The new season….don’t you just love it? Early season optimism (though judging by our message boards, there is not a lot of that), football in the sunshine, new signings….then we get three injuries and get plunged back into our usual pessimistic selves.
It’s certainly been an odd pre-season at Upton Park, sensible and exciting signings (Valencia, Cresswell, Zarate and Poyet) have been tempered the lack of Tikka-Takka in friendlies and of course, the annual Andy Carroll injury. For me, friendlies mean nothing apart from getting the fitness levels up and coming through un-scathed (remember Boa-Morte being out for a season after a Spurs friendly?) Allardyce is a practical man and I imagine the new, attacking approach will come when we are in a comfortable situation in the table, not gung-ho from the off and quite right too.
Still, what better way to shake off the cobwebs than a match against minor London club Tottenham Hotspur. Last season, we definitely had the run on them, having successfully beaten them 3 times whilst they were under very poor management. Will they be an improved side? I’m not so sure, I’m not convinced Pocchetino is any great shakes and personnel wise they are pretty much where they were at last season. I’d imagine Lamela may improve, but not much else besides that. Having said that, I think this is a tough one to call, with both clubs in a strange epoch of not quite being settled yet. It feels like we are always one game away from a Big Anti-Sam rebellion, to which I will again say, be careful what you wish for…
Line up wise, I imagine this will be the deal…I have loved the look of Kouyate pre season, a real ball winner and solid player.
Cresswell – Reid – Tomkins – Demel
Downing - Noble – Kouyate – Jarvis
Bench - Jussi, O’Brien, Collins, Diame, Zarate, Lee, Diame
I have heard rumours Valencia may be on the bench, but if he does make an appearance, it will be fleeting as he is still 3 weeks away from fitness by all accounts.
A real tough one to call and I’d take a draw right now though a win would be fantastic. I just hope everyone remembers to get behind the team and not boo certain players because of their own agenda towards the management. Come on you Irons!!!