Manuel Lanzini

West Ham 1-1 Bournemouth: Honors even

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  • West Ham are unbeaten in their last 7 games in all competitions
  • Bournemouth are unbeaten in five PL games 
  • Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez with his first goal since Oct. 28

West Ham United and Bournemouth played out a tight 1-1 draw at the London Stadium on Saturday.

David Moyes‘ side had plenty of chances throughout but Bournemouth took the lead through Ryan Fraser‘s fine strike. 64 seconds after going ahead Eddie Howe‘s men conceded with Mexico’s Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez scoring in predatory fashion to nick a point for the Hammers.

With the point both teams keep their unbeaten runs going as West Ham are five points above the relegation zone in 11th, with Bournemouth four points above the bottom three in 12th.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Aaron Cresswell smashed a shot on goal from distance early on as the Hammers started well and Mark Noble volleyed an effort just over.

Bournemouth’s goalkeeper Asmir Begovic then produced a moment of magic.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

A fine ball into the  box was found Arnautovic and his shot was tipped over by Begovic from point-blank range with a wonderful stop.

Bournemouth fought their way back into the game with some fine clearances from West Ham keeping the Cherries at bay. Lewis Cook clipped a shot inches wide of the far post after a wonderful short corner routine as the away side hung in there.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ] 

West Ham came close early in the second half as Manuel Lanzini dinked a ball to the back post which just missed everyone, then Lanzini couldn’t quite get on the end of a cross to the back post.

Bournemouth, slightly against the run of the play, then went ahead as Fraser finished well to put the Cherries in front to keep his good form going.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

However, the Cherries were ahead for 64 seconds as a long ball forward was flicked on by Cheikhou Kouyate which found Arnautovic and although his shot was blocked, Hernandez was on hand to finish and score his fifth goal for West Ham. 1-1.

Adrian then made a fantastic save to deny Junior Stanislas from distance with a stunning finish set up in east London but neither side could grab another goal to snatch a vital three points.

Premier League Power Rankings

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With the festive season over and things starting to settle down, now seems like a good time for our first batch of Power Rankings of 2018.

[ MORE: PL Power Rankings – 2017-18 ]

The last time we fired this baby up was in early December, and you can see the ranking of the clubs back then in the parenthesis after their club name in the list below.

We have some massive movement, both up and down.

Here is the latest batch of Premier League Power Rankings as we sort the 20 clubs based on their current form.


  1. Liverpool (5) — What a few weeks for Liverpool. They won four of their last five games and Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane are scoring goals, plus Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is stepping up with Philippe Coutinho gone. Jurgen Klopp‘s masterplan is showing significant progress. With Virgil Van Dijk on board, Liverpool will be serious title contenders next season.
  2. Tottenham Hotspur (9)Harry Kane leads the PL in goals (shock) and is now getting plenty of help from Dele Alli, Heung-Min Son and Christian Eriksen. Spurs are pushing towards the top four and the only way they will not qualify for the UCL again is if their defensive lapses crop up.
  3. Manchester City (1) — A draw away at Crystal Palace and a loss at Liverpool has seen City stumble of late but they’re still going to win the league. Defensive lapses have cost them but Kevin De Bruyne and Co. still look like they will score two or three goals every game.
  4. Manchester United (2) — Jose Mourinho’s men are looking much better with Paul Pogba back in the team. Four assists in his last two games show Pogba’s importance and United have the best defense in the league.
  5. Crystal Palace (14)Roy Hodgson is working his magic and Palace are pushing for the top 10. One defeat in their last 13 PL games has seen the Eagles soar to 12th place after their disastrous start to the season.
  6. West Ham United (19) — The Hammers are flying under David Moyes with Marko Arnautovic and Manuel Lanzini in form up top. All of a sudden a top 10 finish is very doable.
  7. Chelsea (3) — Four-straight draws in all competitions and three 0-0 stalemates on the spin mean Antonio Conte is under pressure. Eden Hazard and Alvaro Morata’s partnership is struggling.
  8. Leicester City (6)Riyad Mahrez is the main man and Claude Puel‘s side began 2018 with a big win v Huddersfield and a draw at Chelsea, where they should have won. Leicester back to their best.
  9. Bournemouth (12) — Really good few weeks for Eddie Howe. Unbeaten in four PL games and big wins against Everton and Arsenal at home. The Cherries have rediscovered their scoring touch.
  10. Arsenal (4) — Wow. What a poor few weeks for the Gunners. One win in the last five in the PL, out of the FA Cup and Sanchez on his way. Ouch. Arsene Wenger is now allow back on the sidelines after his ban. Is that a good thing?
  11. West Bromwich Albion (18)Alan Pardew has his first win as West Brom boss and the Baggies ended their 21-game winless streak. They’re tougher to break down and have regained their threat from set pieces.
  12. Swansea City (20) — Plenty of confidence in the air in South Wales as Carlos Carvalhal has four points from his first three games in charge. Need new faces in January but Swansea have given themselves a chance.
  13. Newcastle United (15) — Solid and steady but badly need attacking reinforcements in January. Two wins and two draws in last five show how steady and tough to beat they’ve become but Rafael Benitez’s needs extra attacking flair.
  14. Everton (10) — No wins in six and just four shots on goal in their last five games has Sam Allardyce‘s boys bang out of form after a good start. Cenk Tosun and Theo Walcott should help them kick on again.
  15. Watford (7) — No PL team has picked up less points than Watford over their last 10 games. Another second half of season slump. Marco Silva‘s fine start evaporating.
  16. Huddersfield Town (16) — No win in their last five games and David Wagner‘s side have conceded seven goals in last two defeats. The Terriers are set for a proper relegation scrap.
  17. Stoke City (13)Paul Lambert has one heck of a challenge on his hands. Stoke in bottom three, have worst defense in Europe’s top five leagues and you struggle to see where their goals will come from. Not a great combo.
  18. Brighton and Hove Albion (17) — 1 win in last 12 games and they’ve failed to score in eight of those games. Ice cold. Slipping fast.
  19. Burnley (9) — Six games without a win and their goal threat has dried right up. Sean Dyche‘s still 7th, but they’re in a huge slump.
  20. Southampton (11) — On the current longest winless run in the PL. Mauricio Pellegrino‘s job will be in serious jeopardy very soon. They keep taking leads but throwing them away and look defensively fragile. Just one point above the drop zone.

It’s time for Arsenal to hit the reset button

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John Cross of the Mirror wrote yesterday that this is the worst Arsenal team in 20 years. He’s right, and that means it’s time to blow the squad up.

Sitting in 6th and coming off an embarrassing 2-1 loss at 13th placed Bourneouth, there is no quick fix to return this club to Champions League caliber, having slowly emaciated through years of poor transfer policy and miserable contract management.

Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil, and even Jack Wilshere could all potentially leave this summer for zero return, the loss of prime talent at the height of its monetary value. Even if Sanchez does leave this January, which looks likely, he’ll leave for a cut-rate price.

In recent years, Arsenal has failed to prepare for the stark decline of defensive stalwarts Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny, left with Rob Holding, Calum Chambers, and occasionally an out of position Nacho Monreal at the back. In Holding’s five Premier League starts this season, Arsenal has conceded 11 goals; Chambers has started the last four games, with just one win and seven goals conceded.

[ MORE: Man United, Chelsea battle for Alexis Sanchez ]

It doesn’t end there. With Francis Coquelin failing to live up to his sky-high potential shown early in his career, the Gunners brought in Granit Xhaka, who has been utterly useless, succeeding more at reducing his side to 10 men than he has in providing defensive cover or possessional strength. The 25-year-old Swiss is rated the 21st-best midfielder in the Premier League this season according to Squawka’s player ratings, behind guys like West Ham’s Manuel Lanzini and Watford’s Abdoulaye Doucore.

Hector Bellerin has declined for two seasons straight. Petr Cech looks all of his 35 years old, leaving fans longing for Wojciech Szczesny, who has performed his backup duties to Gianluigi Buffon to perfection (six goals conceded in 10 Serie A appearances). Lucas Perez lasted one season before being shipped out on loan. Mohamed Elneny can’t even beat out Xhaka for a starting spot. Gabriel Paulista was a flop; Mathieu Debuchy too.

The miserable squad makeup has forced youth products Alex Iwobi, Chuba Akpom, Yaya Sanogo, and Ainsley Maitland-Niles into spot starts over the last few years, with none of the above able to grab a foothold among Premier League competition.

Meanwhile, on the outgoing side, the club has sold players like Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who has been revived under Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool. They let Szczesny leave for Italy. Even back to the Robin Van Persie sale in the summer of 2012, they handed a top talent to a Premier League rival where he won a title. Arsenal hasn’t broken its record sale since shipping Marc Overmars to Barcelona in 2000 for $49 million, proving they can’t cash in on top talent when necessary. Allowing Alexis Sanchez to leave for pennies on the dollar (if anything) is a disaster of epic proportions, but not the first – they held onto players like Lukas Podolski too long, eventually saying goodbye far past peak value for little return.

And so, the Gunners have no other option. They must completely blow up the squad and start over. It will take some time, it will take heavy investment given the lack of assets at the club, and it might take a painful season or two. But it is what must be done. They only need to look north to Anfield to get a solid blueprint of what a top club grinding out a successful rebuild looks like.

Liverpool was in the same situation in 2015. The squad was aging, the transfer policy was poor, and aside from a 2nd place finish the year before which masked some of the problems plaguing the club, they hadn’t qualified for the Champions League since 2010. So, Fenway Sports Group blew the whole thing up. They sold Raheem Sterling, who would take years to finally blossom under Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, for top dollar. They saw Steven Gerrard, Luis Enrique, and Pepe Reina out. They got rid of failures like Mario Balotelli and Lazar Markovic. They used money from the painful but necessary sale of Luis Suarez to bring in Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane. They swung and missed on Christian Benteke, but righted that wrong quickly and got most of their money back. They brought in a veteran grinder in James Milner on a free. Eventually, smart money was spent on Emre Can, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Mohamed Salah, and they found a gem in Philippe Coutinho for just $16 million.

The key however, through all that, was the home run hire of Jurgen Klopp, who has had plenty of growing pains in the Premier League, but is the perfect manager for a rebuild. A loyal and enigmatic character who grooms young players brilliantly, Klopp has mixed cheap veterans with promising youngsters with amazing touch, and can tactically mask squad weaknesses with the best of them. The Reds still have a ways to go as they slowly climb the ladder to perennial Champions League contender, still sporting massive holes at defense and goalkeeper, but shrewd decision-making at the top now has Liverpool with the resources to patch holes while still allowing the stars of the squad to shine.

No rebuild is perfect, and no rebuild is without pain and mistakes, but it is preferable to the alternative in the long-run. Manchester United has been able to avoid a full-on squad nuke when left in a similar position after the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson, but only because of near-unlimited resources and the hiring of managers who mask deficiencies with short-term band-aids such as negative tactics which infuriate supporters and yet fail to achieve the heights the club once reached on a regular basis.

It’s clear that Arsenal must follow Liverpool’s example and sacrifice a few battles to win the war. The first step is letting go of Arsene Wenger and finding someone to lead them through the muck and still be there on the other side. While Carlo Ancelotti would be a big-name get, he wouldn’t fit a long-term plan as snug as someone like Diego Simeone.

The next step – which is no cake walk – would be to retool the squad without many assets of value on hand. Players like Jack Wilshere must be retained, while recent transfers Alexandre Lacazette and Sead Kolasinac have shown enough promise and work rate to build around. The rest are expendable, and departures are required to both raise funds and provide turnover. Aaron Ramsey would be a rare example of someone who could net a solid return while also proving replaceable, as would Hector Bellerin at just 22 years old. Expired has-beens over 30 in Koscielny, Mertesacker, and Debuchy are all immediately out the door despite minimal return, while keeping Olivier Giroud and Nacho Monreal would provide valuable veteran leaders who can still produce on the field.

These aren’t all the answers, and it can’t all be done at once, but it’s a starting point. As is, the Gunners are slowly bleeding out, and instead of layers and layers of gauze, upper management should invest in wide-scale surgery for the long-term health of the club.

Huddersfield 1-4 West Ham: Moyes’ revolution continues

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  • Huddersfield without a win in five games
  • David Moyes is only the fourth manager in PL history to reach 200 wins
  • West Ham 1 defeat in last eight games

West Ham United beat Huddersfield Town 4-1 at the John Smith’s Stadium on Saturday with David Moyes picking up his 200th win as a Premier League manager.

Mark Noble and Marko Arnautovic put West Ham ahead twice after Joe Lolley‘s fine equalizer, then Manuel Lanzini scored twice in the second half to put the game beyond doubt.

With the win West Ham moved up to 11th in the table, while Huddersfield slip to 13th.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ] 

An even start in Yorkshire saw both teams keep the ball well but then the Terriers were punished for overplaying.

Jonas Lossl took a goal kick and played it to Joe Lolley who had three West Ham players around him. Noble was the first to react and won the ball, drove forward and smashed home to make it 1-0 to West Ham.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Christopher Schindler headed over as the home team battled to get back into the game well and they were level just before half time.

On his first start in the PL he cut inside from the right and curled a beauty into the far corner with his left foot. 1-1.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ] 

Just 11 seconds into the second half Arnautovic fired West Ham back into the lead as the Austrian forward turned and finished brilliantly to make it 2-1 to the Hammers.

Soon after it could have been 3-1 as Angelo Ogbonna‘s header was helped towards goal by Cheikhou Kouyate but Aaron Mooy hacked off the line.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

West Ham did make it 3-1 soon after as Lanzini raced clear and fired across goal into the bottom corner. Game over.

Lanzini added insult to injury for Huddersfield as Arnautovic raced free and played in the Argentine playmaker who rifled home his second, and West Ham’s fourth, of the game.

West Ham 2-1 West Brom: Big Andy leads comeback win

AP Photo/Frank Augstein
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  • Carroll scores first goals since April 1, 2017
  • First brace since Jan. 21, 2017
  • McClean scores for Baggies
  • West Brom winless since August
  • West Ham out of the drop zone

Unique hairstyles and towering headers: That’s what Andy Carrol does, and the big Englishman beat Ben Foster twice to keep West Bromwich Albion winless since August following a 2-1 loss to West Ham United at the London Stadium.

James McClean put the Baggies ahead, but the lead would not last and West Brom remains in the drop zone with 16 points, five points behind the 15th place Hammers.

The match was also notable for an ugly incident in which West Brom’s Jake Livermore, incensed by something in the crowd, climbed into the stands.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

West Ham came flying out of the gate, with plenty of pressure down the right and an early Manuel Lanzini yellow card, but the visitors came closest to opening the scoring on an audacious Salomon Rondon chip that just passed the cross bar.

The Irons took five of the first six shots, but the Baggies scored the opener when Rondon set up James McClean on a counter attack. Alan Pardew‘s Baggies had a look at their first win since August.

West Brom was cagey in pursuit of the win, and the Irons’ central midfield had problems with the Baggies’ superior numbers.

Carroll had trouble getting free up top, but the Baggies gave him an opening in the 59th minute. He hammered a Cresswell cross to the left of Foster to make it 1-1 in the 59th.

Arnautovic was denied by a charging Foster, and Angelo Ogbonna then made a timely intervention after Oliver Burke beat him for pace to a delightful through ball from Rondon.

Yet Carroll was there deep into stoppage time to send bubbles into the air when he hammered a shot behind Foster from an acute angle after an Arnautovic cross eluded Javier Hernandez.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]