If any team would want to knock us off our lofty perch atop the Embryonic Table, as the Premier League has officially been renamed since Wednesday night, itâ€™s West Ham. And guess who weâ€™re playing on Sunday? Yes, itâ€™s Hammertime. Upton Park on a Sunday lunchtime, whoâ€™d rather be anywhere else? Well no Spurs fan is the answer if another performance like Wednesday night is in the offing. I canâ€™t imagine though thereâ€™s any chance that weâ€™ll get the room we were allowed on the break at Hull where for the majority of the game the home sideâ€™s midfield werenâ€™t so much paper Tigers as invisible ones.
West Ham under Zola and Steve Clarke are nothing if not organised and theyâ€™ll be well aware that stifling the space around Keane, Lennon and Modric is vital if they want to attempt to stop our creative threat. Noble, Parker and Collison are all capable of putting in a good shift and will make it much harder for us than Boateng, Mendy etc did other night. Up front Carlton Cole will be a nuisance and will presumably target Bassong given the latterâ€™s uncertainty at times against Caleb Folan. Keiron Dyer is rumoured to be vertical and moving without the assistance of crutches for once so they might have a bit of pace up front too.
If things fit the usual pattern then Ledley will return to the middle of the defence with Hutton probably dropping to the bench and Corluka moving back over to his normal position on the right. Itâ€™s pretty hard to imagine Defoe not getting the nod so I think Crouch and Pav might have to wait until the Keepmoat stadium next week before they get their first proper chance to shake off the cobwebs and get their seasons going. Cudicini will begin in goal due to Gomes knacked groin.
So weâ€™ve started the campaign in as good a style as anyone couldâ€™ve dreamed of but before any chickens get counted itâ€™s worth remembering that last season Liverpool lost to Boroâ€™ and they got relegated and Wigan won 5-0 at Hull and they finished 11th. (Wilson Palacios was in the Wigan side that day, he must love playing at the KC.) Weâ€™ve a good recent record against West Ham, Lasagnagate is their only win over us since their return to the Embryonic Table in 2005. They are though not a bad side and if they get on top early on then crowd will get behind them etc etc. Thereâ€™s no reason why that should happen though if we start patiently and if we do that and make chances for home crowd favourite Defoe then weâ€™ve every chance of keeping the winning run going.
What do you think the score will be?
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