Opposition Q & A
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, along come Man City. Ahead of the game I had a chat with RIc Turner from bluemoon-mcfc
I suppose we would all romantically want to win by having home grown owners (look at us ffs), with youth players breaking their way into the team, and staying on to become club legends but I guess if success happens you’ll take it anyway it comes?
It would be great to see more youth players breaking through at City, and I think we’re on the verge of that with the likes of Phil Foden and Brahim Diaz recently earning making their first team debuts. The club have invested heavily in the academy, and you would hope that we will start to see the fruits of that sooner rather than later. I’m not too bothered about having home-grown owners, mind you! The previous incumbents didn’t do a great job, whereas Sheikh Mansour has been fantastic for the club!
Pep Guardiola seems to be the final piece in the “Man City jigsaw’, how do you compare him to Mancini, and Pelligrini, both of whom won the Premier League?
Mancini was incredibly popular, because he inherited a fairly shambolic Mark Hughes side and moulded them into a winning team. He promised to tear down the banner at Old Trafford mocking our lack of success, and was true to his word, ending a 35 year wait for a trophy. He was loved by the fans, but fell out with the players on a regular basis which ultimately made his position untenable. Pellegrini came in and was a calm, dignified presence, and the football we played when winning the league in his first season was breathtaking at times. However, the squad stagnated under his leadership and he seemed unable to motivate the players towards the end. I have great respect for both men for winning titles for the club, but Guardiola is on a completely different level altogether. He is a phenomenal manager, and I’m sure he’ll surpass their achievements at City.
Back in the Seventies Man City held sway over “The famous” other lot for a while, then after Big Mal’s second coming it all fell apart. Unfortunately this was compounded by Man Yoo’s greatest period of success. Aren’t you a little bit worried that Jose Mourinho will spur them on to success again?
Mourinho has enjoyed relative success at United so far, in winning the Europa League and League Cup, and they are in a stronger position now then they have been since Ferguson retired. Yet, I don’t fear them in any way. It’s hard to be concerned about your rivals when Guardiola is putting something special together at City. We are indisputably a superior team to the them at present.
What do you think about our recent managerial shenanigans: was Slaven Bilic’s sacking merited or premature? and do you think that David Moyes is a good appointment for West Ham?
I don’t think Bilic’s sacking was premature, as such, as you were clearly struggling and a change was probably needed. However, I think David Moyes was a shambolic appointment unfortunately.
I’m going to hazard a guess that you think you can win the League again this year? But can you win the Champions League to further lift yourselves out of your neighbour’s shadow?
I’m confident that we will win the league, although there’s still a long way to go of course. We’re certainly capable of winning the Champions League, but it’s a big ask given the quality of some of the other teams. PSG and Barca are in good form, whilst Bayern and Madrid will surely come strong again. You need a bit of luck and the draws to go your way, and even then it will be extremely difficult.
Where do you think West Ham can realistically finish the season?
I have a soft spot for West Ham, so take no pleasure in saying this but I fear for you this season. As mentioned, I think Moyes was a dreadful appointment so I think survival is the sole aim this season. Staying up is key, and then you can look to appoint a long term manager in the summer. Moyes is not the answer.
Which three teams do you think will suffer relegation and who do you consider your genuine rivals for the title this season?
I think Swansea, West Brom and Newcastle or yourselves will go down. United and Chelsea are our main rivals for the title.
Are you happy with the current make-up of your squad? Which positions if any do you think need strengthening?
We have some truly outstanding players at City, but the squad is far from perfect. A couple of injuries in key positions could cause us a significant problem. We need cover at left back after Benjamin Mendy’s injury, even though Fabian Delph is currently doing a great job. Another centre half is also needed, with John Stones injured and doubts over Vincent Kompany’s long-term fitness. Eliaquim Mangala simply isn’t up to it. We also need a holding midfielder. Fernandinho is crucial to the way we play, but he is now 32 and we only really have the 34 year old Yaya Toure as cover. Toure is one of the all-time City greats, but sadly his legs have gone.
How do you rate this Man City team when comparing them to your previous title winning teams?
This team haven’t won anything as yet so it’s perhaps not a fair comparison, but they have the potential to surpass the achievements of the previous title winning teams.
If Watford, Everton, and Leicester fans wouldn’t be keen on any of our players, I doubt you would fancy many of them, but which if any might sneak onto your bench?
Winston Reid always impresses when I watch West Ham.
Which Man City player is most likely to slip up and let us steal a goal?
Elaiquim Mangala, undoubtedly.
Any particular memories of Man City/West Ham games of the past?
Obviously winning the league against West Ham in the final game of the 2013/14 season was a particular highlight, and we’ve put on some pretty impressive away performances at The Olympic Stadium recently. A less fond memory is the quarter final FA Cup defeat in 2006. We’d convinced ourselves (again) that that would be “our year”, even though we an awful side at the time.
How do you expect Pep to set his team up against West Ham on Sunday/Team/formation?
I think Guardiola will rotate a few players against you, with the Manchester derby looming and Fernandinho and Leroy Sane one booking away from a suspension.
Never easy to predict Guardiola’s line-ups, but at a push I’d go for: Ederson, Danilo, Otamendi, Mangala, Delph, Gundogan, David Silva, De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, Sterling, Jesus.
Prediction for score?
4-0 to City I’m afraid.
Many thanks to Ric for his time. It’s hard to disagree with his assessment of Sunday’s game. So all we can hope for is that Elaiquim Mangala is playing for City and hands us a host of goals in the manner that we hand them out! I’d be happy with a point, but will not be gambling a penny on it! Come on you Irons!