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I am so used to palming off most of the responsibilities to my assistant managers and coaches that I've become a bit of a 'spacebar' manager, whose only responsibility for long stretches is to make sure I hit continue. So, I've decided I want to become a bit of a control freak and micro-manage as much as I can, just to see what it's like. I'll be using the team I support in real life, West Ham United as I do when I start investigating any new FM game. I'll be taking charge of all Main, u23 and u18 matches, as well as setting all tactics etc...as much as I can. The aim is to win every possible trophy/league title for each of the three age groups at least once as well as hopefully nurture a few players right through from u18's to becoming full international and club stars.

 

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Club Background

West Ham United Football Club is a professional football club based in Stratford, East London, England. They compete in the Premier League, the top tier of English football. The club re-located to the London Stadium in 2016.

The club was founded in 1895 as Thames Ironworks and reformed in 1900 as West Ham United. They moved to the Boleyn Ground in 1904, which remained their home ground for more than a century. The team initially competed in the Southern League and Western League before joining the Football League in 1919. They were promoted to the top flight in 1923, when they were also losing finalists in the first FA Cup Final held at Wembley. In 1940, the club won the inaugural Football League War Cup.

West Ham have been winners of the FA Cup three times, in 1964, 1975, and 1980, and have also been runners-up twice, in 1923, and 2006. The club have reached two major European finals, winning the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1965 and finishing runners-up in the same competition in 1976. West Ham also won the Intertoto Cup in 1999. They are one of eight clubs never to have fallen below the second tier of English football, spending 59 of 91 league seasons in the top flight, up to and including the 2016–17 season. The club's highest league position to date came in 1985–86 when they achieved third place in the then First Division.

Three West Ham players were members of the 1966 World Cup final-winning England team: captain Bobby Moore and goalscorers Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters.

 

Facilities

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London Stadium, Capacity: 60,000
First Team Stadium, u23 Stadium


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Victoria Road, Capacity: 6,078
u23 Stadium (Home ground of Dagenham & Redbridge FC)

 

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Little Heath Sports Ground, Capacity: 750
u23 Stadium, u18 Stadium

 

Trophies I want to try and win

Main Squad- Premier League, F.A. Cup, Carabao (League) Cup, Community Shield, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, UEFA Super Cup, FIFA Club World Cup

u23 Squad- Premier League 2, Checkatrade Trophy, Premier League Cup, Premier League International Cup

u18 Squad- Professional u18 Development League 1, u18 Premier League Cup, FA Youth Cup, UEFA Youth League

 

Oh and..... I'd quite like to make West Ham United the most successful club side in the world of course, and become #1 in the worldwide Hall of Fame

 

 

Edited by winterburnsilva

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Main Squad

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Bit of a substantial injury list to start the save, with five first team players out for at least a couple of months each and two other players just coming back from injuries. Luckily most, if not all of these players will be back in time for the start of the season, but they will all miss a big chunk of pre-season and will be late in getting up to match speed. A lot rests on the shoulders of Javier Hernandez initially, with the other strikers Sakho and Carroll out. Andre Ayew would be another option up front, although ideally I'd like to play him out wider on the left.

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This will be the main tactic I will try and use, with another defensive 4-1-4-1 counter-attack used for when I expect to be the underdog in a match. If I want to defend a lead late on, Kouyate (Or Declan Rice if I have a couple of centre mid injuries)) can come on as a defensive midfielder. I always seem to struggle with Target Men, maybe I just don't know how to use them, but if I ever feel the need to go two up top I'd prefer Sakho and Hernandez, as the former's finishing attribute excites me greatly. Andy Carroll will be there for the "just pump it long ball!" desperation tactic

u23 Squad

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Toni Martinez might see some senior team action early on, with the long term injuries to Sakho and Carroll. I rate him irl due to his excellent strike rate for the u23's but he didn't set the world on fire when given a chance in the cups. I'd like to at least give him a shot and see what he can achieve in the senior team.

Reece Oxford is probably the highest potential player in the U23's, although he starts the season on loan at borussia mönchengladbach in the Bundesliga. If he isn't getting the necessary game time I will recall him though.

Declan Rice, Reece Oxford, Josh Pask and Reece Burke are all promising defenders coming through, who can potentially eventually replace the now ageing backline of the senior team.

u18 Squad

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Domingos Quina and Anouar el Mhassani are the standout candidates in the u18 team. Quina should probably be featuring for the u23 side already, so I might end up promoting him quite early on.

As a side note, I quite like the idea of a sibling rivalry between Emmanuel and Rosaire Longelo, both competing for the same left sided attacking midfield spot on the team. I'd like to think they were hugely competitive brothers who will fall out and stop talking to each other if one becomes more successful than the other lol

Players out on Loan

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Transfers In

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David Carmona should be a good attacking full back/winger option for many years and I was looking ahead to when Zabaleta decided to hang up his boots. He will be getting tutored by 'model professional' Zabaleta immediately

 

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Jose Mauri will give a bit of depth in midfield, especially if I'm using 1/2 defensive midfielders with Kouyate and/or Rice, giving Noble and Obiang a bit of cover in centre mid.

 

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The West Ham defence is ageing now, with the four centre backs having a combined age of 124. Along with Reece Oxford, Matthijs de Ligt should be an excellent centre back for the club for years to come.

 

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Panicked a bit with this one.... Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho are rather injury prone (in real life and FM) and having just Javier Hernandez as the only other natural striker seemed a bit of a risk. He might not play much should the others manage to stay fit, but he looks like he can more than do a job if called on.

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Pre-Season

Game 1

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Craigroyston F.C. (Scotland)
vs.

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West Ham United u23's

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Venue: St. Mark's Park (Capacity: 2,000)

 

West Ham Lineup
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Fairly youthful side for the first pre-season friendly. Craigroyston F.C. play in the SJFA East Region South Division, the 6th tier of the Scottish football pyramid. First choice u23 Left-Back Vashon Neufville has only just come back from an injury, so u18 defender Reece Hannam gets the start. I didn't want to risk any first team players, with Declan Rice, having just been appointed u23 captain, probably being the most senior player. Jahmal Hector-Ingram gets the nod up front over Toni Martinez, as I'm not sure what affect playing on a sub-standard pitch so early into preseason will have on the players. New signing David Carmona makes the trip up to Scotland to take a place on the bench, with the rest of the places filled with promising youngsters. Hopefully Domingos Quina and Anouar el Mhassani can take their first opportunity to show they deserve to take the step up from u18 to u23 level for the forthcoming season.

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A very one-sided contest in the first half, with West ham managing 13 shots to 0 before the break. 4-0 up inside half an hour with goals from man-of-the-match Nathan Holland (x2- 9.3 rating), Martin Samuelsen (8.4) & Declan Rice. Second half was a bit different, with the shots still coming but with less spectacular results. It was probably the result of the stream of substitutions that took place, breaking up the flow of the game significantly. Craigroyston managed to pull one back with their first shot of the game on 51 minutes and overall scored two goals with only two shots on target, not a great statistic for second-half goalkeeper Rihards Matrevics.

Two late goals from Toni Martinez and Tunji Akinola rescued what was a poor second half from West Ham, but ultimately they were too strong for Craigroyston, running out 6-2 winners. No injuries to the side and a run out for everyone except the unlucky Daniel Kemp were the main positives to take from the first match of pre-season.

Up next, Fulham u23's vs. West Ham United u23's
Pre-season Friendly, Motspur Park

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A couple of youth players left the club, neither of which had any sort of potential and probably wouldn't feature much for the youth teams. I would have allowed both to go on free transfers, but Gateshead decided to offer £4,000 (potential £5,000 with add-ons) for Grady Diangana so I got a tiny bit of money at least. I've given them markers in their names so I can keep track of their careers, fingers crossed they don't become world-class players in 5/6 years lol

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Pre-Season

Game 2

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Fulham u23's


vs.

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West Ham United u23's

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Venue: Motspur Park (Capacity: 1,500)

West Ham Lineup
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A game for the backups. All three of the squads are playing on the same day in three days time, so I didn't want to risk many starters for either the main squad or the u23 team. Some will be played though, due to the injuries currently affecting the first team squad. Adrian, James Collins, Jose Mauri, Edimilson Fernandes, Sead Haksabanovic and Wout Weghorst all getting a start to see if they can attempt to force their way into the senior team starting XI, with Sam Byram, Matthijs de Ligt, Declan Rice and Toni Martinez hoping to impress from the bench, The rest of the starting lineup and bench is composed of u23/u18 backups players.

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A much tougher test for West Ham u23's, as Fulham had the better of the opening exchanges. De la Torre fired narrowly over from a Fulham corner in the 3rd minute and then set Williams through on goal moments later, who was denied only by a good one-on-one save by Adrian. West Ham's only 'effort' in the opening half an hour was Wout Weghorst teeing up Daniel Kemp, who somehow managed to put his shot from just inside the 6-yard box out for a throw in on the far side?!

Just after the half hour mark though West Ham got on the scoresheet. Edimilson Fernandes set Vashon Neufville away down the left flank. His cross perfectly found the leaping Waghorst who guided his header into the top left corner and made it 1-0, perhaps slightly against the run of play.

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Edun got himself sent off for this karate lunge at Fernandes just before the hour and once they were reduced to ten men, Fulham u23's didn't threaten again. Luckily Fernandes wasn't injured in the tackle. Chances for both teams dried up a little bit as endless substitutions were made, breaking up the play. West Ham u23's held on to make it two wins from two in pre-season.

Up next is a triple-header, with all three squads playing on the same day- The Main squad are flying to South Africa to take on Ubuntu Cape Town of the South African National 1st Division. The u23's are making the short trip to Northern Ireland to take on Glenavon of the NIFL Premiership and the U18's are playing away at Boreham Wood u18's.

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Pre-Season

Game 3

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Ubuntu Cape Town (South Africa)

vs.

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West Ham United

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Venue: Athlone Stadium (Capacity: 34,000)

West Ham Lineup
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As strong a side as I'm able to field at the moment, with a number of injury problems in the first team. Mark Noble and Pedro Obiang were both advised to be limited to a maximum of 45 minutes, so they'll both be getting subbed at half time for sure. Edimilson Fernandes shifts over to the right side of midfield to cover for the injured Michail Antonio, with Andre Ayew going to AMC in place of the injured Manuel Lanzini. Marko Arnautovic starts on the left side of midfield, where Ayew would normally be first choice.

It was a toss up between Wout Weghorst and Toni Martinez for the bench striker spot, with the dutchman ultimately getting the nod over the Spaniard. Nathan Holland and Martin Samuelsen were promoted from the u23's as a reward for their performance in the game against Craigroyston...but also because I needed to plug a few gaps. Domingos Quina gets a chance to show off his potential with the senior squad as I needed a backup for Ayew. Lastly, with Arthur Masuaku injured, Angelo Ogbonna will be the makeshift backup leftback on the bench.

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West Ham started the stronger of the two sides, with a few half chances but it was Ubuntu Cape Town who opened the scoring massively against the run of play. Winston Reid could only manage a weak header from a Cape Town throw-in, succeeding only in finding Mark Mathebula just inside the penalty area who fired into the top corner past a stretching Joe Hart. It didn't take West Ham long to equalise though, 8 minutes later Andre Ayew broke free down the left and fired in a high cross. Javier Hernandez managed to flick it on into the path of Marko Arnautovic who poked home from close range.

When the next goal came it was almost an exact copy of the equaliser, but from the other side of the pitch. It was Edimilson Fernandes this time who crossed from out wide, Arnautovic with the flick on towards Andre Ayew who scored from the exact same spot as Arnautovic did. It had taken nearly half an hour, but West Ham had finally taken a deserved lead.

West Ham made it 3-1 when Bheka Ntseki had a bit of a brain freeze and just decided to push Andre Ayew to the floor in the penalty area when his back was towards goal and wasn't in a shooting position. Captain Mark Noble stepped up and smashed the ball into the top right corner, giving the keeper no chance. A very satisfactory half-time performance from West Ham, especially the slightly makeshift attacking midfield trio.

After the break however, West Ham totally lost their shape and concentration as changes took their toll on the team. As advised by the physios both Mark Noble and Pedro Obiang were replaced at the half, along with Jose Fonte, who was replaced by new signing Matthijs de Ligt. The changes continued in a steady stream throughout the half as the entire starting XI minus goalkeeper Joe Hart were eventually replaced.

Just after the hour mark Ubuntu Cape Town got a goal back. Marko Arnautovic lost possession far too easily on the half way line and Cape Town immediately launched a fast counter attack. The West Ham defence were totally caught out by a ball hoofed forward and Siyabulela Sihlangu slotted past the oncoming Joe Hart to make it 2-3.

The equaliser came two minutes into injury time, after a good spell of West Ham pressure which ultimately came to nothing. Bojela crossed from the right, managing to perfectly pick out Sihlangu whose header was perfectly placed. Perhaps an undeserved result for West Ham after being the better team for large parts of the match, especially in the first half. However, the main aim of the game was to give the majority of the senior squad their first run out, work on their match fitness and avoid injuries, so the result isn't that important.

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Pre-Season

Game 4 (Same day as Game 3)

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Glenavon FC (Northern Ireland)

VS.

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West Ham United u23s

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Venue: Mourneview Park (Capacity: 4,160)

 

West Ham u23 Lineup
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New signing David Carmona gets his first start of the pre-season ahead of Alex Pike as the u23's go with a slightly reduced squad to Northern Ireland. Rosaire Longelo gets a promotion from the u18's to cover the absence of Martin Samuelsen, who himself got promoted to the senior squad to go to Cape Town. As this was the second of three games happening on the same day, the bench couldn't be filled with the full 12 substitutes, as I had to make sure the u18s would have enough players too for their game against Boreham Wood u18s. Malyk Hamilton does however get a spot on the bench for the u23's as cover for Nathan Holland.

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Excellent performance from the u23s, who largely dominated from start to finish. Toni Martinez scored with the first chance of the game after just 4 minutes, latching on to a throgh ball from Joe Powell and cooly slotting under the keeper. Rosaire Longelo (9.4) got himself a brace, making the most of his step up from the u18s. The first was a cross from David Carmona (9.0) out wide on the right which found Longelo perfectly to head home, the second being a low cross from Kemp that he turned home unmarked. Marcus Browne (9.1) finished the scoring in the second half after poking home a loose ball from a corner by Noha Sylvestre that Glenavon failed to deal with, after bouncing off a few players Josh Pask knocked it in the path of Browne who smashed it home.

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Pre-Season

Game 5 (Same day as games 3 &4)

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Boreham Wood u18s

vs.

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West Ham United u18s

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Venue: Meadow Park (Capacity: 4,500)

West Ham u18s Lineup
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Pretty much a case of 'pick who is left' for this one. I have quickly come to realise that West Ham don't really have the depth in all three squads to play 3 games on the same day. If my maths are correct, there are currently 72 players 'on the books' at West Ham, 10 of those are currently injured and a further 4 are out on loan, meaning every squad was stretched a bit thin.

Brazilian Bernado Rosa got the start at AMC, replacing Domingos Quina who was away with the senior team. I managed to include cover on the bench for most areas of the pitch, however I only had one defender left, rightback Ethan Miller as defensive cover. Ben Wells, naturally a left back had to fill in at centreback for this game too.

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A convincing win by the u18's, going two up inside the opening 10 minutes. However, the shooting was slightly wayward for the remainder of the match with only one more shot on target the whole game.

Anouar el Mhassani opened the scoring by poking home a low cross from Jeremy Ngakia on the right wing after just 5 minutes. Two minutes later el Mhassani was involved again, as it was his corner that was flicked on by Ajibola Alese for Conor Coventry to score from close range. Korrey Henry had a goal ruled out not long after, heading home an el Mhassani freekick, only for the linesman to correctly flag offside. Henry also hit the post with a volley in the second half, so he was unlucky to not get on the scoresheet in the match.

Mason Barrett also gets a special mention for an outstanding goal saving tackle just after the restart. Glyn France was put clean through on goal by a ball over the top, one-on-one with the keeper, Tyler Forde went down early and seemed to present France with an easy tap-in opportunity. However, Barrett had been steaming to catch up, managing to slide in on France and dispossess him just as he was about to pull the trigger and get a goal back for Boreham Wood u18s.

Ben Johnson, a second half substitute lasted just four minutes before he had to be taken off injured. He seemed to collide with a Boreham Wood player in the air and as it turned out, suffered a concussion that will keep him out for at least 2 weeks.

Overall a solid win, but the shooting might need a bit of work on the training pitch.

Up next, the u23s are back in action in four days, playing Stoke City u23's at Victoria Park in the latest friendly of pre-season

Edited by winterburnsilva

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Training camp squad announced for....South Africa, where the senior team has just returned from. Ok.

The u23s and u18s both play friendlies during the training camp, so I couldn't fill up all 35 spots, which does at least remove some of the cost (not much, but every litttle helps). It's pretty much every fit member of the senior team plus - Nathan Trott, the starting u23 goalkeeper to provide a bit of backup to Hart and Adrian. Vashon Neufville gets a spot to provide backup to Aaron Creswell, as Arthur Masuaku is still out injured. Toni Martinez goes too, as I'm still unsure who will get the last senior striker spot, him or Wout Weghorst once the season starts. Marcus Browne gets called into the squad as midfield cover for the injured Cheikhou Kouyate and Domingos Quina and Anouar el Mhassani get chances to try and impress too.

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Pre-Season

Game 6

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West Ham United u23s

vs.

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Stoke City u23s

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Venue: Victoria Road (Capacity: 6,078)

West Ham United u23 Lineup
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Quite a strong lineup again, without shoehorning too many senior team backups into the lineup. Angelo Ogbonna gets a game in central defence, as the only senior central defender without a start so far in pre-season. I've promoted el Mhassani into the u23s full time now, as he has a lot of potential plus he's one of the few naturally left footed midfielders in the squad and there was a gap at AML in the u23 team. David Carmona and Sam Byram will probably get 45 minutes each as I try to work out which one will be the first backup behind Zabaleta to start the season.

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West Ham United u23s were pretty much on top from start to finish in this one, although only 7 shots out of 24 total being on target is a bit of a concern.

Toni Martinez scored the opener after 11 minutes, after Stoke u23s failed to clear their lines several times, causing a bit of chaos. The ball fell to Marcus Browne, who played it out wide to David Carmona. His low cross went across the penalty area to Toni Martinez, who was only just onside, to tap home for his third goal of pre-season. There were a lot of shots in the first half, 19 in total but apart from the goal the only other major chance of note was Jose Mauri hitting the bar with a rocket shot from outside the Stoke box.

Nearly every attack for West Ham u23s came down the right side of the pitch in the first half, with Anouar el Mhassani struggling to get into the game on the left flank. However, he made up for this almost immediately after the break, doing well by the corner flag to beat two defenders and send a cross in. The Stoke u23 goalie Joe Bursik elected to punch clear, but the ball fell to Domingos Quina, who set up Martin Samuelsen to score with a powerful shot inside the area to make it 2-0.

There was a slight worry in the 52nd minute when Angelo Ogbonna picked up a knee injury, it didn't seem too serious as he signalled he wanted to carry on, but seeing as it was only a pre-season friendly I elected to take him off immediately, substituting him for Tunji Akinola. After the game it turned out Ogbonna would only be out for between 1-3 days. As a result I won't risk him in the upcoming Genclerbirligi friendly in three days, just in case.

It was Tunji Akinola who scored the third and final goal, in injury time. Joe Powell floated a free kick into the box, the ball bounced around in the penalty area as Stoke failed to clear it properly. It finally fell to Akinola to toe poke the ball into the net, a goal which ultimately saw him awarded the Man of the Match award, although I would have given it to Anouar el Mhassani for the marked improvement he showed in the second half.

Up next is a double-header, as the senior team travel to Turkey to take on Super League side Genclerbirligi and at the same time the u18s take on Essex Senior League side Tower Hamlets FC.

Edited by winterburnsilva

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Pre-Season

Game 7

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Genclerbirligi (Turkey)

vs.

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West Ham United

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Venue: Ankara 19 Mayis Stadium (Capacity: 19,209)

West Ham Lineup
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A couple of changes from the first senior team friendly against Ubuntu Cape Town. I decided to give Sam Byram a start this time, possibly with David Carmona getting the second 45 minutes although I also have Pablo Zabaleta on the bench. Matthijs de Ligt takes the place of Winston Reid at the back for his first start of pre-season and Sead Haksabanovic starts on the left wing over Marko Arnautovic. Toni Martinez makes the bench over Wout Weghorst on this occasion, I plan on giving them both some game time during the upcoming training camp in South Africa to see who better deserves to be the backup behind Javier Hernandez.

Vashon Neufville, Martin Samuelsen, Marcus Browne and Moses Makasi get called up from the u23s to plug a few gaps in the squad because of the ongoing injuries.

Edited by winterburnsilva

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Genclerbirligi took a surprise lead on 11 minutes when Sam Byram wildly hacked a ball straight to a member of the opposition when trying to clear, under no pressure at all. The ball was worked out wide to Ugur, who crossed for Manu to head in at the far post completely unmarked. Aaron Creswell was the man responsible for marking him but he seemed to completely switch off. Not great play from either fullback for that goal.

A minute later the one player I wanted to wrap in cotton wool during pre-season, Javier Hernandez suffered an ankle injury after landing awkwardly going up for a header. It wasn't a forced subsitution, but he signalled that he wanted to come off right away, so on came Toni Martinez much earlier than planned. After the game it was revealed that Hernandez was only out for 1-3 days, so I could breathe a big sigh of relief

Genclerbirligi seemed the better of the two sides in the first half, although they didn't manage many shots towards goal during their spell of dominance. Late in the half Andre Ayew had a chance after a swift counter-attack but put his shot miles wide under pressure from the defender who had managed to catch him up as he was through on goal. A couple of minutes later Ayew was involved in the equaliser, as Haksabanovic played a through ball down the left wing which he managed to latch on to, easily passing his marker with a turn of speed. He split the central defenders with a ball into the box and Toni Martinez shot from near the penalty spot to make it 1-1.

The second half was a fairly drab affair until the hour mark, when Arnautovic fired a free kick just over the bar for the first chance of the half. A few minutes later Jaiton Paraiba was robbed inside the West Ham penalty area by Matthijs de Ligt, the last ditch tackle being timed perfectly. West ham exploded onto the counter attack down the right wing, as David Carmona set Arnautovic away. He cut inside, passed to Ayew, who threaded a ball through the central defence to Toni Martinez. His shot from the corner of the six yard box had power, but was at the goalkeeper's near post, so it should have been saved. Somehow Hopf let it go through his fingers and into the net to make it 2-1.

With just over 15 minutes left the win was sealed, as David Carmona's cross was headed clear by Ousmane N'Diaye, the ball fell to Jose Mauri just outside the box and his long shot took a huge deflection off N'Diaye, giving the keeper no chance as it went goalwards to make it 3-1.

Overall it was a good performance. Toni Martinez certainly took his chance for some first team minutes, scoring twice and getting the Player of the Match award. Sam Byram had a disappointing first half, with David Carmona performing much better in the second.

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Pre-Season

Game 8

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Tower Hamlets FC

vs.

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West Ham United u18s

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Venue: Mile End Stadium (Capacity: 2,000)

 

West Ham United u18s Lineup
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For this friendly I gave starts to every remaining member of the u18s squad who hadn't started a game yet and isn't injured. The defence is still a bit thin with Kevin Dalipi and now Ben Johnson injured so Ajibola Alese, Ben Wells and Reece Hannam all start at the back again and are likely to play the full 90 minutes.

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Tower Hamlets FC of the Essex Senior League were a much stronger opponent than I thought they would be initially, with more shots on and off target than West Ham u18s. There weren't many chances of real quality though from either side, with the slightly more clinical finishing of the u18s proving decisive.

The opening goal came on 17 minutes, a throw in from Ethan Miller which found Domingos Quina just outside the Tower Hamlets penalty area on the right flank. His low cross into the box found Jay Mingi to prod home from close range.

Provider turned goalscorer in the 65th minute. Sammie Thrower made a complete mess of a simple pass out from the goalkeeper, allowing it to run away from his feet. Odysseas Spyrides pounced on the loose ball and bore down on goal with Quina in a 2-on-1 situation. As soon as the goalie came out it was a simple case of passing sideways for Quina to score to make it 2-0.

Up next is a double header with the u23s and 18s, who play Leeds United u23s and AFC Fylde u18s respectively on the 26th, a day after the senior squad jet off to South Africa to being their training camp.

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Pre-Season

Game 9

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Leeds United u23s

vs.

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West Ham United u23s

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Venue: Thorp Arch (Capacity: 3,000)

 

West Ham United u23s Lineup
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A few gaps in the lineup and squad, because of players away with the senior team for the training camp. Backup goalkeeper Rihards Matrevics comes in for Nathan Trott, the absences of David Carmona and Declan Rice weakens the defense somewhat, but gives a chance for Alex Pike and Tunji Akinola to get some game time. u18's left back Reece Hannam gets promoted to replace Vashon Neufville and Jahmal Hector-Ingram comes in to replace Toni Martinez. I didn't name a full subs bench as I needed to again make sure that the u18's would have enough players for their game against AFC Fylde u18s. I always get nervous whenever I don't name a substitute goalkeeper on the bench...

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In a game in which West Ham United u23s had 21 shots (but only 4 on target), for the starting striker to not have a single chance in the 60 minutes he played is rather desperately poor. Not a great days work for Jahmal Hector-Ingram and it does somewhat expose the lack of striker prospects behind Toni Martinez at youth level in the club.

Not many clear cut chances in the game, but on the plus side the defensive work was very solid, limiting Leeds United u23s to a few half chances. They were reduced to ten men just before half-time when Joe Stanley was shown a second yellow card for a tackle from behind on Martin Samuelsen and after that they just seemed to focus on not conceding. Perhaps it should be a worry that we were unable to break down a solid but unambitious Leeds u23 side who were content to defend for large spells, but really it was a weakened squad and it's still only pre-season so I'm too concerned about the result.

Daniel Kemp suffered a pulled groin in the 35th minute so I had to sub him off, thankfully he's only out for roughly 7 days so not too much to worry about there either.

Edited by winterburnsilva

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Pre-Season

Game 10

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AFC Fylde u18s

vs.

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West Ham United u18s

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Venue: Mill Farm (Capacity: 5,085)

West Ham United u18s Lineup
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Pretty much a case of "Who's left, who fancies a game lads?". With Ben Wells still needed to cover at centreback and Reece Hannam promoted to the u23s, Rosaire Longelo gets shifted to leftback, where he is at least rated as 'accomplished' but in truth much better as an attacking winger. Bernardo Rosa gets another game with Domingos Quina away at the training camp, likewise Malyk Hamilton starts at AML in place of Anouar el Mhassani.

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A fairly straightforward win for West Ham u18s, the score ultimately only being kept down by some good goalkeeping and waywayd finishing.

On the half hour Ajibola Alese launched a long ball forward to Jeremy Ngakia on the right flank, who just managed to keep the ball in play (looked like it went out to me....). He whipped a cross in towards Yiannis Constantinou who, despite being closely marked by both centrebacks, managed to get a shot off from inside the 6-yard box to make it 1-0.

After the goal there was a succession of shots and chances where we should have scored more- Constantinou made a complete mess of a one-on-one, firing straight into the keeper's chest, Alese hit the post with a bullet header from a corner, Korrey Henry tried to chip one over the keeper when one-on-one, only to put far too much on the shot and send it into row Z. Jeremy Ngakia then hit the crossbar after a great cross from Rosaire Longelo.

Finally the second goal came in the 76th minute, a corner from Conor Coventry was met by Emmanuel Longelo whose header looked like it was saved by the goalkeeper, but a goal was given and on the replay it looked like the keeper was standing behind the goal line when he made the save, very bizarre.

The last goal came in the 87th minute, a corner from Louie Watson was floated in and AFC Fylde midfielder Luca Greene inexplicably shoved Ajibola Alese to the floor despite the ball being nowhere near either of them. Henry smashed the penalty into the top right corner to make it 3-0

Up next, the senior team play their first of three games while away on their South African training camp, against Grassy Park at a rather vague sounding 'various national stadia'.

 

 

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Pre-Season

Game 11

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Grassy Park United (South Africa)

vs.

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West Ham United

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Venue: Solo Street Sports Ground (Capacity: God knows, the game doesn't even list Grassy Park as playing anywhere, I had to google where their usual ground was)

 

West Ham United Lineup
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I'd already planned on playing the starters in game one of the training camp, the backups in the second and kids in the third although looking at where Grassy Park play (Literally, a grassy park) I had my doubts. Nonetheless the starters needed some game time so I risked them against what seemed to amount to a South African amateur team. Still a few starters out injured who missed the training camp but otherwise this is the strongest lineup I could field at this particular moment in time.

Edited by winterburnsilva

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Bit of a rubbish first half performance from West Ham, we never really looked in any danger in the first 45 minutes but we seemed to waste so many chances with awful shooting getting sprayed everywhere but towards the goal.

West Ham were gifted a goal on 10 minutes when Phila Mthethwa suddenly decided to start playing basketball and handled the ball from an Aaron Creswell corner. Captain Mark Noble smashed it into the top left corner with the goalkeeper deciding not to move at all. I thought this might signal the floodgates opening, but it was a frustrating half with total dominance but no end product. I got so frustrated with the performance that I decided not to make my usual half time subs, deciding instead to send the starting XI out until they at least managed a second goal.

Luckily for them, the second goal came 4 minutes into the restart. Pedro Obiang picked up the loose ball in midfield and played it to Marko Arnautovic who had come more central. A couple of one touch passes between him and Mark Noble then saw the latter play in Andre Ayew, who slid the ball under the onrushing keeper. Despite his involvement in the goal I subbed off Arnautovic, along with Edimilson Fernandes and Javier Hernandez straight away as the three poorest rated players with the latter two annoying me with their permanent "Looking complacent" status. One of the replacements, Domingos Quina impressed straight away with a goal. Angelo Ogbonna played a long pass to Ayew, who was put under pressure by the corner flag. He managed to send the ball backwards to the supporting Creswell, whose first time low cross skidded into the penalty area and found Quina, who lost his marker and thumped it past the keeper low and hard to make it 3-0.

Ten minutes later Grassy Park got a goal back after some suspect defending. Goalie Khayalethu Dithebe hoofed a long ball up the pitch, which Angelo Ogbonna could only weakly head away into the path of Buyani Julius. He passed to Nkuleko Mlotshwa, bypassing Ogbonna who seemed to phase out and stand still as the ball was played next to him, allowing Mlotshwa to shoot and beat Joe Hart at his near post.

Toni Martinez and Jose Mauri combined well with ten minutes left, the former floating a freekick over the defensive wall into the path of the unnoticed and unmarked Mauri who smashed a volley past the desperate dive of Dithebe and into the top corner. From that moment of brilliance followed a moment of calamity as Grassy Park pulled a goal back straight from the kickoff. Charlie Ngcobo ran forward from the restart and played in Mlotshwa, both central defenders totally fell asleep and dithered as Mlotshwa breezed past them both and scored past Hart again to make it 4-2.

With the game descending into the wild west the last goal came 5 minutes later. Sam Byram, despite being the right back and with the instruction not to roam too far from position, found himself flying down the left win hugging the touchline(?!). He cut inside and fired in a great pinpoint cross that found Martinez. His header down was only half cleared as Domingos Quina pounced on the ball, firing past a crowd of bodies. The goalkeeper seemed totally unsighted and had no chance to make the save.

So, a 5-2 win, no injuries, job done. Bit miffed with the wasted chances in the first half and the calamitous defensive mistakes for both of their goals. Up next is the second game of the South African training camp, as West Ham United take on Ajax Cape Town at the Cape Town Stadium.

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Pre-Season

Game 12

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Ajax Cape Town (South Africa)

vs.

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West Ham United

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Venue: Cape Town Stadium (Capacity: 64,100)

West Ham Lineup
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As mentioned previously, the second game was always going to be one for the senior team backups, although there are a few promising youngsters playing out of neccessity. Arthur Masuaku didn't make the trip due to his injury so Vashon Neufville continues to deputise for Aaron Creswell. Marcus Browne gets another start as the 4th central midfielder, with Cheikhou Kouyate still out. Domingos Quina plays AMC, with first choice Manuel Lanzini still out for up to three weeks and backup Edimilson Fernandes having started the first game at right wing. Lastly, Anouar el Mhassani gets the start on the left wing, with normal backup there Sead Haksabanovic switching to the right wing.

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Quite a dull opening half an hour as far as chances went, with only a Wout Weghorst free kick that rattled the post being of any note. Anouar el Mhassani and Sead Haksabanovic suffered knocks within 30 seconds of each other, with el Mhassani pulling his groin muscle (out 1-5 days) and Haksabanovic stubbing his toe (4-5 days). This meant I had to replace by my wide attacking midfielders, with Andre Ayew and Marko Arnautovic coming on.

Just after the half hour both the substitutes combined for the opening goal. Domingos Quina passed out wide to Ayew whose whipped in cross found Arnautovic perfectly. He placed a header into the bottom right corner, giving the goalie no chance and making it 1-0 to West Ham United.

The only other chance of note in the first half was a Marcus Browne (nearly) wonder strike from roughly 40 yards out, with the goalkeeper just managing to get fingertips on it to push it onto the crossbar and out for a corner. It would have almost certainly been the greatest goal of his footballing career, even if it was in a friendly.

After the restart Marcus Browne was involved again, as it was his through ball that put Andrew Ayew into a shooting position inside the box. He was unceremoniously hacked to the floor by Dumisane Gcaba, for an absolute stonewall penalty. Ayew picked himself up off the floor to take the spot kick and absolutely smashed it straight down the middle, 2-0 to West Ham United.

The game petered out a little bit after that, Ajax Cape Town's best (and only real) chance coming on 69 minutes, as Brian Khenyeza forced Adrian to make a good reflex save from a bullet header, but apart from that West Ham didn't look like conceding and it finished in a fairly comfortable win.

Next up, the u23s take on Borussia Dortmund II at home (Victoria Park) in the first of two 'glamour' home friendlies (as much as a reserve u23 game can be described as a glamour friendly anyway lol)

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Two cup competitions got drawn on the same day, with the groups for the Checkatrade Trophy and the Premier League International Cup being determined

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I fancy my chances of being able to progress from the checkatrade trophy, but I'm not sure what sort of quality we will find in the international youth squads, plus the game against Tottenham u23s should be a tightly contested derby match.

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Pre-Season

Game 13

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West Ham United u23s

vs.

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Borussia Dortmund II (Germany)

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Venue: Victoria Road (Capacity: 6,078)

West Ham United u23s Lineup
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Formation change for this one, going with a counter-attacking 4-1-4-1, as I expect Borussia Dortmund's Reserves to be much stronger, plus I figured it was about time to start getting players familiar with the second main tactic I wanted them to play. Selection is somewhat limited by the players away on the training camp plus the existing injuries in the squads.

Arthur Masuaku gets his first start of pre-season, having recovered from his ankle injury. I doubt I'll give him any more than 30-45 minutes as he's only had a few days training at full capacity.

I decided to give Rosaire Longelo the start at left wing, as he was impressive the last time he played in an attacking role, scoring two goals against Glenavon and to be honest, there weren't too many other naturally left-footed options to play there at present.

None of the available strikers were comfortable with the complete forward role being used with this tactic, so naturally rather than adjusting the tactic to suit my choices, I've just decided to shove a round peg into a square hole and hope for the best. Korrey Henry gets the start there on the scientific selection basis of 'eenie-meenie-minie-mo'.

Should the tactic prove to be a disaster, the likes of Nathan Holland and Daniel Kemp are on the bench to allow me to switch back to 4-2-3-1, with Powell switching to AMC and Makasi moving up from defensive midfielder to take up the central midfield role.

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An excellent result against a Dortmund II team containing English wonderkid Jadon Sancho, as well as good prospects Patrick Pflucke and Amos Pieper (Bench), plus former Hammer Balint Bajner (0 actual games for West Ham after a seemingly pointless loan deal from Liberty Oradea of Romania back in the 08/09 season).

West Ham u23s very nearly took the lead straight from kickoff, with Rosaire Longelo crossing from out wide after a speedy run down the left, only for Martin Samuelsen's connecting header to be superbly palmed away by Dortmund II goalkeeper Dominik Reimann. After that it was largely the visitors in control for the first half, with first Jano Baxmann and then Michael Eberwein forcing Rihards Matrevics into a couple of good saves. Despite West Ham u23s being set up on the counter it was Dortmund II who caused the first real scare from a counter-attack, as Patrick Pflucke's ball through beat the offside trap and set up Baxmann again, who again failed to convert his chance. The only other chance West Ham u23s could muster in the first half was a wayward shot by Conor Coventry from outside the box in the 42nd minute.

Arthur Masuaku was taken off at half time, not wanting to over exert him in his first game back after a long injury layoff, a 6.6 rating while playing in a less prefered role in a new tactic wasn't too bad. Martin Samuelsen took a knock to the ankle right at the end of the half, so he came off as a precaution, with Jahmal Hector-Ingram his replacement. After the game it was confirmed that there was no lingering injury worry with him. Moses Makasi had an impressive 45 minutes in the DM role in the new tactic, but rather than continue with him I decided to give exciting prospect Kristijan Belic the second 45, to see if he could impress too.

There weren't many chances at all in the second half as the game died a bit, which I suppose is a good thing from a West Ham perspective as we limited Dortmund II with the more defensive tactic. Beyhan Ametov fired a direct freekick over the bar, Coventry blazed yet another ball high over after good work by Joe Powell and Argyris Kabetsis hit the post at the start of injury time.

Then in the 92nd minute came a moment of quality, as Rosaire Longelo kept up his impressive pre-season form by swinging in a laser accurate cross from the left wing onto the head of Jahmal Hector-Ingram, he seemed to catch Cameroonian fullback Paterson Chato completely unawares, outjumping him easily to head home the winner with virtually the last kick of the game. Longelo ended up with the player of the match award with an 8.0 rating, 2 chances created, 2 key passes and an assist for the winner.

I thought the low-ish scores for the defence (Alex Pike 6.2, Tunji Akinola 6.5, Arthur Masuaku 6.6) were a bit harsh as they did hold Dortmund II to only 3 shots on target all game.

Up next, the senior team play their penultimate friendly against Cape Town All-Stars at Athlone Stadium

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Pre-Season

Game 14

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Cape Town All Stars (South Africa)

vs.

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West Ham United

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Venue: Athlone Stadium (Capacity: 35,000)

West Ham United Lineup
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West Ham United's second game at the Athlone Stadium on this tour of South Africa and for this match it's a mixture of youth and experience. Nathan Trott, as third choice goalkeeper behind Joe Hart and Adrian gets the start in game 3, along with fellow young prospects Matthijs de Ligt and Declan Rice. David Carmona, still technically third choice behind Pablo Zabaleta and Sam Byram also gets a game, although it's a toss-up between him and Byram for that main squad backup spot at the moment. Toni Martinez, arguably the best performing player of pre-season so far with 5 goals & 1 assist from 2 starts (+5 sub appearances) gets the nod up front. First team starters Aaron Creswell, Mark Noble, Pedro Obiang, Andre Ayew along with backups Marko Arnautovic and Edimilson Fernandes complete the starting XI.

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A game with a large number of shots from West Ham, but a lot of wayward finishing made it a slightly frustrating game to watch. In the first half an hour, Mark Noble and Edimilson Fernandes between them had five shots from outside the box with only one managing to be on target, a weak effort that Cape Town All Stars goalie Anele Matthews managed to save easily. They also combined for another great chance, with Noble firing a freekick into the box that Fernandes could only send high over the crossbar with his header, when really he should have done a lot better, under little defensive pressure. Fernandes then set up Toni Martinez for a shot just inside the box, but with the same tame end result and another easy save for Matthews.

Fernandes had more luck a few minutes later, getting an assist for sliding a ball sideways on the edge of the box to Andre Ayew who let fly with a rocket of a first time shot from the very left corner of the area, giving the keeper no chance as it sailed into the top right corner. 0-1 to West Ham United at the break was the least they deserved for their total dominance up to that point.

Shortly after the restart Aaron Creswell nearly fluked a goal, after a seemingly mishit cross into the box was fumbled by the opposition keeper against the near post and then scrambled away for a corner with Toni Martinez on the prowl looking for an easy tap in. There were more wayward shots after that in the second half, with Noble, Pedro Obiang and Jose Mauri all trying their luck from outside the box. It seemed that no matter how many times I tried to get them to curb the long shots they just couldn't help themselves.

The quality of the chances improved towards the end of the second half, with a Wout Weghorst header from an excellent Sam Byram cross being tipped onto the crossbar by the keeper, followed by Domingos Quina heading narrowly wide after a cross from Andre Ayew. Fernandes then looked set to finish off a neat one-two move between himself and Ayew in the Cape Town penalty area, but his point blank shot was well saved by Matthews. In all this time Cape Town All Stars could only muster one effort on target, a header from Njabalu Nxumalo that he somehow managed to fire straight at Nathan Trott, who probably won't get many easier clean sheets than this one in his career.

The second goal came in the third minute of injury time, Edimilson Fernandes set Javier Hernandez through with a defence splitting pass and the Mexican striker made no mistake from close range, blasting it past the diving Matthews to seal the victory, 0-2.

The only real negative of the match was Wout Weghorst being subbed off with a gashed head 25 minutes after coming on as a second half sub. Luckily it was nothing too serious, with the diagnosis being out for 3-11 days.

Up next is the u18s final pre-season friendly, with a tough home fixture against Feyenoord U19s at Little Heath Sports Ground.

Edited by winterburnsilva

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Pre-Season

Game 15

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West Ham United u18s

vs.

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Feyenoord u19s (Netherlands)

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Venue: Little Heath Sports Ground (Capacity: 750)

West Ham United u18s Lineup

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Originally I wanted to put out what I had decided would be the u18s strongest lineup for the season, but then I noticed I had been a bit careless and allowed 5 players to go through all of pre-season without a start so they needed some game time. That meant first starts for Emmanuel Longelo, Alfie Lewis (from the u23 squad), Kevin Dalipi, Sean Adarkwa and Ben Johnson. I also decided to give Rosaire Longelo another game in his slightly awkward left-back position just to see if he could handle the role against probably the best opposition for the u18s to date.

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Errrrm... I don't think Feyenoord got the memo about this being an u18s fixture. The first clue was seeing THIRTY-FIVE year old Brad Jones lining up in goal, alongside a starting lineup with no player younger than 20.....for an u18s/u19s fixture....oooook.

I immediately switched to a 4-1-4-1 defensive formation to try and limit the damage that the FIRST TEAM of Feyenoord were going to inflict on me and I consider it a moral victory of sorts that we limited them to only 3 goals, thanks largely to some excellent saves by Tyler Forde who I thought was unlucky to only get a 6.5 rating. I considered it a small measure of petty justice when Sam Larsson (24, value £5.25 million, 3 international caps) went off with a twisted ankle after 3 minutes and will now miss the first month of the Dutch season.

Even that small crumb of joy didn't last long as Jay Mingi decided he didn't fancy a busy afternoon as the Defensive Midfielder and promptly got himself sent off after 13 minutes for a horrendous tackle from behind on Michiel Kramer when West Ham were already 1-0 down. There was wave after wave of Feyenoord attacks, but a combination of poor finishing and good goalkeeping kept the score at 1-0 for the first half.

The hard work was immediately undone in the second half as Feyenoord 'u19s' scored from the kick off, with Emil Hansson (ACTUALLY 19!) PUT Michiel Kramer through, his shot beating Forde at his near post to make it 0-2. The 28-year old (£1.6 Million, 81 goals in 222 career games) striker completed his hat-trick with an absolute thunderbolt from way outside the box on 87 minutes.

In short, that was a bit of a disaster for a 'moral-boosting' final warmup game for the u18s before their season begins, but considering they were playing the Feyenoord first team I can't be too unhappy about the 3-0 scoreline.

Up next, the senior team play their final pre-season game against Stellenbosch FC, their third game at the Athlone Stadium during their tour of South Africa.

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On 19/03/2018 at 20:15, winterburnsilva said:

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Grassy Park United (South Africa)

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Venue: Solo Street Sports Ground (Capacity: God knows, the game doesn't even list Grassy Park as playing anywhere, I had to google where their usual ground was)

 

 

For a side with Grassy in their name, there's not much there........

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5 hours ago, danmcconnell1 said:

For a side with Grassy in their name, there's not much there........

Perfect place for a friendly for a premier league team with a large injury list already....

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No changes to the captains of the senior team with long-standing leader Mark Noble and vice-captain Winston Reid. Moses Makasi's morale initially plummeted at the start of pre-season as I took the captaincy of the u23s off him and gave it to Declan Rice, but he's since recovered from his strop.

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Pre-Season

Game 16

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Stellenbosch FC (South Africa)

vs.

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West Ham United

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Venue: Athlone Stadium (Capacity: 35,000)

West Ham United Lineup

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Minus the absences of Michail Antonio and Manuel Lanzini due to their injuries and Arthur Masuaku getting a game ahead of Aaron Creswell to get his match sharpness up, this is pretty much the strongest lineup available for the final senior team pre-season match.

The gaps in the bench are filled by the usual u23 players- Moses Makasi for CM, Marcus Browne for AMC and Toni Martinez for ST. With the absence of another senior right winger, David Carmona will be the backup in that position for now should he be needed.

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A pleasing enough performance to bring the senior squad's pre-season preperations to a close, limiting Stellenbosch FC to just 4 shots of target in the game. They did have the first chance of the match though after a slightly dull first 15 minutes, when Reyaad Mxolisi managed to outjump Angelo Ogbonna and send a header just over the crossbar.

I have been meaning to alter the West Ham set-piece takers all pre-season, but I always forgot to do it, which has resulted in Mark Noble taking nearly all the corners by default. This time it worked out rather well, on 16 minutes he fired a ball towards the edge of the box, where Pedro Obiang sent a first time pass towards Marko Arnautovic, who sent a rocket of a shot flying past Stellenbosch goalkeeper Nathan Foster to make it 0-1.

Two minutes later the lead was doubled, Edimilson Fernandes playing a ball out wide to player of the match Arthur Masuaku, whose first poor attempt at a cross rebounded back to him. On the second attempt he swung a low cross towards the penalty spot, where Javier Hernandez was lurking to poke it past the keeper from close range, a real poacher's goal to make it 0-2.

Angelo Ogbonna took a knock to the ankle after a tackle on 23 minutes, it didn't look particularly serious and he wanted to carry on, but I took him off for Matthijs de Ligt anyway as a precaution. After the game he was diagnosed with a bruised ankle and would only be out of action for a day.

West Ham United continued to create chances of varying quality. Despite instructions not to do so, Noble persisted in shooting from long range outside the penalty area with no end product. Fernandes hit the crossbar from a Masuaku cross and both he and Arnautovic sent volleys just wide from a pair of Noble corners.

The only other real effort Stellenbosch FC had came with a couple of minutes left in the game, a freekick just outside the West Ham penalty area fired way over the top of the crossbar by Fikile April.

Next up for the senior team is the start of the Premier League season, with a home game against Manchester City. The last pre-season fixture will see the u23s take on Bayern Munich II at Victoria Road.

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Three days before the Premier League season starts, as I just start to think that I've had it good with injuries.....bam, Andre Ayew out for 5-6 weeks with sprained knee ligaments. Sead Haksabanovic is the backup option for the attacking left wing spot as an inside forward, although Edimilson Fernandes and Marko Arnautovic can also play there. A bit of reshuffling to the forward line will be required now...

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Also, this is a bit of an insight into WHY I want my players to try and cut down on shots from outside the box

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Pre-Season

Game 17

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West Ham United u23s

vs.

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Bayern Munich II (Germany)

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Venue: Victoria Road (Capacity: 6,078)

West Ham United u23s Lineup

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Given the experience of the last friendly I tried to arrange myself, I'm half expecting to face the Bayern Munich first team in this u23 friendly. With the Premier League opener against Manchester City three days away I didn't want to risk any of the players I had pencilled in for potential spots in the senior squad for the game. That means Jahmal Hector-Ingram getting the start up front over Toni Martinez and Alex Pike playing in place of David Carmona. The only player to feature in this game that will almost certainly be in the first Premier League squad is goalkeeper Nathan Trott, as backup for Adrian with Joe Hart ineligible to play against his parent club.

There are a few senior team backups on the bench with Jose Fonte, James Collins and Sam Byram, purely because they aren't currently in my thoughts for an opening day place, however that could change if there are any more injuries. Also Angelo Ogbonna has a spot on the bench for......reasons that I can't remember, but I immediately realised that was a mistake but had already continued to the game before I changed it.

Edited by winterburnsilva

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I was rather surprised at the relative ease with which the u23 dispatched the Bayern Munich reserves, limiting them to just one shot on target in the 90 minutes. However on closer inspection of the side they put out there were a lot of teenagers with very little experience.

Nothing at all happened in the opening 15 minutes, with the first chance of the game being yet another wasteful and wayward shot from outside the area, this time by Marcus Browne. Jahmal Hector-Ingram repeated the move a few moments later, leading me to think they were just ignoring my instructions on purpose by now, however after the early flurry they seemed to limit the long shots for the rest of the game. Hector-Ingram did continue to be wasteful though, fluffing a one-on-one chance against the keeper when he really should have scored.

On 22 minutes Joe Powell won possession in the centre circle with an excellent well-timed tackle, he played it to Marcus Browne who slid an inch-perfect through ball to Daniel Kemp. He did well to hold off two defenders, cut inside and casually dinked it over the advancing keeper, a very cool finish to make it 1-0 to West Ham u23s. It was very nearly 2-0 barely a minute later, Josh Pask pounced on a loose ball from a corner that wasn't dealt with by Bayern, but he somehow managed to kick the ball straight into the keepers face and out for a corner.

At half-time the biggest surprise was Bayern II not having a single shot on or off target in the opening 45 minutes. I took Nathan Trott off, with one eye on the opening day Premier League fixture against Manchester City, bringing on Rihards Matrevics in his place.

Bayern II had their one and only real chance a few minutes into the second half, Franck Evina managed to beat Josh Pask for pace far too easily down the right flank and put a cross in aimed for Manuel Wintzheimer. His header went straight at Matrevics though, if it had been aimed either side at that close range it would (and should) have been the equaliser. Declan Rice had an almost carbon copy chance at the other end from a Powell corner a few moments later, managing to somehow aim straight at the keeper from a few yards out.

The German's substitute goalkeeper made an excellent save in similar circumstances on 69 minutes. A Daniel Kemp freekick found the head of Tunji Akinola whose header WAS well placed towards the corner. Somehow keeper Ron Thorben Hoffmann managed to get across and tip the ball over with a great acrobatic one-handed save. From the ensuing corner West Ham u23s DID score though, Joe Powell finding himself totally unmarked in the box from a Daniel Kemp cross and fired into the top corner from close range, giving the keeper no chance this time. The last goal was a very well worked move, starting with an Alex Pike throw in on the right side, a series of smooth one touch passes between Joe Powell, Marcus Browne and Jahmal Hector-Ingram resulted in the latter being through on goal before the Bayern II defence could even react, beating the keeper with a low hard shot to his left side to make it 3-0, the final score.

That game brought West Ham United's pre-season to a close, 14 wins, 2 draws and 1 loss being an excellent effort albeit against quite weak opposition for the most part. Most of the key players got sufficient game time under their belts and apart from the late injury to Andre Ayew, emerged unscathed and ready for the long season ahead.

Edited by winterburnsilva

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Carabao cup 2nd round draw sees West Ham United playing away at League One Charlton Athletic, not too unhappy with that. Would have prefered a home tie, but I'll take playing away to a team two leagues below the Hammers. The Addicks advanced to the second round after a 1-0 away win at Forest Green Rovers, thanks to a goal from Arsenal Loanee striker Chuba Akpom.

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First International call-up of the save, as Pablo Zabaleta makes the Argentina squad to face Brazil in the Superclasico de las Americas. He'll only be away four days but gets back the day before the second Premier League game of the season against Manchester United so he might miss out on that one.

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West Ham United u18s Lineup
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Well I didn't realise the u18 league only allowed 5 subs, so that immediately put a spanner in my plans to cover every position on the pitch. Out went substitute goalkeeper Craig Powell, to allow me to have both right and left attacking midfield cover. Mason Barrett is versatile enough that he can cover any position in defence if needs be, so I only needed to name a backup rightback to cover him. Rosaire Longelo, arguably the best player overall during pre-season gets the start on the left side of midfield, with the also impressive Conor Coventry in central midfield. Korrey Henry gets the start up front, with Odysseas Spyrides the backup mainly because he can also play AMC if needed. Usually Domingos Quina would be the backup for every position in attacking midfield, but with the injuries to the senior squad I have promoted him temporarily.

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