Match Preview

i can rarely recall being this excited before a Premier League season. My excitement would be all the greater if we actually had any strikers to choose between for the match against Cardiff. Andy Carroll is injured and Modibo Maiga seems to be on his way to St Etienne. Has he already gone? If so, we are completely strikerless, so Downing and Jarvis can cross the ball however much they like but who on earth is going to be on the end of the crosses? Joe Cole has played a number two striker before, but has never been the lead striker. Is it possible Kevin Nolan will be deployed? Let’s hope the rumours of Maiga’s departure prove just that – rumours.

I’d also love to report that Ravel Morrison is likely to start against Cardiff, but I suspect it’s the bench for the young midfielder. Although given his recent goalscoring record, maybe he should play up front. We have a very crowded midfield, but I expect it to be Downing, Noble, Nolan, Diame, Jarvis, with Maiga up front on his own.

In defence, James Collins hasn’t played much recently so I imagine it will be James Tomkins who starts alongside Winston Reid and Razvan Rat. The only questionmark is who gets the nod at right back – Demel or O’Brien. I’d say Guy Demel narrowly shaves it. I think he could combine well with Jarvis down the right. Acually, that’s not the only questionmark is it? I suppose there could be a doubt about who starts the season as our number one goalkeeper. I’m pretty sure it will be Jussi, but you never know.

Cardiff have made some impressive signings and they will be no pushover. But maybe they will be a little too eager to impress. I suspect they will be well organised in defence and play on the break. I hope we see something of Craig Bellamy.

Prediction? I’ll be optimistic and go for a 2-0 Hammers win.

And don’t forget. be in your seats by 2.40 so you can witness Billy Bonds get his Lifetime Achievement Award.