Allardyce blasts lacklustre hammers

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce slammed his side’s display in their 1-0 home defeat to Stoke City on Saturday.

Stoke substitute Jermaine Pennant curled an unstoppable free-kick past Jussi Jaaskelainen in the 82nd minute to hand the visitors the points.

The hosts went into the match having earned four points and two clean sheets from their opening two games, but they never got going at Upton Park and Allardyce cut a frustrated figure afterwards.

“We were a bit more than off colour,” he admitted. “I haven’t seen us play that bad at home since our arrival back in the Premier League last season, sadly.

“As a group and a squad of players we have started the season very well. The players who competed so well against Newcastle and Cardiff were in the main rested for today’s game to continue our good performances and elaborate on that. Un
00004000
fortunately we got the opposite.

“The only credit for me is the back four and goalkeeper. We limited Stoke today very well, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough to get that all-important clean sheet again, but the front six in terms of creativity really wasn’t there.”

With Andy Carroll again missing through injury, Modibo Maiga started in attack but was rarely involved in the play, though Allardyce does not expect any new signings.

He added: “I understand why you say it (Carroll is injury prone) because he had three injuries last year, but it’s a bit naughty to say that. Unless anyone gets sold, we don’t have any money to spend.

“We’ve got about 48 hours to go (until the transfer window shuts). You can’t move somebody out unless you have somebody coming in. Timing is critical.”

Sat 31 August, 2013
RSS Feed

Championship Wrap: Blackpool seal historic start, QPR win again

Blackpool marked their best start to a league season since 1935 with a 1-0 victory over Watford at Bloomfield Road on Saturday.

The Lancashire side now remain unbeaten in their first five games as an 81st-minute effort from Tom Ince won the match, despite the visitors boasting the better share of opportunities.

However, Paul Ince’s men still have Harry Redknapp’s QPR breathing down their necks at the top of the table after they also clinched a 1-0 away win at Leeds United to mirror Blackpool’s start.

Clint Hill was the one to seal the points in the encounter at Elland Road with the defender scoring his first goal in two and a half years after tapping home a free-kick from Joey Barton 15 minutes from time.

It marked Leeds’ first loss of the new campaign , and there was similar disappointment for Nottingham Forest and Leicester with both also tasting defeat for the first time.

Goals from Jordi Gomez and Shaun Maloney helped Wigan Athletic sink Forest 2-1 at the DW Stadium, despite the away side going ahead through Andy Reid, while Leicester were hampered by Matty James’ dismissal as they went down at Charlton Athletic.

The 22-year-old was sent off for a second bookable offence and there was added misery for his side as Yann Kermorgant, formerly of Leicester, scored the winner just eight minutes after he departed, to end the match 2-1.

However, Saturday’s action was more positive for Barnsley who clocked up a 2-1 win over Huddersfield, and Blackburn, who dispatched visitors Bolton 4-1.

There was also joy for Nigel Adkins at Reading, with his side bouncing back from a crippling 6-0 loss to Peterborough United in the League Cup midweek, to overcome Yeovil Town 1-0 at Huish Park.

It was not easy for the visitors though, with the home side dominating the chances before Adam Le Fondre fired home a penalty conceded by Luke Ayling with just over 10 minutes to go.

Although Reading may have had luck on side, the same cannot be said for Ipswich Town and Millwall who were both 1-0 up before letting in late goals from Birmingham City and Brighton and Hove Albion respectively in 1-1 draws.

The same result was also played out by Middlesbrough and Sheffield Wednesday at The Riverside, with the home side unable to grab a winner after Mustapha Carayol had equalised Michail Antonio’s effort.

Elsewhere on Saturday, there were also victories for Burnley and Bournemouth with the former beating Derby County 3-0 and the latter overcoming Doncaster away from home 1-0.

Sat 31 August, 2013
RSS Feed

Hughes heaps praise on Pennant

Stoke City manager Mark Hughes praised Jermaine Pennant’s technique and desire after his winner in Saturday’s 1-0 victory at West Ham.

The 30-year-old winger was released by Stoke at the end of last season, but Hughes saw fit to bring him back to the Britannia Stadium after replacing Tony Pulis as manager.

And Pennant repaid the faith perfectly as he came off the bench to strike the decisive goal with a free-kick in the 82nd minute as Stoke climbed to fifth in the table, and afterwards Hughes was full of praise for the winger.

“It was a great finish from Jermaine,” the Welshman said. “He’s been excellent since I’ve come to the club and I’ve always admired his talent.

“He’s had his own problems and when I came in to the job there was a real possibility that he’d be leaving the club. I couldn’t allow that to happen.

“I didn’t want the prospect of him turning up at Stoke in a different shirt. I wanted to work with him and see what he was like as an individual and he hasn’t disappointed me.”

Hughes also highlighted Pennant’s commitment in training as proving vital in his ability to step up for his side when required.

“You don’t score like he did today without extra work on the training ground,” he added.

“Maybe in the past people have judged him without the opportunity to show what he can do. He’s let himself down and he’ll admit to that but he’s enjoying it now and I’m really pleased for him.

“When he’s around the box for free-kicks, he’s probably the best we’ve got.”

Sat 31 August, 2013
RSS Feed

Mackay delighted with draw against ´top´ opposition

Cardiff City boss Malky Mackay hailed his team’s battling performance in Saturday’s 0-0 home draw with Everton.

The Welsh club followed up their shock 3-2 victory over Manchester City with a dogged performance against Roberto Martinez’s men, earning a deserved point for an impressive defensive display.

And Mackay believes that Cardiff were full value for a point against a side that he believes could have posed a significant threat.

“We played a top team here today, a team that finished sixth in the Premier League last year,” he said. “That what I was reinforcing to my players before the game.

“There was no way we could make this after the Lord Mayor’s show today and if we had at all come off our game we’d have been beaten and turned over today by a good team.

“Make no mistake we were at it, they were at it and it was two teams matching each other stride for stride. Shots on target I believe it was maybe 3-2 to us but it was very, very tight.

“It was a game of few chances but we were playing against very good players here today.”

The Scot went on to praise his players’ focus following a week in which they were widely lauded for an outstanding performance against Manchester City.

“I knew the team coming today were a very good team and I think people were still wanting to talk to us about Manchester City when we’ve actually got a game against a top team,” he added.

“The other thing was that we kept a clean sheet today, which was absolutely deserved I felt.

“I looked at my back four and my goalkeeper especially – we defend from the front and our boys worked hard as a unit – but there were two or three exceptional performances in defence.”

Mackay also dismissed suggestions that Everton were unfortunate not to be awarded a penalty when Leighton Baines appeared to be felled in the area by Gary Medel in the first half.

“I’ve not seen it on TV, I only looked at it live,” he continued.

“When I looked at it live I felt it would have been incredibly soft had it been given. I felt there was very, very minimal contact and he was on his way down.”

Sat 31 August, 2013
RSS Feed

Pochettino bemoans penalty call

Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino bemoaned the failure to award his side a penalty, as they went down 1-0 at Norwich City on Saturday.

Norwich’s England Under-21 international Nathan Redmond scored the game’s only goal to condemn Southampton to their first defeat of the season.

But Pochettino felt that his side should have had a first-half penalty when Adam Lallana’s shot cannoned off Bradley Johnson’s outstretched arm, with referee Howard Webb motionless.

“It was a defender in the box (who handballed) and it should have been a penalty,” said Pochettino.

“The overall feeling is that we played well, that we deserved a bit more from that match.

“We don’t want to take credit away from Norwich, they actually played very well, but there was a penalty call that was not given and that would have changed completely the nature of the game.

“The referee was very close to the action so I really have no idea why that penalty wasn’t given, it was blatant. It could’ve changed the game completely.”

The Argentinian felt that his side, who created several good chances, played well enough to get something out of the game, despite the missed penalty call.

He added: “In the first 15 minutes Norwich were dominating the game, but after that I think we were able to match them and their strength and their effort. I think after those 15 minutes we played well.

“In the second half when we were playing our best football we conceded a goal and it was very hard to come back from that.”

Club-record signing Pablo Daniel Osvaldo made his first start for Southampton and Pochettino admitted that the Italy international needs more time with the squad before fans see the best of him.

“I think it’s normal that (Osvaldo and Rickie Lambert) weren’t able to link up well, it takes times for a player to gel and to get into a squad.

“It’s their first game together and he needs time (before he can) play well with Rickie.”

Sat 31 August, 2013
RSS Feed

Ligue 1: Paris Saint-Germain 2 Guingamp 0

Paris Saint-Germain snatched their first home win of the season with two
000010C4
stoppage-time goals to beat Guingamp 2-0 on Saturday.

An impressive defensive performace from the visitors looked to have secured the visitors an unlikely point at the Parc des Princes, before substitute Adrien Rabiot was first to pounce on a rebound from Alex’s header in stoppage time.

The win was assured when Ibrahimovic muscled his way through the defence to slot home.

PSG boss Laurent Blanc named an unchanged side from last week’s 2-1 win away to Nantes, with Mamadou Sakho not involved in the squad as rumours of a move to Liverpool build.

Visitors Guingamp were without veteran striker Cedric Faure out with calf injury, while Gregory Cerdan was also not included.

PSG came into the game looking for their first home win of the season and almost snatched the perfect start as Ibrahimovic curled a 25-yard free-kick onto the post just two minutes in.

It was to very much set the tone for the early exchanges, with the hosts dominating much of the possession in midfield, but they struggled to unlock a determined Guingamp defence

The visitors were a threat on the break as Claudio Beauvue and Sadio Diallo both went close.

Ten minutes before the break, the hosts who created a flurry of chances, with Silva’s header being denied by Mamadou Samassa in the six-yard box.

Moments later it was the post to come to the visitors’ rescue, with Thiago Silva once again being denied.

Samassa was once again called into action as Thiago Motta released Cavani. The Uruguayan took the ball wide of the goalkeeper before finding Javier Pastore, but the 23-year-old recovered well to deny the Argentinian.

PSG began brightly after the break, with Samassa coming to the rescue of his team again to parry away a low Cavani effort after a well-worked corner.

But the three-pronged attack of Ezequiel Lavezzi, Ibrahimovic and Cavani continued to be frustrated by a dogged Guingamp defence, with the Swede enduring a particularly difficult afternoon, skying an effort from 25 yards just after the hour mark.

Lavezzi did not enjoy much luck either, getting on the end of a brilliant ball from Motta to race away from his man, before hitting a tame drive straight at the keeper.

PSG continued to knock on the door and nearly broke the deadlock in spectacular circumstances when Cavani sent a powerful effort narrowly wide on 67 minutes, before setting up Ibrahimovic just a minute later, with the Swede also off target.

And the champions were nearly made to pay for their wastefulness in front of goal several minutes later when Yatabare raced into the box, before shrugging off his man and firing wide.

It looked as though the visitors would hold on for a draw, until a whipped free-kick was met by Alex, whose header was parried straight to substitute Rabiot, who applied a calm finish from close range.

And just two minutes later the win was sealed, when Ibrahimovic latched onto a long ball to round Samassa and roll the ball into an empty net.

Sat 31 August, 2013
RSS Feed

Ligue 1: Paris Saint-Germain 2 Guingamp 0

Paris Saint-Germain snatched their first home win of the season with two stoppage-time goals to beat Guingamp 2-0 on Saturday.

An impressive defensive performace from the visitors looked to have secured the visitors an unlikely point at the Parc des Princes, before substitute Adrien Rabiot was first to pounce on a rebound from Alex’s header in stoppage time.

The win was assured when Ibrahimovic muscled his way through the defence to slot home.

PSG boss Laurent Blanc named an unchanged side from last week’s 2-1 win away to Nantes, with Mamadou Sakho not involved in the squad as rumours of a move to Liverpool build.

Visitors Guingamp were without veteran striker Cedric Faure out with calf injury, while Gregory Cerdan was also not included.

PSG came into the game looking for their first home win of the season and almost snatched the perfect start as Ibrahimovic curled a 25-yard free-kick onto the post just two minutes in.

It was to very much set the tone for the early exchanges, with the hosts dominating much of the possession in midfield, but they struggled to unlock a determined Guingamp defence

The visitors were a threat on the break as Claudio Beauvue and Sadio Diallo both went close.

Ten minutes before the break, the hosts who created a flurry of chances, with Silva’s header being denied by Mamadou Samassa in the six-yard box.

Moments later it was the post to come to the visitors’ rescue, with Thiago Silva once again being denied.

Samassa was once again called into action as Thiago Motta released Cavani. The Uruguayan took the ball wide of the goalkeeper before finding Javier Pastore, but the 23-year-old recovered well to deny the Argentinian.

PSG began brightly after the break, with Samassa coming to the rescue of his team again to parry away a low Cavani effort after a well-worked corner.

But the three-pronged attack of Ezequiel Lavezzi, Ibrahimovic and Cavani continued to be frustrated by a dogged Guingamp defence, with the Swede enduring a particularly difficult afternoon, skying an effort from 25 yards just after the hour mark.

Lavezzi did not enjoy much luck either, getting on the end of a brilliant ball from Motta to race away from his man, before hitting a tame drive straight at the keeper.

PSG continued to knock on the door and nearly broke the deadlock in spectacular circumstances when Cavani sent a powerful effort narrowly wide on 67 minutes, before setting up Ibrahimovic just a minute later, with the Swede also off target.

And the champions were nearly made to pay for their wastefulness in front of goal several minutes later when Yatabare raced into the box, before shrugging off his man and firing wide.

It looked as though the visitors would hold on for a draw, until a whipped free-kick was met by Alex, whose header was parried straight to substitute Rabiot, who applied a calm finish from close range.

And just two minutes later the win was sealed, when Ibrahimovic latched onto a long ball to round Samassa and roll the ball into an empty net.

Sat 31 August, 2013
RSS Feed

Everton boss Martinez bemoans penalty decision

Everton boss Roberto Martinez believes that his side were unlucky not to win a penalty during Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Cardiff City.

Referee Anthony Taylor waved away the visitors’ appeals for a spot-kick after Leighton Baines had seemingly been felled in the box by Gary Medel late in the first half at Cardiff City Stadium.

And, though Martinez insisted that Everton should not have needed to rely on a penalty to win a game they largely controlled, he bemoaned the failure to award what he termed a “stonewall” spot-kick.

“I was probably at a perfect angle and when Baines gets into the box it looks clear that he gets impeded,” he said.

“There is no need for him to go down because obviously he’s in a great position. And those are the moments that in a performance like this you need to get the break to get the three points.

“In football you get those sort of decisions. I thought in the first half the crowd played a magnificent role and you have to give credit to the Cardiff crowd, I thought they were really influential and on top of the game.

“For me and the angle I was it looked a really clear stonewall penalty. But overall I don’t think we should have relied on a penalty to win the game.

“Obviously we need to give credit to Cardiff, they worked extremely hard and they came in off the back of an impressive result against Manchester City.

“For us, I knew if we kept a clean sheet we had a great opportunity to win the football match and I felt that we dropped two points.”

The Spaniard also expressed his belief that Everton deserved more than their third draw in as many Premier League outings in 2013-14.

“It was a tight affair,” he added. “From our point of view we knew where we were coming and to keep a clean sheet is always a pleasing aspect.

“In the final third we couldn’t find the right pass but I thought that we grew into the game. The second half we controlled it much better and it was just a matter of making good decisions in the opposing box to collect the three points.

“It’s a little bit mixed feelings because I know how hard you have to work to keep a clean sheet against this Cardiff side, from the dead-ball situations to the counter-attack football, and I thought we handled their threat really, really well.

“Just in the other side I thought that because of the performance we should have found a way to score a goal that would give us the three points.”

Sat 31 August, 2013
RSS Feed

Premier League: West Ham 0 Stoke City 1

Jermaine Pennant came off the bench to score a late free-kick as Stoke City recorded a 1-0 Premier League win at West Ham on Saturday.

The visitors were the better side and kept West Ham goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen busy throughout the match, particularly in the first half.

West Ham did improve after the break but Pennant curled in a delightful free-kick with eight minutes to play for the visitors.

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce made 11 changes to the side that beat Cheltenham Town in the League Cup on Tuesday, recalling key men Jaaskelainen, Kevin Nolan and Matt Jarvis among others.

Stoke were also victorious during the week as a Kenwyne Jones hat-trick inspired them to a 3-1 win over Walsall, and the forward kept his place in the side, while winger Matthew Etherington was included against his former club.

Jones almost continued his scoring form inside the first 10 minutes as he latched on to a through ball from Charlie Adam, but after holding off Winston Reid with a typical showing of strength, he could only fire over.

West Ham were slow out of the blocks and although they gradually grew into the game, their final ball let them down on several occasions.

Stoke – who had eight shots on goal in the first half – continued to threaten and Jaaskelainen made several good saves, initially turning Marc Wilson’s swerving volley wide.

The Finland international then kept out a close-range header from Jonathan Walters, who was incorrectly judged to be offside.

West Ham’s first significant chance of the match came in the 35th minute, but Modibo Maiga could not direct his harder on target after a good Jarvis cross, as both sides went to the break without a goal.

Stoke picked up where they left off in the second half, and nearly took the lead in fortuitous circumstances.

Adam’s in-swinging corner hit an unsuspecting Ryan Shawcross on the thigh but went wide, while Allardyce looked to substitute Ravel Morrison to spark his side into life.

Reid had a chance at the other end for West Ham, but volleyed over after a corner was improperly cleared, before Stoke took a deserving lead in the 82nd minute.

Pennant – who had been introduced just six minutes earlier for Etherington – curled the set-piece around the wall, giving Jaaskelainen no chance.

And although West Ham threw bodies forward late in a bid to get an equaliser, Pennant’s first goal since May 2011 was enough to give Stoke all three points.

Sat 31 August, 2013
RSS Feed

Premier League: Newcastle United 1 Fulham 0

A Hatem Ben Arfa strike five minutes from time handed Newcastle United a 1-0 win over Fulham at St James’ Park on Saturday.

The winger’s curled effort from the edge of the penalty box brought Newcastle their first victory of the season, and was a fitting reward for their efforts in a game they dominated.

Alan Pardew made a number of changes from the League Cup win over Morecambe in midweek, with Shola Ameobi keeping his place
000019B8
after scoring at the Globe Arena while captain Fabricio Coloccini returned.

Yohan Cabaye was also included in the hosts’ squad for the first time in 2013-14 having been previously excluded amid interest from Arsenal, while QPR loanee Loic Remy joined him in the dugout.

For Fulham, Darren Bent made his first Premier League start for the club since his loan switch from Aston Villa while midweek goalscorer Adel Taarabt dropped to the bench.

Newcastle began the brighter of the two teams, with skipper Coloccini seeing a header cleared from close range by John Arne Riise after four minutes.

But the game began to even out as time progressed, with Bent and Mathieu Debuchy having efforts on goal for the away and home sides respectively.

Alex Kacaniklic had a glorious chance to put the visitors ahead on the half-hour mark, when he latched on to a long ball from the back. However, he was unable to get clean contact and was dispossessed by the alert Debuchy.

Papiss Cisse then headed wide after a cross from Ben Arfa before the latter fired over in the last five minutes of the half, however, Fulham emerged unscathed to go in goalless at the break.

It took until 61 minutes for the first chance of the second half, with Ben Arfa striking a dipping effort at David Stockdale before Ameobi glanced a header wide a minute later.

Riise hit back for Fulham after 66 minutes when he forced a save from Tim Krul with a free-kick but Newcastle resumed control of the match in the aftermath.

Substitute Yoan Gouffran subsequently failed to connect with a Ben Arfa cross with 79 minutes gone, as the hosts continued to apply plenty of pressure.

And with five minutes of normal time remaining, their constant creation of chances finally brought a goal, as Ben Arfa cut in from the right-hand side of the box to fire brilliantly home.

Sat 31 August, 2013
RSS Feed