Opposition Q & A
This weekend a still pointless West Ham travel to Goodison Park for a 4pm Sunday afternoon kick-off hoping to finally get their season under way. Ahead of the game I spoke to Everton fan, food blogger and occasional Guardian columnist and a surprisingly unconfident James Coke aka the disabled chef to talk about the up and coming fixture.
West Ham have yet to gain a point, but you’ve had quite a good start to the season, I presume you’re pretty pleased at the moment?
Sort of – It’s a step up from the dirge of big Sam, but still early days. I like Silva’s attacking philosophy but the defence is full of holes. The first four games should have all been gimmes, but although unbeaten, we’ve laboured. A slip up on Sunday and our guaranteed defeat at Arsenal would set alarm bells ringing. Whatever happens we have to give him time. Of course if we tonk you and the Arse then I’ll be delirious and be loving the guy like he’s my brother from another mother.
Everton have been similar to West Ham, and indeed a lot of clubs by appointing a new manager at the beginning of the new season, how do you rate the prospects for Everton under Marco Silva.
His CV does not jump out at you and he’s got ants in his pants, but there is potential. He’s got form in Greece, winning a championship with Olympiacos and then did well at both Hull and Watford. He clearly can get distracted so we need to bed him down and allow him time to build his squad. His record in the premiership is good but Everton is a big step up. I suspect though he’ll be given a good crack of the whip to get things right and that Everton might have a good season.
- Talking about your manager, I understand that Everton is being investigated regarding your original approach for him. Is there anything in this, or just media talk?*
There probably is something in it as we’ve been stalking him for ages but hey this is the premiership and anything appears to go. Its disappointing if we did as Everton should be above that but it would not surprise me. Anyway a man like you who lives in a greenhouse should not be lobbing bricks about as you lot robbed the Blades back in 2007 which they still smart over so let’s move on to a question we are both comfortable about.
Mmm, I assume you mean a glass house. Failing to dot a few i’s and cross a few t’s is hardly robbery. Anyway were you happy to see the back of Big Sam, as opposed to the ‘Big Sam’s back!’ announcement when he became your manager?
Last season’s 4-0 rout of West Ham became a hollow victory when I saw him in the directors box about to take the reins. It stamped out any embers of hope I had for the season and I became disenfranchised and just concentrated on my fantasy team. I was disgusted with myself cheering another Salah goal (especially if he was my captain) but I just didn’t care. Sam’s passing was inevitable but it’s allowed me to re-engage again with Everton and have the confidence to drop Salah for Richarlison which has been very beneficial.
How do you rate the appointment of Manuel Pelligrini as West Ham’s manager?
Cannot knock what he did at City but that was a totally different project. Trouble is West Ham like Everton expect the best – even if we rarely get it. 4 defeats on the bounce do not bode well though and after us you’ve got Chelsea and United, so I only see the pressure continue to mount. I think you should have stuck with Moyes or gone big for someone like Eddie Howe, as I don’t think Manuel will last the pace. However he always looks the part and comes across as an alight geezer so hope he does a number for you.
Again like West Ham you have brought in a few new players during the summer, who is going to delight the Goodson faithful?
Well the pick of the bunch is Richarlison. He was doing perfect until his ‘head-kiss’ at Bournemouth, so luckily for you boys, he’ll be missing. I like the look of Digne at left back. He has had a couple of assists this season and will be a good replacement for an ageing Bainsey. The others Mina, Bernard and Gomes, look good on paper but are all injured. After the disaster of our dealings last season, I won’t get carried away and don’t know whether they’ll be lions or sheep.
Last year you disposed of two Everton lads in Ross Barkley and Wayne Rooney, any thoughts on these particular departures?
Barkley had been angling for a move for a while now so it was no great surprise. For me his consistency was suspect and he was far to greedy. He seems to have started this season well for Chelsea but I think you’ll see him move on in a season or two – he’d be good for West Ham! As for Wayne; I was deluded like the rest of them when our prodigal son came home. He had his moments (you don’t need to be reminded), but was to slow and grumpy, and couldn’t keep his cock in his pants. He had to go to safeguard the integrity of the club and Bill Kenwright.
Which West Ham players if any have you got in your fantasy league team?
Marco has been there from the start but no others, yet! Anderson looks a cracker of a player. He’ll probably join the ranks of Clash City at some stage in the season as will Cresswell, who has a sweet left foot. I might also look to bring in Fabianski as a second keeper. For the record I’ve just signed Lookman as replacement for Walcott, who is injured. I have a feeling he will be your chief tormentor on Sunday.
Where do you think Everton will finish the season? Can they break into the top six?
I don’t expect anything special but hope we can secure 7th – anything higher would be a bonus
Where can West Ham realistically hoist themselves to by the end of the season?
Last time you started this badly you went down, so you’re skating on thin ice already. However I think you’ll just avoid the drop, but you won’t finish the season under Pelligrini – 16th!
Everton is not a team we traditionally play well against, but can West Ham dig themselves out of their malaise against you this weekend? Where are you likely to slip up?
I actually think you have a good chance. We have a shed load of injuries and I can’t see you losing 5 on the bounce – it just doesn’t happen…does it? On saying that you hate playing at Goodison, and we will have a few lads looking to stake a claim. The danger for us is our defence which is porous on set pieces and is still a work in progress; so I see goals, but hoping we’ll score one more than you.
How will Everton line up against West Ham this week Team/formation?
Pickford – Digne – Kenny – Holgate – Zouma – Sigurdsson – Lookman – Schneiderlin – Tosun – Davies – Niasse
Any predictions for the score
2-2 – dubious Hammers penalty equaliser late on.
Well thanks to Jim for his time. Pleased to notice that he’s a fellow Big Sam sufferer. I would take a 2 – 2 draw at Everton anytime, so I will follow agree with Jim for once, and join him on 2 – 2. COYI