is in good
shape. "When everybody else played, he deserves to play for two reasons.
Firstly the manager changed all the team. Secondly if you look at Rob Green
in the last games in the last month he was the best goalkeeper in the
country." And the Hammers boss said he would have no worries about Green,
who faces Manchester United today, suffering another dip in confidence if he
failed again on the international stage. The Israeli said: "He started the
league not so good but he is very strong mentally with good character.
"Players will always make mistakes but for me it's not so important if they
make mistakes. It's important they recover. "And he has recovered very well
from the World Cup. He is still young. Experience for a goalkeeper is very
important and I think he will get better and better."
West Ham game is the big one for our Treble bid - Fergie
Published 16:45 01/04/11 By MirrorFootball
Sir Alex Ferguson believes Manchester United's Treble quest could hinge on
the outcome of tomorrow's visit to West Ham. Ferguson said earlier this week
that emulating the heroes of 1999 would be far harder than completing the
initial historic hat-trick was 12 years ago. Although there are some
formidable barriers in the way, including a two-legged Champions League
quarter-final with title rivals Chelsea and an eagerly-awaited FA Cup
semi-final against neighbours Manchester City, Ferguson's assessment is more
to do with the injuries he has to contend with. Despite a two-week
international break, Ferguson is actually worse off defensively than he was
for the win over Bolton a fortnight ago. Whilst the return of skipper
Nemanja Vidic is a huge boost, the suspension of Jonny Evans and injury to
Wes Brown deny him any selection options. With Brazilian youngster Fabio
virtually certain to slot in at right-back, United head to Upton Park
It is hardly ideal as the Red Devils visit a ground where they have
triumphed on only six of their last 17 visits - no wonder Ferguson is
attaching such significance to the fixture. "The big one is tomorrow,
because we are depleted in one area of the pitch," said the United boss.
"With eight games to go, you can't exclude anyone. Whoever is the most
consistent will win this league. "But we should not over-stretch ourselves
in terms of looking forward. This game is as important as any."
Ferguson's point became obvious as he reeled off his massive list of injury
problems. On the basis that Jonny Evans will be available for Wednesday's
Champions League trip to Stamford Bridge, even if United resist the
temptation to push Rio Ferdinand back into action two months after he was
forced to pull out of the defeat at Wolves with a calf injury, then Ferguson
will have more bodies in midweek. By the time his team square up to Fulham
at Old Trafford on February 9, the United manager also expects to have Brown
and John O'Shea in his squad, in addition to Ferdinand. "I thought the
two-week break would bring a few of them on," said Ferguson. "It has, but
not enough for them to play tomorrow. "We are considerably short for the
right-back position tomorrow. We have to solve that - and find the right
The decision surrounding Ferdinand is especially tricky. So slow had been
the 32-year-old's progress that Ferguson had raised doubts over his ability
to get back on the pitch before the end of the season. However, Ferdinand
has started training this week and, so far, come through without a reaction.
It leaves Ferguson wrestling with a dilemma about whether to push Ferdinand
through another session tomorrow in the knowledge that if he comes through
without a hitch, he could be rushed back to face Carlo Ancelotti's men, or
hold him back. "Rio has started training," said Ferguson. "He has only been
training two days and then just a light session today.
"I have to decide whether we bring in him tomorrow, or give him a day off
and start him on Wednesday again. "He is more likely to be fit for Fulham."
Yet Ferguson may ultimately conclude it is worth taking a gamble at the
start of a week he hopes will end with Grand National glory for his horse
What A Friend.
If there is a silver lining this weekend, beyond the return to fitness of
Anderson, who has been missing for five weeks with a knee injury, and Park
Ji-sung, who has not featured since heading off to Qatar for Asian Cup duty
with South Korea, it is that most of his players have been back at
Carrington this week. In part that is due to England boss Fabio Capello, who
released Wayne Rooney, among others, after the win over Wales in Cardiff
last weekend. "It was good thinking by Fabio to allow the England players to
go back to their clubs with the programme they have got coming up," said
Ferguson. "He deserves some credit for that."
West Ham get star trio back against leaders
Published 11:51 01/04/11 By MirrorFootball
West Ham hope to have Scott Parker fit for their Barclays Premier League
clash with leaders Manchester United at Upton Park. The midfielder picked up
shoulder and calf injuries on international duty with England but is
expected to pass a fitness test and rejoin a squad also boosted by the
return of strikers Frederic Piquionne and Robbie Keane. Piquionne missed the
goalless draw at Tottenham a fortnight ago with a foot injury but is now
fit, while on-loan Keane was ineligible to face parent club Spurs. Jack
Collinson (knee) and Junior Stanislas (hernia), however, are still ruled
Provisional squad: Green, Jacobsen, Tomkins, Upson, Bridge, Parker, Noble,
Hitzlsperger, Piquionne, Spector, Ba, Cole, Boffin, Reid, Da Costa, Boa
Morte, Obinna, O'Neil, Keane.
West Ham's Scott Parker should be player of the year, says Avram Grant
'He's a good example and always gives everything'
Midfielder could still be target for big club, says Grant
guardian.co.uk, Friday 1 April 2011 22.59 BST
Scott Parker is the main reason West Ham are still in with a chance of
avoiding relegation, according to his manager Avram Grant. Photograph: Simon
Avram Grant believes that Scott Parker should be crowned player of the year
and says the midfielder's performances are the reason West Ham United still
have a chance of avoiding relegation.
The winner of the Professional Footballers' Association award will be named
later this month and the Football Writers' Association's choice is announced
in May. Regarding Parker, Grant said: "I think, without any doubt, that he's
the player of the year. I don't see any player that is better than him.
"And if you also want to nominate a player who's a good example, it's good
for everybody. He's a player who always gives everything, always trains
well, is always positive and always gives everything for the team.
"Remember we played sometimes, in the first half of the season, without 10
players, and all the midfielders around him and the forwards kept needing to
change and he was the only one that stayed and kept us [in the fight].
"If we are in a position that we can stay in the league it's because we took
points in the first half of the season, sometimes without 10 or 11 players.
And he played and he was very good."
Parker's consistent form has also led Fabio Capello to recall him to the
England squad and the 30-year-old started the 2-0 victory over Wales in last
weekend's Euro 2012 qualifier.
When in charge of Chelsea Grant managed Frank Lampard, Dider Drogba and John
Terry, and he names Parker among the best footballers he has coached. "His
attitude is very good," he said. "You start when you are young because you
love it and you have passion for it. But sometimes you see players who,
because they have money now, they forget it. But Scotty always plays like
it's his first game."
Grant is impressed with Parker away from the pitch, too. "It's very
important. Sometimes we need to understand that these are young players. But
they are also examples [role models]. If you take someone who has, no doubt,
been a good example then it's good for the young players now."
Grant said of a player who has scored seven goals in 36 games in this
campaign: "This season is his best season. I always like when my players
play their best when I'm around. He can be even a little bit better, but
he's taking the maximum from himself all the time," the manager said.
Grant also believes Parker could yet be a target for Manchester United or
any of the other top teams. "He would fit in. Our target for West Ham for
the long term is that we will have five or six players that all the top
teams will want."
Grant was disappointed Rob Green did not play any part in Tuesday's friendly
with Ghana. The goalkeeper was dropped following his mistake in the opening
group game against the US in last summer's World Cup. Asked if it was unfair
not to give the player a chance, Grant said: "Yes. Firstly the manager
changed all the team. Secondly if you look at Rob Green in the last games,
in the last month, he was the best goalkeeper in the country."
West Ham trip could decide the title race, says Ferguson
By Simon Stone, PA
Saturday, 2 April 2011
Sir Alex Ferguson believes this lunchtime's visit to West Ham could go a
long way to determining if Manchester United's quest for the treble will be
Ferguson said earlier this week that, because of the injuries afflicting his
squad, emulating the heroics of 1999 – when his side won the Premier League,
Champions League and FA Cup, would be far harder than completing the initial
hat-trick 12 years ago.
Despite a two-week international break, the league leaders are actually
worse off defensively than they were for the 1-0 win over Bolton a fortnight
ago. While the return of captain Nemanja Vidic is a huge boost, the
suspension of Jonny Evans and injury to Wes Brown restrict options. With
Fabio da Silva very likely to slot in at right-back, they head to Upton Park
It is hardly ideal as United visit a ground where they have triumphed on
only six of their last 17 visits. No wonder Ferguson is attaching such
significance to the fixture. "[This is] the big one because we are depleted
in one area of the pitch," the United manager said yesterday. "With eight
games to go, you can't exclude anyone. Whoever is the most consistent will
win this league.
"But we should not over-stretch ourselves in terms of looking forward. This
game is as important as any," Ferguson added.
Capello was 'unfair' in not playing Green
By Mike McGrath
Saturday, 2 April 2011
Avram Grant yesterday criticised Fabio Capello for failing to give Robert
Green a minute of action during England's two internationals last week and
praised his goalkeeper's fine form during West Ham United's attempt to avoid
relegation. Green was tipped for a first England appearance since his
blunder against USA at the World Cup, following three clean sheets in five
Premier League games before the fixtures against Wales and Ghana. His
manager Grant, whose West Ham side face Manchester United at Upton Park
today, could not see the benefit of including Green and playing Joe Hart
instead. Grant, agreeing Capello had been unfair on Green, said: "Yes,
because he is in very good shape. "When everybody else played he deserves to
play for two reasons. Firstly, the manager changed all the team. Secondly,
if you look at Green in the last month he was the best goalkeeper in the
country. Players will always make mistakes but for me it's not so important.
It's important they recover. And he has recovered very well from the World