It’s great to hear from you at this early AM moment.
Just a short one this morning because I’ve been in build up mode for 3 months and I’m hungover!
Yesterday gave us few surprises.
United beat Spurs. Who cares? Two average teams pelting it out for 5th.
Chelsea took ONE point at home against Swansea. They were rank average. Who cares? We all do. That’s a big couple of points dropped from a team struggling despite little player movement this summer. They’ll obviously get it together, but it’s amusing to watch their bad preseason follow them into the real thing!
Today is a potential banana skin in the same way Villa was last year.
Actually, that’s a ‘I’m just being humble’ lie. We should smash them. No doubt.
All my Hammers pals are predicting annihilation, but I have to be fair, that’s the standard response from the eternal pessimists. Sean over ‘West Ham Till I die’ dished me out some insight into what’s going off at the Boleyn.
>>What’s Slaven bringing to the West Ham table this season?
Hopefully more exciting and entertaining football this season. He is a different kind of manager to Sam Allardyce who was results driven so playing style and entertainment didn’t factor into it most of the time. I hate to mention the cliche term of the ‘West Ham Way’ but Bilic is one knows what that means even though those outside West Ham struggle with the term.
>>What are you thoughts on him?
Bilic was the outright fans choice of those who would come to us, maybe he lacks Premier League management experience but I think he will do well for us as long as he is given time. Our board are known to give managers time and do not make knee jerk reactions like many other clubs. I wish him well and hope he hits the ground running.
>>How would you rate your summer so far?
Well, we have had a nice little distraction with the Europa League, it was fun while it lasted but now it is time to knuckle down with the Premier League and it’s massive riches. The Europa League gave us competitive pre-season but we put our kids out last Thursday and paid the price. Maybe that is a good thing. Premier League progression is our number one priority and beating Arsenal on Sunday is the the first step.
>>Who are the players to watch out for?
Dimtri Payet will be the big one to watch with 17 assists and 7 goals in French Ligue 1 last year. There is a lot of pressure on him to do well. It could create an awesome partnership with the Hammers top goal scorer Diafra Sakho. It will be interesting how Ogbonna, Obiang and Lanzini set up to Premier League.
>>How will Slaven set up?
From a tactical standpoint, Bilic primarily employed a 4-2-3-1 set-up during his time with Beskitas but also adopted a 4-4-2 formation on occasion. We have seen him deploy both formations in our Europea league games. He likes to build teams with two dynamic defensive midfielders, one creative playmaker and wingers able to cut inside.He wants to turn West Ham into a energetic, collective and fast team, playing with short passes.
As for Sunday’s team Adrian will be goal no dispute, the back four will consist of Cresswell, Reid, Ogbonna and mots likley Joey O’Brien as Carl Jenkinson cannot play against Arsenal because of his loan conditions.
The two defensive Midfielders will be most likely Kouyate and Noble with the creative playmaker guaranteed to be Payet. That leaves the likes of Jarvis and Zarate (Lanzini played on Thursday so is unlikely to feature) as the wingers with Sakho up front as the lone striker.
>>What are your hopes for the season?
A top 10 finish would be great for Bilic in his first season back at West Ham, a top eight finish is probably a step too far this season in reality but we can all hope. Anything better than last season’s 12th is an improvement which I take, anything worst than 12th will be a major disappointment and feel like we are going backwards. Relegation dog fight is unthinkable.
>>Are you excited about the big move next year?
Yes, I visited the Olympic Stadium the other weekend to watch the Athletics and it is an amazing stadium and still has that WOW factor. We have recruited many of the senior management team at Arsenal that helped with the move from Highbury to the Emirates to help us with our move. Senior figures include Angus Kinnear, Arsenal’s former marketing director who is now West Ham’s managing director and Felicity Croft who was Arsenal’s partnership and development director but is now the commercial director at West Ham. Some Hammers fans jokingly call this the Arsenalification of West Ham. Vice Chairman Karren Brady is a self confessed Arsenal fan you know. Just saying 😉
Now, that’s a great dump of Hammers insight, I’m just sad Jenks isn’t at the heart of their strategy this season.
I think Arsenal will set up to destroy today. I’m kind of thinking Theo will be left up top. I reckon the starting 11 will be very similar to the community shield line up.
Hopefully we’ll score and early goal and take advantage of a team struggling for form an cohesion.
This game is big because it sets the tone for the season. Win big here and we’ll make August a sweet month.
Today is also major because my family (me) have emotionally blackmailed my dissident father to join the game for the first time in about 6 years (he isn’t a fan of Arsene (he REALLY dislikes Arsene)). I love my dad, but no one is as badly behaved as he is. The cousins think it’ll be fine. All I can compare this scenario to is offering Tony Soprano a line of coke at a horse killer dinner party. It’ll be crazy send off.
… so if you see me, don’t say hi. Unless you really dislike the manager.
Oh sorry, just for context, the blackmail has succeeded because I’m moving away to NYC. And you know what that means? We’ll compete for major honours because I’m a foreign fan this year. What a joke.
I CAN NO LONGER DISCRIMINATE AGAINST OTHER FANS.
Jokes aside, have a bloody amazing day!