Opposition Q & A

Our opposition Q&A is back for the new season and earlier this week I caught up with Pedro from Arsenal blog Le Grove

How do you rate West Ham’s new manager Slaven Bilic, how will he get on in the Premier League and were the Hammers wrong not to renew Sam Allardyce’s contract at the end of the season?
I think West Ham dropped a massive clanger in parting with Big Sam. He took you up, secured you and had you playing some spectacular football at the start of last season. He’s not my cup of tea, but it’s a hugely arrogant risk bringing in Slaven Bilic. He’s untested and that could cost you big time. It very much looks like that time Newcastle hired Alan Shearer. A dim crowd pleaser.

What league position can West Ham achieve this season under Bilic?
I think you have a good squad and some exciting players. However, I’m not sure how well you’ll do this year under new leadership. I think it might be a struggle. Other teams have recruited well. I think you could be looking at 14th this year.

How do you think Arsenal will fare this season? What league position can they finish this season?
I think Arsenal are a top 2 team this year. If we sign a striker, get some luck on the injury front, we’ll be contending come the end of the season. We’re going through a mini revolution at the club. After our disgusting start last season, the manager has made some backroom changes, he’s listening to his staff, he’s preparing better and we’re keeping players fitter for longer. A big season, but one that could be very exciting for us.

Which three teams do you tip for relegation this season?
Bournemouth, Watford and Spurs for sure. Ok, if it’s not Spurs, I’d love it to be Newcastle. But it might be Norwich. Coming up is so hard these days.

If you could have any current West Ham player in your team who would you choose?
Well, it looks like Payet is going to be a player for you this season. He has it all. I’d imagine he’s exactly the sort of player the fans have been waiting for. I also really like Sakho. So much pace and excitement in his play.

What is your favourite West Ham player of all time?
West Ham were my local top tier club growing up, so all friends were season ticket holders. I don’t think I can see past Paulo Di Canio. Outrageous talent, totally bananas but always, always exciting. He kind of sums up West Ham for me. Or the West Ham I guess you all want to see. You want passion, you want to enjoy your footbal, even if that’s at the expense of success.

Arsenal moved from Highbury to the Emirates in 2006, what tips do you have for Hammers fans making the transition next year.
Accept that the atmosphere is going to be very average for a while. You’ll not know who you’re sitting next to and the stadium will feel soulless for a while. Also, don’t pine for the Boleyn. This is a progressive move for the club, even if the deal feels really dodgy. You become the club for tourists, which will give you more money to play with and hopefully secure London as the UKs capital of football (rather than the North West). I’m really excited for you and I can’t wait to get to an away game over there!

How do you expect Arsenal to setup against West Ham on Sunday/ Team/formation prediction?
I think we’ll set up with pace in mind. We’ll try and pull your defence early and I’d imagine we’ll look to pounce on a side that’s in transition. It could be carnage… or it could be a really sad upset like the Villa one a few season back!

Where is a a good place for West Ham fans to eat and drink close to the Emirates before the match?
Head in from Highbury & Islington side (remember you can’t get off at Holloway Road an hour before the game) and nip into Piebury Corner for North London’s best pie. There are some nice pubs, not sure what the away one is, but The Chè is always a good atmosphere. If you’re looking for cheap, there’s a Whetherspoons right next to H&I station.

Finally a Score Prediction for Sunday
2-0 to the Arsenal

Thanks to Pedro from Le Grove Arsenal Opinion Blog www.le-grove.co.uk you can find them on twitter via @legrove

Come on you irons and lets hope Pedro is wrong with score prediction