After another frustrating European result in midweek, it’s back to the league this weekend for a trip to Upton Park. We’ve won our last three in this competition and built up some momentum, which we need to continue if we’re going to keep pace with what looks to be a quality Chelsea side, but West Ham have looked excellent so far and sit fourth.
You seem to have bought incredibly well. Sakho, in particular, has impressed me. What have you made of your new signings?
For the first time since some of Pardew’s transfer windows we’ve bought players who are young, hungry and very talented. I think our brilliant start has also coincided with the fact that all of our new players have really hit the ground running.
We bought extremely well; in Zarate, Sakho and Valencia we bought three strikers who were the top goalscorers in their respective leagues. Others like Cresswell and Kouyaté have made it look like a doddle to adjust to the Premier League. Amalfitano was our oldest recruit but brings that little bit more guile and technical ability on the ball. I also really rate Jenkinson as a young full back, and young Diego Poyet took his chance well on his debut against Manchester United despite the result not going our way.
Getting Alex Song was an absolutely unbelievable cherry on the top of an already thrilling window. Say what you like about his time at Barcelona, he’d walk into almost every midfield in the Premier League (barring yourselves and possibly Chelsea)
The Stewart Downing renaissance…I didn’t see that coming. Did you?
I was never on the ‘Downing’s useless bandwagon’. Even last season he was one of our best players, and definitely our best winger – although when your competition in that regards is an out of form Jarvis, that’s like winning the 100m when you’re the only person with legs!
We were set up to go 4-3-3 to counter Hull City’s 3 at the back, only for them to change to a back four prior to the match. So Sam tweaked the formation to 4-4-2 diamond; Downing was at the heart of absolutely everything. I’m not sure if it’s still the case, but up until a week or so ago, Downing had created as many scoring opportunities as Cesc Fabregas. That itself is testament to just how well he is playing right now.
When you came to our place in the League Cup last season, Sam Allardyce appeared to be a dead man walking. I genuinely didn’t think he’d last an extra week. What changed?
Ah yes, our ‘more likely route to a Cup final’…
I think it was more down to the fact that David Gold and David Sullivan prefer to give their managers time. It was disappointing, but I think last season especially they were a lot more hopeful for us just staying up. We were nothing short of shambolic for the most part of the season.
Now though, Sam has given us an exciting attacking team. We have played with two upfront for the most part of the season too, which has brought a massive sigh of relief around Upton Park!
How high can West Ham realistically go under Allardyce?
Well, we won’t finish 4th that’s for sure!
We won’t finish above; Chelsea, Arsenal, City, United. Can we finish above; Liverpool, Tottenham, Everton, Southampton? Anywhere from 5th-10th isreally up for grabs for a number of teams this season.
Realistically, I would be happy with 8th/7th and actually genuinely competing in both Cups. A lot of people have been taken in by our brilliant start, there is definitely something in the air around Upton Park that we could do something special this year.
As a West Ham fan though, you should always be prepared for the unexpected!
Would you ever want Di Canio to return as manager if Sam ever left?
NO! I wouldn’t want him even as an attacking coach. At some point he would throw his toys out the pram in true Di Canio fashion and it would all end very bitterly.
I would rather continue viewing him as nothing more than a club legend, and one of the best players to play in the Premier League.
Who’s City’s best player, in your opinion?
When he’s actually playing well, Yaya Toure. Surely? Equally, when he’s actually fully fit, Sergio Aguero is out of this world.
Combined West Ham-City XI?
Tomkins Kompany Reid
Milner Song Toure Kouyate Downing
Zabaleta Tomkins Kompany Clichy
Downing Song Toure Silva
Surely (SURELY?) this is where we get our reality check?
That being said, you’re back five isn’t exactly impenetrable is it – and with Sakho scoring in every Premier League game he’s played in…I can’t see him stopping.
I’ll go for a thoroughly entertaining 2-2.
Interview by Rob Pollard