Well, we’re finally here. The opening fixture of the 2014/15 Premier League has arrived and all the clubs have been going through major changes from top to bottom.
None more so than our truly adored, yet unsurprising, West Ham United who have just about done everything possible to make this the most stressful pre-season in recent memory. The main area of concern was the managerial position that has been questioned many times over the course of the last year.
Yet, finally, there seems to be some hope for Sam this year as he has been given the support of the owners and the players to carry the team through the many challenges the Premier League holds this year. Immediately, I think we all started to regret the decision after poor draws to lower league teams Stevenage and Ipswich and less than impressive defeats Down Under against Wellington Phoenix and Sydney FC.
There was slight hope that we could turn it around with a trophy and we managed to do that at the last chance of asking when we won the truly accomplished Marathonbet Cup. Also, another huge shock (once again) when Andy Carroll doesn’t kick ball to be out for four months.
I love him, but when are we going to see him play two games in a row? And as for Carl Jenkinson, he has made himself immensely comfortable at West Ham United by giving away a penalty and getting injured during his pre-season debut. The right amount of expectation for a West Ham pre-season, I should think.
Anyway, enough with the criticisms and onto the hope of dazzling display of five-goal thrillers and a top four finish! Maybe not so, but despite our ‘unfortunate’ run during the pre-season, I am hoping for a vastly rejuvenated West Ham team compared to last years ‘shambolic’ schoolboy team. There have been some very encouraging signs during the pre-season (and I’m not joking) when I say that the team has a definite chance of peaking above 10th place.
And how else to start a new season full of (or lack of) hope then a visit from our friendly rivals, Tottenham Hotspur. After doing the treble over them last year, I think Mauricio Pochettino has steadied the sinking ship and might be going for an early three points to ease the nerves. However, believe it or not, we might need those three points more than they do, as Big Sam has a tall order ahead of him this season and what better way to kick start a successful campaign
Well Sam, listen up, Because this is how you’re going to do it!
Firstly, enough with Kevin Nolan starting, I know he is the Captain but use someone who will actually provide the attacking spark we need, such a Mohamed Diame or the exciting Ravel Morrison. I know you two have a close bond, but this is more or less the end of playing around with the whole of East London and time for reuniting this team with the fans and a top ten finish.
Keep him as your captain on the bench, you never know he may come on and surprise us, but there is absolutely no guarantee that he can last a full game even after pre-season. And whilst we’re at the moaning, don’t use Carlton Cole. I love that boy but he is just not good enough and definitely not an effective target man as Andy Carroll is. It’s nice to have him on the payroll but we have three new International strikers that have a more prolific goal scoring record than Carlton ‘Gold’ Cole.
A striker who, without doubt, should start on the bench this Saturday is Elliot Lee, and he should be brought on at the earliest opportunity. Not only to carry on his fine form for both the West Ham first team and the Development Squad, but also to build his confidence.
Here at the Academy we produced greats such as Frank Lampard, Rio Ferdinand, Joe Cole… the list goes on. But recently we have made a tremendous effort to ditch any form of young talent as quickly as possible. But Lee has shown some remarkable athletic talent and I think, with a bit of good match experience, he can become a regular in the upcoming year or two. One more young addition that should be thrown straight into the action is Dan Potts who, as we saw last Saturday vs. Sampdoria, can provide some pace and attacking ability and, should Aaron Cresswell and Carl Jenkinson not be fit for Saturday, then why not start him too?
And finally, let’s see a bit of that magic Teddy Sheringham has introduced to Big Sam’s boys, as even the co-owner David Gold himself said” “Teddy coaching Ravel Morrison and Enner Valencia today. Wow really impressive, maybe Ravel should be played as an out and out striker.”
That means less hoofing it and more playing it on the floor, using more of Ravel’s magical runs that influenced one of our best goal’s in recent memory and also having ‘a dig’ more often. We’ve bought more than enough strikers, so use them properly!
In terms of Tottenham’s weakest points I can pick from their pre-season, Pochettino used the ‘play it at the back’ method last year with Southampton and there is no doubt he has implemented it in his Spurs side. So let’s use our newfound knowledge of attacking football and press Spurs into fluffing it up at the back and taking our chances on goal.
Whatever the first game holds for us, there’s no doubt we’re in for a rollercoaster of a season!