After the waiting comes the excitement, I for one can’t wait for the new season to start and for banter with friends and colleagues to really get going. It’s going to be an interesting season for sure, with the top three all under new management and changes of personnel at various other clubs, so a few thoughts on how things will pan out. At the bottom I envisage a similar pattern to last season, two weak teams with the bottom third not quite decided until the end. The three promoted clubs are all in severe danger of going down but one of them usually ends up surviving and I think it will be Cardiff who will avoid the drop. Flirting with danger will be Sunderland and Stoke with a dash of Southampton, though Lambert’s goals could keep them clear.
At the top, it’s hard to tell who will win it – I do know it won’t be Man United, there is going to be a period of transition for them and I can see them scraping champions league. I’ve not seen enough of Navas, Jovetic, Fernandinho et al at City, but there is a certainly pedigree there whilst Chelsea have one of the best managers in Jose. Arsenal will be thereabouts whilst Liverpool, with an unsettled Suarez will buzz around the UEFA spots.
That leaves the Hammers – I can see a similar pattern to last season , though I’d really hope our away form improves. A couple of better results last season on the road would have made a huge difference and we can do without performances like Sunderland away. A cup run and a comfortable top ten position will keep me happy, further consolidation of us as a Premier league club and pushing ourselves further the season would seem a sound strategy. A push for Europe would be a bonus, we certainly have the team for it, it’s all about our away form.
So the first test is this Saturday with Cardiff at home and the squad brings with it plenty of dilemmas. The back is pretty simple...
Jussi Rat Reid Collins O’Brien
Rat looks like a very exciting signing and O’Brien never lets us down. These two lads will combine well with our flying wingers, so, to the middle of the park
Diame – Nolan – Noble
This is the ticking heart of the team with Noble keeping us going with his passes, Diame braking up play and Nolan ghosting forward, leaving the three up front...
Downing – Maiga – Jarvis Downing has got to come straight in, he is a quality signing and I don’t imagine for a minute he was brought in to warm the bench. I love Jarvis and what he brings to play, always an attacking threat. These guys can link with the full backs as well as swap wings to draw out the opposition defence.
Bench – Adrian, Collison, Tomkins, Demel, Cole, Vaz Te and Morrison A bench with real options and cover, with Cole and Morrison most likely to play a part if an attacking threat is needed. Our opposition Cardiff have improved their squad and our old friend Craig Bellamy will always be a threat. However, we should have a psychological advantage with our play off semi final double over them and I’m predicting an eventually comfortable 2/3-0 victory for the Hammers. Can’t wait to see the lads on Saturday, come on you Irons!!!!!!!