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Villa v Irons – Everything you need to know

West Ham have a huge game on Monday night.

A clash with Aston Villa offers the opportunity to move fifth, should results go the way of David Moyes’ side. At the very least, they will leapfrog Villa, who are seventh before Sunday’s fixtures.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the clash!


Aston Villa v West Ham United – Premier League


The game will take place at Villa Park on Monday night.


It’s a late kick-off; the first whistle will go at 8pm.


The game will air on Sky Sports in the UK, the second game of the day following Leicester City’s clash with Fulham.

Injury news – West Ham

Michail Antonio is back fit and has been training with the Irons this week, though it remains to be seen if he will be in the starting XI.

Andriy Yarmolenko is likely to be out, though, as he continues his recovery from COVID.

Injury news – Aston Villa

Villa have plenty of injury issues.

They will be without striker Wesley, attacking midfielder Ross Barkley, and Bjorn Engels.

Frederic Guilbert is also unlikely to be involved, while Bertrand Traore, Keinan Davis, Kortney Hause, and Tom Heaton are all doubts.

Last 5 meetings

Both games last season ended in draws – 1-1 in London and 0-0 in Birmingham.

The Hammers won at Upton Park in 2016, thanks to goals from Michail Antonio and Cheikhou Kouyate, while the reverse fixture was a 0-0 draw.

Villa did beat the Irons in 2015, winning 1-0 at Villa Park thanks to a Tom Cleverley strike.


Peter Bankes will be the man in the middle on Monday, with Neil Davies and James Mainwaring the assistants. Anthony Taylor will be the fourth official; Stuart Atwell will man the VAR, with Stephen Child the assistant VAR.

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Hammers held by Baggies

West Ham under 18’s were held to 2-2 draw witH West Brom U18 this afternoon.

The Hammers went one-nil up on 17 minutes by George Earthy assisted by Abdou Diallo but the Baggies levelled it up four minutes later when Faal scored.

The second half saw the West Ham Academy side go back in the lead when Divin Mubama convert a Hamers penalty on the 58th minute

Unfortunately the lead didn’t last long again with West Brom scoring again five minutes later through Williams.

The match finished 2-2. West Ham U18 sit in 9th place in the U18 South table on 10 points from 8 matches played so far his season.

Last weekend the U18’s beat Reading 2-1 having lost 2-1 the weekend before that to Crystal Palace youngsters.

In October they beat Brighton U18 3-2 and Arsenal U18 3-2

West Ham U18 Starting Line up against West Brom:  Casey, Clayton, Coddington, Diallo, Earthy, Heegyi, Mubama, Robinson, Thomas, Woods

Subs Evans,  Falase, Kileba, Sanneh, Tichmarsh


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Hammers planning for 16.5k fans to return

West Ham hope to have 16,500 fans back in the London Stadium once the government lifts the current tiered restrictions which limit Tire 2 areas to just 2,000 supporters.

However, that proposal remains in the balance with MPs due to vote on the issue in the House of Commons this week with some repots  suggesting a mass revolt by Tory MPs and Labour still to announce its position.

Minutes from the Newham led Safety Advisory Group from late September reveals that stakeholders were working on Sports Grounds Safety Authority SG02 Method 1 which allows is one metre centred distance between spectators.

The London Stadium has 66,000 seats so taking out every other row to social distance vertically reduces the capacity to 33,000 and taking every other seat to social distance horizontally reduces the capacity in half again to 16,500.

The induction of social bubbles allowing supporters from the same household to sit next to each other could increase that capacity but would be difficult to manage.

The Newham minutes say “Movement Strategies (MS) collaborated with the SGSA in the construction of SG02 Method 1 which is a one metre centred distance between spectators. MS are working closely with WHUFC to formulate bubbles for season ticket holders. It was noted that the use of 66k seats has not been agreed and pending approval from the issuing Authority.

Internal and external concourse plans shared and further workshops to be carried out with LS185. The plan is to achieve the highest number of spectators. A throughput value of 283 spectators per hour has been adopted as a basis for this analysis. This is derived from adapting the Green Guide rate of 300 spectators per hour to account for social distancing.

Detailed overview assumption of arrivals and flow into the stadium reviewed and debated. Analysis of sanitary facility usage during peak fifteen minutes half-time period, with full Covid-19 control measures shared in detail covering various scenarios and queuing format. Extra mitigation and control measures need to be reviewed as hand sanitisers alone will not be sufficient. Movement Strategies announced they need to update the seating capacity to populate the bowl which is will have an impact on the SG02 calculations, review social distancing for egress operation to understand the impact on the transport hubs and concessions at half time ensuring social distancing compliance and overlay with sanitary facility queues. Work will be carried out to give assurance that all assumptions will be tested”

London Stadium stakeholders are likely to use the 2,000 supporters granted from December as test events in the hope they can scale up to 16,500 early next year.

You can read the full Safety Advisory Group minutes at https://www.newham.gov.uk/downloads/file/2524/ssag-minutes-21-sept-2020-final

The full SGSA guidance can be read at https://sgsa.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/SG02-Planning-for-Social-Distancing-at-Sports-Grounds.pdf


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Unluckiest Iron has time on his side


By CandH’s top blogger Allen Cummings


Is Issa Diop the unluckiest player at the club right now?

It’s never easy for any footballer sat on the sidelines watching his side play and while Issa will be delighted at how well his team mates are performing , he must be left wondering when he will get the chance to re-join the action.

What must be particularly galling for Diop is the way he lost his place in the side. A dip in form or an unfortunate injury are part and parcel of a footballer’s world. But when a player loses his place because of something totally unrelated to football, as Issa did when he tested positive for Covid 19, it must really hurt.

Issa Diop chomping at the bit for a return

Ironically Diop fell foul to the dreaded virus at the same time as manager David Moyes . But while Moyes returned to full first team duties a few weeks ago, Issa is still sat on the bench clicking his heels, because of the continuing good form of Fabian Balbuena.

Following his £25m move from Toulouse in the summer of 2018, Diop quickly established himself in the West Ham first team, becoming an instant hit with the fans who loved his enthusiasm and total commitment.

There was also a realisation we had bought ourselves a genuinely talented young defender. Having represented his native France at every level of youth international football, Issa had also won himself a place in the Under-21 side – with many observers predicting full international honours were only just around the corner.

It has to be said Issa suffered a slight dip in form last season compared to his first with us – but even so he made 31 first team appearances, including appearing in all nine games of Project Restart, when many felt he was getting back to his best.

But after playing the first two games of this campaign, fate in the shape of Covid struck a heavy blow. There was a thought Diop might get a first team recall after his 63rd minute appearance as a substitute for the injured Angelo Ogbonna in the Fulham game.

But our big Italian benefitted from the international break and was fully fit again for last Sunday’s win at Sheffield United. So Issa was back on the bench at Bramall Lane.

David Moyes emphasised in his last presser how pleased he was that we now had strong competition for places in the squad – something he’s been working to achieve.

But while that’s a manager’s delight – it can be a footballer’s dilemma. Issa has time on his side, he’ll be just 24 next January, so almost certainly his best years are still ahead of him.

He also knows that in this most hectic of seasons his opportunity will surely come round again – and he needs to be ready to step up and take full advantage.

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Beware Grealish’s history you Irons

West Ham will have to be at their very best as they look to stop Jack Grealish from making a serious  impact during Monday’s clash with Aston Villa.

The England international has history for, how shall we put it, simulation in and around the penalty area.

He is, of course, a brilliant player on his day and, at his best, becomes one of the most difficult players in the country to handle..

This season, he has already scored five goals and registered six assists in all competitions.

He will be Villa’s focal point throughout Monday’s game and that means the Hammers need to stay on their feet!

In the current culture, VAR micro-analyses every single decision, slowing it down to a 10th of a second to try to make the right call.

If there is even the slightest contact and Grealish hits the deck, it could easily see a penalty awarded.

The Hammers have already been bitten by that after Mo Salah was handed a penalty in the defeat to Liverpool.

We couldn’t have a better marker, of course, should  Declan be assigned a man-marking job on Grealish throughout the 90 minutes.

The two are good pals and play together for England, so Rice will know what needs to be done to keep the Villa skipper quiet.

The best piece of advice that we can give you lads is this: Stay on your feet!

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Fabianski pinpoints Moyes’ huge moment

Lukasz Fabianski has pinpointed the exact moment West Ham’s fortunes changed.

The Hammers began the season, of course, with successive defeats against Newcastle and Arsenal.

However, a switch in formation saw Moyes move to a system involving three at the back, resulting in a much improved performance against the Gunners.

Since then, the Hammers have only lost once in the top-flight, to champions Liverpool, and have won their last two games in succession.

Monday’s game against Aston Villa offers the Irons the chance to leapfrog Dean Smith’s side, who are currently seventh.

Should results go their way, the Hammers could climb as high as fifth.

And goalkeeper Fabianski believes that the switch in formation has worked wonders for the Hammers as the season progresses.

Speaking on the club’s YouTube channel, as transcribed by HITC, he said: “I believe, from the moment we changed the system. I think it helped us a lot, because we became a lot more solid defensively.

“And in this system as well we managed to for some reason to be more fluent going forward. I think this system suits us.

“I think we have a lot of good players who can play in this system, so I think it has worked for us, and I would say that is a bit of a change from the previous spell where we struggled.”

Fabianski has played the 90 minutes in every single Premier League game thus far this season.

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Moyes thrilled with depth

David Moyes is thrilled with the strength in depth of the West Ham squad.

The Hammers have been in fine form in recent weeks and have lost just one of their last seven games in the Premier League.

Monday’s clash with Aston Villa looms large, a game against a team who are one place and one point above the Irons in the league.

Ahead of the game, Moyes has discussed the squad that he has, and has expressed how delighted he is with the players available to him.

Speaking to reporters ahead of the game, he said: “Yes, we want competition for places.

“I think we’ve got that now. We’ve got a few people who are queuing up, waiting to try and break into the team and get into the side.

“So hopefully when they get the opportunity they’ll be ready, but yeah we’ve got good competition at the moment.”

Eight separate players have scored the Irons’ last eight goals, and Moyes has revelled in the fact that so many options within his squad are coming up trumps.

He added: “It is good and I’m really pleased with it, I didn’t actually know that stat but I think that it does show that we’re trying to get different people forward and get different people in the box.

“We’d like our centre-forwards to come in with the big numbers because that’s what you need at the end of the season but I have to say I’ll take goals from wherever they come and I’m pleased that everybody’s getting the chance to get a few goals.”

Moyes has made it clear on several occasions that he prefers to work with a smaller squad and thus far can’t be faulted on how he has used it given the results.

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Ginge on our “phenomenal” defender

James Collins has paid a massive tribute to his former team-mate Angelo Ogbonna.

And there can be little doubt that the Italian central defender – along with Declan and Tomas in midfield has been one of the three outstanding players at the club so far this season and indeed during the last part of the 19/20 season.

Like Fabian Balbuena before him, Oggy found himself out of favour for a lengthy period at one stage of his Hammers career but has battled his way back in and is now probably recognised as one of the best central defenders in the Premier League.

He has been a regular seven or eight-man during the latest games and with the aforementioned Balbuena has now been at the heart of two clean sheets against Fulham and Sheffield United.

Ginge is full of praise for the man who will tomorrow be important in a match which should we win will have us all dreaming a few impossible dreams perhaps!

Commenting at https://www.whufc.com/news/articles/2020/november/28-november/inside-irons-james-collins-double-signings-champagne-old he said: “We look at lot more organised at the back. We don’t look like conceding too many goals.

I think Angelo Ogbonna has been phenomenal, and all the boys know their jobs and, knowing the manager, if they don’t do it then they won’t play.

“I think Angelo has been superb. He seems to have taken on the role of main man; he’s the main centre-back there and I think he’s performing consistently well.

He’s always been a good centre-half but he’s one of the best in the league at the minute. I think we’ve been excellent. I think David Moyes deserves massive credit.

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Rice in boastful mood!

West Ham Skipper Declan Rice has boasted we have got the joint second-best defensive record in the Premier League and that will put them in a good position to face Aston Villa on Monday night who have also been in good form.
Rice said that the Hammers are moving in the direction the manager wants  adding the squad is full of confidence and ready for the battle with the Villians at the London Stadium.
West Ham are joint top in clean sheets with four along with Aston Villa, Chelsea, Southampton and Wolves.
The Hammers have conceded just ten goals this season, one less than Spurs , with three of those against West Ham.
West Ham ten goals were conceded against Newcastle (2) Arsenal (2) Spurs (3) Liverpool (2) and Man City (1)
That makes the Hammers joint second on conceded goals along with Chelsea, Wolves and Arsenal – frankly a really remarkable turnaround from last season and one from which we can justifiably be proud.
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Irons misfit’s misery goes on

Felipe Anderson’s misery continues after he was an unused substitute in FC Porto’s Champions League game against Marseille in midweek

He has only played 52 minutes of football in the five matches during his Porto loan spell and looks more and more like a misfit.

He came on a 59th minutes substitute with former Hammer Toni Martinez against Sporting Lisbon on 17th October in a 2-2 draw for his 31-minute debut.

He also came on as a 72nd-minute substitute against Pacos Ferreira in a 3-2 loss on 30th October playing a further 18 minutes for Porto.

We revealed he had a small knock keeping out of the Porto squad but he is now fully fit and available for selection.

ClaretandHugh also revealed that there is no break in his loan agreement and that he will be tied to the Portuguese club until the end of the season.

There is no option in the loan arrangement for the deal to be made permanent at the end of the campaign.

Last week Porto boss Sergio Conceicao said  “I don’t like to individualise, but Felipe Anderson has been working very well. As far as training is concerned, there is absolutely nothing to say.
These two weeks of work were important and Felipe was also included. It depends on his ability to put in training what I want so that he is visible in the game, but of course I count on him.”