Jack Wilshere gets only a 5 but brave Lukasz Fabianski earns 8 in West Ham ratings

Matt Jones 12/08/2018
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A flurry of new signings, but it mattered little as West Ham suffered a crushing 4-0 defeat on the opening day of the Premier League season.

Manuel Pellegrini has brought in nine new faces this summer, but it was always going to be a tough task for his side to go to Anfield and get a result.

Here we rate the Hammers’ players.

WEST HAM (4-2-3-1)

Lukasz Fabianski – 8: Probably assumed he’d be busy and was. A superb one-handed stop denied Salah. Wasn’t helped by his defence for the second.

Ryan Fredericks – 5: Signed from Fulham this summer and offered plenty going forward. Struggled to contain Mane and Robertson, but who wouldn’t. Lost Sturridge for the fourth.

Angelo Ogbonna – 6: Offered some resistance to the Liverpool swarm and tried to impact proceedings in the opposing box.

Fabian Balbuena – 3: The newly-arrived Uruguayan struggled badly on debut. Was booked and later perhaps lucky not to get a second. Led his team with seven clearances.

Arthur Masuaku – 4: Joint-high four tackles for the Hammers. Dispossessed twice. Overrun by rampaging Salah and Firmino.

Mark Noble – 4: A midfield three of Noble (31), a declining Wilshere and teenager Rice was asking for trouble away from home … at Liverpool. What was Pellegrini thinking? Overrun.

Declan Rice – 5: Tough place for a 19-year-old to stamp authority on proceedings. Pass accuracy of 91.7 but replaced by Snodgrass at the break.

Jack Wilshere – 5: Was neat and tidy in midfield but couldn’t spark anything. Biggest contribution was blocking Milner’s effort in a painful area.

Michail Antonio – 3: Unlucky to see yellow for slipping and colliding with Alexander-Arnold. Anonymous outing, 53.9 per cent pass accuracy was woeful.

Felipe Anderson – 7: A bright debut from the Brazilian. West Ham’s best player so it was a surprise when he was hauled off.

Marko Arnautovic – 5: Felt any chances falling his way would need taking. He had two glimpses of goal and wasted them.

 

SUBS:

Robert Snodgrass – 6: Injected impetus into a flat West Ham attack, poking and probing.

Javier Hernandez – 5: As an ex-Man United player got booed at every touch, which wasn’t many.

Andriy Yarmolenko – 6: Tried to get Hammers moving. Looks like he’ll be a sound addition.

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Arsenal legend Thierry Henry and his Belgium boss Roberto Martinez battle for Leicester job

David Cooper 12/08/2018
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Arsenal legend Thierry Henry is reportedly locked in a fight with his Belgium boss Roberto Martinez to take charge of Leicester, as pressure grows on incumbent Claude Puel.

The Daily Mirror stated on Sunday that the Frenchman has two games to save his job. This follows a 2-1 opening-night loss at Manchester United, plus an end to 2017/18 that contained five defeats from the last seven matches in the Premier League.

Martinez signed a two-year contract extension on the eve of World Cup, where he led Belgium to third place. But a return to club management for the ex-Swansea City, Wigan Athletic and Everton supremo could appeal.

If it does, he could bring Belgium assistant Henry with him. However, Arsenal’s all-time leading goal scorer has declared an ambition to become a club manager in his own right for the first time.

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Technophobe Jan Vertonghen won over after goal-line decision benefits Spurs

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Jan Vertonghen has professed himself a goal-line technology convert after helping to get Tottenham‘s Premier League season off to the perfect start.

The Belgium international headed Spurs into the lead at Newcastle on Saturday after running on to fellow defender Davinson Sanchez’s eighth-minute flick-on, although referee Martin Atkinson needed the help of the Goal Decision System to rule that the ball had crossed the line by just 9mm.

Vertonghen told Spurs TV: “I haven’t scored in the Premier League for a while, so I was happy to score.

“Davinson had a great touch with the first header – and there could have been another one later because from the other side, he had a first touch again, but I didn’t make that run again.

“I didn’t expect it to be in at first. The goalkeeper made a great save and I was happy with the technology. I’m not a big fan of technology in football, but now I am!”

In the event, Vertonghen’s contribution did not prove decisive at St James’ Park as Joselu levelled within three minutes, and it took Dele Alli’s 18th-minute back-post header to win it in a lively start on Tyneside.

Even then, the visitors needed a stroke of good fortune as Vertonghen blocked substitute Salomon Rondon’s late effort and saw the rebound come back off the crossbar with Mohamed Diame having already hit the post.

Vertonghen said: “You go a bit blind and you hope for some contact, and I had it. I thought, ‘Okay’, and then everything might have been in slow motion.

“Hugo (Lloris) was standing there in slo-mo and then it hit the bar and it fell the right way for us, so in the end we were a bit lucky.

“They had some good chances, but we were sharp, we responded well and we kept the ball quite well at the end.”

Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino was delighted with the way his returning World Cup stars responded to the challenge of launching the season with a victory after minimal preparation with Vertonghen, Hugo Lloris, Alli and Harry Kane all starting the game.

The Belgian said: “It was a short preparation for some players. The guys who played in the World Cup and in the semi-finals, they looked after their bodies well.

“They knew there was a chance that they would have to play today and they were very professional in the summer and today.”

Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez was left to bemoan the defensive lapses which cost his side so dearly.

He said: “They have too many big lads, strong lads, who are good in the air, and the delivery was really good. You have [Christian] Eriksen kicking the ball, and then you have Sanchez or Alli or Kane or [Eric] Dier.

“They have so many strong, big lads. When you have money and you buy players, you buy quality, and quality is not just technical ability. It is also the physicality, the strength and they have all these things.”

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