Opposition Q & A

Opposition Q&A With Huddersfield

This weekend we have a traditional Saturday afternoon game away against Huddersfield. Let’s hope West Ham can shake off the lethargy shown against Shrewsbury _, and show some of the spirit we showed against West Brom. Ahead of the game I spoke to John McNamara from Huddersfield Town fan site *Terrierblog _* to revisit our earlier chat, and to consider the game ahead.

John, the last time we played was early on in the season, when you had yet to concede a goal, whereas we were still pointless – I thought you were a bit unlucky in that game which we ended up winning 2-0. What have been your high and low points of the season so far?
Unfortunately I think we failed to deal with Andy Carroll on that occasion. The obvious high has been beating Man United 2-1. The first game I went to was a 3-2 victory over Scunthorpe in League 2. So to beat Manchester United was wonderful. It felt like everything had come full circle.
The lows have been away games in particular. We went a few months without scoring a goal on the road, a run that started at the Olympic Stadium in September and finished at Vicarage Road in late December.

Which teams/players have caught your eye so far this season?
Burnley have caught my eye. Not because they’re an exciting team to watch – they’re incredibly boring to watch. But because of how much they’ve achieved.
I predicted them to finish very low down the table in August. Something which Clarets fans have been keen to remind me of on Twitter, incessantly.
Player wise, it has to be Harry Kane. I’ve never seen a better player in the flesh, and I’ve seen Henry before. Kane battered us at our place, and 0-4 ended up being kind.

At the moment you sit 11th in the table – you must be quite satisfied with that? Where do you think you will finish at the end of the season?
I’m delighted with our position, but I’m still weary. The Premier League constantly amazes me. Every year a team sitting pretty in mid-table gets drawn into the relegation battle.
I think victory against you is imperative. If we win I’ll be confident we can stay up. If we lose, I’ll be anxiously looking at our upcoming fixture list pondering where the next point might come from.

You intimated before that you thought Slaven Bilic might be given the push, what do you think of our appointment of David Moyes as manager?
My feelings on his appointment are double edged. On the one hand I think it speaks of an unimaginative breed of football owners who reward unsuccessful managers with high profile jobs time and time again. Think Pardew… However, on the other hand I feel a great deal of sympathy for him after the Old Trafford affair. So I’d like to see him regain some of the reputation that he rightly earned at Everton.

What position do you think that West Ham will end the season in?
I think you’ll be clear of the drop. A particular position is hard to say, as things seem to be very fluid down our end of the table. I reckon anywhere between 15th-11th.

Any changes to your early predictions for relegation, which were Brighton, Palace and Swansea?
Well Roy Hodgson has thrown a spanner in the works, and Brighton look like they might stay up. Unfortunately. I’m certain that West Brom will go down. The sale of Evans will surely hasten their decline. Then the final position is up for grabs and could be largely dependent on the transfer window. Southampton are falling like a stone, but they do have a war chest after their annual solidarity payment from Liverpool. So I expect the last relegation spot to be taken by one of ourselves, Southampton or Stoke.

How about the title, presumably you have changed your prediction from Man United to Man City?
100%. I feel stupid now for even thinking that City wouldn’t walk away with it!

We are all aware that the ‘transfer window’ is open; are there any areas of your team that you think need strengthening?
Number 10 is the key area for improvement. At time of writing it looks very likely that Alex Pritchard will be announced as a signing from Norwich. That should help to increase our creativity. Something we have sadly being lacking in.

Which Huddersfield player(s) have surpassed expectation this season, and who has disappointed?
Collin Quaner has surprised everyone. Watch him at the weekend, watch him closely. He doesn’t look like an athlete, he looks like the hunchback of notre dame. Yet somehow, he’s chipped in with some great assists and performed admirably. The Man is a feat of human achievement. Tom Ince has disappointed me greatly. He’s obviously a terrific player, but he has some form of mental block about performing in the Premier League. He tries too hard and at the moment I’m struggling to see what he brings to the table.

Which (if any) West Ham player has caught the eye?
Arnautovic. Firstly in a footballing sense the man is clearly talented and always seems to be at the heart of the action for you. Secondly, he’s a brilliant character. His antics at Stoke we’re superb, and he riled Mark Hughes which is always great to see. I cannot abide the man.

Any tips for West Ham fans travelling to Huddersfield?
Don’t go to the Gas Works or The Vulcan. Town fans and away guides will tell you to check them out, but they’re just glorified working men’s clubs. Instead drink at the head of steam. The pub built into the train station. It’s a terrific bar with a great selection of ales and continental lagers. Then make your way to the ground 45 minutes before kick-off. Avoid any of the bars on the walk down to the ground, because, as mentioned, they’re a bit crap!

How do you expect Huddersfield to setup against West Ham on Saturday/ Team/formation prediction?
It will be a 4-2-3-1 for sure. We’ll press you in your final third and hold a high line. I expect the team to line up like this:
Jonas Lössl (gk)
Florent Hadergonaj, Zanka, Christopher Schindler, Scott Malone
Aaron Mooy, Jonny Hogg
Rajiv Van La Parra, Tom Ince, Quasimodo Collin Quaner
Steve Mounié

Prediction for score?
I can see a classic ‘Moyes’ performance. A frustrating defensive display finishing 1-0 to the visitors.

Many thanks to John, who took time out from his holiday in Colombia to talk to me. He is definitely not a Mark Hughes fan! Let’s hope his prediction for the result is accurate,
The last time we played them Pedro Obiang scored, let’s hope he can hit another spanker like the one against Spurs. I think I’ll go with John 0 – 1 to the Cockney Boys COYI

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Opposition Q & A

Opposition Q&A With Newcastle United

Well last Saturday’s away victory against Stoke was another great result from the boys. Three goals and a clean sheet – wow! The fixtures are coming thick and fast over the festive period, and this weekend’s game sees Newcastle United come down to the London Stadium for a traditional 3pm Saturday kick off! Praise be! Ahead of the game I spoke to David Punton from NUFC fanzine The Mag to gain his thoughts of everything Claret and Blue and Black and White.

The last time we spoke was after the first two games of the season, when we were both pointless: I predicted an away win for West Ham, and you said you would have been happy with a 1 – 1 draw. As it happens you thrashed us 3 – 0. This week’s game comes just as we move out of the bottom three, and Newcastle move into it: are you confident you are going to be able to beat us back here in London?
The win against West Ham at St James’ Park feels like a long time ago. We played well that day but our season has since gone off a bit of a cliff edge. Things feel decidedly bleak, even if we are just a couple of wins from getting back into mid table. The lack of quality in the NUFC squad has been exposed, especially at centre forward, where we lack a cutting edge. I’m not confident we will get anything at the London Stadium. West Ham have turned in some form of late and had something of a belated new manager bounce under Moyes, who has boasted he can manage any club in the world! The Sunderland thing was just a dream then, like when Bobby died in Dallas and then turned up in the shower.

It seems that all Newcastle fans are going to get their collective wish that Mike Ashley is going to be selling up, what’s the latest on this?
We’re all on tenterhooks waiting for a development. There are claims that a deal is agreed in principle, albeit with a few sticking points. This is NUFC though, so it’ll probably fall through. We all want shot of Mr Ashley, his shoddy approach has seen us relegated twice in the last ten years and we’re on course to go down again. The club really needs a fresh start and some fresh investment.

Presumably you will want this to be sorted a.s.a.p. so that you can start investing some money in your team. Where needs strengthening most?
We need a Prem proven centre forward to stick away the chances. Rafa clearly doesn’t rate Mitrovic and Joselu is that Stoke reserve who can work his socks off up front, do the donkey work, but can’t score his chances when they come along. He’s no Alan Shearer.. If we get some investment then we need some full back cover and a playmaker too. What we actually end up with is anyone’s guess at the moment.

How do you view West Ham’s sacking of Slaven Bilic, and can David Moyes do for West Ham what he was unable to do with your neighbours Sunderland, i.e keep us up?
Bilic seemed to lose something at West Ham, either ran out of ideas or maybe he lost the dressing room. David Moyes has a charmed life when it comes to employment. He was referred to as the ‘energy vampire’ at Sunderland. The football, by all accounts, was dire, lacking in ideas and tactical acumen. That said, he’s joined a club in West Ham with a good group of players and he may prove the doubters wrong. That would be some story.

Will Rafa be able to lift you out of the bottom three come the end of the season?
It’s going to be tough. I have that dreaded feeling at the moment when you just can’t see where the next win is coming from. We did look good, but it’s all a bit ragged now, though we played a bit better at Arsenal despite the narrow loss. Rafa has a small minority of critics, but this is the guy who stuck around, worked for a bloke like Mike Ashley and got us promoted at the first attempt. He deserves our backing. We can’t do any better at the present time.

Any movement in your early season prediction of West Ham finishing tenth?
I’ll go for 12th.

Which three teams do you think will suffer relegation and who will lift the title this season?
Despite the fears NUFC are toast I can’t tip them, so I’ll go for some wishful thinking – Swansea, West Brom and Bournemouth to go down. As for the title: Man City. They are going to dominate for a few years with that team. Scarily good.

Any particular memories of West Ham/Newcastle games of the past?
I recall a Leon Best hat-trick at St James Park in January 2011. You lot were terrible that night. The Cabaye free kick at Upton Park a few years ago was pretty special.

If you could have any current West Ham player in your first team who would you choose?
If I had to take one West Ham player it would be Lanzini.

Which Newcastle player(s) are key to your hopes this season? Who is not living up to expectations?

We have to keep our captain Jamaal Lascelles fit, he’s a great leader and he’s a decent defender. Big let downs this season have been Shelvey (an idiot) and the French centre half Florian Lejeune (looks a bit unnerved by the Prem power and pace).

How do you expect Newcastle to setup against West Ham on Saturday/ Team/formation prediction?
Who can second guess Rafa. He’s a tinkerman. He might try 4-4-2, he seems to be keen on that ploy at the moment.

Prediction for score?
I’m only being honest when I say I can’t see where the next win comes from. 2-1 to West Ham. I’m sure the Geordies will drink the local hostelries dry, especially with Xmas just around the corner. All the best!

Well many thanks to Dave for his time: definitely not a happy chap! I remember that feeling well from the Avram season, when you can’t see a gola let alone a point. I’m going to go with his prediction for a West Ham win, but will raise it to 3 – 0 to West Ham. Come on you Irons!

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Opposition Q & A

Opposition Q&A With Manchester City

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!

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Opposition Q&A With Everton

West Ham travel to the City of Doom to play Everton in the midweek game on Wednesday, where we will be hoping that David Moyes can return to his former club and claim his first victory for us. Goodison is not a ground where we have had much return – 6 away wins in the past 50 years. (Particularly galling for me as my wife’s family are Evertonians) However we do have the recent memory of that comeback from 2 – 0 down to win 2 – 3 courtesy of a last minute goal from Dmitri Payet following a header from Andy Carroll and that flick from Diafra Sakho: as clear a memory to me as if it happened last night!
Ahead of the game I spoke to food blogger and hardcore Everton fan James Coke aka The DIsabled Chef to discuss everything West Ham and Everton.

This week’s game sees us both sited near the bottom of the table, where I imagine that pre-season we would have both been hoping for top half positions? Both teams have recently sacked their managers, were you one of those that was calling for Koeman’s head?
Well I always thought you boys would struggle. Signing a lot of Premiership OAP’s after a big pay day was madness so I reckon I’ve been partly vindicated on that one, but I got it totally wrong on Everton, who I’d tipped for Top 5 vertigo. What a shambles we’ve been! In fact we’ve done the same as you – signing Grandad Rooney and sticking with the likes of Williams & Jags, like you’ve done with Noble & sick note Andy. Sadly they have all become liabilities and we both pay them a King’s ransom – it’s a joke. As for Koeman – Don’t get me onto him! I’ve never forgiven him for hauling down Platty and then flipping Seaman in that World Cup qualifier in 1993. My mate who is a big Saint, warned me abut his arrogance and ability to wind players up. He’s done a great job doing that with the likes of Ross Barkley and by the end seemed incapable of motivating the team, so he had to go. Believe me I was more than happy to see him and his bro, run out of town but I can’t say things have been hunky dory since his departure.

Be honest do you wish that Everton had appointed David Moyes to be back in charge at Everton and not West Ham?
I loved Moysey. When he left, it felt like the end of an eleven year marriage and I found it difficult to adjust to my new Spanish flame. You knew what you were getting with Davy boy. Ok, it was often dour but I had some great times following him and his Blue army. However I didn’t want him back once he’d told luvvie Blll he wanted out, it was like the bar coming down in a game of bar billiards – it was over!. When I’d heard he signed up with you boys I did have a little chortle. Me and my mate had been in the lower bullens for Moysey’s farewell, ironically against West Ham. There was some great banter that day between the fans. West Ham had been singing ’You’ve got no Manager’ with the Gladys Street endresponding immediately: You’ve got Sam Alladyce’, which had everyone in the ground creasing up, including big Sam. It would have been very ironic then if we’d ended up with a managerial flip flop on Wednesday night. As they say – be careful what you wish for.

I understand that some Everton fans were asking for David ‘Rhino’ (as the Everton fans call him, although West Ham fans would consider him to be a bit ‘hen-pecked’) Unsworth to be put in charge, immediately after Koeman’s sacking. Were you one of those, and if so what do you think about him now?
Steady dude – I thought he enjoyed his time in Canning Town before getting lost on the M6 on transit to Villa. Have to admit I was right up for ‘Rhino’. He’s done a great job with the U23’s, winning the title last season and it seemed like a natural step up – especially as he is one of our own. However the last six games have been chastising for him. He looked like he’d had a little cry after the weekends humiliation at St Mary’s and appears to be out of his league. It’s a shame as he’d blooded some of the young lads and him and Big Dunc might have sorted out some of those egos and what it means to pull on that royal blue shirt. It’s a brutal game though and we’ve got to stay up, so I’m with Joey Barton on that (well not the fat-ism bit, which is a bit rich coming from him) and having Rhino returned to the pastures he’s comfortable with and the protected status that he should be afforded.

I understand that Everton will be announcing their new manager this week, any thoughts on that?
Hmmm……..yes, it’s been playing on my mind. What gets me is why we hadn’t had someone lined up as soon as Ronnie boy was shown the door. To be honest I have lost faith in Steve Walsh (our signings in the summer say it all), and the board for that matter anymore. Their recent dealings have been amateurish, lacking a plan of action. In my dreams, I’d love the idea of Diego Simone, prised from Athletico Madrid, turning up to Finch farm with a dagger between his teeth, but we’ll probably end up with Tony Pullis and a dogfight for survival. At least it won’t be ‘dodgy’ Sam who crazily ruled himself out from this dream job – or has he?. At this moment in time what fool would turn down the opportunity to manage Everton FC and judging by reports this morning Sam is back in the mix – it’s every Evertonians nightmare scenario.?

Where do you think Everton will end up at the end of the season?
I had such high hopes at the start of the season. Yes, we’d lost Rom, our goal machine, but we’d had acquired a host of ageing No 10’s, some young English defenders and other guys who’d never played in the Premiership for £150 million – What could possibly go wrong? So far it’s been a disaster! Every game I find myself clawing my face pleading with higher beings to make things better, but it gets worse, week by week. Gallows humour about fear of the drop helps, but the ongoing storm has forced me back to my bunker, fearing the worst. However as a life long Evertonian I always live with hope – 12th.

Is David Moyes the right man for West Ham, and where do you think he will lead us come the season’s end?
I hope he is. He was great with us bringing some real passion and stability to the club, but I worry whether that left him somewhat, when he exited Goodison. He hasn’t had it easy in his last three jobs and he’ll need time to get things going with West Ham and time is often something you don’t get in the Premiership. Hopefully you Irons will warm to him and I’m sure he’ll find a way to keep you up, but I’m not sure he is your long term option – 15th

Of course West Ham fans will remember that famous 2 – 3 victory at Goodison two seasons ago mentioned above. Do you have any particular memories of West Ham/Everton games of the past?
Well I won’t forget Frank Lampard dancing round the corner flag at Elland road in 1980 either, but happier memories include, a late Tony Cottee winner in ‘94 and going bonkers in the Bobby Moore stand, Yaks winner in the League cup quarter final and a few other beatings we’ve handed out to you over the years. I checked out the Olympic stadium for our bore-draw last season and thought it was soulless. Even some of the stewards from the old Boleyn ground I was chatting too, thought the club had sold out and the new stadium lacked the atmosphere of the old. We could learn a lot from your experience when we move to Bramley Moore. Both of us are community clubs and even with the changing climate of the game and the billions being poured into it , we should never lose that identity. The fans are the ones that have shaped our clubs, laid its foundations, we are the
custodians if you want and that should never be forgotten.

If you could have any current West Ham player in your first team who would you choose and why?
Is that a trick question? Are you having a bubble with me? No offence but no-one is jumping out at me. Cresswell could do a job on saying that and Antonio has drifted in and out of my fantasy team this season But the ‘Ammers’ have been as bad as the ’Toffee’s’. It could be swap shop time on Wednesday though if the managers situation is anything to go by. I’m sure Moysey will come knocking on the door in January for Mirallas, Bainsey & Jags; and Sam if appointed, will be dipping into the West Ham reserves. The whole situation should fill us both with dread – let’s move onto the next question.

Which Everton player(s) will be key to your hopes this season?
I had hoped to provide a plethora of names but I’m struggling from what I’ve witnessed this season. The defence is so dire (be worried they are coming to you) that a lot rests on Pickford. Other than him we need to sort out the No 10 and build around Sigurdsson and hope Bolaisie & Coleman have recovered fully. Barkley needs to be brought back into the fold but I fear he’ll leave. Other than that I reckon I could put in a better performance confined to my wheelchair than some of the donkeys we have masquerading as players.

How do you expect Everton to setup against West Ham on Wednesday/team/formation prediction?
Both teams need a win but we’ll be missing Keane & Baines, so our defence should be even more shaky than normal. I hope we play with Lookman to test your pace and I wouldn’t mind seeing Sandro getting a run out. He scored a cracker in our 1-5 thrashing by Atalanta but I stick reckon he has something to offer. I reckon we’ll go with a 3-5-2 Pickford, Jags, Williams, Martina, Kenny, Besic, Gueye, Davis, Lookman, Gylfi & Sandro

All Hammers fans will be thanking whichever higher power they recognise that Romelu Lukaku is no longer playing for Everton. Since his departure you are struggling to score goals, are you feeling confident that you can beat us? Prediction for score?
Rom had a hex on you guys, guaranteed to score in every game so his absence will boost you. However, it’ll be a bear bit and a night game which will motivate us. We’ve had some right clangers overs the years but I expect this to be a cagey affair. It reminds me of Mike Walkers penultimate game in ‘94 which I listened to on Capital Gold with Jonathan Pearce sounding like a screaming banshee. We narrowly beat you 1-0 nil that night and I’m predicting the same score-line Wednesday with Sandro to bag the winner. Whatever happens I’m going to miss out! It’s my birthday and my missus is taking me to the theatre which is a complete cock up on my part. I’’ll have my phone on silent but will be dreading any messages from my West Ham buddy whose sure to let me know if you score. Hopefully when I leave the theatre my inbox will be clear, Everton will have won and I’ll be wording my text asking how it all went. God, football is a cruel mistress!!

Thanks to Jim for his time, his musings on food can be found at The Disabled Chef
For my part I think that we can get the 7th away victory of my lifetime at Goodison: 1 – 2 to West Ham. Come on you Irons!

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Opposition Q&A With Leicester City

This week David Moyes leads West Ham into his first home game at the London Stadium against Leicester City. He will be hoping (as will we all) that West Ham can hit the net with a couple of chances they create. Ahead of the game I had a chat with Chris Forryan from “leicestertilidie”:http://www.leicestertillidie.com to discuss what he thought about the fixture.

Chris, you have got us in the Friday night fixture this week, are you feeling confident you can beat a ‘bottom three’ team?
I’m a Leicester fan, we are never confident about anything.

Having sacked your manager less than a year after guiding you to Premier League victory, Slaven Bilic’s sacking will have come as no surprise to you?
Nothing surprises me in football these days and after Leicester’s manager sacking history of late It would be wrong of me to criticise West Ham’s decisions.

What do you think of his replacement David Moyes?
Lets just say I’m glad you got him!!

How do you rate your current manager Claude Puel?
Craig Shakespeare was a great #2 but had no tactical nous when it came to making game changing substitutions.
Early days but at least Puel has that nous and, to be fair, not a bad signing I believe.

After the heady days of two years ago where do you think you will finish this season?
With our new manager 8th – 10th

Where do you think West Ham can realistically finish the season?
16th or 17th if you are lucky. For me Moyes was the wrong replacement for you.

Which three teams do you think will suffer relegation and who will lift the title this season?
Palace, Swansea and if they stick with Unsworth (who again is tactically inept) Everton.

N’golo Kante seems to have been irreplaceable, apart from his loss are you happy with the make-up of your squad?
Ibbora & Maguire have been great signings. Silva when we finally get him in January will give us strong midfield options. One thing Shakespeare (and his team) did well was our signings this season.

I can recall in your Premier League winning year, you looking very impressive beating us right at the beginning of the season, 1 – 2. I’ve just looked up the details because I was sure taht Vardy scored, apparently not, but he ran us ragged all afternoon. Any memories of West Ham/Leicester games of the past?
Last seasons 2-2 draw with the Vardy dismissal. A draw that felt like a win at the time.

Mmm, I seem to remember a dodgy penalty in that game…If you could have any current West Ham player in your first team who would you choose and why?
To be fair don’t know enough about your players to choose, but to be honest if he can get them playing well our team is strong enough to do well this season so don’t know where anyone would fit in.

Which Leicester player(s) will be key to your hopes this season?
Maguire, Gray & Vardy

How do you expect Leicester to setup against West Ham on Friday/ Team/formation prediction?
4-4-1-1 with Mahrez just behind Vardy

Prediction for score?
3-1 To Leicester

Thanks again to Chris for his time. Not a David Moyes fan you would say! Well you can’t blame him for feeling confident, but you’d have to hope that Moyes has prepared for this game as well as any other, and that the players have responded accordingly. I’ll go for a 2 – 1 win. Come on you Irons!

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