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West Ham’s ‘style of play’ issues magnified by Lacina Traore

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The bashing of West Ham United continues.

Yesterday, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho dealt the Hammers a swift back hand with his post-match comments that the East London club played “football from the 19th century.”

Today, it’s new Monaco striker and Everton loanee, Lacina Traore‘s turn to take a swipe after revealing that he selected the Toffees over West Ham due to style of play concerns.

“It was quite close but Everton was my choice,” said the striker. “I looked at the styles of play of the two teams we are talking about and the way in which Everton play is more of a passing side and the style of Everton suited my technical ability.

“Also I looked at where they were in the league and they [Everton] were quite well off for points in the league so I think with that sort of emphasis on skill and the passing game I am hoping I can settle in as quickly as possible with my style of play.

“There were other clubs interested in me at the beginning but I knew Everton had a good possibility of getting into European football next season. I am pleased I have made this choice and I am standing by my choice of this club.”

The decision comes as a major boost to Everton, who lost starting striker Romelu Lukaku to an ankle injury in Tuesday’s 4-0 defeat to Liverpool. The 6 foot 8 inch Traore provides Roberto Martinez’ side with another athletic body as well as a player the gaffer describes as “technically gifted” with “a real understanding of space and combination play.”

Therein lies the difference for Traore, who despite his bruising size would prefer to avoid playing for a side like West Ham, known for it’s direct, physically punishing style and the ability (as Chelsea found yesterday in the 0-0 draw) to park the bus.

That style of play is quintessential Sam Allardyce but with two major dings to that reputation in as many days is it time West Ham thought about a new manager?

Suffering in the relegation zone two points from safety, many Hammers supporters will feel the answer to that question is ‘yes.’ Despite nipping a point off of Chelsea yesterday that style of play is widely accepted as archaic, not a sustainable blue-print for growth and, as Traore’s comments demonstrate, a turn off to potential recruits.

On the other hand perhaps better than any manager in the Premier League (sans Tony Pulis), Big Sam knows how to keep a club up. Plus, fairness requires noting that West Ham has endured a laundry list of key injuries throughout the season, so an early sacking may not be justified.

Either way, with 15 weeks remaining in the season West Ham find themselves in a very precarious situation. Decisions, decisions.

How can Man United qualify for last 16 of Champions League?

Wayne Rooney, Manchester United FC

Heading into the their final UEFA Champions League Group B game, Manchester United hold their destiny in their own hands, but any slip-up could mean it’s Europa League on Thursday nights for Louis Van Gaal‘s men.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]

The Red Devils would have advanced to the knockout stage with a victory over third-place PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday, but slumped to an ugly 0-0 draw instead.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from Man United 0-0 PSV ]

So, here’s all of the scenarios for the final matchday of the group stage, away to Wolfsburg, in which United would advance to the round of 16 advance:

  • A Man United win will see Man United finish top of Group B
  • A Man United draw, coupled with a PSV draw or loss (vs. CSKA Moscow), will see Man United finish second in Group B
  • A Man United draw, coupled with a PSV victory, will see Man United finish third in Group B
  • A Man United loss, coupled with a PSV loss, will see Man United finish second in Group B
  • A Man United loss by more than one goal, coupled with a PSV draw, would see Man United finish third in Group B
  • A Man United loss, coupled with a PSV win, would see Man United finish third in Group B

[ MORE: Champions League schedule

There are your scenarios for Man United as it’s pretty simple to break it down: Win, and they go through. Fail to win, and their fate is completely in the hands of PSV.

VIDEO: Can Leicester stun the world? Man United title favorites?

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The Foxes are top of the Premier League and are led by a surging Jamie Vardy but how long can they keep shocking the world?

With six tough games coming up between now and the start of 2016, Claudio Ranieri‘s men will be pushed to their limit but so far this season they’ve been sensational and Vardy has equaled Manchester United legend Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record of scoring in 10-straight PL games.

[ MORE: Full PST Extra archive ]

Can he make it 11 in a row on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via Live Extra) when United visit the King Power Stadium? As for the Red Devils, they sit in second place and are just one point behind the flying Foxes’. Louis Van Gaal‘s men have certainly flown under the radar so far and our churning out wins at an impressive rate.

Jenna Corrado and I discuss that and more in the latest edition of PST Extra. Click play on the video above to see our chat in full.

Men in Blazers podcast: The Leicester fairytale goes on

Men In Blazers - Sept. 22
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Rog and Davo revel in another chapter of the Leicester City fairytale, break down Liverpool’s shock dismantling of Manchester City and discuss Arsenal’s slip against West Brom.

Listen to the latest pod by clicking play below.

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Pellegrini updates status of Joe Hart’s hamstring injury

Joe Hart, Manchester City FC
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Joe Hart was forced to leave Manchester City’s 1-0 defeat to Juventus in UEFA Champions League play on Wednesday due to a hamstring injury, which he seemed to incur while making a spectacular one-on-one kick-save late in the second half.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Man City manager Manuel Pellegrini confirmed after the game that Hart’s injury is indeed a hamstring issue, and went on to say that he would need further tests once the team arrives back in Manchester to determine the severity and how long, if at all, City and England’s no. 1 would be out of action.

Man City, currently third in the Premier League on 26 points, will host eighth-place Southampton at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday (Watch live at 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra).