Premier League Preview: Everton v West Ham

While fans will have to watch the game from their homes they’ll be hoping the extra rest caused by the postponement of Monday’s game with Manchester City will help them make a flying start to the new year.

Toffees boss Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed he will welcome back Richarlison to the side but James Rodriguez will not feature due to his calf injury.

Meanwhile West Ham’s David Moyes will be hoping his Hammers side can put an end to their 4 match winless run. A 0-0 draw last time out against Southampton provided the Hammers with some positives and with Michail Antonio now back from injury, the Moyes will be looking for more goals.

It’s the first of 2 games on Friday, this one kicks off at 5.30.

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.

West Ham target defensive trio ahead of transfer deadline.

There could well be a flurry of activity over the next few days however with David Moyes leaving it late to secure the defensive reinforcements he needs for the season ahead.

The club reportedly has three bids in for players including Burnley’s James Tarkowski who is said to favour a move to the East Midlands with Leicester City over a transfer to the London Stadium.

Napoli’s Nikola Maksimovic and Juventus out-of-favour Daniele Rugani are also on West Ham’s radar with bids lodged, the latter of which is also of interest to Valencia.

Rumours linking Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus Cheek with the Hammers have also intensified after Blues boss Frank Lampard admitted that he may look to send the player out on loan to find regular first-team football. Moyes would see the England player as a great way to strengthen the squad without depleting his already sparse transfer kitty. Aston Villa are also said to be interested in the 24-year-old.

Whether any deal for the player would include a move for Declan Rice the other way though remains to be seen.

Rice has been linked with a move across London all summer and, although no official approach has been made, its thought that there could be a last-minute attempt to poach the England midfielder before deadline day. The club remains resolute in their ambition to hang onto Rice, who captained the team in their empathic 4-0 win over Wolves at the weekend but could be tempted by an offer in the region of £60million.

Brentford forward Said Benrahma on West Ham shopping list

With the Hammers said to have agreed a fee reaching £18m with West Bromwich Albion for highly-rated 22-year-old Grady Diangana, David Moyes is understood to be targeting Brentford’s Benrahma as a replacement.

The move to take Diangana to West Brom, where he spent last season on loan, has been met with a mixed reaction from Irons fans, with many feeling the England U21 international deserved more of a chance at the London Stadium.

That said, few Hammers will be disappointed at the prospect of the arrival of the Bees’ Said Benrahma, who like Diangana shone in the Championship last season.

The West London club ultimately came up short in their attempt to reach the Premier League, but nevertheless there are plenty of suitors for their star assets, including the 25-year-old.

With 17 strikes in all competitions for Brentford last season, Benrahma is hot property, with West Ham reportedly set to battle it out with Aston Villa and Crystal Palace for the Algerian’s signature.

Brentford are all too aware of striker’s importance and have set a lofty price tag of £25m for the player, some reports suggest.

In a transfer market expected to be erratic due to the nature of football finance right now, that fee seems a big risk to take on a player who has never played Premier League football.

However, West Ham haven’t been afraid to splash big cash in recent years, and also have a penchant for flair players – Benrahma fits that description nicely.

West Brom to spend club-record fee on West Ham’s Diangana

The deal to bring Diangana to the Hawthorns – where he spent last season on loan from the Hammers – is likely to eclipse the £15m the Baggies paid RB Leipzig for Oliver Burke in 2017.

England U21 international Diangana played a key role in West Brom’s promotion to the Premier League last campaign, notching 8 goals and registering 7 assists in 30 Championship games under former West Ham manager Slaven Bilic.

It’s believed the 22-year-old is still yet to complete a medical and agree personal terms in the West Midlands, with it understood the Baggies are keen to sew up the deal ahead of the start of the new top flight season.

The £18m fee is said to be an initial £12m for the player with £6m in performance-related bonuses.

West Ham fans delighted as Roberto nears London Stadium exit

The Spanish stopper is said to be close to completing a switch to the La Liga side according to newspaper the Guardian.

Roberto spent the second half of the 2019/20 campaign on loan at Alaves in Spain’s top flight, after a disastrous start to the season between the sticks for West Ham.

After Lukasz Fabianski’s injury, then-Hammers manager Manuel Pellegrini turned to the 34-year-old to deputise – and it backfired horrifically, with Roberto shipping 21 goals in just 10 games for the club, mustering a single clean sheet.

Things weren’t much better post January, either, with new boss David Moyes immediately loaning Roberto, where he shelled 19 times in just 9 appearances as Alaves narrowly avoided relegation from La Liga.

Now Roberto’s time at West Ham appears to be coming to an end, much to the delight of many a Hammers fan on social media, who appear to be glad to see the back of arguably their worst goalkeeper in recent memory.

If things weren’t bad enough for poor old Roberto, some Irons supporters are revelling in the fact that West Ham somehow look set to make a profit on his departure.

After arriving at the London Stadium for free, Real Vallodolid are close to parting with actual cash to complete the deal.

Incredible.

Norwich City sign West Ham striker Jordan Hugill

The 28-year-old, who spent last season on loan at Championship side QPR, has signed a three-year deal at Carrow Road.

He leaves the Hammers after just three substitute appearances and 12 minutes of playing time in total following a £10m move from Preston North End in 2018.

Speaking to the club’s official website, Hugill said:

“Soon as I knew they were interested in taking me, it was a decision that I wanted to make quickly. To come here is brilliant for me and my family to get settled again, and hit the ground running.”

Diop for sale at the right price

West Ham are prepared to sell Defender Issa Diop to Manchester United should the two sides agree on a price.

Sky Sports are reporting that the Hammers are prepared to sell him for around £45m – considerably less than the £75m price tag they put on him last year when United first expressed their interest.

Diop is seen as a potential central defensive partner for the world’s most expensive defender Harry Maguire, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is said to be a big fan of the 23 year old.

The 6ft4 Frenchman is also keen to improve his chances of playing for his national side and so the opportunity of Champions League football appeals.

West Ham United tracking Sporting wide man Jovane Cabral

Portuguese news outlet A Bola say that the Hammers are keen on signing the 22-year-old, who has impressed this season for Sporting.

The report claims that West Ham have already touched base with certain representatives over Cabral’s capture, with manager David Moyes no doubt looking to strengthen his side after narrowly avoiding Premier League relegation this season.

It’s believed Sporting are willing to let Cabral go for around €20m, which remains affordable for West Ham despite concerns over coronavirus-impacted finances.

West Ham eyeing ex-Sunderland striker Josh Maja

The 21-year-old, who came through the ranks at the Stadium of Light before signing for Bordeaux in January 2019, has bagged 9 goals in 31 games for the French club this season.

It’s understood Hammers boss David Moyes is keen on Maja, with Moyes handing him his senior debut in 2016 when manager of Sunderland.

Reports claim Maja isn’t angling for a move away from Bordeaux, but the Ligue 1 side may consider selling him in order to boost their coronavirus-impacted finances.

West Ham have preferred to use long-time forward Michail Antonio up front recently as opposed to £45m summer signing Sebastien Haller, and with fellow summer flop Albian Ajeti not pulling up trees, this is a move that seemingly makes sense.