WHO Poll
Q: 2021/22 What competition should we prioritise this season?
a. The league is our bread & butter, so this year let's have a club sandwich
b. We're owed an FA Cup after Gerrard nicked our last one in 06, our name's on it in 22
c. A bye to the League Cup 3rd round gives us a good start, let's make it count
d. The Europa is our best ticket to the Champions League, this is the one
e. What's wrong with you, let's do the lot, has the quadruple ever been done

Alan 12:45 Sun Oct 3
Sunday newspapers (includes West Ham)

Manchester City believe they hold the edge over rivals Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Bayern Munich in the race to sign Benfica's Uruguayan striker Darwin Nunez, 22. (Star)

Leeds and England midfielder Kalvin Phillips is keen to sign a new improved contract at Elland Road. The 25-year-old still has two years left on his current deal. (Athletic - subscription required)

Manchester United's Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani, 34, could join Real Madrid in January, after falling down the pecking order at Old Trafford following the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo. (Mundo Deportivo - in Spanish)

Manchester United want to have a final decision over the future of French midfielder Paul Pogba made by Christmas. (Sun)

Real Madrid have been offered the chance to sign the 28-year-old next summer by agent Mino Raiola. (Express)

Bayern Munich are close to agreeing a new contract with Germany forward Serge Gnabry, 26. (Fabrizio Romano on Twitter)

Paris St-Germain have reportedly thrown their hat into the ring in the race to sign 21-year-old Norway striker Erling Braut Haaland from Borussia Dortmund next summer. (Mirror)

Liverpool are planning a move for highly-rated 17-year-old Kacper Kozlowski from Pogon Szczecin. They face competition from AC Milan, RB Leipzig and RB Salzburg, who are reportedly also interested in the Polish midfielder. (Mirror)

Chelsea are interested in 17-year-old French forward Mohamed-Ali Cho from Angers. The French youngster played 21 times in Ligue 1 last season and is said to be one of the brightest prospects in French football. (Caughtoffside, via Express)

Cagliari midfielder Nahitan Nandez, 25, is set to leave the club, according to his agent. The Uruguayan has been a target for Tottenham and Leeds as well as Napoli. (Calcio Napoli 24 - in Italian)

Steve Bruce will be staying as manager at Newcastle as owner Mike Ashley's priority remains finding a buyer for the club. (Sun)

French striker Karim Benzema, 33, is adamant that his compatriot, Paris St-Germain striker Kylian Mbappe, 22, will join him at Real Madrid one day. (L'Equipe via Sun)

West Ham, Everton and Arsenal are all keen to sign Real Betis forward Nabil Fekir but Betis are still keen to retain the services of the 28-year-old Frenchman. (Fichajes - in Spanish)

Real Madrid are considering making a move for Leicester's Belgian midfielder Youri Tielemans, 24, but his arrival could signal the departure of Brazilian midfielder Casemiro, 29, to Paris St-Germain. (El Nacional)

Barcelona will look to bring Manchester City's England forward Raheem Sterling, 26, to La Liga in the new year. (OnzeTV on Twitter)

Arsenal are also keeping a close eye on Sterling, with the forward one of the top transfer targets for manager Mikel Arteta. (Star)

The Hard Tackle

West Ham United vs Brentford Preview: Probable Lineups, Prediction, Tactics, Team News & Key Stats

West Ham United will hope to extend their winning run going into the international break when they face Brentford at the London Stadium on Sunday.

The second international break is nearly upon us, with just one day of club football remaining before the players head off to their national sides. In the Premier League, four games will be on show, and West Ham United will be aiming to make it four wins in a row when they play hosts to Brentford at the London Stadium on Sunday.

West Ham United have show in the early stages of the 2021/22 season that their performances last term were not a flash in the pan. The Hammers are once again among the better performers in the Premier League, losing just one of their six games so far while also adjusting to the gruelling run that is borne out of participation in the UEFA Europa League.

Brentford, like West Ham, have been beaten only on one occasion in the Premier League, making an impression with their tenacity all across the pitch. This was best evident last weekend, when they twice came from a goal down to hold Liverpool to a 3-3 draw. As a result, the Bees are flying high at the moment, camping themselves in the top half of the table with nine points so far.

West Ham were 4-0 winners the last time they locked horns with Brentford, way back in 1993. Ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the maiden Premier League encounter between them.

David Moyes has one major injury concern hampering his preparations ahead of the visit of Brentford. On Saturday, the West Ham United manager could be bereft of the services of as many as two first-team players.

The major issue pertains to Vladimir Coufal, with Moyes sweating over the fitness of the Czech full-back. Judging by Moyes’ comments in his pre-match press conference, it looks like Coufal could be in line to make a start, shrugging off the minor calf injury. Ryan Fredericks, though, might see the game coming too soon for him to overcome his groin complaint.

However, Coufal’s potential availability means Fredericks is unlikely to be missed much, with the 29-year-old set to start as the right-back. On the left flank, there is no looking past Aaron Cresswell while Kurt Zouma and Angelo Ogbonna ought to pair up at the heart of the West Ham defence. In goal, the in-form Lukasz Fabianski is an automatic pick.

Up ahead in midfield, Declan Rice will aim to continue right from where he left off against Rapid Wien, having looked in imperious touch on Thursday in the UEFA Europa League tie. The English international will have partner-in-crime Tomas Soucek in company in the double pivot, with the duo looking to provide a solid base in the middle of the park while also recycling possession smartly.

As for the attacking unit, new boy Nikola Vlasic could miss out, with Said Benrahma set to reprise the no. 10 role. The former Brentford playmaker will look to construct a fluid partnership with Pablo Fornals and Jarrod Bowen once again while Michail Antonio will lead the line for West Ham on Sunday.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Fabianski; Coufal, Zouma, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Soucek, Rice; Bowen, Benrahma, Fornals; Antonio


Like his counterpart in the West Ham United dugout, Thomas Frank had been sweating over the fitness of a key player ahead of the short trip to the London Stadium. The Brentford boss, though, will only have to make do without a couple of long-term absentees.

The good news is that Ethan Pinnock ought to be fit enough to start after being taken off in the first half shortly after scoring in the 3-3 draw with Liverpool. The 28-year-old will be a part of the three-man central defensive unit alongside Pontus Jansson and Kristoffer Ajer, with David Raya stationed in goal once again.

Therefore, the only two players missing out for Brentford are Mads Sorensen (knee) and Joshua Dasilva (hip). Coming back to the team selection and Sergi Canos and Rico Henry will once again be the two wing-backs, who will provide a marauding presence from time to time but also look to rob the West Ham wide men off space.

The three central midfielders, likely to be Christian Norgaard, Frank Onyeka and Vitaly Janelt, will personify the tenacity and industry that have become second nature as characteristics for Brentford under Thomas Frank. The trio will aim to contain Said Benrahma while also stifling the ghosting runs of Pablo Fornals.

Finally, the strike partnership will once again be formed by Bryan Mbeumo and Ivan Toney. Frank heaped praise on Mbeumo during his pre-match press conference, and the 22-year-old French attacker will hold the key for the visitors, as he will need to stretch the West Ham defence in the critical forward bursts.

Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Raya; Ajer, Jansson, Pinnock; Canos, Onyeka, Norgaard, Janelt, Henry; Mbeumo, Toney

Key Stats

This is the first-ever top-flight meeting between West Ham United and Brentford, with each of the previous 20 league games between the sides taking place in the second tier. Brentford’s last win over West Ham was in the 1953/54 season (though they’ve only since met in 1992-93 since then).
West Ham have lost their last four games when facing an opponent in the top-flight for the first time, going down against Bournemouth in 2015/16, Hull City in 2008/09, Reading in 2006/07 and Wigan Athletic in 2005/06.
Brentford have lost just one of their last nine league London derbies (W5 D3), going down 2-1 at Queens Park Rangers in February. The Bees are the only side yet to lose a Premier League London derby, by virtue of the fact that they have played only two of them in the competition so far (W1 D1).
Only Manchester City (34) and Tottenham Hotspur (28) have earned more points in home Premier League games in 2021 so far than West Ham (26). The Hammers did lose their last home league match against Manchester United, but have only lost back-to-back games at the London Stadium once since David Moyes’ return in January 2020.
Michail Antonio has been involved in a league-high eight goals this season prior to the weekend, with five goals and three assists. Those are eight of the 13 West Ham have scored in the Premier League this term.

Player to Watch

Kurt Zouma

The spotlight will, as always, be firmly on Michail Antonio and Said Benrahma, as well as Brentford frontman Ivan Toney. However, the game is likely to be another scrappy affair involving the Bees, which essentially puts the onus on the defenders to come up trumps in the clutch moments. This is where Kurt Zouma comes into the picture.

The French defender is proving to be a fine addition to the West Ham United defensive setup, and has helped in tightening the screws early in his stint so far. With Toney and Bryan Mbeumo experts at stretching the opposition defence, it will be up to Zouma to ensure the backline remains organised. One of the trickier outings for the former Chelsea defender

West Ham United 2-1 Brentford

This is another one of those games involving Brentford that will leave the onlookers on the edge of their seats. To begin with, the match ought to be an end-to-end affair, with the two goalkeepers being kept fairly busy. The deadlock could well be broken as half-time approaches, with Brentford grabbing a shock lead, possibly through Bryan Mbeumo.

However, West Ham should make another one of their newly trademarked comebacks post the interval, with Michail Antonio and Said Benrahma inspiring the come-from-behind win. The Hard Tackle, therefore, predicts a 2-1 win for David Moyes & co. in a result that could help the Hammers climb up the table.


Dmitri Halajko: U23s produced almost the complete performance

Attacking with verve and invention, defending with steel and determination, West Ham United U23s deserved the plaudits after a 3-1 win over Everton U23s on Saturday afternoon saw them rise to third in the table in Premier League 2 Division 1.

Amidst conditions approaching the torrential at Rush Green Stadium, the young Hammers were the sharper team on and off the ball and created plenty of openings in East London, taking the lead after 25 minutes when Kamarai Swyer nodded in Harrison Ashby’s cross.

Five minutes later and that lead was doubled; Emmanuel Longelo’s corner was headed against the bar by captain Aji Alese, his centre-back partner Jamal Baptiste poking home the rebound from close range.

The only blemish on the afternoon came when Everton’s Stanley Mills volleyed in a response two minutes later, but the points were guaranteed to match the performance when Aji Alese stabbed home a loose ball from another set-piece on the hour mark.

“It was a really good performance, both in possession and out of possession,” U23s lead coach Dmitri Halajko told whufc.com.

“In possession, we controlled the game and that’s what we’ve asked for from the lads. In the last couple of games, we just felt we turned the ball over a little bit cheaply and haven’t been patient enough in possession, but today we really showed that we could do that.

“We dominated the majority of the ball with some cutting edge as well. We created plenty of chances; it finished 3-1, and it could have been more with the openings that we had.

“Out of possession, we were hard to break down, we were hard-working and we pressed well, so we’re really happy with what we did in and out of possession – it was almost a complete performance, really.

“We moved the ball quickly today – one and two-touch football is where we wanted to get to, and we thought if we moved it nice and quickly and brightly, we’d be able to break them down. We did on a number of occasions.

“The only criticism really was that, for the amount of times we broke them down, we should’ve finished more chances off, but it’s a really, really good performance from the lads.”

Having gone down to a hard-fought 1-0 defeat at Colchester United in the Papa John’s Trophy on Tuesday, Halajko saw fit to praise how his players reacted to that result.

“All of the things that we wanted to tidy up from that game, the lads put into action,” he noted.

“They haven’t had loads of days to do that on the training pitch – we’ve had two sessions to try and make a few improvements – so hats off to them that they managed to take those messages on board.”

West Ham’s second goal from Baptiste was a reverse of the match-winning combination against Crystal Palace just over a week ago: an Emmanuel Longelo corner-kick delivery, a centre-back (in this case Alese) heading against the bar with the first header, and their partner (Baptiste) tucking away the rebound.

“They’re a real danger from set plays, those two,” Halajko smiled. “They’ve had a couple of goals now when one of them’s made first contact, and the other one follows in and gets the second contact.

“They’re a real threat for sure, but I thought their defending was even more impressive. Nothing could get past those two today. They were exceptional, as they have been in the last three or four games.

“I haven’t yet seen two better centre-halves in the league than those two, and hopefully they carry on that form.”

Third place in development football’s top league – with 13 points from seven games, just over a quarter of the season gone – marks a real feat for Halajko and his players.

Halajko surmised: “It’s real progress from last season. To be third in the table at this stage is really impressive and something the lads should be proud of.

“Hopefully they can kick on further and carry on at the right end of the table, because I think that’s where we should be.

“We’ve got the talent to do that and that’s the kind of levels we should be setting ourselves. This year, so far, they’ve shown what a good group of players we’ve got and what a good Academy we are.”

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

Texas Iron 10:49 Sun Oct 3
Re: Sunday newspapers (includes West Ham)

ted fenton 2:12 Sun Oct 3
Re: Sunday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan 1:07 Sun Oct 3

Thanks Alan 1:07 Sun Oct 3
Re: Sunday newspapers (includes West Ham)
With Kind Regards 1:06 Sun Oct 3

Thanks Alan 1:06 Sun Oct 3
Re: Sunday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

With Kind Regards 1:06 Sun Oct 3
Re: Sunday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan.

Irish Hammer 12:51 Sun Oct 3
Re: Sunday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Super stuff Alan. Thanks

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