Issa Diop

Sterling hat trick leads Man City blowout

Leave a comment

Manchester City began its Premier League challenge with a high quality away win, breaking down a disciplined West Ham United at the London Stadium to the tune of a 5-0 victory.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Raheem Sterling scored twice. Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero also scored, while Jesus and Sterling each had a goal disallowed by VAR in the win. Sterling’s second goal withstood VAR review thanks to the angle of the last defender’s hip.

City goes first with a plus-5 goal differential, and hosts Tottenham Hotspur next week. West Ham is off to Brighton and Hove Albion.


Three things we learned

1. VAR is imperfect, but it isn’t going anywhere so  we’ll have to accept the overturning of imperceptible real-time results like Sterling’s centimeter-offside shoulder in assisting Jesus’ would-be second for the hopes of what it will fix in big spots and big gaffes.

VAR also overturned Lukasz Fabianski‘s save of Sergio Aguero’s late penalty for encroachment. The Argentine scored on his second attempt.

One things for sure: “I’m the show” Mike Dean was not able to make himself as much of a story line because the cameras did some work for him.

[ MORE: Pep, Pellegrini react to VAR ]

2. If you’re one of the people (cough, like this writer) who predicted this is the season that Raheem Sterling will win Premier League Player of the Year, you’re feeling pretty good about the 24-year-old’s showing at the London Stadium.

Sterling scored thrice, had a fourth ruled out, and also had an assist (with a second overturned). He was everywhere, electric and smart, and looks every bit the player he promised upon debut for Liverpool.

3. West Ham is going to be a problem for a lot of teams this year, and Manuel Pellegrini has to be counting his blessings that his scouts spotted Issa Diop before last season and decided not to sell him this summer.

The towering 22-year-old from Toulouse didn’t look great on Jesus’ clever opener and conceded a late penalty when Riyad Mahrez made the most of a wayward foot, but was tested time and again by the probing runs and cutting through balls of City.

The man may be chiseled out of granite.

Man of the Match: Sterling.


[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

The Irons predictably struggled to have much of the ball, but Manuel Pellegrini was had his men ready to play with their champion visitors.

Ederson made a pair of quickfire saves from close range in the 73rd minute, the second a flying slap of a header which kept the two-goal lead in tact.

Jesus was also quite good, starting over Sergio Aguero, and scoring when Diop’s sliding bid to divert a Kyle Walker cross only allowed a flick past Lukasz Fabianski.

Sterling scored all three of his goals after halftime, the first off a Kevin De Bruyne assist, the second coming via a delightful run to dink a shot inside the far post, and the third a run into the right of the box.

[ MORE: Premier League TV, streaming schedule | Predicting the PL table ]

Report: Manchester United bids big for West Ham’s Diop

Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images
2 Comments

Somewhere, Jose Mourinho just threw something through a window.

Manchester United is being linked with a swoop for West Ham United revelation Issa Diop, mere months after the former Red Devils manager credited the Irons for identifying the player in France.

[ MORE: USMNT roster shuffle ]

United is said to be willing to spend approximately $57 million and send a player to the London Stadium.

Sky says West Ham doesn’t want to sell him and has a minimum price of $75 million in mind.

Mourinho not only famously begged for center backs from chairman Ed Woodward during his last season at United, he called Diop “a monster” and congratulated the scout who found him.

PST’s Joe Prince-Wright rated Diop as the 10th best center back in the Premier League season. The now 22-year-old was already Toulouse club captain when West Ham came calling last summer.

This would be a solid buy for United, though we’re not sure the Irons would be willing to sell the big man. Diop has proven himself at the Premier League level, is very young for the position, and West Ham is investing all over the pitch in a bid to become a contender.

As for the player to come back, that’s an odd nut to crack. We’re pretty sure West Ham isn’t going to want to pay huge wages for a middling talent. I’ll duck from the rotten tomatoes, but maybe West Ham is willing to make Romelu Lukaku its long-sought center forward (Marko Arnautovic is 30, and he’s also Marko Arnautovic).

West Ham United hangs three on Fulham (video)

Leave a comment
  • Babel strikes in third minute for visitors
  • Chicharito scores handball goal
  • Diop nods home to complete Irons’ comeback

West Ham United overcame an early stumble to punish Fulham’s weak defending with a 3-1 defeat at the London Stadium on Friday.

The London Derby win pushes the Irons ninth with 34 points, six behind seventh place Watford. Fulham remains 19th with 18 points.

Ryan Babel scored for Fulham, while Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, Issa Diop, and Michail Antonio were West Ham’s scorers.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Denis Odoi and Ryan Sessegnon worked down the left to help Fulham to its surprising opener, cueing up a left-footed cross from the latter that Babel darted into the six to slash behind Lukasz Fabianski.

The lead lasted 26 minutes, but it would’ve lasted longer had the referee spotted Hernandez’s hand slapping the ball into the goal after his head nodded at the orb. Shockingly, no Fulham player protested, and it was 1-1.

West Ham went ahead 11 minutes later, Diop waltzing into the area to nod Robert Snodgrass‘ corner kick inside the near post.

Manuel Lanzini entered the game late, getting a fine cheer en route to his long-anticipated return from injury.

Sergio Rico made a fine one-handed stop on Marko Arnautovic to stymy a late second-half bid to insure West Ham’s lead.

As Fulham rarely looked prepared to pot an equalizer, perhaps it was fitting that West Ham got a third with a dominant sequence in stoppage time. Antonio was the finisher after Arnautovic and Lanzini made themselves menaces on the right of the box.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Everyone’s praising West Ham, even Jose Mourinho

Leave a comment

Marko Arnautovic is feeling very good right now, full fitness or not.

West Ham’s Austrian striker was a menace in the Irons’ 3-1 win over Manchester United on Saturday, and doesn’t need to hear about tactics or Jose Mourinho.

[ RECAP: West Ham 3-1 Man Utd ]

“It doesn’t matter how they set up, our game was to try to win,” Arnautovic said. “We have to do our job and we did it excellently, and that is why we deserved to win.”

Mark Noble, who set-up two goals in one of his finer performances of the past few seasons, felt a similar way, and credited Manuel Pellegrini. From the BBC:

“To be honest the way it’s going at the minute, Man United could have lined up a number of ways with all their talent. … Days like the Chelsea game where we could’ve had a couple of goals, today, the 8-0 win over Macclesfield in midweek. We’ll lose games and play bad at times, but the way manager has us playing, you see the confidence.”

Noble also had praise for Arnautovic after the 29-year-old returned from injury to post his fourth goal in six Premier League matches.

“He hasn’t trained much, only one or two days, so to run like that shows he is working hard for the team. The performance was great especially for the fans who have come here seen some bad ones.”

West Ham looks very good right now. Their 0-4 start appears to half-unlucky and half a victim of bringing many new pieces together.

As for those new pieces, Mourinho was impressed.

“Congratulations to the scout that found these 21-year-old kids,” Mourinho said. “Issa Diop is a monster.”

West Ham signs club record center back from Toulouse

whufc.com
Leave a comment

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.”