Antonio strikes again as Hammers deal blow to West Brom survival bid

Antonio, who scored the only goal of the game against Burnley at the weekend, struck again as the Hammers climbed to seventh following a 2-1 win.

The controversy started however before a ball was kicked with the omission of Robert Snodgrass from the West Brom squad. The Scot had impressed in the Baggies 3-2 victory over Wolves at the weekend but was left a spectator because of an agreement between his new employers and the Hammers with the Premier League now reportedly “looking into” the matter.

The story on the pitch was better for West Ham who had plenty of the ball in the first half but struggled to breakdown Allardyce’s defensive line.

Craig Dawson perhaps should have opened the scoring against his former side but planted a free header wide at the far post from a corner and just when the first half was meandering towards a goalless conclusion, Vladimir Coufal burst into the area from the right.

The Czech full-back drilled in a cross which Bowen, with little time to react, managed to divert in with his chest from four yards out.

Early in the second half Lukasz Fabianski kept out Conor Gallagher’s angled shot, but moments later the Poland keeper was beaten. West Ham’s defence backed off Pereira as he reached the edge of the box and the Brazilian winger made them pay with a low shot which arrowed into the bottom corner drawing the game level – despite calls from the West Ham defence that Gallagher was interfering with play in an offside position.

West Ham continued to press for the winner and it arrived on the 65th minute when Aaron Cresswell’s cross found the head of substitute Andriy Yarmolenko. His header back into the danger zone was heading behind Antonio but he twisted his body well to hook the ball in from six yards out.

The Baggies rallied late on with a series of freekicks pumped high into the West Ham area but they came to nothing and West Ham win their first four fixtures in a calendar year for the first time since 1958 whilst West Brom remain 5 points from safety in the Premier League.

West Ham United 2 – 1 West Bromich Albion.

Abraham scores twice on Chelsea return to down Hammers

Tammy Abraham scored twice on his return to the Chelsea starting line up as Chelsea bagged all three points in a London derby that stops Frank Lampards “Blues Blip” becoming a full-blown crisis.

Abraham’s brace was the icing on the cake in a match which saw Chelsea withstand some continuous West Ham pressure after Thiago Silva had put them ahead in the 10 minutes.

Thiago was the star at both ends of the pitch with a strong performance seeing off the ariel threat of West Hams big men as the Hammers gained confidence after conceding the early goal.

West Ham had a few promising moments but lacked a little quality and failed to create any real clear-cut chances throughout the game.

Frank Lampard started the game without Reece James, out with an injury and he was soon joined by Ben Chillwell early on who went off with an ankle problem but it was another defender in Silva who got the early plaudits after pulling away from the attentions of Aaron Cresswell and heading home from near the penalty spot to the left of Lucas Fabianski.

West Ham tried to find a reply but David Moyes decision to reinstall Mark Nobel to the starting line up creating a defensive looking midfield 3 of Tomas Soucek, Declan Rice and the club captain left Sebastian Haller isolated alone upfront.

The visitors did have their moments with Jared Bowen denied a goal on the half-hour mark and a Silva block on a Soucek shot seemingly preventing a goal a few minutes later and Chelsea held their lead into the break.

West Ham remained on the front foot in the second half, but Edouard Mendy had yet to be tested by the hour mark with the returning Cesar Azpilicueta producing a superb block to deny Pablo Fornals.

With the game fizzling out it wasn’t until the 78th minute that Chelsea wrapped things up: Timo Werner cut inside and tried his luck with a poor shot but Tammy Abraham found himself in the right place at the right time to tap home for 2-0.

Two minutes later it was 3-0 when Pulisic led the Chelsea attack and while he was denied from Mount’s cross by Fabianski, who claimed he was fouled in the build-up. Abraham was there again to tap home and take his tally for the night to two.

After a five-game drought, the 23-year-old was back on the scoresheet and rewarded the decision by Lampard to bring him back in the team for his first league start of the month.

Chelsea are now up to 5th in the Premier League ahead of their boxing day clash at Arsenal whilst West Ham have now lost two on the bounce and host Brighton next time out.

West Ham ride luck in 2-1 win vs Aston Villa

The Hammers have made their best start to a season since they moved to the London Stadium four years ago but won’t have many fond memories from this lacklustre display other than the three points they take from the match.

A missed penalty from Ollie Watkins and a disallowed goal courtesy of VAR could easily have swung the result the other way but as it stands two goals, early in each half, was enough to seal the win for David Moyes.

West Ham started well with a goal inside the first two minutes of the game when Ogbonna headed home from a Jared Bowen corner after Tomas Soucek’s early shot was deflected wide.

Villa slowly grew into the game with Ezri Konsa heading over and Conor Hourihane tested Lucas Fabianski with a tasty free-kick before Jack Grealish levelled things up on 25mins with a deflected shot from 20 yards.

With West Ham offering little in the half outside of the goal, David Moyes rang the changes at half time hooking the returning Michael Antonio and Arthur Masuaku in favour of Sebastian Haller and Said Benrahma – the latter of which set up what turned out to be the winning goal within 30 seconds of the restart – swinging in a pinpoint cross with his right foot that was met by the head of Jared Bowen to net.

Aston Villa responded with Ollie Watkins laying a guilt edge opportunity on a plate for Trezeguet who somehow found Lucas Fabianski’s outstretched arm when it would have been easier to score.
Watkins then had the opportunity to score himself after Declan Rice was adjudged to have fouled Trezeguet in the box for the slightest pull on the Egyptians shirt but instead, Watkins missed the resuting penalty kick, striking the crossbar high to the keepers right.

The summer signing from Brentford thought he had rescued a point for the Midlands outfit in stoppage time as he tapped home Matt Targett’s cross but the VAR officials thought otherwise judging the striker to be marginally offside and handing West Ham a third straight win that takes them above Manchester City, Manchester United, Wolves and Southampton in the table.

Pep Guardiola signs new Manchester City contract

As he neared the final seven months of his existing contract, Guardiola used the international window to mull over his future and commit to staying at the Etihad Stadium until the summer of 2023 – a timeframe that would take the 49-year-old to seven years in Manchester.

“Ever since I arrived at Manchester City I have been made to feel so welcome in the club and in the city itself – from the players, the staff, the supporters, the people of Manchester and the chairman and owner,” Guardiola said.

“Since then we have achieved a great deal together, scored goals, won games and trophies, and we are all very proud of that success.

“Having that kind of support is the best thing any manager can have. I have everything I could possibly want to do my job well and I am humbled by the confidence the owner, chairman, Ferran (Soriano) and Txiki (Begiristain) have shown in me to continue for two more years after this season.

“The challenge for us is to continue improving and evolving and I am very excited about helping Manchester City do that.”

Guardiola has won two Premier League titles, one FA Cup and three League Cups with City, though the prize the club covets the most – the Champions League – has so far eluded them.

City have won 181 of the 245 matches in which Guardiola has taken charge, and set Premier League records en route to winning the 2017-18 Premier League title with 100 points before following up with a tally of 98 a season later.

However, they finished 18 points adrift of Liverpool last season as defensive problems surfaced, and have made a relatively slow start to this campaign with 12 points from the opening seven games even as Ruben Dias and Nathan Ake were brought in to address problems at the back.

Despite that drop-off, there has never been a question that City wanted Guardiola to remain in charge and chairman Khaldoon Mubarak made clear his delight as the deal was signed.

“It is testament to the qualities of the man that Pep Guardiola’s passion and intelligent approach are now woven into the very fabric of the football we play and our culture as a club,” he said.

“That impact has been central to our success during his tenure and it is why I am delighted that he shares our view that there is so much more to be achieved both on and off the field.

“Pep’s contract extension is the natural next step in a journey which has evolved over many years.

“It is a product of the mutual trust and respect that exists between him and the entire club. It also goes to the stability and creativity at the heart of our football operations.

“Importantly, it is a validation of the football structure and philosophy that has been built over more than a decade and to which he has contributed so much.”

With Guardiola’s future settled, City can now shift focus on to other key decisions to be made as Sergio Aguero nears the end of his contract and transfer speculation around a move for Lionel Messi resurfaces.

Wolves defender Conor Coady ‘gutted’ to withdraw from England camp due to coronavirus protocol

The Three Lions kicked off November’s triple-header with a 3-0 friendly win against the Republic of Ireland on Thursday thanks to goals from Harry Maguire, Jadon Sancho and Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

It was as smooth an evening as England could have hoped for, but Southgate will be without suspended Maguire in Belgium on Sunday and impressive Reece James for both remaining Nations League games.

Wolves defender Coady and Manchester United forward Rashford have also been ruled out of the upcoming matches, whittling the Three Lions’ options down even further.

In a statement, the Football Association said: “Conor Coady and Marcus Rashford will miss England’s remaining November internationals.

“Coady has been forced to self-isolate having discovered he had inadvertently come into contact with somebody prior to camp who has tested positive for Covid-19 via an NHS Test and Trace alert.

“The Wolverhampton Wanderers defender had returned two negative tests as part of The FA and UEFA’s protocol but, in line with UK Government guidelines, has to adhere to a period of self-isolation.

Wolves skipper Coady says he is “absolutely gutted” to have to pull out of the England squad.

“I contracted and recovered from the virus myself back in March, and have tested negative twice in camp, but of course it is important that I abide by the rules set by the government and observe a period of self-isolation,” the defender said.

“It’s so frustrating to have to miss games because of this, but these are the rules that are set out and the most important thing is to make sure my team-mates are not put at risk.

“My next priority will be to keep my fitness and hope I can be back and available for selection for the next Wolves fixture.

“For now, I will be supporting the lads from afar and I want to wish them all the very best of luck for the next two games.”

That frustration was shared by Southgate, but the England boss believes he has enough numbers to cope.

“Conor’s is just the bizarre world we are living in. It is one of those weird ones where he has got to isolate when he is more than likely not a risk.

“It is a great disappointment for him, he was bitterly disappointed because he has had a big impact on the group.”

West Ham granted permission to build statue of legends at London Stadium

The statue will specifically celebrate the Hammers’ 1965 European Cup Winners’ Cup triumph, and is part of the club’s 125th anniversary season celebrations.

Gold wrote on Twitter: “I am delighted to confirm that planning approval has now been confirmed for the installation of a new statue at London Stadium honouring our three greatest sons – Bobby Moore, Sir Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters – and our greatest triumph, the 1965 European cup winners victory.”

Plans for the statue were first unveiled in June, when Gold said it would be erected outside the Bobby Moore Stand, subject to approval.

A statue of the trio already stands close to the Hammers’ former home of Upton Park, where it will remain.

Moore, Peters and Hurst all starred in the Hammers’ 2-0 final win over 1860 Munich, before going on to play integral roles in England’s World Cup success the following year.

West Brom’s Hal Robson-Kanu dismissive of five substitute suggestions

The forward believes changing the rules would go against the traditional values of the game.

Liverpool and Manchester City managers Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola have backed using five substitutes while West Ham’s David Moyes has now joined them.

Proposals have been rejected twice after five substitutes, rather than three, were allowed during Project Restart last season amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

Data from Premier Injuries shows a 16 per cent increase in injuries from the average of the previous four seasons but Robson-Kanu believes the game does not need changing.

He said: “I don’t think so. The tradition of football is not only about equality and a high level of skill but also perseverance and being able to maintain a consistent level of performance.

“The more subs you have you’re able to change half the team.

“We’re professionals and this is our line of work so we have to show a level of discipline to maintain those levels.

“It’s easy to get frustrated and be annoyed with the situation but there are a lot of people who are suffering and if we’re able to take a step back and look at it on a global level we’re fortunate to be doing what we’re doing.

“To turn on the TV and watch football is important to fans and society given the various lockdown measures.

“As frustrating as it might be there are a lot of positives we can take from doing what we’re doing.”

Albion, third bottom of the Premier League, face seven games in 35 days once they return at Manchester United next Saturday while United play 11 times in the same period due to their European and cup commitments.

Manchester City have had 16 significant injuries this term – which kept players out for a minimum of 10 days – compared to 25 during the whole of last season. Leicester have already had 12 compared to just 21 during 2019-20.

“It’s a demanding schedule but it’s something we have to persevere with,” said Robson-Kanu, who has returned to training after breaking his arm last month.

“Going straight into the season the way we did, everyone had to hit the ground running. It’s been relentless. From a player welfare perspective all of the clubs are trying their utmost to make sure players’ health is maintained.

“In the last month we’ve only had one day off, it’s intense but it’s what we have to do.”

Robson-Kanu, who prefers to be called by his full name of Thomas Hal when discussing his business, has been conscious of looking after his body during his career and, in 2018, founded the Turmeric Co.

It came after battling pain and injury following a broken leg when he was 15.

Traditional painkillers did not work but, along with his father Rechi, Robson-Kanu researched alternative methods and discovered the benefits of turmeric.

He turned it into a business and has now agreed an official partnership with Leicester Tigers, with the squad having been taking his turmeric shots for a year.

“The objective is to reach as many people as possible. Last month we distributed over 300,000 units to customers. We’re seeing more awareness and understanding growing,” said Robson-Kanu, with turmeric shots already used at West Brom and several other Premier League clubs.

“We’re seeing more and more clubs taking it, what was once my secret weapon is being used to the benefits of elite athletes everywhere.

“The Tigers players really enjoyed the range and felt the benefits of adding it to their diet. They are looking to optimise their performance and it’s great to see they are taking the right steps to improve performance.

“Like in any sport it’s always about the one per cent, if you can improve that there is always going to be a benefit. I’m excited to see the positive impact it’ll have on the team and the positive impact it can have on fans.”

Spurs on course for silverware under Mourinho claims Kane

Spurs have made an encouraging start to the campaign as they briefly led the Premier League last weekend before dropping to second, are in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals and are in good shape to qualify for the Europa League knockout stages.

The north London club came close to winning trophies under Mauricio Pochettino, including the Champions League, but they always fell just short.

Mourinho – a serial winner – was brought into the north London club 12 months ago to end the drought that has seen them win just three trophies in 29 years, while a number of their summer signings also know what it is like to win the big competitions.

And now Kane believes that could be the difference this year.

“We have had a solid start to the season, I still think there is a lot to improve on in all aspects of our game,” the England captain told Spurs TV.

“There is a long way to go, we are in a solid place at the moment, we are feeling good, but we also know in the Premier League that can turn around if you lose two or three on the bounce.

“The last couple of wins have been important, we perhaps didn’t perform as well but we ground out the results.

“We have got players who have won things in the changing room, we have got good experience in the changing room, good leaders in the changing room, and I feel like we are at a place now where if we get it right mentally, we can achieve things, but we are not getting carried away.

“Obviously Jose is a winner at every level, he has come in with that aura about him and he wants to win things here.

“It is just installing that confidence into the team, he is a great man, with great experience, so us as players can only look at that and take confidence from that. We have had a great relationship since he walked through the door.”

Much of Spurs’ early-season success has been down to Kane’s scintillating form as he has scored 13 goals in 14 appearances in all competitions, along with 10 assists.

Seven of those set-ups have been for Son Heung-min and the pair have combined for goals 10 times as their partnership develops.

“Year-by-year the more you get to play with someone, the more you get to know them, you just understand your games a little bit better,” Kane said.

“We have had a great relationship over the years but this season has just clicked a little bit more and we have both been a bit more clinical, whether it is the final ball or the final finish. When someone is in good form, you just try and find them the ball and you end up scoring goals. We are riding that wave at the minute.

“It is not just me and Sonny at the moment, we have a great team at the minute, a great togetherness and we are going to need that for the rest of the season if we are going to keep staying as high up as we are in the table.”

Future sustainability of Burnley at the heart of Clarets takeover talks

The Clarets are reportedly in talks with Egyptian businessman Mohamed El Kashashy and lawyer Chris Farnell, while American consortium ALK Capital have also been linked with a takeover at Turf Moor.

Manager Sean Dyche has made clear his frustration with the lack of investment in the playing squad over recent seasons but the club sought to reassure supporters over their plans.

A statement on burnleyfootballclub.com read:

“Regarding various comments in the media, Burnley Football Club confirms that the club’s ownership remain in discussions with interested parties regarding future investment in the club.

“In full respect of ongoing processes, the club will not be providing any further commentary on this matter until those discussions have reached a conclusion.

“The club wishes to assure supporters and the local community that the future of Burnley Football Club remains the primary concern in these issues, with any potential investment needing to support the club’s long-term sustainability and retain its position as a cornerstone of the local community.”

Burnley have made a poor start to the Premier League season and remain without a win after seven games.