It was a sparkling start for the Hammers on Saturday, but our opponents this weekend were positively explosive, routing QPR 5-0 away from home. Having spent most of last season in Championship mode, I didn’t see as much of Swansea as I would have liked, with their brand of football by all accounts very attractive, so I am looking forward to see what they are made of. Certainly players such as Michu will be intriguing to watch and the Hammers will have their work cut out for sure.
Team wise, I think we should continue with stability and be un-changed for this one. One thing we will have on Swansea will be a distinct height advantage. We really looked big on Saturday, even more so when Tomkins came on, and I think we will see a physical, bullying game from the Hammers against a Swansea team trying to play on the deck. It won’t be one for the West Ham purists, but for those of looking for a result and cementing our position in the league, there has to be some acceptance that this will be the way we have to play it from time to time. I expect defensive walls when defending and an emphasis on us winning set pieces around the box or corners.
I’ll take a draw now to be honest and it will be a great point to get. Remember, it’s live on Sky at 12.45 on Saturday afternoon, let’s hope we do ourselves proud.
This season, I am delighted to team up with EA Sports who are providing interesting stats before each game, here is their round up…most notable is Mark Noble’s 6.47 miles of running and us putting in the highest number of tackles per team….
• Swansea’s new manager Michael Laudrup got off to a sensational start in their first game of the season with a 5-0 win over QPR
• Swansea were on of the surprise packages of last season, and two goals from new signing Michu along with two from Nathan Dyer and one from Scott Sinclair sent a warning signal that they were not to be one season wonders
• Despite their lethal form in front of goal, Swansea also showed great defensive determination by completing the third highest number of defensive duties of any team in the opening weekend. That comprised 76 defensive interventions across tackles, interceptions, clearances, and blocks, a shift that was needed as surprisingly QPR registered the joint highest number of shots for the opening round with 20 attempts at goal.
• However, Wayne Routledge was one of only three players in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index to commit four or more fouls in the opening round of games. The others were Everton’s Marouane Fellaini and Norwich’s Bradley Johnson.
• Routledge shares another honour in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, being one of only two players along with Eden Hazard to be credited with two assists in the first round of games
• New Swansea signing Chico covered the most ground for the Swans in the game with 5.64 miles, just ahead of Routledge who covered 5.55 miles
• West Ham also found their back line busy on their return to the Premier League, contributing 78 tackles, blocks, clearances and interceptions en route to a clean sheet and a 1-0 win against Villa
• That included the highest number of tackles of any team, with 39 tackles attempted by the Hammers, led by goal scorer Kevin Nolan with seven tackles
• Mark Noble also put in an all action performance, covering 6.47 miles, the highest among West Ham players and 4th highest of any player in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for the first round of games
• Ricardo Vaz Te clocked the highest top speed of the West Ham team in that game with 21.63 mph