Hit the Nail on the Head? (West Ham Preview)
West Ham, a team in turmoil? They seem to have no money, seemingly short on form that has led them into Portsmouth territory, owe Sheffield United and Alan Curbs a whack of money, and worst of all…have their old (failed) owner sniffing around, not to mention former Blues supremo David Sullivan!
Villa meanwhile have enough money, although failed to capitalise on a surprise weekends of results, unable to overcome a weakened Everton squad Martin O`Neill`s men need to get back to winning ways, and defeating WHAM! Would be a great way to start.
Wake me up before you go go.
Martin O`Neill has been in bizarre mood as he struggles to solve the right back spot. The Ulsterman sought to praise Habib Beye regarding his suitability of replacing the suspended Carlos Cuellar, yet it was the Spanish centre back who replaced Beye in the starting lineup?
Strange. Anyways the boss spoke to avfc.co.uk:
"We have to make at least one enforced change this week with Carlos missing.
"Luke [Young] had a great, great season for us. He was injured at the start of this campaign. It took an endless amount of time before he was fit and then, of course, he was hit with his family tragedy.
"He has had a lot to cope with. But I think he is there now - he's been in the squad on a few occasions.
"At the time, we didn't know how long he'd be out for and we took Habib on. He has not complained about not playing and yet I would consider him unlucky not to be in the starting line-up, having played so wonderfully well when we beat Liverpool."
The answer Martin, is Luke Young.
Monny also believes that the West Ham test will be hard as nails, with the Hammers looking to bang home a few goals in order to get back on tack…I mean track:
"It's a tough game - really, really tough. Regardless of where West Ham are positioned, games at Upton Park are just really hard.
"They would consider themselves very unlucky this season. I think they should have more points on the board than they currently have. They would say that themselves.
"This season they started off very well, beating Wolves on the opening day and haven't won since.
"West Ham - taking their ability into account - will be a formidable opponent for us. I feel they have three or four players who are more than capable of turning games."
On the flip-floppy-flop side, Hammers boss Gianfranco Zola has been somewhat quiet. However former Chelski number two (perennial number two?) Steve Clarke has an awful lot to save for himself. The highly rated coach has been sounding off about everything! Firstly on Villa:
"We are going to win matches, I promise you. I really mean that. 'It is important to win quickly, it is not imperative because we still have 28 matches to play for I think that is 84 points. It is a lot of points. There is a long way to go.
'It is important that we get a win sooner rather than later so obviously Wednesday night is a terrific chance for us. Recent performances have been up and down. A lot of good as well as some things that are not so good.
"We are optimistic and we are positive. It will be a terrific game. Aston Villa are in a good run of form and we know they have possibilities at the top end of the table so we look forward to it."
Now the Arsene Wenger award for talking complete tripe. During West Ham`s 2-2 draw with Sunderland, an altercation between Mackem forward Kenwyne Jones and Hammers defender Herita Illunga ended in a red card for Jones, despite the Broadway theatrics of Mr Illunga. Having been pushed just above the chest, Illunga hit the deck like he`d been hit with a .50cal sniper rifle. Naturally big mouth had his own opinion:
"I find it incredible that a player who was the victim is the person everyone is talking about. "Tell me what Ilunga did wrong? Someone pushed him in the face. He'd just recently recovered from a triple fracture to the jaw - maybe he thought there was a punch coming."
I hope we all remember that, if you think you are about to be punched, hit the deck and roll around like you`ve been shot. Sorted, thanks Steve!
WHAM! Team News:
Radoslav Kovac is missing due to suspension however Scott Parker is set to return in some capacity. Kieran Dyer, Dean Ashton and Boa Morte are the key long term absences.
Player to watch: Carlton Cole
Carlton Cole was overall, a disaster during his spell at Aston Villa. That said, he seems to have started to forge a decent career since moving away from the never ending Abramovic circus that is CSKA Chelski. A danger that our top top defenders will need to keep at least one eye on.
VILLA! Team News:
Carlos Cuellar sits this one out on account of his red card in the 1-1 draw with Everton. This means that Martin O`Neill may well be forced to actually play a right back at right back.
There are doubts over the fitness of Sillystan Petrov and James Milner, with Nigel Reo Coker and Fabian Delph linked by the BBC as possible replacements.
I hope Marc Albrighton is given a whirl, however I think we`re more likely to see Ashley Young on the right and Emile Heskey on the left.
Curtis Davies and Stuart Downing remain the true long term absentees.
Player to watch: James Collins
Many many people thought the fee paid for James Collins was crazy, many questioned who the heck he was. Nowadays the one true claret & blue faithful are witnessing the introduction to the Premier League of a man who will truly be a star for years to come.
In honour of the Vital Villa forumites and their views on Christmas, it can only be WHAM!
Right er, ok. West Ham United were formed in 1900, with it`s origins cast back to 1895 as Thames Ironworks F.C.
Also in 1900, the second Boer war raged on, the second ever modern Olympics opened in Paris, Oscar Wilde was born and Ferdinand von Zepplin celebrated the building of the first ever successful airship.
Upton Park lies in the London borough of Newham.
One of West Ham`s greatest ever players has to be Dean Ashton. I used to go to the same college as Dean Ashton during his days at Crewe Alex. He was often surrounded by women…
Gordon (Steve) Bennett! What more can you say?
I`m throwing a rare curveball prediction in here. It`s a bit more wild than my recent ones but I`ll go for a nervy 1-0 win.
Zat comes home, Bolton visit on the 7th November.
Thanks for reading folks, I`ll be back shortly with some Zat facts, and some ridiculous love finding!