Dan Coker's Match Preview

Blast from the past

In today’s featured match, we travel back the short distance to 3rd November 2018, when Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper were number one with ‘Shallow’, Bohemian Rhapsody topped the UK box office and West Ham United welcomed Burnley to east London.

The Hammers ran out 4-2 winners in front of 56,862 spectators at London Stadium that afternoon, taking the lead in the tenth minute when Marko Arnautovic dispossessed James Tarkowski before racing clear and firing beyond former West Ham custodian Joe Hart in the Burnley goal. Ben Mee then cleared off the line from Felipe Anderson before Johann Berg Gudmundsson slotted home to equalise right on half-time.

The Irons retook the lead in the 68th minute when Grady Diangana found the superb Anderson who drove a left-footed effort past Hart and into the corner – referee Roger East played an excellent advantage in the build-up as Diangana was completely taken out by Tarkowski, who was booked for his wildly-mistimed challenge. West Ham’s lead was wiped out for a second time with thirteen minutes remaining when Chris Wood’s thumping header hauled the visitors level again – Wood had entered the fray as a substitute just five minutes earlier (not for the only time in the last couple of years, the goal would have been avoided had there been a man stationed on the post for West Ham).

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Man of the Match Anderson’s second goal of the game restored the Hammers’ advantage with six minutes left to play, his shot deflecting in off Mee. The points were made safe two minutes into stoppage time when an excellent pass from Anderson was chested down by Michail Antonio into the path of his fellow substitute Javier Hernandez, who lifted the ball over Hart and into the net to seal the victory.

Manuel Pellegrini’s Hammers would end the 2018/19 Premier League season in tenth position, while Burnley would finish 15th. Arnautovic would be the Hammers’ top scorer with 11 goals from 30 appearances, while Lukasz Fabianski would be voted Hammer of the Year. Manchester City won a league and FA Cup Double.

West Ham United: Lukasz Fabianski, Pablo Zabaleta, Fabien Balbuena, Issa Diop, Aaron Cresswell, Robert Snodgrass, Declan Rice, Pedro Obiang (Javier Hernandez), Grady Diangana (Michail Antonio), Marko Arnautovic (Angelo Ogbonna), Felipe Anderson.

Burnley: Joe Hart, Matthew Lowton, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Charlie Taylor, Johann Berg Gudmundsson, Ashley Westwood, Steven Defour, Aaron Lennon (Robbie Brady), Matej Vydra (Ashley Barnes), Sam Vokes (Chris Wood).

Club Connections

A small collection of players have turned out for the Hammers and the Clarets. They include:

Goalkeepers: Joe Hart, Tommy Hampson and Herman Conway.

Defenders: David Unsworth, Tommy Dunn, Tyrone Mears, Joe Gallagher, Jack Tresadern, Jon Harley and Mitchell Thomas.

Midfielders: Junior Stanislas, Reg Attwell, Matt Taylor and Luke Chadwick.

Strikers: Alan Taylor, Bill Jenkinson, Sam Jennings, Walter Pollard, Ian Wright, Ian Moore and Zavon Hines.

John Bond played for the Hammers and managed the Clarets.

Today’s focus, though, falls on a player who spent short spells with both West Ham United and Burnley. Frank Birchenough was born in Crewe on 25th November 1897 and began his career with local side Haslington Villa. A goalkeeper, he played non-league football with Nantwich before moving to West Ham.

The 22-year-old Birchenough (pictured) made his only Hammers appearance in a 2-1 Easter Monday defeat at Nottingham Forest in the Second Division on 5th April 1920. He was cover for the legendary Ted Hufton, who would later win six England caps. At the end of the season, having made just one appearance for West Ham United, Birchenough signed for Burnley in August 1920.

Birchenough was again cover to a top goalkeeper, this time Jerry Dawson who would go on to win two England caps. Birchenough made two appearances for John Haworth’s Burnley in the top flight, playing his small part as the Clarets went on to win the First Division championship in 1920/21. He left Burnley, at the end of that title-winning campaign.

Birchenough later played for Whitchurch before returning to Nantwich. He died aged 62, on the 12th February 1960.

Referee

The referee on Wednesday will be Michael Oliver. He has refereed 23 of our matches, officiating in five wins for the Hammers, six draws and 12 defeats. Oliver has refereed the Irons four times this season, in our 2-1 home defeat to Crystal Palace in October (when he awarded the visitors a match-levelling penalty); for our 3-2 home defeat to Tottenham in November; for our 1-0 defeat at Sheffield United in January; and, most recently, for our 3-3 home draw with Brighton in February.

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Oliver also refereed our 1-1 draw at Leicester in October 2018, when he sent off Mark Noble. His only previous red card issued to a West Ham player came six seasons ago, when he sent off Kevin Nolan in our 4-1 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield in December 2013. Oliver also refereed our 3-1 home win over Manchester United last season.

Possible line-ups

West Ham United are without Robert Snodgrass and Felipe Anderson, while Sebastien Haller remains a doubt. Michail Antonio has been directly involved in five goals in his last six league appearances, scoring three and assisting two.

Burnley are without Matthew Lowton, Ben Mee, Jack Cork and Ashley Barnes, while Ben Gibson is in exile. Chris Wood has scored six goals in his five games against West Ham – if selected, Wood will be making his 100th Premier League appearance. Victory for Burnley would see them complete a top-flight league double over the Hammers for the first time.

Possible West Ham United XI: Fabianski; Fredericks, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Rice, Soucek, Noble; Bowen, Antonio, Fornals.

Possible Burnley XI: Pope; Bardsley, Tarkowski, Long, Pieters; Gudmundsson, Westwood, Brownhill, McNeil; Rodriguez, Wood.

Enjoy the game – Come On You Irons!