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Eye on the enemy – Sunderland

By on October 3, 2015 in Match Preview

Should West Ham beat Sunderland today, it would represent the first time the Hammers have won their opening four away games in their Premier League history. No pressure! I spoke to the guys at Roker Report going into the fixture. As always, a big thank you to them for getting involved.

You’ve lost five and drawn two. I’m pretty sure I can guess an answer here, but, how has the start to the season been received by the fans? 

It’s been wholly disappointing, we felt that the squad looks much much better than it did last season but consistent individual mistakes have cost us. We have looked ok in spells but on the whole we’ve been dreadful at the back!

What have you made of West Ham’s start to the season?

You lads look decent! Away form in particular has been very impressive (which doesn’t bode well for us this weekend!), if you can be consistent throughout the season you could be on for an exciting season.

Dick Advocaat stayed on after keeping you up last season, however, things haven’t been as smooth a transition as many expected. Is he the right man for the job, or, was it simply a case of right man right time last season?

Opinion is starting to split in regards to Advocaat, I’m behind him 100%. We fall into the trap of sacking managers too quickly far too often. If he can bring back the solidarity that kept us up last season then we’ll be ok. A poor performance at the weekend could leave him in real trouble unfortunately. I wouldn’t bet against your old manager Sam turning up at some point this season.

West Ham also brought in a new permanent manager in Slaven Bilic, from what you’ve seen, what have you made of his start to management in England?

He looks a solid manager. I was actually surprised no one took a punt on him before now! We were linked with him a couple of times in the past (but we’ve been linked with everyone by now). The real test will be when you lose 2/3 on the bounce, if he can keep the team together then you’ve got a good’un.

You made some promising signings in the Summer; M’Villa, Lens, Borini, but none of them seem to have adapted well enough or hit the ground running. Is this a contributing factor to your start or is the blame with all the players for underperforming?

Firstly, M’Vila has been class, he has genuine quality and looks like he could play for a much much better side. Lens has shown in spells that he can cause teams real problems, this issue arises when he doesn’t track back, leaving our already weak full backs exposed! Fabio has only had a few games, he’s looked ok. His work rate is unreal and when played through the middle he will come good.

One player who wasn’t new, but is severely underperforming is Jermain Defoe. Has his lack of goals put you at an instant disadvantage in games?

Definitely, chances vs Spurs and Bournemouth were golden; the Defoe of last season would have scored. He has extra competition now as Borini looks better through the middle, hopefully he has the guts for a fight and will work hard to regain his place. Hopefully he’ll grab a brace against his former club this weekend and come into form.

What did you make of your transfer window on the whole?

A bit mixed; we did some good business in Lens, Borini, Toivonen and M’Vila. All are significant upgrade on what we had previously. But the reluctance to sign a top centre half and couple of half decent full backs may cost us! Let’s not talk about Kaboul and Coates……

What did you make of West Ham’s transfer window?

Looks like you’ve done some fantastic business. Getting Jenkinson is a good signing, but Payet is just quality. He looks a threat every time he gets the ball, such a pleasure to watch. I bet you’re all rubbing your hand at the prospect of watching him every week.

If you could have one West Ham player, who would you pick and why?

Well it wouldn’t be Andy Carroll. It would have to be Payet.

A successful season for Sunderland would be?

Beat the Mags twice (7 in a row) and stay up.

A successful season for West Ham would be?

Europa League would be a great achievement.

What do you make of our ‘controversial’ move to the Olympic Stadium next year? 

If I’m brutally honest, I don’t think that many supporters really care. It’s a great move for you guys and could turn out to be a phenomenal piece of business! I’m intrigued to see how the atmosphere translates onto the pitch!

Finally, what’s your match prediction?

Heart says 2-1 to the lads. Head says scrappy 1-1


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