Opposition view: West Ham United

By Ric Turner, Thu 23 October 2014 10:00

Opposition view: West Ham UnitedAn inside view on Saturday's opponents

Ahead of Saturday's clash at the Boleyn Ground, Bluemoon caught up with James Jones from the West Ham World to get the lowdown on the opposition...

What are your expectations for this season?

Before the season started it was mostly to see some better football on show, and we've certainly seen that so far. Last season was appalling on so many fronts, so an improvement on 13th will be a start. But the early signs suggest we should be finish comfortably in the top ten. But you never know with West Ham!

Are you happy with the manager?

So far, yes. Everyone knows the mess of last season and how many fans were calling for him to be sacked. But credit where credit's due, he's embraced the challenges placed on him by the board and turned things around. His job was hanging by a thread a few months ago and now there's talk of him being handed a contract extension. There are some fans that would still like to see change, but you can't knock him for how well he's done so far this season.

Who are your key players?

We've got a few this year, believe it or not. You will have heard of Diafra Sakho's goal scoring exploits so far, while Enner Valencia's already shown that he's got world class goals in him. They'll be the two you'll need to keep an eye out for on Saturday. Stewart Downing has been reborn this season and looks a completely different player to his time at Liverpool. Alex Song is in a class of his own at times and makes a huge difference to us, as is Cheikhou Kouyate who is expected to return from injury on Saturday. Kouyate came from Anderlecht as a relatively unknown quantity this summer but was extremely impressive in the games before he was injured and if it wasn't for Song we'd have missed him a lot more.

Were you happy with the business conducted during the transfer window?

Extremely happy. The board demanded attacking football and the players we signed have complemented those demands. There isn't a single new face that hasn't impressed in one way or another and I'm sure most Hammers fans will agree with me when I say it was the best transfer window we've had in well over five or six years.

Are there any rising stars in the squad that we might not have heard of?

Aaron Cresswell at left-back is looking like he's got a great future ahead of him. We got him for around £4million from Ipswich in the summer and he's slotted in as a first team regular without any issues whatsoever. It's as if he's been playing in the Premier League for years.

Your Achilles heel?

The fact we've managed just one clean sheet all season tells you all you need to know about our achilles heel. We're not great defensively at times and can be prone to giving away sloppy goals, which is what I'm most worried about on Saturday against the likes of Aguero and co.

If you could have any City player in your team who would you choose?

Most people would say Sergio Aguero, but we've got Diafra Sakho so we don't really need him. Our defence could do with some work so I'll take Vincent Kompany. Model pro both on and off the pitch and a natural leader.

What is your perception of City as a club?

Similar to West Ham, just with the fortune of a sugar daddy to bankroll the good times. Passionate fan base and well grounded. Before you hit the big time you knew exactly who you were, which is what I like. Who would've ever thought little ol' City and West Ham would be involved in a TOP FOUR clash in the Premier League, eh?

Likely starting XI for the game, and score prediction?

With a few injuries returning we could be at full strength, which may not make much difference when playing City. That said, I don't think Allardyce will change a winning side. Confidence is high and we actually look decent at home for once, too.

Predicted line-up: Adrian; Cresswell, Reid, Collins, Jenkinson; Song, Noble, Amalfitano; Downing, Valencia, Sakho

Predicted score: 2-2