Opposition Q & A
This weekend West Ham follow up their victory against Leicester, with another potentially difficult opponent, away at Spurs, who will be bidding after their demolition of Manchester United. Ahead of the game I once again chatted to lifelong Tottenham fan Ode Ogwu to discuss the game, and the season.
Hi Ode, last time we spoke it was just after the restart to the 19/20 season, when you beat us, although I thought you were a tad fortunate. Ultimately Spurs came 6th in the table, which must be looked back on as a step back after your successive Champions League entries. How do you sum up the 19/20 season?
Transitional – the squad that got us to the champions league was already on the decline and last season exemplified that. The need for a rebuild was clear. Hopefully we have gone some way to fix that in the recent transfer window.
Jose Mourinho has been with you for nigh on a year. Has he had time to impose his favoured style of play on the Spurs team yet? Will you be happy if/when he does?
I’d rather Mourino rebuild the squad than almost anyone else, he knows what a winning team looks like. Let Mourino put a side together of his making and then I think we can evaluate him. He’s been backed this summer and as a consequence expectations are high.
You’ve had a reasonable start, despite losing to Everton, but you mullered Manchester United last time out, how do you think things will pan out this season – where do you think Spurs will finish the season?
It’s the hope that kills you! Personally I try to play it down. I know a lot of Spurs fans are going early, giving it large. I’m both excited and nervous. On paper we look strong but so do others. I think we should be competing for top four and a trophy, I’m not going to say more than that. Secretly I’m hoping for complete domination.
While we’re at it you might as well give us your predictions for the final top four places, in order please.
Such strange beginning’s to the season but here goes:
Liverpool, Man City, Tottenham & Everton
I could easily put Chelsea and Arsenal in there. Ask me after Xmas when form is more settled.
What has happened to Dele Ali?
He exploded onto the scene and set the bar really high. His particular skill set is quite specific, I think. He needs to be playing further up the pitch, he is not a midfielder in my mind. But changes in formation / tactical set up have seen him drop into midfield but arguably we have better players than him to do that. Now with the introduction of Bale it looks like we will stick with 4 3 3 set up with Kane, Son and Bale. In midfield the creative spots will go first to Le Celso and Ndombele over Ali. But we have lots of options to play in different formations with different players and Ali will just have to stake his claim in the side , which is a good thing.
West Ham have had two good wins on the trot, is David Moyes going to lead West Ham to a better finish than last season? What position do you think West Ham can realistically reach this season?
I thought you would do better than you actually did last year. Declan Rice, Bowen and Michail Antonio are looking good. Soucek from what I’ve seen, looks decent. I would be looking for you to push for top half and a really good season pushing for Europa league spots – that would be a great season – but so many strong sides in contention. What goes against you from what I can see, is the mood within the club and issues with the board. I’m not sure you had the greatest transfer window although you’ve got the boy Benrahma over the line, who could be a good signing, a creative player. At the same time I could see you struggling again particularly if you get unlucky with injuries. Too early to tell.
Gareth Bale has returned to White Hart Lane. Will he have the same impact on you as he did in his last spell there?
We hope so. He’s been a great player. I don’t expect him to be the same player who left but whatever this version is I expect it to be at a high level. At the moment it just feels great having him back, a real pick up for the club. We dream of great things.
What if anything do you think about your latest signing Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg? What about selling on Kyle Walker-Peters?
He fills a position we desperately needed fixing – centre mid. To that extent he has fitted in seamlessly and we look better for it. Sorry to see Walker Peters leave, was really holding out for him to make it at Spurs. He’s a good player and is holding down his position at Southampton. From a pragmatic point of view it was a good deal for us and we’ve strengthened at full back too. Overall we’re stronger. But always sorry to see one of your better ‘own ones’ leave.
Who are you early picks for the drop? Relegation candidates in order please?
Too early to say, but here goes:
18th Sheffield Utd 19th Burnley & 20th Fulham.
“How are Tottenham likely to set themselves up against us on Sunday? Players/Formation.*
4 3 3 in front of Loris:
Aurier, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Reguilon.
Hojbjerg, Ndombele, Sissoko.
Son, Kane, Lamela.
Bench: Bale, Moura, Vinicius (new CF), Doherty, Davis, Hart, Winks.
Cheers, very detailed! Finally do Spurs have a chance of gaining any points against a ‘flying’ West Ham this weekend? Prediction for score please?
It could be close with Bale coming off the bench to seal it 3-1 – get in there! Listen, you’re on fire, we look good, could be a draw!
Thanks to Ode for his thoughts. I think it could go either way, but you have to be a dreamer to follow West Ham, so 1 – 2 away win! COYIEmbed from Getty Images