WHO Poll
Q: 2020/2021 Where will we finish up this season?
a. Top Four, Champions League here we come
b. 5th-7th Europa League is well within our grasp
c. 8th to 14th anywhere in mid table is about right
d. We're in a dog fight before a ball has been kicked and we'll do well to finish 17th or just above
e. GSB have derailed our season before a ball has been kicked, the Championship beckons

Alan 1:18 Thu Dec 17
Thursday newspapers (includes West Ham)

Juventus have opened talks with Paul Pogba's agent as they look to re-sign the 27-year-old Manchester United midfielder. (Express)

Chelsea and England defender Fikayo Tomori, 22, who has been linked with Leeds, is set to join Rennes on loan until the end of the season. (Talksport)

West Ham and England midfielder Declan Rice, 21, wants to move to Chelsea in January. (Fabrizio Romano via football.london)

Liverpool are monitoring Lille's 23-year-old Portugal midfielder Renato Sanches. (Le10 Sport - in French)

Liverpool could turn to Sanches to replace Georginio Wijnaldum. They are keen to keep the 30-year-old Netherlands midfielder but are unwilling to agree to his request for a four-year contract. (Express)

Manchester United will wait until January to decide whether to let 20-year-old English left-back Brandon Williams, who has been linked with Southampton and Newcastle, leave on loan. (Manchester Evening News)

Chelsea are confident they can hang on to striker Olivier Giroud, 34, in January and that he will play enough to keep his place in the France squad for next summer's European Championships. (Telegraph - subscription required)

Manchester United are still in the market for a winger, a centre-back, a right-back and a defensive midfielder but the expectation is there will be no signings in the January window. (Manchester Evening News)

Paris St-Germain and Brazil forward Neymar, 28, has dispelled rumours of a return to Barcelona, insisting he is happy in the French capital. (Express)

Arsenal could make a January move for Porto's 20-year-old Portuguese midfielder Fabio Vieira and are willing to pay his £27m release clause. (Record via Mail)

Manchester United have revived their interest in 26-year-old Atletico Madrid and Spain midfielder Saul Niguez. (Todo Fichajes via Team Talk)

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has asked club officials to sign Real Madrid's Spain midfielder Isco, 28, and Lyon's France midfielder Houssem Aouar, 22, in January. (Defensa Central via Team Talk)

Manchester City are prepared to allow talented 18-year-old Dutch winger Jayden Braaf to leave. (Mail)

West Ham manager David Moyes is keen to bolster his squad in January but has warned supporters not to expect "big signings". (London Evening Standard)

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says he will find it difficult to keep his players fully fit during a hectic schedule over Christmas and the new year. (ESPN)

Aston Villa boss Dean Smith says Brazil midfielder Douglas Luiz, 22, and English defender Ezri Konsa, 23, have "big futures" at the club. (Birmingham Mail)


Sébastien Haller’s stunning West Ham strike pegs back Crystal Palace

Jacob Steinberg at the London Stadium

West Ham’s Sebastien Haller scores his spectacular equaliser at the London Stadium. Photograph: Justin Setterfield/AP

West Ham’s disappointment at failing to go fifth had limits. In the cold light of day this uneven performance might lead to a more realistic assessment of their prospects. Outplayed for long spells by Crystal Palace, they had to be satisfied with a point, secured when Sébastien Haller answered Christian Benteke’s third goal in as many games with a splendid bicycle kick.

The positive for David Moyes came from his side’s resilience. West Ham have become a tougher proposition under his watch and deserved their reward for working out how to counteract Palace’s threat after a tricky first half.

All the same Moyes will know West Ham remain a work in progress and would probably benefit from attacking reinforcements in January, even though Haller earned the plaudits. Palace contained them for much of the contest, even after losing Benteke to a red card, and could argue they created the clearer chances.

Confident after holding Tottenham last Sunday, Palace were the more assertive side from the start. Varied in their approach, as though wanting to show they have more in their armoury than a threat on the break, they seemed to surprise West Ham by pushing high and dominating possession.

The early threat came from Eberechi Eze, an enjoyably languid presence on the left. The winger flashed one dangerous ball across the face of goal and Palace should have led when Benteke nodded wide.

With West Ham distracted by Eze’s movement, the breakthrough arrived in the 35th minute. Arriving in space from right-back, Joel Ward had time to look up and cross. The delivery was spot on and the forward play was resounding as Benteke darted clear of Issa Diop, hardly distinguishing himself in central defence on his first start since 19 September, to pound a header past Lukasz Fabianski.

Flat without the hamstrung Michail Antonio leading their attack, West Ham were struggling. Tomas Soucek and Declan Rice were off the pace in midfield, while Said Benrahma was frustrating in the No 10 role, dribbling into trouble on too many occasions.

Benrahma, making his second start at this level, will need time to adjust after joining from Brentford. The Algerian’s ineffectiveness dimmed West Ham’s threat and although the hosts had their moments – Pablo Fornals heading wide and Jarrod Bowen testing Vicente Guaita – Palace should have pulled clear before half‑time. Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend sliced West Ham open, but Benteke finished tamely.

Palace regretted their profligacy. Moyes had to act and a half-time change brought a stunning reward. On for Fornals, Manuel Lanzini offered the clarity missing from Benrahma’s play. After 55 minutes Lanzini injected urgency into a West Ham attack, dropping a shoulder and feinting to shoot before slipping a pass to Vladimir Coufal. The right-back crossed and Haller, so timid during the first half, crashed an overhead kick past Guaita.

“I wasn’t that surprised,” Moyes said. “Seb’s got an ability to get his foot up really high. It’s the tap-ins I want him to score as well.”

It was a timely reminder of why Haller, who has not always convinced in place of Antonio, cost £45m. Yet Palace gathered themselves, almost regaining the lead when Fabianski denied Patrick van Aanholt.

Then the mood changed. Booked for catching Angelo Ogbonna with a stray arm in the first half, Benteke left the action early after flooring Soucek in the 70th minute, and Palace had to retreat. “A ludicrous decision,” Roy Hodgson, Palace’s manager, said. “He’s only trying to use his arm for leverage. I honestly believe decisions like that are ruining the game of football.” West Ham, however, could not deepen Hodgson’s anger.

Sport Witness

Club has proposal from West Ham, ‘will not oppose’ January transfer – Hammers have ‘long shown interest’ in player

Barcelona’s Junior Firpo has emerged as a January transfer target for West Ham United, according to reports.

The Catalan club took the left-back from Real Betis in 2019 so that he can compete with Jordi Alba for a place in the starting XI, but he hasn’t established himself at the Camp Nou.

This season, the 24-year-old has only one league appearance to his name and that came when Ronald Koeman called him off the bench in Barca’s 4-0 win over Osasuna in November.

Mundo Deportivo journalist Miguel Rico claims the fullback has to move away from the Spanish giants in January, if he wants to play regularly in the second half of this season.

Barcelona, who ‘will not oppose’ a loan transfer, have three proposals for him, including from the Hammers and Granada.

According to Rico, David Moyes’ side have ‘long shown interest’ in taking the player on a loan deal with a ‘purchase option’. However, Granada have come closest to taking Junior.

Napoli are the Spanish club’s next opponent in the Europa League, and they wanted to the Barca defender in the summer. There were also clubs from Italy and England who wanted Junior, but none of them were successful in securing Junior’s services in the last window.

The Camp Nou exit door ‘will open’ for the former Spain U21 international in the winter market. With Barca ready to do business, it remains to be seen whether West Ham will be able to take Junior on loan next month.

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

ted fenton 12:45 Fri Dec 18
Re: Thursday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan 4:34 Thu Dec 17

Thanks Alan 4:34 Thu Dec 17
Re: Thursday newspapers (includes West Ham)
bill green 2:44 Thu Dec 17

Sven Roeder 3:17 Thu Dec 17
Re: Thursday newspapers (includes West Ham)
So ... Declan Rice wants to go to Chelsea in January
He is going there on Dec 21 so no need

BRANDED 2:45 Thu Dec 17
Re: Thursday newspapers (includes West Ham)
“I wasn’t that surprised,” Moyes said. “Seb’s got an ability to get his foot up really high. It’s the tap-ins I want him to score as well.”

bill green 2:44 Thu Dec 17
Re: Thursday newspapers (includes West Ham)

charleyfarley 1:26 Thu Dec 17

Alan 1:58 Thu Dec 17
Re: Thursday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Junior Firpo story added.

charleyfarley 1:26 Thu Dec 17
Re: Thursday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

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