West Ham Preview

January 3, 2010

Today we face a fellow London Premiership club in the FA Cup – this is the only London derby in this round, and we should try to do everything possible to claim local bragging rights.  AW said he wanted to win this game, but on the other hand he could not risk certain players, given the congested fixture list. While logic tells me that it is the sensible way to do things, given our dire position as far as injuries are concerned, my heart says that we should wipe off the last result we managed at Upton Park and do whatever it takes to progress to the next round. It will be interesting who we will see in a few areas – this will indicate whether we are seriously in it or if this is another potential trophy sacrificed on the altar of youth development, where one can assume the worst and if a good result comes it should be welcomed as a bonus. Fair enough, we are down to bare bones, but it is still sad to chuck away another trophy, barring some sort of miracle. Our game in hand played against Bolton Shitkickers 3 days later must come into the equation here with the title race tighter than ever with us firmly in it, despite most of the pundits still claiming this is a 2 horse race now (MU & Chelsea) since their early season championship favourite’s campaign is going horribly wrong so far. No complaints here – we seem to be doing better when we are ruled out or considered underdogs. I have predicted in the beginning of the season, this will be between us and Chelsea with nothing-out-of-the-ordinary ManYoo coming third.

I think we will see Fabianski in goal. Fella must be kicking himself for getting injured prior to Spuds game where he was to step in to replace out of form Almunia. I would not expect him to get many more chances this season with Manuel slightly improving since then and AW probably not willing to take any risks in the league. It’s fair to say that young Lukasz may do a lot today to get a good run in the cup and prove himself to Le Boss.

Keeper can’t do his job without  a solid defensive unit. Actually, this is where we will see how serious we are about this whole FA Cup thing – AW said he is considering playing Big Phil there – who will he be paired with? Silvestre is due to start, but no idea if he play next to Phil or in LB to rest Traore. Both these options have their pros and cons, we will find out soon enough. Right back position will be a strong indicator too – my money is on resting Sagna and playing Gilbert there, with Eboue gone to ACN.

In the midfield, we have very little choice with Fabregas and Denilson out. I would guess it will be Song (for the last time before this ACN nonsense, so he should get full 90 minutes), Rosicky and Diaby or Ramsey filling the third spot. That was easy, now on to the attacking three: I’m guessing Vela is a dead cert to start on the left, Jackie Boy may get a runout on the right and the central position should be occupied by someone more experienced like Eduardo, who happens to work very well with Carlos.

WHU have their own injury problems and survival battle on their hands, but in theory they can afford playing more first teamers due to the fact that the will have a whole week to rest before the next game as opposed to our 3 days, when we play our game in hand against Bolton. Zola said he wants to have a go at us, how much of this is just talk, aimed at the hacks who would love to have a go at foreign managers disrespecting the oldest, most traditional competition remains to be seen.

The game is televised on ITV 😯 There were not many of them since this CL Eduardo ‘dive’ nonsense when they got swamped with complaints regarding the commentary. It was almost funny to see them doing whatever they could not to broadcast Arsenal games – correct me if I’m wrong, the only game from the group stages was Olympiakos away when we were already top and we might as well not go there, was it not?

A few words on transfer rumours: not a lot to go through, is there? Apparently, we are not after Gignac anymore, AW is also reported to have rubbished all Huntelaar stories. The most recent one is Louis Saha for £5M plus Senderos. Whoa, whoa, whoa: do we really need another Manure pensioner on our books and one of questionable fitness for that matter? Moyes got him on pay as you play deal, as long as he gets just that here, I would not have too many complaints, but on the other hand, we have money, don’t we? We can and have to do better than that, and throwing Big Phil into the mix would be utterly stupid, as that would leave us needing to buy another CB: having Silvestre as third choice at club of our stature and with our ambitions would be bordering on negligence.

Dzeko is not wanted by his preferred club due to Berlusconi being cash strapped, so this will most probably lower his silly valuation. As far as I am concerned, anything over £20M is too much, but sometimes one must swallow his pride and pay a little over the odds in the seller’s market – despite recession, asking prices may be quite high in this window, due to not many quality players wanting a move in the World Cup year. Well, we have 28 days of this to get through, give me strength…

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