Payet is “100% staying” – Just how much of a boost is that for West Ham?

After following up an incredible debut Premier League season, West Ham United’s Dimitri Payet put in some excellent performances at the European Championships, increasing speculation that he would leave the East London club. Lewis Addley explores how much of boost it is for The Irons that he has reportedly confirmed he will stay beyond the summer…

Dimitri Payet has arguably played the best football of his career since arriving at West Ham United in the summer transfer window of 2015. His performance levels at both Euro 2016 and during the 2015/16 season left many tipping the 29-year-old set-piece king to move to one of Europe’s elite clubs this summer.

However, the Frenchman has now reportedly committed his future to West Ham by saying he cannot wait to lineup in front of the fans in their new stadium.

“I’ve heard about all the interest and I’m flattered,” Payet told The Sun. “But I love West Ham. We had a fantastic season and I can’t wait to play in the Olympic Stadium. I’m 100 per cent staying at West Ham, I love the club. I can tell the Hammers fans that.”

His quotes will come as music to the ears of any West Ham fan as they’d have been worrying about losing their world-class midfielder. But just how much of a boost is it to the club?

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Win percentage:

West Ham won 16 of their 38 Premier League games last season. Payet made 30 appearances and in those games The Hammers won 15 times.

In their eight games without the Frenchman they managed to win just once. So their win percentage is substantially higher with Payet in the team at 50% than without, where they managed just 12.5%.

While West Ham won more games with Payet in the team it is worth mentioning they didn’t actually lose without him, winning once and drawing the other seven. With that in mind it would have been interesting to see just how many of those seven draws could have been wins with Payet’s influence in the final third.

Free-kick king: 

For West Ham and France, Payet has scored 17 goals since the start of the 15/16 Premier League season. Six of those goals have come directly from free-kicks. His ability from a dead-ball situation makes him one of the most deadly in European football and he seems to be able to find the top corner no matter how big the opposition wall is.

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Goals and assists:

In his 30 appearances in the league last season, Payet netted nine goals and racked up 12 assists. He ended the season as West Ham’s joint top goalscorer and their highest scoring midfielder.

Passing: 

Payet’s passing stats from the 15/16 Premier League season were impressive. He managed 1003 successful passes with a pass completion of 81%. He also created 116 chances for his teammates with 104 key passes. As we know, ball retention is so important and the Frenchman is one of the best with the ball in the final third of the pitch.

Attracting summer signings:

Potential signings will want to play alongside the best players in the world. Given how well Payet performed last season and in the Euro’s it would be fair to suggest he has been playing at the very top level.

With Payet committed to the squad, West Ham may have an increased chance of convincing summer transfer targets to join and play alongside one of the best players in Europe in an 80,000-capacity stadium.

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How much of a boost is Payet’s commitment for West Ham? 

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Euro 2016 Qualifier Preview and Prediction: England vs Switzerland

Competition: European Championship Qualifying – England vs. Switzerland (Group E)

Venue: Wembley Stadium – Tuesday, September 8 – 19:45 BST (14:45 ET) 

Match Odds: England – Draw – Switzerland

Match Preview

England host Switzerland in their latest European Championship qualifier on Tuesday evening in a battle between the top two sides in Group E.

The Three Lions beat minnows San Marino 6-0 on Saturday to guarantee a Euro 16 slot at next summer’s finals in France and can now guarantee a top spot finish with a victory over Switzerland.

Roy Hodgson’s men have won all seven of their qualifying games so far, conceding just three times, and have not lost a match since the World Cup.

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England have netted 12 times in their last three qualifying games at Wembley and will hope to be in free scoring form once again here against their toughest opponents in Group E.

Switzerland sit second in the group and are unlikely to finish in any other position in qualifying. That will see them make Euro 2016 though, which was the primary objective heading into the campaign.

A 2-0 home loss to England in their opening qualifying game didn’t get things off to the best start but they have won their last five on the bounce in qualifying and recorded a 3-2 win at home to Slovenia on Saturday, coming from 2-0 down to seal three vital points.

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This will be the 24th meeting between the two nations and England will be much more confident based on history as they have won 15 of the previous 23 matches, losing just three – none of which came on home soil.

Team News

England are likely to make a few changes to the team that won in San Marino, with the likes of Raheem Sterling, Fabian Delph and Harry Kane all hoping to start. Theo Walcott bagged a brace from the bench and could replace Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the starting lineup. Wayne Rooney will likely spearhead the attack as he looks to score his record setting 50th goal in an England shirt.

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Switzerland manager Vladimir Petkovic saw two of his substitutes score all three of the team’s goals on Saturday, so Josip Drmic and Valentin Stocker will both hope to start. Xherdan Shaqiri is the star player and will be a threat, while fellow Premier League players Valon Behrami and Gokhan Inler could start in midfield.

Key Points

England’s last five: W/D/D/W/W

Switzerland’s last five: W/D/W/W/W

Key Stat: England have not lost to Switzerland since May 1981 and have never lost to the Swiss on home soil.

Key Player: Wayne Rooney – A goal on Tuesday night would make Wayne Rooney the highest scoring Englishmen in history. He is tied on 49 with Sir Bobby Charlton after converting a penalty in San Marino on Saturday and could get number 50 here.

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Score Prediction

England 3-1 Switzerland – Switzerland travel to Wembley knowing a win gives them a slim chance of winning Group E, but that’s unlikely to happen. The Three Lions are playing with confidence and should dispatch their Swiss opponents with relative ease here.

Euro 2016 Qualifier Preview and Prediction: England vs Lithuania

Competition: European Championship Qualifier – England vs. Lithuania

Venue: Wembley Stadium, England – Friday, March 27 – 19:45 GMT

Match Odds: England 1/9 – Draw 7/1 – Lithuania 28/1

Match Preview

England host Lithuania at Wembley this Friday in what is both sides’ fifth European Championship Qualifier. Roy Hodgson‘s men are currently top of Group E with four wins from four and go into this game expecting to keep that 100% record intact.

Hodgson will be expecting his side to impress in a game they should win and has rewarded Tottenham goal-machine Harry Kane with his first senior call-up.


Don’t Miss: Former England goal-machine claims Harry Kane must start


This is the first time the England squad have linked up since November, where they played twice in a qualifier and a friendly, winning both.

This will also be the first game Lithuania have played since November. They lost in a friendly against Ukraine and were thumped 4-0 by Switzerland in their last European Qualifier.

Lithuania currently sit fourth in Group E but are level on six points with Switzerland and Slovenia after picking up wins against Estonia and San Marino in their opening games of qualification.

This is the first time the two sides have ever met and Lithuania come into the game without a win in three. England are unbeaten in their last seven, winning six on the bounce, and should be far too strong.

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Lithuanian head coach, Igoris Pankratjevas has worked in various areas with the national side having held previous roles as assistant coach and caretaker. He will have his players pumped and will be hoping they can surprise England on their own turf.

Team News

Roy Hodgson has already had to make some revisions to his team after losing Fraser Forster, Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw, Daniel Sturridge and Danny Rose to injury. The news of Harry Kane making the squad has been well received, with many hoping he will partner Wayne Rooney up top in Friday’s game. Rooney has Sir Bobby Charlton’s international tally of 49 goals in his sights, needing just three to equal the all-time leading England record. Harry Kane’s Tottenham teammate Ryan Mason has come in as a replacement for Lallana and after an impressive season so far with his club, he too will be hoping for a chance to impress.

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Pankratjevas likes to pack out the middle of his team and when he opts for two up top we usually see one of the front men dropping back to make up a five-man midfield. Deivydas Matulevičius will more than likely spearhead the attack and he has five goals in 18 appearances for the national side. We can expect goalkeeper Giedrius Arlauskis to be the busier of the two stoppers and the 27 year old will be looking to make a name for himself.

Key Points

England’s last five: W/W/W/W/W

Lithuania’s last five: W/W/L/L/D

Key Stat: Goals – England have scored an average of almost three goals in each of their last five games. Both Wayne Rooney and Harry Kane will be looking to continue that trend.

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Key Player: Wayne Rooney – The England captain will be desperately looking to overtake Sir Bobby Charlton in the all-time England scorers charts but will expect his teammates to kill the game early and secure three points. Expect Rooney to put in a commanding display.

Score Prediction

England 3-0 Lithuania – Roy Hodgson will be hoping for much of the same from his side at Wembley and continue their 100% record in the qualifiers for Euro 2016. Nothing more than a win will be acceptable here and it should be a routine performance from the Three Lions.

Arsenal forward Lukas Podolski set for Serie A switch in search for football

Despite Arsene Wenger’s admission that unsettled Germany international Lukas Podolski is not for sale, he continues to attract interest from abroad, and a loan move to Italy’s Serie A with Inter Milan is reportedly on the cards.

Having slipped down the pecking order at Arsenal behind the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mesut Ozil, Danny Welbeck and Santi Cazorla, Podolski is being forced to look elsewhere if he is to see regular action.

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As well as being linked to Italian clubs AS Roma and Inter Milan, the World Cup winner was also linked with a move back to his first club FC Koln in Germany, where he has excelled in the past.

He needs to play to ensure that he continued to be a part of the German National Team. And Joachim Low has reminded Podolski that he needs to play if he is to figure in his plans for Euro 2016 qualification.

Inter Milan are supposedly keen to add the Polish-born German winger to their attacking ranks on a loan deal with some Italian reports suggesting a deal is close to completion.

Roma are another club interested, with the Rome-based club looking for cover for former Arsenal winger Gervinho – who will be playing for Ivory Coast at the Africa Cup Of Nations for the first part of 2015.

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With 121 international caps so far and the hope for many more, Podolski may decide to move club to ensure he see’s regular first-team action in Joachim Low’s set-up for the Euro 2016 qualifiers with Germany.

Arsene Wenger may want to keep Podolski but he hasn’t started a Premier League game through the first half of the current campaign and with more players returning from injury at Arsenal, the German needs to look elsewhere if he is to play regularly.

Would Lukas Podolski be a loss for Arsenal if he leaves in January?