A Drop Of Claret And Blue – West Ham’s Strong Start
Welcome to A Drop of Claret and Blue. At the time of writing this article, West Ham United have announced the signing of Matt Jarvis from Wolverhampton Wanderers for an undisclosed fee. The 26-year old winger will wear the number seven shirt, and we at Ballsy Banter would like to wish him all the best at his new club.
Right. I’d like to kick off proceedings by holding my hands up, and by simultaneously acknowledging the likes of Mark Watts and AA Gill, who took the time to comment correctly that Jack Collison would not be available for the Villa game, as he is currently out injured. I had been led to believe by some sources that he might’ve been in contention for a place, but these reports proved to be false, so my apologies for that. Also, a big thanks to everyone who read the opening article; now, let’s see if I can keep hold of you all for the coming season.
As I’m sure you’re all aware by now, West Ham secured a 1-0 opening day victory at home to Aston Villa, courtesy of a Kevin Nolan goal. For the benefit of those who missed it, there was initial controversy over the decision to allow the goal to stand, as Ricardo Vaz Te was offside in the build-up to the goal, however referee Mike Dean correctly ignored the linesman’s flag, aware that the ball had been played to Vaz Te off the head of a Villa player. Vaz Te cut the ball back, and Nolan steered it home to the delight of the home crowd. Quite the quiet affair, this one; debutant Modibo Maiga was unfortunate to see a goal bound effort cleared after he had rounded Shay Given late on, but either way my prediction of 3-1 wasn‘t troubling any bookmakers, as West Ham comfortably saw the game out, and Villa never really looked likely to score. Jaaskelainen had very little to do between the sticks, which is no bad thing at all, with his clean sheet largely due to the back four, in particular James Collins, who produced a man of the match display on his second West Ham debut, and helped keep his former employers quiet. The points were thoroughly deserved by the East London side, and now we look forward to the first away day of the season, hopeful of continuing our impressive form on the road from last season.
I will be a little bit careful with my team selection for the coming fixture, as this was quite a talking point from my introductory article. I’d like to see the squad largely unchanged from the one that did so well against Villa, but I can’t help but want Tomkins in the starting eleven; having said that, the back four looked comfortable, and should remain the same. Diame impressed me in the midfield, as did Noble, and obviously Nolan notched the only goal of the game; it would be nice to see Diarra feature this time, but from the bench. I have read that Jarvis himself might get some game time, but I cannot see this happening just yet, and expect to see Vaz Te and Taylor on the wings, with Cole in the centre of attack. It’d be nice for Maiga to get a little longer than ten minutes to demonstrate his abilities, but I’m happy to play this one safe and see the same eleven start. I welcome everybody to comment with the team they’d like to see turn out against Swansea this weekend.
The Swans will be full of confidence after their opening day thrashing of QPR, which saw former West Ham goalkeeper Robert Green concede five times on his debut (incidentally, rumours are circulating that QPR are looking at Julio Cesar – thoughts?). New recruit Michu looked particularly dangerous in midfield, taking both his goals very well, and looks like being one of the steals of the season already, costing the Welsh outfit just £2million from Rayo Vallecano. Swansea were impressive last season, their first in the top flight, and will be hoping to steer clear of the so-called second season syndrome, and maintain their Premier League status as comfortably as they did last year under now Liverpool manager Brendan Rogers. Currently at the helm is Michael Laudrup, who will no doubt want to instil on his team the kind of attacking football he was known for in his playing days, which saw him win five consecutive La Liga trophies with Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively.
I’ll wrap things up now with my prediction, as I will with all my posts this season. I expect Swansea will provide us with fiercer competition than Villa, and for Jussi to have a busy 90 minutes. Again, I can see us conceding, but would be more than happy to be proven wrong once more. And as much as I want to say West Ham will win, the realist has dominated the backspace key and decided this fixture has score draw written all over it.
Comment and let us know your predictions. No prizes for correct guesses, just bragging rights, and a brief mention in the next article, which I will aim to get up before the Crewe game in midweek.
Come On You Irons!