Ahead of this afternoon’s trip to the Boleyn Ground, this week’s Opposition View comes from Ray the Hammer at www.westhamtillidie.com:
1. West Ham sit in 15th after nine games and beat Burnley earlier this week in the League Cup. What are your expectations for the rest of the season?
Our season is hinging on Carroll’s return or a new striker joining in January. Rumours suggest that Andy Carroll may be back in the next few weeks. If that’s the case and he finds some early form, we should be able to finish in or around the same position as last season.
2. What are your thoughts on Allardyce’s summer spending? Which positions would you like to see strengthened come January?
After signing Andy Carroll, the priority should have been another striker to either play with, or in place of, Carroll. It didn’t happen in the summer. It absolutely has to happen in January.
3. Allardyce seems to have switched to a 4-6-0 formation for recent games. Do you think this is the way forward for West Ham with your current players?
With the players we have fit and available, yes. We’ve been crying out for a plan ‘B’ and Sam appears to have found one.
4. Your defenders have worked hard and conceded eight goals in nine games. Will they be able to thwart Villa’s counter-attacking threat on Saturday?
Yes, you counter on the wings, with pace. It worked against Spurs as they play in a similar style. We managed to force their wide players inside and they couldn’t get the ball forward as easily or quickly.
5. Ravel Morrison seems to have put his chequered past behind him and has had some great moments this season so far. What are you expecting from the 20-year-old?
Great things! The problem is going to be holding on to him.
6. Reports this week suggest Arsene Wenger is interested in bringing Winston Reid to the Emirates in the new year. Do you think it would be wise to sell him for a fee of around £7 million should a firm offer be tabled?
Absolutely not! The papers are quoting £6 million and I know it’s an overused word in transfer terms but ‘derisory’ doesn’t even come close to describing that sort of figure. Plus, we really need to be holding on to our better players and Reid, as our current Hammer Of The Year, is right up there.
7. Fomer Villan Downing joined West Ham this summer after failing to impress at Liverpool. What are your early thoughts about him?
I’m hoping he’ll come good. He’s showing some good early signs. He wasn’t universally popular when we first signed him but that’s because we needed a striker so badly and he represented the last of our transfer budget.
8. The Boleyn Ground can be an intimidating place for visiting teams. West Ham’s move to the Olympic Stadium has received a lot of press attention. What are your feelings about the move?
Hammers’ fans are split down the middle. I’ve accepted that we’re going and I’m now becoming excited at the move and it’s fair to say I’m looking forward to it although very sad to be leaving The Boleyn Ground.
9. If you could sign one Villa player, apart from Christian Benteke, who would it be and why?
Gabriel Agbonlahor’s pace and guile make him a perfect foil for Andy Carroll.
10. Finally, what are your predictions for Saturday’s game?
2-0 to the Hammers.
Our thanks to Ray and the staff of www.westhamtillidie.com for their assistance.