City welcome West Ham to the Etihad this weekend following a disappointing midweek loss to Juventus in the Champion’s League. The Londoners will undoubtedly see this as a chance to take points off an injured City team whereas the blues will be looking to get right back on track.
West Ham have had a mixed start to the season so far, mixing in highs and lows at the beginning of Slaven Bilic’s reign. Are you happy so far? Room for improvement?
I think the majority of fans would have snatched your hands off for our mixed start simply for the thoroughly enjoyable Away wins at Arsenal and Liverpool (which hadn’t been done since the 60’s!!!) – the home losses to Leicester and Bournemouth weren’t great…at all. Beating a Newcastle side who look like a relegated team alredy levelled it up a bit more on the positive side though.
Improvement wise, I think we saw that in the shape of reinforcements post-Bournemouth/Leicester. In both of those games we were undone by individual defensive errors as well as severly lacking any genuine width. On deadline day we brought in Victor Moses and Michail Antonio, both of whom are brilliant, exciting, wingers. Already we’ve seen the effect Moses has in our team with his sheer pace and strength.
The only other thing I could pick out would be our fullbacks. Jenkinson has been woeful, meaning James Tomkins has been able to stay in the XI – albeit not at CB – in his place. And, he has been nothing short of brilliant there. On the other side, we’ve become so accustomed to solid displays from Aaron Cresswell, perhaps his few blips in the Leicester/Bournemouth game were always going to catch up with him? Hopefully with someone like Moses in front of him he can get back to his best now though.
Which new signings should we be looking out for at the weekend?
Well, this is easy, it has to be Dimitri Payet. The guy genuinely oozes class. If you’ve seen much of West Ham this season you’ll know that for yourself though! As we’ll be away, Pedro Obiang is likely to play so expect him to be trying to dictate the play and break up attacks and surges from Toure and co.
Lastly, Moses. I know it was Newcastle, but, after not having played a PL game for some time, he didn’t look phased by it at all and run them ragged until he started blowing out of his arse late on, which I can forgive him for!
How are West Ham likely to approach this game? Any chance of your team opening up a bit and attacking or should be be looking forward to a defensive performance?
I’d expect much like our games against Arsenal and Liverpool. High pressing, defending from the front, counter attacking.
I wouldn’t say a defensive performance, that would have been the mindset to Sam Allardyce; “Sit back, and do nothing going forward, it’s City at the Etihad, we won’t win anyway.”
Slaven Bilic meanwhile, has proven that he doesn’t buy into this defeatist way of thinking. I’m sure he’ll have been coming up with some ideas as to how we can be the first team to get points off of you.
Predicted West Ham lineup?
A lot of fans are hoping Adrian returns, however, it would be somewhat unfair on Randolph considering he has made a lot of fans (myself included) eat humble pie. The fact he won MOTM against Bournemouth says how good he was/bad the defence was despite the scoreline.
Jenkinson, Tomkins, Reid, Cresswell
Obiang, Noble, Kouyate
Payet Sakho Moses
Thanks again for coming on, Stuart.
Interview by Alex Timperley