Daily News: Antonio "I saw it on the Simpsons"

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West Ham United 1-0 Sunderland – West Ham Official Site

Michail Antonio scored once again at the Boleyn Ground as his winning strike helped West Ham United move back up to fifth in the Premier League and made it a disappointing return for former manager Sam Allardyce.

Antonio scored the crucial match-winner after 30 minutes and made it three goals in his last three matches at Upton Park.

The Hammers winger celebrated in style with some impressive breakdancing moves and maintained the Club’s superb unbeaten home form with the last defeat coming back in August.

The victory capped off a memorable day as the Club welcomed back the heroes from the 1960’s and the likes of Sir Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters would have been impressed with what they saw from the current team as they kept alive their hopes of securing a European spot.

After a slow start to the game, West Ham finally created their first clear-cut chance on 17 minutes when Aaron Cresswell burst clear down the left hand side and saw his dangerous cross well saved by Sunderland keeper Vito Mannone.

The home side were then denied by the woodwork on 19 minutes. Manuel Lanzini weaved his way to the edge of the box and laid the ball off for Mark Noble who struck a powerful right-foot shot which beat Mannone but his effort cannoned back off the bar.

The rebound fell to Emmanuel Emenike and he just failed to connect with the ball.

The Hammers were almost made to pay on 21 minutes as Adrian took too much time dealing with a back-pass from James Collins and with former striker Jermain Defoe racing in on goal he just managed to clear the ball.

Wahbi Khazri then had a free-kick on the edge of the box and his curling effort hit the top of the bar.

The deadlock was finally broke on the half hour mark when Antonio cut in from the right hand side and burst his way past two Sunderland defenders before curling a left-foot shot past Mannone into the corner of the net.

The Hammers winger raced over to the Sir Trevor Brooking stand and showed off his breakdancing celebrations – much to the delight of the home supporters.

Antonio could have added his second of the game on 38 minutes after striking a left-foot half-volley from the edge of the box which produced a fine save from Mannone diving low to his left hand side.

Sunderland came out at the start of the second half pushing for an equaliser and came close on 47 minutes.

James Collins mis-judged a high ball over the top of the defence and Defoe fired a left-foot volley inches past the post.

Sunderland came close again on 55 minutes when Patrick van Aanholt had space inside the box and fired his shot wide of the goal.

Adrian then came to the home side’s rescue on 73 minutes when he made a superb save with his legs to deny substitute Jack Rodwell who looked certain to score from close-range.

The Hammers could have put the game beyond Sunderland after Andy Carroll was also denied by the woodwork on 76 minutes.

Noble played the perfect cross in for Sam Byram who headed the ball back across goal and Carroll fired his volley against the bar.

Sunderland refused to lie down and came close again when Rodwell burst clear into the box but saw his deflected shot fall inches over the bar.

But the home side held to record another crucial three points and will be full of confidence as they prepare for another big London derby against Tottenham on Wednesday night.

West Ham United: Adrian, Byram, Ogbonna, Collins, Cresswell, Kouyate, Noble (Obiang 81mins), Lanzini (Moses 65mins), Antonio, Payet, Emenike (Carroll 58mins)

Subs not used: Randolph, Song, Henry, Oxford.

Bookings: Byram

Sunderland: Mannone, Yedlin, Kone, O’Shea, Van Aanholt, Kirchhoff, N’Doye, Cattermole (Rodwell 65mins), M’Vila, Khazri, Defoe.

Subs not used: Jones, Larsson, Borini, Pickford, Kaboul, Toivonen.

Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)

Attendance: 34,946

Dicks – The result is always more important – West Ham Official Site

Julian Dicks says the result was all that mattered as West Ham United scored a 1-0 Barclays Premier League win over Sunderland.

Michail Antonio’s first-half goal was all that separated the sides as the Hammers climbed back into the top six, extending their unbeaten home run to 13 matches in all competitions.

The three points also took West Ham onto 43 – their best-ever haul after 27 league matches since the inception of the Premier League in 1992.

“The result is always more important than the performance and today was a good case because we were poor,” said Dicks, with typical honesty. “The whole atmosphere seemed really low but all that mattered was the three points.

“These things happen. I’ve played in many games in which we’ve been poor and we’ve won and others when we’ve been absolutely fantastic and we’ve lost, so that’s just football.

“Again, you can’t put your finger on it. It wasn’t the best of games from our point of view, while I thought Sunderland played well and deserved a point at least, but we’re happy with the three points.”

Dicks also revealed that Antonio’s solo match-winner was down to some extra work the No30 did in training in the lead-up to Saturday’s clash with the Black Cats.

“To be fair, on Thursday in training he was out there on his own and I went up and asked ‘What are you doing?’ and he said ‘I’m cutting in from the right and shooting with my left foot’ and the first couple in training went 200 yards wide, but he did it today!

“He works hard and he has come on leaps and bounds so I’m happy for him.”

Dicks says the Hammers will have to improve their performance level when they host Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday evening – when they will try to build on the Club’s record-breaking season.

“Of course we can stay in the top six but we have to work hard in every game,” he continued. “We’ve got Tottenham on Wednesday which is a massive game because Tottenham are a good side and we can’t afford to play like that – we have to be on our game against them.

“Every game is tough, whether it’s home or away and the players have to perform. There’s no reason why we can’t stay where we are.

“They’re a great bunch of lads with great team spirit and there is a good vibe around the place.”

Talking of Spurs, there are many YouTube clips of Dicks bursting the net against Tottenham in the 1990s, and Dicks knows how much the London derby means to everyone in Claret and Blue.

“Listen, I know how much this game means to the fans and to the players as well,” he concluded. “It’s Wednesday under the lights and it’s going to be an absolutely fantastic atmosphere.

“It’s about the players going out there and performing. We have to start quicker as Tottenham are a good side. They press quite high so we’ll have to be on our game.”

Antonio – It was a Simpsons tribute! – West Ham Official Site

Not many celebrations on the Boleyn Ground pitch have been inspired by The Simpsons, but Michail Antonio’s breakdancing effort on Saturday had Homer to thank.

Antonio marked his third goal in as many Boleyn Ground games with his tribute to the cartoon star and he hopes his goalscoring streak can continue.

The former Nottingham Forest man now has five goals in 12 games and was more than happy to speak about his celebration after.

He explained: “I watched The Simpsons Movie the other day and I saw Homer do it, and I thought it looked hilarious so I’ll do it if I score.

“It was all planned, I told Nobes, I told Reece – I told all the boys and they said no way I’d do it, but I did! I think I pulled it off!

“It looks like I can only score here. Right now I’m getting goals at home, hopefully I can get some away, but the next game is at home so let’s hope the form can continue.

“On Friday after training, I thought there’s an opportunity for me to cut in and shoot on my left foot, so I started practicing it at the end of the session. I took about ten shots and out of the ten, I got seven in.

“There wasn’t a keeper in and if there was some of them might have been saved, but there was one on Saturday and it went in.”

 Reid relishing Big Sam reunion – West Ham Official Site

When Sam Allardyce arrived at West Ham United in July 2011, Winston Reid’s confidence was in tatters.

Then just 23, Reid had ended his first season in English football with just seven Premier League appearances and a relegation under his belt.

One could have forgiven the Danish-raised youngster for packing his bags and heading back to former club FC Midtjylland, or moving on elsewhere, but he decided to remain in east London and stick at it.

The decision was proved correct – and Big Sam played a huge part in that.

“As a defender, he generally does help you out because he puts on sessions that help younger players learn the basics of defending,” said Reid, when asked what impact the former West Ham boss had on his career.

“At that point in time, when I’d just come to English football, I was still getting used to a new playing style and he put good habits into me and over the years they has stuck with me.

“He teaches you to defend how a defender should do – I know that sounds a bit stupid, but it’s true!

In that sense, he knocked good habits into me and I appreciated having him as a coach and enjoyed working with him.

“The year we went down the team was all over the place, then when we got relegated it was tough because nobody knew if they were going to be staying or leaving.

“I guess everything was a bit up in the air and so to bounce back in the first season straight away, even if we had a few ups and downs, was great.

“We then had three decent enough seasons in the Premier League under Sam, and he stabilised the Club and took us from where we were before passing it on to Slaven, who has improved on it so far with some good young players who have been brought in to improve the squad.”

Payet promises fans a “fairytale” ending to the season – The Mirror

Dimitri Payet has promised the fans a “fairytale” ending of the season as he expects his team to clinch a spot in the Europa League by finishing fifth this season.

The Frenchman also wants to end his debut season on a high by winning the FA Cup, as reported by the Mirror.

The 28-year-old has agreed to sign a new long-term deal earlier this month which made him the highest-paid player in the history of the club.

When asked where West Ham will stand once the season ends, Payet said: “Fifth place and Europa League qualification.”

The former Marseille player urged his teammates to stack up points and pursue their good form. He even compared West Ham to Manchester United and Southampton and stated that he chose the Hammers because he believes the club can achieve all of its ambitions.

It’s up to us to win the points as we’ve been doing since the start of the season. We’re fighting with clubs like Manchester United and Southampton and it’s going to be tight until the end. We are working to finish as high as possible. West Ham has the means to achieve its ambitions. It was for this reason I had no problem in staying because I felt the club really wanted me to stay.

Payet wants to help West Ham add some silverware to their trophy cabin and has set his eyes on the FA Cup, despite having to face Manchester United in the last of eight of the FA Cup next month.

Now I’d really like to lift a trophy, start winning things, play in the big international competitions.

We’re still in the FA Cup. It’s a big aim to go all the way. ­Otherwise, there’s nothing missing. I’m living a fairytale.

He is also having a great time in London and has praised the fans who constantly chant his name.

I’m living an extraordinary year on the pitch and with the family. I have become a father of a third small boy since I arrived in London. I have everything. Everything is going well.

I never get tired of it, of the fans singing my name. Home and away, I get helped by all the love the fans give to me. It is ­something extraordinary.

They sing I’m better than ­Zinedine Zidane but that’s their point of view. But you don’t take on the boss.

Slaven Bilic’s men find themselves in seventh place before today’s early kick-off against Sunderland where they will face former West Ham manager Sam Allardyce and West Ham old boy Jermain Defoe who’s leading the Black Cats’ attack.

Leo Chambers was “as cool as a cucumber” – David Wright – GreenUn24

Colchester United assistant manager, David Wright, praised new boy Leo Chambers on his debut after today’s 0-0 home draw against Shrewsbury Town.

The U’s again failed to end their long winless streak, having to make do with a drab goalless draw.

The U’s had equalled a club record winless streak of 18 league games (in any one season) at Bury last weekend, and they set the unwanted club record outright today.

Kevin Keen’s men did at least keep a rare clean-sheet, their first since a 2-0 home win over Bradford at the end of September, but the solitary point has done little for their plight at the foot of the table.

However, U’s assistant Wright took the positives out of the game, and was quick to praise new centre-half Chambers, signed on loan from West Ham yesterday.

“It’s a clean-sheet, which is something we had not had since last September,” explained Wright.

“Three of our back four were very young, and the other, Nicky Shorey, was also excellent.

“I thought that Leo (Chambers) was excellent throughout. He was as cool as a cucumber.

“Leo showed real compsure under pressure, as I knew he would.

“It was a very good performance from him,” added Wright.

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