Modibo Maiga

West Ham United 3-4 Bournemouth: Wilson, Cherries labor for first Premier League win

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  • Cherries get hat trick from Callum Wilson
  • Each team converts a PK
  • Randolph continues to concede vs. Bournemouth
  • Cresswell, Jenkinson struggle at outside back

Eddie Howe and his Bournemouth Cherries have their first Premier League goals and win after a thrilling 4-3 win over hosts West Ham United at the Boleyn Ground on Saturday.

Callum Wilson scored thrice for the Cherries and Marc Pugh added a fourth in the match, while Cheikhou Kouyate, Modibo Maiga and Mark Noble netted for the Hammers.

[ RELATED: Latest Premier League standings ]

The Cherries took a lead in the 11th minute, when Aaron Cresswell was beaten on the right by Simon Francis, whose cross found Callum Wilson as the Bournemouth attacker stepped in front of stationary Winston Reid to hammer the ball home.

Wilson doubled the Cherries’ lead when Cresswell made an awful first touch back pass. The 23-year-old darted into the 18 to meet the loose ball and buried it to make 2-0.

It should’ve been 3-0 deep into first half stoppage time, when Wilson laid a square ball through the 18 to Gradel, but the Ivorian’s belted shot was parried by Darren Randolph.

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Noble converted a penalty just after halftime, as Josh King collided with the West Ham midfielder in the box. Noble went down fairly easily, and then took a class PK to make it 2-1.

The equalizer came from Kouyate, who first-touched a rebound into the side netting to level things in the 53rd minute.

Pugh restored Bournemouth’s lead when he cut back on a sliding Carl Jenkinson before unleashing a harsh curling ball around Randolph, who has now allowed 15 goals in his last three matches against the Cherries.

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Jenkinson then took a red card when he was turned around by Gradel, and had to grab a hold of him to thwart a breakaway.

Wilson buried the PK and it was 4-2, but only for a minute. Maiga walked into the box and wrong-footed Artur Boruc to make it a one-goal game.

Africa Cup of Nations roundup: Lots will be drawn to determine second place in Group D

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When it comes to the ultra-congested Group D, it wouldn’t have been fitting for the clubs to be separated by an on-field winner.

With all four teams boasting 0W-0L-2D records — all on 1-1 draws — going into the final day of group play, there was the possibility of a four-way tie for first place at the end of Wednesday’s play.

[ MORE: English FA charge Costa | No. 1 villain? ]

Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your love for chaos, the Ivory Coast found a winner against Cameroon to make sure there would only be one drawing of lots to see who makes it to the knockout round. That’s because our other match finished dead even.

Here’s the scoop.

Guinea 1-1 Mali

Seydou Keita will be the man sweating the lot drawing just a bit more than the rest of the bunch, as his missed penalty may’ve cost Mali a spot in the Round of 16.

Modibo Maiga bailed him out after halftime in terms of getting to the lots, heading home a cross from Abdoulay Diaby in the 47th minute to level out Kevin Constant’s 15th minute penalty for Guinea.

The lots will be drawn at 10am ET on Thursday. Winner gets Ghana on Feb. 1.

Cameroon 0-1 Ivory Coast

That means the only match that didn’t finish 1-1 in Group D play came at the expense of Cameroon, which had new Montreal Impact man Ambroise Oyongo as an unused substitute.

Cameroon had a 61-39 advantage in possession and a 10-7 edge in shot attempts, but that matters not since Saint-Etienne’s Max Gradel hammered home a shot from 20 yards to push Ivory Coast into a 1-0 lead in the 35th minute that it would not relinquish.

It’s a worthwhile watch:

Mauro Zarate completes deal to West Ham United, signs three-year contract

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Just one week after West Ham United decided to stick with manager Sam Allardyce – so long as he “provide more entertainment next season” – the club have gone out and signed themselves Argentine forward Mauro Zarate to a three-year deal.

The 27-year-old makes his way to Upton Park from Argentine side Velez Sarsfield, where he was the top-tier’s leading scorer with 18 goals in 28 appearances. 

“My reaction is that I am very happy to be at West Ham,” Zarate said after completing his deal with West Ham.

“This is a new chance for me and I want to play. I think I played well for Velez this season and that was important for me. I had some good team-mates and they helped to make it a fantastic season for me.”

Despite finishing 13th in the table, West Ham endured an underwhelming 2013/14 season that exposed holes both defensively, at wing-back in particular, and offensively in the generation and scoring of goals. The latter proved the major blemish, as the Hammers netted only 40 times in the 38 match season.

The lack of offensive production was due to a number of issues, in particular the extended injury absence of Andy Carroll and a lack of service. With Carroll out, Allardyce was forced to play a committee of forwards (Modibo Maiga, Ricardo Vaz Te, Marco Boriello and Mladen Petric) who, with the exception of the surprising Carlton Cole (6 goals, 23 appearances), was relatively toothless.

In Zarate, the Hammers have a player who has the skills, goal-scoring ability and most importantly, desire. “If you ask me what I can bring to the squad then I say I hope I will bring goals!” he exclaimed upon sealing his deal. Pacy and quick to shoot with either foot, the 5’9″ speedster can be a handful for opposing defenses. The key will be playing to his abilities and getting him the ball, which given West Ham’s style is no sure thing. 

To get the most out of Zarate the club’s style will need to change. Route 1 football won’t suit the Argentine, as he needs the ball at his feet with options around him to be at his best. At West Ham, expect him to play inside of Carroll in a 4-4-2 or on the left wing in the 4-2-3-1 setup typically deployed by the club this past season.

Fortunately for both Zarate and the Hammers, the Argentine has experience in the Premier League after he spent the second half of the 2007/08 Premier League campaign on loan at Birmingham City from the Qatari side Al Sadd. In that 14 match stint Zarate scored 4 goals, proving himself to be a fantastic talent capable of the incredible.

Balancing that considerable talent, however, is a dark side. After his spell with Birmingham Zarate was sold to Lazio where he spent three seasons (scoring 25 goals in 103 appearances) but was also handed a two-match ban after being photographed giving a fascist salute amid the Ultras section of fans. A spokesman later pled Zarate’s innocence due to his not knowing what the gesture meant. Since then Zarate has undergone a number of other questionable incidents including clashing with club executives and going on holiday when he was supposed to be receiving treatment. 

With the deal secure it’s clear that Allardyce has deemed the risk of Zarate to be worth the reward. For the sake of Big Sam’s future at the club, he best hope that turns out to be true.

Premier League Transfer Window Grades: West Ham

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Window shopping

Sam Allardyce says he has never been through such a bedeviling transfer period. Clearly, he wasn’t the only Premier League manager with difficulty in filling January needs, but for whatever reason, importing players to Upton Park seemed a bridge especially too far.

Allardyce wrote in a newspaper column just before the final deadline: “The transfer window is in its final throes and I would say we’ve looked at 100 possible deals this month. … I can’t remember ever negotiating as many deals in a transfer window and, if you look across the board, it has been the same throughout the Premier League.”

The late acquisitions of Italian internationals Marco Borriello and Antonio Nocerino helped ease some of the transfer window frustration. Some of it – there is still clearly a big fight ahead in Allardyce’s bid to avoid relegation.

Players In

Marco Borriello (Roma, loan), Antonio Nocerino (AC Milan, loan), Jaanai Gordon (Peterborough, $5.7m), Roger Johnson (Wolves, loan), Abdul Razak (Anzhi Makhachkala, loan), Pablo Armero (Napoli, loan).

Players Out

Blair Turgott (Rotherham, loan), Paul MCallum (Hearts, loan), Jordan Spence (MK Dons, loan), Modibo Maiga (QPR, loan), George Moncur (Partick Thistle, loan), Mladen Petric (released), Razvan Rat (released).

Grade: C

Borriello, 31, has seven caps for Italy. No, that’s not exactly Paolo Rossi as Azzurri all-time strikers go, but he’s got something. Having scored once in 11 Roma appearances this year, a change of address can’t hurt, and maybe can find some of the 2008 form, when Borriello flirted with the Italian Serie A scoring leadership.

At the very least, he provides some cover for the inconsistent and unreliable Andy Carroll.

Nocerino (pictured above, in the middle), 28, has 15 caps for Italy, most prominently as a member of the country’s European Championships team from 2012. While he’s not completely useless, he had become surplus around AC Milan, even more so now Michael Essien’s arrival from Chelsea. It’s fair to ask if a midfielder in such poor from around the San Siro is the man who can help the Hammers dodge relegation?

Done Deal: England’s Deadline Day sees lower teams scurry to ensure top flight status

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It was a furious day of activity in England’s Deadline Day, but the top teams in the table were quiet while the bottom half made plenty of moves in an attempt to avoid relegation.

In fact, Liverpool failing to sign a player may be the biggest news out of the Premier League’s top 7 clubs.

Let’s go through all the completed deals for today:

ENGLAND:

FulhamMore to come on this complete and total squad turnover, but the Cottagers were by far the busiest team in the league on Deadline Day.  They completed permanent deals for Kostas Mitroglou, William Kvist and John Heitinga, while bringing in Lewis Holtby on loan.  Mitroglou is in on a club record transfer fee, and Holtby could be made permanent if the club stays up.

They also offloaded Aaron Hughes, Adel Taarabt, Dimitar Berbatov, and Philippe Senderos, with manager Rene Meulensteen clearly unhappy with the current squad makeup. They also offloaded Bryan Ruiz earlier in the window, while adding Clint Dempsey in the beginning of the window.

Finally, in the waning minutes of the window, the Whites nabbed Manchester United youngsters Ryan Tunnicliffe and Larnell Cole.

Crystal PalaceTony Pulis has done a fair bit of dealing today as well, bringing in defender Scott Dann and goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey from Wolverhampton to shore up and already strong back line.  Finally they sealed Jason Puncheon permanently, already at Selhurst Park on loan. That allowed them to make their biggest signing of the day, nabbing winger Tom Ince from Blackpool on loan.

ArsenalMany have called for Arsene Wenger to sign a striker, but instead he went for the less sexy option of grabbing 31-year-old midfielder Kim Källström on loan from Spartak Moscow.

West Ham UnitedThe signing of Abdul Razak was made official, with the midfielder coming in from Anzhi.  The Hammers also grabbed Pablo Armero on loan from Napoli, a 27-year-old Colombian left-back.

They did, however, miss out on a striker, most notably in their attempt to hijack Mitroglou’s move to Fulham, ending up empty-handed despite reports that they offered the Greek 25% higher wages.  In fact, they offloaded disappointing striker Modibo Maiga on Queens Park Rangers just in time for the deadline.

Finally, they retained Ravel Morrison despite heavy interest from Fulham and other lower table sides.

ChelseaNo major moves were made by Jose Mourinho, but this morning the confirmed the signing of highly-rated defender Kurt Zouma from St. Etienne, costing them a reported £12 million ($19.7 million).  The 19-year-old was then immediately loaned back to the French side. Gael Kakuta was loaned out to Lazio, the 22-year-old’s fifth loan stint during his time at Chelsea.

Cardiff CityThe Bluebirds’ new manager Ole Gunnar Solksjaer brought in a number of familiar faces from his time at Manchester United.  Most notably they captured Wilfried Zaha on loan, joining Fabio who was sealed a few days ago.

SunderlandThe Black Cats signed 24-year-old Liam Bridcutt for a reported £2.5 million ($4.1 million) fee after handing in a transfer request earlier this month at Brighton & Hove Albion. However, Gus Poyet will also be pleased with retaining Lee Cattermole despite heavy interest from Stoke City.  Danny Graham departed on loan to Middlesbrough.

LiverpoolAfter much speculation that they didn’t get the deal done in time, Liverpool did NOT get the deal done for 24-year-old Dnipro midfielder Yehven Konoplyanka.  They hit a snag on a £15 million ($24.7 million) deal and ran out of time.  No deadline day signings for the Reds, on the heels of missing out on Mohamed Salah who was stolen by Chelsea. More on this later.

West BromThe Baggies have added a fantastic hairdo to their ranks when they inked Espanyol striker Thievy Bifouma on loan until the end of the season.  It’s a bit of a panic purchase, with Nicolas Anelka and Stephane Sessegnon both out injured.

Southampton – Mauricio Pochettino, less than 24 hours after confirming he’d never play Pablo Osvaldo again, the striker was loaned to Juventus. So he punches a player at training, and is sent to the Serie A league leaders as a result. Justice is served!

That’s all for around the Premier League, Newcastle failed to replace Yohan Cabaye and Manchester United didn’t add a central defender. We’ll have more from around the rest of Europe a little later tonight.