Ahead of Saturday's FA Cup clash at The
caught up once more with Stu from the West Ham blog
He gives his views on the Hammers' recent form, Carlton Cole, Louis van Gaal
and the game itself. You can follow Stu
on twitter @IronViewsStu.
the last meeting between the two sides on New Year's Day, was a draw a fair
reflection of the match?
Well, that was one for us to forget. We got the early goal,
and really should have pushed on. Some poor marking from Winston led to Berahino
notching the equaliser just before half time. After that, it was a pretty poor
game in the second half. I believe Cresswell went closest with a superb free
kick. Other than that, I fail to remember anything of note. So yes, in a
nutshell both teams definitely didn't deserve the win. Frustratingly, after
having beaten you away within the month it should have been plainer sailing. The
Pulis effect perhaps?
How have the
Hammers' performances been since that game?
We've only won twice in our last eight games, that's
worrying. However, when you take in to account that we've drawn four of them, it
balances it up to make it more acceptable. We know we won't win every game so to
be fair it hasn't been the worst run of games, but its certainly been our worst
of this brilliant season.
Your take on
the Sam Allardyce / Louis van Gaal spat over long-ball tactics?
I couldn't believe it got so under LVG's skin! It seriously
got to him didn't it?! It was just a throwaway comment from Sam really, but the
fact it's brought this reaction out of LVG says it all. Plus, the stats don't
lie. Watching LVG go through his dossier of passes in his press conference was
horribly cringe worthy even for me, so I hate to think how Manchester United
fans feel with their managers toys-out-the-pram behaviour. For what it's worth,
stats don't lie, they have played a hell of a lot of long balls this season.
striker Carlton Cole almost joined the Baggies on transfer deadline day, some
people have suggested we may move for him again in the summer. Would he be a
decent signing for us or are his best days now behind him?
Carlton Cole gets an awful lot of abuse because he doesn't
'score enough goals'. He was our top goal scorer for a few seasons in a row
despite not being bought into the club to be the main striker. We just never
actually had a main striker but he stepped up. When we were relegated he stayed,
took a massive pay cut, and played the majority of the season on painkillers
just to try and help get us back up. We now have two brilliant strikers, and one
brilliant striker who is always injured.
Carlton won't get the game time
through his sheer lovability and his big personality. He still is a useful
striker, he is just a confidence player. I wouldn't cry over not getting him
How big a blow
is the news that Andy Carroll will be out for a number of weeks after picking up
another knee injury?
In my eyes, massive. A lot of people were annoyed AC came
into the XI and shifted our style of play more so back to last seasons' style.
However, Carroll was truly exceptional following his return, some of his goals
were sheer class (especially that goal against
Swansea!!). I thought he looked
fitter and sharper than he has for some years, possibly since leaving Newcastle,
so I was suitably excited. Lo and behold, sods law comes along and smacks him
right in the knee. It makes me wonder how much longer we'll seriously invest in
You had a
pretty quiet transfer window, happy with that or should the club done more
We tried in vain to sign a CB due to all three senior CB's
being out. Tomkins wasn't ready for the Manchester United game but played the
full 90 minutes anyway. We also tried to get Adebayor in from Tottenham on
loan, only to have Levy pull the plug on the deal at the last moment because he
didn't want to deal with us as a 'top four rival club' - which had the knock on
effect of ruling out Carlton's move to you. Other than covering for injuries and
trying to get a Carlton Cole replacement in, we didn't have the need to splash
the cash thankfully.
How are the
Hammers likely to line-up at The Hawthorns?
We are hoping to see one, or both, of Collins and Reid
return. Otherwise it'll be the makeshift defence of Kouyate and Tomkins again
(who have been thoroughly impressive to be fair to them). Our midfield was
patched together midweek, so hopefully Noble will return to the XI. Injuries
permitting, we've taken the FA Cup very seriously this year, so I'd imagine
something along the lines of... Adrian, Jenkinson, Kouyate*, Tomkins, Cresswell,
Song, Noble, Downing,
Amalfitano, Valencia, Sakho. *If one of Reid/Collins is fit they will replace
Kouyate who should go back into his more natural midfield position.
the season so far?
Beating City and Liverpool; Just our general style of play
up until we started faltering around Christmas; Diafra Sakho in general; Alex
Song; Adrian taking his gloves off before his winning penalty against Everton at
Upton Park in the FA Cup replay.... Wow.
Low points of
the season so far?
Adrian's sending off against
Southampton, very Mignolet-esque; The palaver with Senegal/FIFA/FA regarding
Sakho's involvement during ACON; Chelsea away, they were rumoured to be called
in for training later that day, says it all.
Player of the
season so far?
Aaron Cresswell. Came up after being named in the
Championship TOTY, and he has taken to the Premier League like a duck to water.
I struggle to think of a better young English left-back in the Premiership other
than Bertrand perhaps.
Alex Song lately. He has played some absolutely dire games
over the last month or so, fatigue perhaps, illness, who knows. But he hasn't
been quite up to scratch.
thoughts on Saturday's game?
It could have been a worse draw. We've already won at the
Hawthorns this season, it's just Pulis. If you had got any other manager in, I'd
be much more positive. Pulis is much like Sam in his stifling of teams, he knows
how to frustrate them. Hopefully it's not just a battle of suppressing each
other. I wouldn't mind taking it back to Upton Park for a replay, but, I think
we'll nick it. Both teams to score 1-2.