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West Ham vs. Burnley

Boleyn Ground

Monday 21st February 2011


Can We Bowl 'Em Over at the Boleyn Ground?

The Clarets attempt to reach the quarter finals of the FA Cup on Monday night but face a tricky game away against Premier League club, West Ham.

The Preamble

It is the Battle of Claret & Blue on Monday night when Burnley travel to the Boleyn Ground to play West Ham hoping to progress to the last eight of the FA Cup. Burnley have had a relatively easy passage so far in the FA Cup despatching League 2 opposition at home in the 3rd and 4th round games. Port Vale were sent packing after a convincing 4-2 Clarets victory and there was little joy either for Burton Albion who lost 3-1. We are now just one of two Championship clubs still left in the competition along with Reading. West Ham will be hoping for another Championship scalp though on their home turf with first Barnsley (2-0) and then Nottingham Forest (3-2) coming away empty handed from Upton Park. Their morale though could be low in view of their poor league form and lowly position with just one win now in their last six league games. The Hammers have also lost three of their last home games and drawn one.

It won`t be easy however for the Clarets against Premier League opposition even if the Hammers are currently struggling second from bottom in the top flight league table.

We could though have the psychological advantage with rumours floating around that Avram Grant could be tempted to rest some of his key players in an effort to preserve them for the relegation battle that lies ahead. Their priority is clearly survival and this FA Cup game could be more of a hindrance than a help for the Hammers at this moment in time which is a situation that could play into Burnley`s hands.

There is no doubt that under new gaffer, Eddie Howe our performances have improved of late especially on the road and he seems to have instilled a new found confidence into the team. We should be up for this one with a quarter final at stake no matter what team Avram Grant decides to put out so a shock could be on the cards. Let`s hope so!

Clarets fans are also reminded this match is being covered live by ESPN and kicks-off at 8pm

West Ham Team News:

The Hammers are expected to give a debut to 28 year old German international midfielder, Thomas Hitzlsperger on Monday night. He signed for West Ham from Lazio in June 2010 on a three-year deal but was then out with an injury following a Euro 2012 qualifying game for Germany back in August. Hitzlsperger had suffered a torn thigh muscle but he looked to be ready to make a return after the injury healed within eight weeks. He sadly though then suffered a setback in training last October when the thigh muscle completely detached from the bone requiring surgery that would keep him sidelined for at least four months. He has now recovered fully though.

The fitness of James Tomkins (calf) and Matthew Upson (Achilles) will be assessed over the weekend.

The big question is whether Grant might be tempted to rest some of his players and there is a rumour that he might keep Scott Parker, Matthew Upson (if fit) Wayne Bridge and Demba Ba on the bench.

Player to watch: Victor Obina

Joint leading goal-scorer, Victor Obina scored a hat-trick in West Ham`s last FA Cup game at home to Forest and then followed that up with a brace in their 3-1 away win at Blackpool.

He is one of three strikers on eight goals so far this season for West Ham in all competitions sharing the limelight with Carlton Cole and Frédéric Piquionne.

The 23 year old Nigerian international is on a season long loan from Internazionale and arrived in August 2010 with a view to making a permanent move in the summer.

He is actually a winger but can play as a striker which is proven by his goal tally to date. Clearly one the Clarets will need to keep a close eye on.

Burnley Team News:

Burnley will be without January signings Charlie Austin and Marvin Bartley since both are cup-tied.

David Edgar is back at Turf Moor and could also be in contention for a place in the eighteen after his loan move to Swansea City this week broke down because of a problem with the paperwork. FIFA refused to accept the error.

Steven Thompson could still feature despite carrying an infection in his groin which will require surgery in March.

The only two players sidelined with injury continue to be Martin Paterson (recurrent thigh strain) and Chris McCann (recovery from a head operation to remove excess fluid following complaints of repeated migraines). McCann is expected to return to training in the next two weeks but Pato could be out for the rest of the season.

Player to watch: Clarke Carlisle

Assuming Alexander does not start this game, the captaincy will fall to Clarke Carlisle. He needs to be both strong in defence and strong in leadership if we are to get a result in this game and progress to the quarter finals.

Team & Tactics

Eddie Howe will certainly want to field his strongest team in this one and it will be interesting to see if he takes a more defensive stance against Premier League opposition (4-5-1 or 4-1-4-1) or adopts a more attacking style by taking the game to the Hammers in 4-4-2.

West Ham may be struggling but it`s all about pace in the top flight and taking advantage on the break. We were caught out time and time again last season in the Premier League so have we learned the lesson?

I think I would take the more attacking stance rather than play defensively. If we get a goal and take the lead the pressure will be on West Ham and the crowd could get on their back. We will just have to be on our guard should West Ham charge forward on the break and our back four will certainly need to be at the top of their game.

I would have Iwelumo and Rodriguez up front supported by Wallace and Eagles on the flanks in a true 4-4-2.

Depending on how the game pans out if we can get the lead we might then want to revert back to 4-1-4-1 with a holding midfielder:

My starting eleven and subs would be:

Grant, Mears, Carlisle, Duff, Fox, Eagles, Cork, Marney, Wallace, Iwelumo, Rodriguez

Subs: Jensen, Easton, Bikey, Edgar, Alexander, Elliott, Harvey (or maybe Eckersley), Thompson

Ref Watch:

Premier League & Champions League referee, Martin Atkinson (West Yorkshire) will be in charge of this clash. Having started officiating aged just sixteen Atkinson was appointed to the Select Group Referees list in 2005. A year later he was appointed to the FIFA International Referees list. This season in 26 games he has handed out 89 yellows and 8 reds. He could be a good omen for the Clarets considering the last game in which he featured in a match involving Burnley was last season in the Premier League when we beat Hull 4-1 at the KC Stadium.

Match Prediction:

I have a sneaky suspicion we can spring a shock result against the Hammers and shade this one 2-1. I would be even more confident if Grant decides to field a weakened team. The last thing we need is a replay with our promotion battle ahead and a congested fixture list already mounting up. If we do draw though (and rather that than a defeat with a Wembley final on the horizon) the replay will be on Wednesday, 2 March 2011 (Kick off-7:45pm)

Next Match

We return to Championship duty on Saturday and complete our fourth away game on the trot with a juicy derby game at Deepdale against bottom club, Preston North End on the 26th February (Kick-Off 3pm)

The Journalist

Writer: turfmanphil Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday February 19 2011

Time: 10:32AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
Come on you Clarets..we can do this!!
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19/02/2011 10:33:00
I seem to remember West Ham being a bit fragile last year. They ran rings around us in the first hallf but a bit of a setback and they went to jelly in the second. An early goal by us and a "Howe are you going to get past that defense" approach could see us get a couple more as well. In a nutshell - hit them as hard as we can from the off!
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19/02/2011 22:28:00
Totally agree,Andy! We went down stronger, let's now beat 'em and prove we did!!
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19/02/2011 23:22:00
Some Vital Hammers team news: 'Having stated that Thomas Hitzlsperger will start, after the German successfully came through a couple of reserve games, Avram Grant will be sweating on the fitness of two of his key centre-backs. Both James Tomkins and Matthew Upson will go through fitness assessments before a decision is made on who will get the nod to play. If both are ruled out, we expect Gabbidon and Da Costa to start.'
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20/02/2011 12:54:00
My mates a die hard hammers fan and he is positive that we will do em ... come on Burnley lets show some intent !
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20/02/2011 15:13:00
come on then what's it all I know i will prove myself as a thicky here but why are we calling it the Bolyen Ground here and everyone else is calling it Upton Park is it the same if so why two names boys ?
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20/02/2011 15:20:00
The Boleyn Ground, more often colloquially referred to as Upton Park due to its location in Upton Park, London is the football stadium of West Ham United! It was always Upton Park in the 60s and 70s that's for sure!!
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20/02/2011 15:39:00
I think we can definatley win. Eagels to score first, Jay rod the second and a 2-1 win. (we always concede).
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20/02/2011 17:14:00
After the draw today giving us Stoke the semis beckon, two tough ties to be sure but we could do it, or should we concentrate on promotion. My feeling is to go for it, any success against Prem opposition is bound to give the players a boost and help our push for promotion.
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20/02/2011 17:39:00
Yep now we are at this stage (although I would have taken being knocked out earlier by quality opposition to concentrate on promotion) I think we do have to go for it and just take each game as it comes. What we don't need is a blessed draw and replay. Our fixtures are already piling up
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20/02/2011 17:42:00
Fixture problems? Arsenal 5 games in 14 days now thats expensive for a supporter who goes home and away! How many did we play in our promotion season 60+, bring it on.........Leeds at Wembley play offs and Bolton at Wembley Semi Final of the FA Cup.....you know its going to happen.....
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21/02/2011 09:38:00
I've never heard of the 'Boleyn Ground ' either, I was wondering whether they'd moved without me hearing about it. Anyway, this is definitely up for grabs, and I hope we go for it as we did at the Cardiff match, but this time scoring more goals. The one change that I would like to see from your predicted line-up tmp, is Thommo starting instead of Iwelumo. He does a lot more than just scoring up front , like holding and distributing the ball thereby creating opportunities for others.
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21/02/2011 11:38:00
8 subs for this one tmp? Theres no room for Harvey or Eckersley
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21/02/2011 12:18:00
Should have said 'subs fro'm but I aint spilitting hairs..anyway some West Ham team news-West Ham will be without Matthew Upson for the FA Cup clash with Burnley amid rumours the defender has a season-ending injury. The England centre-half hasn't been seen for the Hammers since he was forced out of the home defeat against Birmingham with an Achilles injury. Reports over the weekend have indicated the injury is worse than first thought and the 31-year-old could be out for the rest of the season, a massive blow to West Ham's relegation battle and FA Cup dreams. Avram Grant is still waiting for news on fellow defender James Tomkins as the medical staff at Upton Park continue to monitor his calf injury.
Report Abuse
21/02/2011 14:38:00
Whatever someone put in VR's sherry when he was in Portugal, I want some!
Couch Potato
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21/02/2011 16:48:00
150/1 Marney first goal and 2 - 1 to the clarets, I have risked fifty pennies which will indeed bring me seventy five English pounds and my fifty pence back....I shall then go to the chip shop to celebrate......simple this financial planning/lark thingie.....I may even buy a one pound lucky dip lottery ticket for Wednesday too!
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21/02/2011 16:54:00
You were always very astute VR. Good luck.
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21/02/2011 17:47:00
I am at work and eaglerly awaiting kick off I have V+ed this game. However I am not going to be able to wait, so will be eagerly watching scores updates on't tinternet!. Sorry boss not much work will be completed, not that you will know as you ain't into football. Come on Burnley
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21/02/2011 19:54:00
Told you all the Clarets would win ;) Worst performance under Eddie Howe i've seen, When a team cannot string 2 passes together for 75 mins its shows our weakness in defence & midfield. Terrible game and Grant was awful.
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21/02/2011 21:57:00
We started in fine form. We showed them Howe to play. They scored we did everything wrong from there. (I agree Grant was awful)
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22/02/2011 07:00:00
We started in fine form. We showed them Howe to play. They scored we did everything wrong from there. (I agree Grant was awful)
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22/02/2011 07:00:00

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