Next up, the Hamsters on Friday night
8pm, The London Stadium. (‘A’ London Stadium surely?) I wonder what the police were thinking of when they agreed to such a schedule switch? Overtime rates can’t be better on a weekday evening than the weekend surely?
Life is Great
We go into this game, light hearted, whistling a happy tune and with more than a small spring in our step. Sunday’s win puts us a whopping and terminal seventeen points clear of the Gooners, twelve points clear of fifth and only one point short, given our goal difference, of wrapping up second. Unfortunately of course we are also still four points behind Chelski with only twelve points to play for. Ah well, as last year, we left it late and were never really properly in the ‘title race’ whatever the press say. Don’t believe the hype.
Cometh the Hour, Cometh the Son
On paper we have paid for some inconsistency earlier in the season but how were we to know? We played West Ham at the Lane during that October/November spell and it was by far the closest we’ve come to defeat at home this season. As you may recall, on his full league debut Winks equalised Antonio’s opener, but Lanzini tucked home a pen and it looked like the game was up until Heung-Min Son decided to take matters into his own hands in the last couple of minutes by firstly setting up Kane and then winning a penalty for Harry’s winner.
Incredibly this was the first of three occasions thus far this season where we’ve been losing with less than five minutes to go but have come back to win.
Kyle, Kyle, Kyle! What are you thinking?
We are as close to full strength as we’ve been for a while. That’s physical ‘full strength’ of course. Mentally we apparently, if you believe what you read and generally I try not to, have a distracted Kyle Walker on our hands. Throughout his time as coach Poch has always enjoyed rotating the full backs when he can and clearly has a different opinion of Walker’s fitness than he does. It would not be a surprise if Walker was disappointed not to play against Chelski or the Gooners, if his wish to depart is a real thing though he’s taking a gamble if he thinks he’d be the same player without Poch to guide him. No quotes have been attributed to Walker or anyone associated with him as far as I’m aware so fingers crossed, and I don’t mean to sound like Trump here, that there’s a lot less to this than meets the eye.
The Karren Brady Bunch
The Hammers first season in their shiny new stadium has been a disappointing one. They are safe, just, but have only 39 points; if we win we’ll have more than double their tally. Comedy. They are 7/1 with Paddy Power to win this game, their own cup final, at home, having beaten us well (despite the closeness of the scoreline) last season in the equivalent fixture. The fortunes of the two clubs have all gone very Red Arrows since last March.
The Irons will be without top scorer Antonio but top pony-tailed behemoth Carroll may be fit, though that’s normally for about 20 minutes or so before he’s crocked again. They have tightened up considerably at the back recently with three clean sheets in their last four games but they have won only one of those, in fact they’ve won only one of their last eleven games. That’s not good.
An optimistic conclusion
A win, and everything on paper suggests that we will win, would give the leaders pause for thought, but not for long one suspects after they’ve taken a glance at their fixture list.
The referee is Anthony Taylor.
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