Declan Rice summed up West Ham’s performance at Burnley in one comment: “We were bullied all over the pitch.”
The England international was part of the Hammers side which lost 3-0 at Turf Moor, as they’ve now lost four of their last five Premier League games and haven’t won since they beat Man United on Sept. 22.
Speaking after the game, Rice lambasted his team for putting in a poor defensive display as the 3-0 scoreline flattered them.
“It’s been like this since the Crystal Palace game. We were nowhere near good enough. We haven’t kicked on and we have been poor,” Rice said. “There is a real buzz around the place during the week but it when it gets to the game and we go 1-0 down our heads drop. We need to do the basics – the simple five-yard passing, the tackling. We were bullied all over the pitch – Burnley were winning everything. It’s not good enough.”
Defensively they were poor with stand-in goalkeeper Roberto having another nightmare outing, as the Hammers continue to miss star goalkeeper Lukas Fabianski who is out injured until the end of December. But all over the pitch West Ham’s players looked disinterested and unable to battle with Burnley.
An even bigger problem for West Ham is that they now play all of Tottenham, Chelsea, Wolves, Arsenal and Liverpool in their next six Premier League games.
Manuel Pellegrini is under pressure with the Hammers just five points above the relegation zone.
After two years of big spending, West Ham are battling to stay out of the bottom five or six, rather than battling to be in the top six as many predicted at the start of the season.
Things have unravelled very quickly for the Hammers and Rice’s comments suggest they will have even bigger problems in the weeks ahead.
West Ham have lost against most of the teams they would expect to beat. Can they now raise their game and cause a few upsets between now and the end of December?
1. Healthy Yarmolenko a big asset: Injuries short-circuited Andriy Yarmolenko’s first year at West Ham after they did the same to his only campaign at Borussia Dortmund, so it’s been easy to forget that the Ukraine playmaker is pacey, creative, and lethal. His lunging finish to beat De Gea in the first half was simply one moment of a match full of good ones, as he fooled Harry Maguire in the process. Three shots, a key pass, and a goal from the right-sided wide man. Good stuff.
2. Pogba import underscored as Rashford adds to injury woes: With Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba already out, the non-contact injury that sent Marcus Rashford to the tunnel is a scary thought for a United team incapable of creative work through the middle. Andreas Pereira was a danger out wide, and Daniel James has proven himself a handful, but a long-term injury to Rashford would heap pressure on young Mason Greenwood. Without Pogba pulling the strings inside — forget Martial’s early season wizardry — this team is in big, big trouble.
Not great, Ed.
3. Technique on return: Aaron Cresswell had a free kick from the right of the 18, with the wall lined up to stop any ideas of a near post effort. Spoiler alert: It didn’t work. The West Ham left back swept a piece of technical beauty over the wall, spinning it into the upper 90 despite the best efforts of David De Gea. Sensational.
England midfielder Declan Rice has spoken about the abuse he received after completing a switch from representing the Republic of Ireland internationally to England.
The 20-year-old represented the Republic of Ireland at the youth level and made three friendly appearances for the senior international squad, but was never cap tied. He decided in February to complete the FIFA-sanctioned one time switch to England, the country of his birth, and has made four international caps all in competitive matches.
That sparked a host of social media abuse for an alleged breach of loyalty.
“I’ve had people saying they’re going to come to my house,” he said to ITV News. “You click on their profile and they’d just be a fake profile, so you don’t know whether it’s true or not.”
“Thinking about it, I was never actually scared about it, because always fans are going to be giving me abuse and whatnot over it. You just kind of look at it and laugh, you think, ‘Yeah, all right, as if you’re going to come and do that type of thing’.”
Rice is one of many England stars who have complained of social media abuse over the past year, including racial abuse of Marcus Rashford, Raheem Sterling, and Danny Rose. According to the BBC, Twitter took action on over 700 instances of “hateful conduct” in the two weeks leading up to England’s Euro qualification game against Bulgaria. Rice played in the Bulgaria match and completed the full 90 minutes, contributing to a 4-0 win for England.
Every season, a handful of previously unknown — or even unexpected — players turn in performances of the highest quality and find themselves being talked about as the Premier League’s latest “breakout player.”
This will undoubtedly be the case again in 2019-20, but will it be? Here are 10 players primed to reach new heights over the next 10 months…
Miguel Almiron, Newcastle United — Here’s the thing about the former Atlanta United star: he can really play. It didn’t take long for the Paraguayan to flash his skill and promise after moving to Newcastle last January. Now, try to imagine what he can do with a full offseason and preseason under his belt… if only the departure of Rafa Benitez doesn’t derail this freight train.
Mason Mount, Chelsea — With the Blues suffering through a two-window transfer ban, new manager Frank Lampard will have no choice but to rely upon a handful of academy players, beginning with the 20-year-old midfielder with whom he worked at Derby County last season. Eight goals and five assists in a solid haul for a teenager, and Mount has made the most of his every chance this preseason.
Reiss Nelson, Arsenal — After a season on loan at Hoffenheim (seven goals), Nelson faces an uphill battle for playing time in a thoroughly stacked Arsenal attack, but he’s got the complete package, plus the versatility, required to force his way into regular minutes.
Lloyd Kelly, Bournemouth — Smart clubs in the PL’s bottom half will have done extensive scouting on EFL Championship players ready to make the jump to England’s top flight, only to be held back by employment at a smaller club. Lloyd Kelly can play left back and center back, and he was outstanding for Bristol City last season. He’s one of a few potential answers to the question “who’ll be the next $60-million British defender?”
Max Aarons, Norwich City — How does a PFA Championship Team of the Year, EFL Team of the Season and EFL Player of the Year campaign sound for a potential breakout star? Norwich City’s Max Aarons achieved all of the above last season, at the age of 18 and 19, in his first season as a professional.
Morgan Gibbs-White, Wolverhampton Wanderers — The same age as Aarons, Gibbs-White is already a seasoned professional with three seasons under his belt. Now that Wolves are on the path to the Europa League group stage, Nuno Espirito Santo will be forced to rotate his team far more than last season, and he undoubtedly find that Gibbs-White is a handy option in midfield.
Moise Kean, Everton — Kean is fairly well known among those who follow the rest of Europe somewhat closely, but PL-only fans are in for a real treat when the 19-year-old Italian attacker gets his feet under him at Goodison Park.
Youri Tielemans, Leicester City — How Tielemans tumbled this far down the transfer pyramid (all due respect to Leicester, of course) is truly a mystery. It’s not as though he was unknown in any way, or that he’s untested in the PL (he spent the second half of last season on loan to the Foxes), or that any number of PL club could have used a midfielder of his caliber.
Declan Rice, West Ham United — Sure, Rice announced himself onto the PL stage last season, but 2019-20 feels like the time when he’ll go from “good young player” to “how much will Man City or Liverpool or Man United have to pay for him next summer?” West Ham being more consistent as a team and pushing for top-seven wouldn’t hurt Rice’s stock one bit.
Phil Foden, Manchester City — Is this the year Foden finally pushes his way into Pep Guardiola‘s regular rotation? We’ve been waiting for him to do so for two seasons now, yet he won’t turn 20 years old until after the 2019-20 season ends. Central midfield is still relatively thin at Man City, though that hasn’t stopped Guardiola from refusing to rotate and give Foden chances in the past.
Ahead of his potential debut for the England national team on Friday, Declan Rice has had to apologize for his past comments on social media.
Rice, 20, switched his allegiance from the Republic of Ireland to England last month after his rise to stardom in the Premier League over the past 12 months.
The West Ham academy produce made three friendly appearances for the Ireland senior team, as well as playing for their U17 side, but was born in England and FIFA approved his switch to represent the Three Lions.
Rice has apologized for the comments he made on social media in 2015 in response to his Irish teammates as he responded “up the RA” which is short for the IRA and “Wait until we get England” on Instagram.
“I am aware that a poorly-expressed comment I made when I was a junior player has been circulated on social media,” Rice said. “I recognise now that my attempt to show support for my team-mates at the time could be negatively interpreted. While my naive words were not meant to be a political opinion and do not represent who I am, I sincerely apologize for any offence caused.”
Rice was called up to the England national team for the first time on Mar. 13 and is in line to play against the Czech Republic on Friday and against Montenegro next Monday in the Three Lions’ EURO 2020 qualifiers.