Hull City 1-0 West Ham: Hull hang on, remain undefeated at home (video)

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In a Saturday full of big surprises — most notably, both Manchester sides losing — Hull City’s position in the table must be noted as one of them. Thanks to their win over West Ham United,  the newly-promoted Tigers are now seventh in the table, although that could change if Everton get a win against Newcastle on Monday. Still, three wins in six is impressive for Hull, and may signal that they’ll stay safe in the Premier League.

In fact, West Ham just might be looking up enviously after this loss, which sends them into 16th place, barely above the relegation zone. The Irons haven’t won since week 1, against Cardiff City, but have achieved two draws, both of them goalless. Will that be enough for Sam Allardyce to continue to keep his job?

Big Sam may be able to argue that luck went against him on Saturday afternoon. In the 12th minute, Robbie Brady went down, rather easily it seemed, under a challenge from West Ham defender Joey O’Brien. Referee Kevin Friend immediately pointed to the spot. Brady himself took the penalty, sending his shot past Jussi Jaaskelainen and into the bottom right corner.

West Ham very nearly found an equalizer in the 23rd minute, but Liam Rosenior managed to clear James Tomkins’ header off the line. There were appeals for a handball, but the ball appeared to collide with the defender’s shoulder rather than his arm. Official review also showed that the ball never crossed the line.

Hull spent almost the entire half sitting back and defending, allowing just one good chance for the visitors. Modibo Maiga stung Allan McGregor’s palms in the 53rd minute, but soon gave way for Mladen Petric. Allardyce also threw on Stewart Downing and Ricardo Vaz Te, but no one was able to get through the tough Tigers defense.

Perhaps Allardyce gets a bye this week, but if results don’t improve soon, will we see a change in East London?

Hull City: McGregor; Rosenior, Figueroa, Davies, Faye; Huddlestone, Livermore, Elmohamady, Brady (Meyler 80); Aluko (Boyd 89), Graham (Sagbo 71)

Subs not used: Harper, Bruce, McShane, Quinn

West Ham: Jaaskelainen; O’Brien, Reid, Tomkins, Rat; Morrison, Noble, Nolan; Diame (Downing 71), Maiga (Petric 59), Jarvis (Vaz Te 71)

Subs not used: Adrian, Taylor, Collins, Demel

Report: Newcastle activates $12m release clause of ex-Arsenal youth

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Reports out of Turkey say Newcastle United have finally struck the transfer market for a new No. 10.

[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]

Aksam reports that Rafa Benitez got the Magpies hierarchy to activate a near $12 million release clause for Besiktas midfielder Oguzhan Ozyakup.

The 25-year-old was part of Arsenal’s youth set-up until 2012, making two League Cup appearances in 2011-12 before moving to Besiktas.

Dutch-born Ozyakup is 35-times capped with a goal for Turkey, twice captaining the Crescent-Stars.

Ozyakup lost playing time to Talisca this season, and registered just four assists in 24 appearances. In 219 appearances for Besiktas, he’s posted 27 goals with 50 assists.

Like the move for Newcastle?

Lukaku pens inspiring post on hard-scrabble upbringing

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Manchester United and Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku has an inspiring and emotional post in The Players’ Tribune which tugs at the heart strings and explains his competitive fire.

[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]

Lukaku talks about how his family’s poverty caused him to become a fierce competitor in the hopes of meeting his dreams head-on and providing for his family.

The Belgian, 25, scored twice in his side’s 3-0 World Cup-opening win over Panama earlier this week, and is now far removed from his youth, but he tells his story as if it lives fresh in his mind.

From The Players’ Tribune:

There were even times when my mum had to “borrow” bread from the bakery down the street. The bakers knew me and my little brother, so they’d let her take a loaf of bread on Monday and pay them back on Friday.

Lukaku also talks about racism in football, his debut for Anderlecht, and that aforementioned competitive drive. It’s 100 percent worth the read.

West Ham signs club record center back from Toulouse

whufc.com
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West Ham has reportedly set a club record with its latest signing under new manager Manuel Pellegrini.

Issa Diop is the player, the 21-year-old Toulouse captain and center back costing the Irons around $29 million.

[ MORE: Arsenal signs Leno ]

Diop scored three goals with an assist and eight yellow cards in 31 Ligue 1 matches this season, giving the young defender 95 apps, six goals, three assists, and 23 yellows since debuting with the senior team at 18.

Capped by France at every level below the senior team, Diop’s 2.2 interceptions per game ranked sixth in Ligue 1.

Toulose finished 18th in Ligue 1, but won its promotion/relegation playoff to stay in the French top flight.

From WHUFC.com:

“I am very happy to sign for such a historic, English club, and I hope to show my best here. I am a very ambitious player and West Ham is a very ambitious club, as we’ve seen with the appointment of the new coach. I hope to help the team win lots of games and make the fans happy.”

Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show: Episode 3

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In the third episode of Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show, England pulls out a massive win while VAR finds its way into the World Cup spotlight.

[ LIVE: World Cup scores ] 

There will be plenty more to come over the next few weeks, with the show coming via the Men In Blazers.

Click play on the video above to watch the first episode in full.