Aston Villa highlighted their promotion credentials at the weekend, by handing out a 4-1 thrashing against table-topping Wolverhampton Wanderers at Villa Park. Goals from Albert Adomah, James Chester, Lewis Grabban and Birkir Bjarnason proved to be enough for Villa as they left their fans in raptures.
West Ham loanee Robert Snodgrass was again in good form. It was from his corner that Adomah scraped in the opener. Snodgrass then swung in a free-kick to perfection for Chester to touch home for Villa to take the lead again after Diego Jota had equalised.
After the game, the Scottish winger spoke highly of his manager Steve Bruce. He was quoted by the Daily Mail as stating:
“The lads want to run through a brick wall for him. He’s just got that hold of you. He’s got the traits of Sir Alex Ferguson where he gets the best out of players.
“The lads love him and respect him and he gives you a bit of licence. The one thing he wants is that you work hard for your team and that’s one thing I’ve done since I’ve come here. He trusts you.”
It was a brilliant sentiment from the wideman, one which will have West Ham fans thinking.
Whilst Villa had a great weekend, Snodgrass’ parent club West Ham were the disgrace of the Premier League. The Hammers lost 3-0 to Burnley at the London Stadium. The pitch was invaded by disgruntled ‘fans’ whilst the atmosphere at the ground was poisonous – especially toward the West Ham board.
Regardless of the crowd trouble, West Ham’s players have not been performing recently. Three defeats in a row, all by a difference of three goals, has West Ham edging closer to the relegation zone.
It certainly begs the question, would West Ham players do what Villa players would for Bruce with David Moyes?
The Scot seemed to have turned things around at West Ham after taking over from Slaven Bilic. However, many of the West Ham players did not step up to the challenge v Burnley and the same can be said about the 4-1 loss to Swansea.
Skimming through the West Ham team, only James Collins, Mark Noble and Marko Arnautovic stand out as players who put in their best effort in a West Ham shirt, even if their best is not always enough.
Snodgrass joined West Ham last January for a fee reported by the BBC to be in the region of £10.2 million. He struggled to settle at the club and was told he could leave in the summer. After reuniting with former Hull boss Bruce the winger has been in fine form and West Ham will wish they had a player in such fine form.
If West Ham are to stay up, some of their players need to start playing for Moyes the way Villa’s players do for Bruce. Whether that will appease the West Ham fan discontent could be another matter.
Have West Ham United found the next Mark Noble in Alfie Lewis?
The 18-year-old put in a fine performance against Dagenham and Redbridge this week.
West Ham United took on Dagenham and Redbridge in a friendly yesterday, in a match to raise funds for the National League side.
It was no surprise to see West Ham come out victorious. They won 3-1, with Michail Antonio at the double and Jordan Hugill scoring his first goal for the club.
It was, however, a Hammers team depleted by international selection.
With that in mind, David Moyes’ side fielded some of their younger players. Plenty of them caught the eye, but none more so than central midfielder Alfie Lewis.
The 18-year-old put in a fine display for 90 minutes which left West Ham fans very excited on social media.
It was an even more special achievement given Lewis spent most of last year on the sidelines with a serious knee injury.
Lewis himself told the official West Ham website after the game: “I’m delighted.
“It was a good experience for me tonight, to play with the likes of Patrice Evra, and Mark Noble in midfield. It was a good challenge and a good test for us as well, and I think I did well.”
He spoke of it being an honour playing alongside Mark Noble, but is he the successor to the throne?
Whilst Noble has had his critics in recent times there is no doubt he has been a long-term hero at West Ham.
Fans of the club have often wondered why Noble has never received England recognition given his consistent form in the Premier League.
Noble has gone on to play over 400 games for West Ham since his debut for the club back in 2004.
Lewis certainly has the ability to follow in his footsteps. An energetic midfield creator, West Ham look to have another midfield gem in their ranks and one that can hopefully progress into the first-team soon.
The Hammers have a fine record of bringing through young players.
Noble is one current example and Lewis could not be at a better club if he is to find his way into the West Ham first-team.
This season, with a relegation battle raging, might come a little too soon for the teenager.
Nonetheless, in 2018-19 it will not be a surprise if Lewis finds himself playing alongside Noble in the West Ham midfield once again.
West Ham should consider Quique Sanchez Flores in summer
The Espanyol boss is set to leave the club in the summer.
Reports in Spain today are suggesting that former Watford manager Quique Sanchez Flores would like to one day return to manage in the Premier League.
AS is reporting that Flores’ time at Espanyol is up and he will depart the La Liga side at the end of the season. The report continues to say Flores would love a return to England, where he managed Watford in the 2015-16 season.
So with Flores looking for a Premier League return, should West Ham take an interest?
The future of David Moyes at the London Stadium is far from secure. The Scottish manager was never a popular choice among the West Ham fans when brought in to replace Slaven Bilic. Whilst he has done well to guide West Ham away from relegation recent results have seen them slip again.
Rumours are rife that Moyes may not be in the West Ham job for the long haul and if he isn’t then Flores would be an excellent choice as the club’s new boss.
The Spaniard has a wealth of experience at clubs such as Atletico Madrid, Benfica and Valencia. During his time at Watford he earned a reputation for playing attractive football and getting the fans off their seat.
His style of play is exactly what West Ham fans would like to see at the club and he is certainly a big enough name to draw exciting new recruits to the London Stadium.
A calming influence, Flores could be the perfect man to steady the ship should West Ham decide to ditch Moyes and start afresh in the new season.
No doubt the 53-year-old will be in high demand come June, so West Ham would need to swoop quickly if this was the case.
But if Moyes is given the boot, there are few better options for the West Ham job than Quique Sanchez Flores.
Injury gives Moses Makasi a chance to show West Ham what he can do
Antoni Sarcevic is out until April for Plymouth Argyle, giving West Ham loanee Moses Makasi a chance to shine.
West Ham United talent Moses Makasi might be about to get a prolonged experience of regular first-team football. Not with the Hammers, but with his loan club Plymouth Argyle.
The 22-year-old joined the Pilgrims on transfer deadline day but has since had to settle for a place on the bench. Plymouth, who are pushing for promotion in League One, had a settled side which Makasi could not break into.
Yet last weekend Makasi did get his first start. He featured in the 1-1 draw with Fleetwood Town, and scored on his full Football League debut.
Plymouth confirmed this week that the man keeping him out of the first team, Antoni Sarcevic, has suffered a groin injury. With the playmaker absent until mid-April it seems Makasi is going to get his chance. Plymouth boss Derek Adams stated to the Plymouth Herald:
“He (Makasi) came here from West Ham under-23s for regular football.
“To start with we had been playing well Sarcevic, Ness in that midfield with Fox and it was difficult for him to get in.
“He got his opportunity at Fleetwood and took it.”
For Makasi, it is a chance he must take. At 22 his time at West Ham is running out. The midfielder is still to feature for the Hammers first-team despite impressing with the under-23s.
An all-action midfielder the closest he has come to a West Ham breakthrough was a place on the bench v Burnley on the final day of the 2016-17 season.
Makasi turns 23 in September and West Ham will no doubt have to consider letting him go in the summer if he cannot prove himself. Sarcevic’s injury gives Makasi a chance to string together some regular playing time at a team in good form.
If Makasi can help Plymouth into the League One play-off picture in the weeks to come he will certainly give West Ham food for thought.
If not, then West Ham may decide that Makasi will be better off finding himself a new team in the summer transfer window.
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