West Ham begins a new month with a London Derby against Crystal Palace at the London Stadium. Here is what the Opposition’s view is for the upcoming match.
Before getting into the Q&A, we’d like to thank Jay from The Eagles Beak for answering our West Ham and Crystal Palace related questions. Now, let’s get into the questions and predictions.
So far this season both squads are performing arguably higher than expected, how long do you think it’ll last?
Good question! I suspect we are both waiting for the dip in form that will come at some point but to be honest, we are enjoying a decent start to the season as ours is so often slow. It is a far cry from a couple of campaigns back when we were seven games in with no points and no goals.
At the same stage this season, we have eleven points but the key is to build on it. I suspect that the points column will slow a little with a difficult run of fixtures coming up where we take in City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, and Leicester but we often spring a surprise every now and then.
How do you feel about your newcomers this season? Have they lived up to their potential?
It is no secret how our summer recruitment was left until the last few days of the transfer window and retaining the services of Wilfried Zaha after all that happened was a potential risk in terms of how his mindset could have been but it has proved a real bonus for us. Let’s face it, he will be gone next summer as someone will stump up the cash for him.
Elsewhere, the addition of Gary Cahill was very much questioned among fans but he has been a revelation and often makes us think why Chelsea did not retain his services, even the likes of Arsenal and United would’ve probably looked at him but their failure to do so has been our gain, especially with the injuries to Tomkins, Sakho, and Kelly.
We’ve yet to see much of James McCarthy and Victor Camarasa while signing of Jordan Ayew on a permanent deal has also been a hit as we have seen a very different player to that of last season and has proved a steal at the reported £2.5million.
When looking at West Ham United what are your thoughts on their new signings so far?
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More than anything, the squad has gelled pretty well when you look at your start to the season. The one eye-catcher was the fee paid to Frankfurt for Sebastian Haller. It was a large one but he proved himself last season and I remember him playing against Chelsea in the Europa League last season and thought he was decent then. If he can score 15+ goals this season for you then it will be money well spent. Not seen enough of your other signings his season to be able to comment.
Who do you feel is the biggest threat to score against your side in this matchup?
Always think Mark Noble and Michail Antonio are always threats in games between us but the good form of Andriy Yarmolenko will be a big problem for us especially if he comes up against Patrick van Aanholt who had a poor season last campaign and is struggling again this. If he continues his terrible habit of showing wingers inside that will suit the talented Ukrainian down to the ground.
Who do you think the most important player for Palace will be on Saturday night?
We have been playing well as a team but it has to be either Jordan Ayew, who has impressed with his all-round game so far this season, or the most obvious – Wilfried Zaha. Our number eleven had his best game of the season against Norwich last week and was almost impossible to play against with his strength and skill when on the ball. His work for the second goal just sums Wilf up completely.
With West Ham having some impressive midfield play so far this season, how will Roy Hodgson plan to defend this in form unit?
The biggest problem is that we have Luka Milivojevic banned after receiving his fifth booking of the season last weekend – yes, already! He has not had a great season so far if we are being honest and while we will miss his threat from set-pieces (including from the spot), it is likely that James McCarthy will make his first Premier League start for the club.
That will retain a hard-working quartet across the middle with Jeffrey Schlupp, James McArthur, and former Hammer Cheikhou kouyate . However, that leaves us pretty flat in terms of creativity so it will be interesting to see if McCarthy can bring some of that to complement what we already know Wilf can do.
Who would you say is the one to watch from your squad in this match?
It has got to be Wilf after his last couple of games he is back on top form after an understandably slow start after the events of the summer. There is something special seeing him doing what he does best in what will be his last season with the club, we know what he can do, but he needs to show it to secure that move away which can only be good news for us.
If you could pick any one player from West Ham to drop into your starting XI, replacing someone on your starting team, who would it be and why?
It is early days for Haller but with our struggles in front of goal, it would have to be him. Our other need is at full-back and while we have question marks there, I don’t see anything better from your current squad (no offense!) The Frenchman up front would be interesting as he knows where the goal is, unlike our current crop of strikers!
Where do you think Palace will finish this season?
After a decent start, I would hope for a good mid-table finish, maybe even breaking into the top ten if we can keep the points ticking over regularly. It is that dreaded drop in form that will threaten that but let’s be clear, our first thought is getting to that 10 win mark or breaking that 40 point barrier, thinking much else above that at the moment will potentially prove dangerous!
What is your score prediction for this match
These two sides are well matched and it will interesting to see what effect not having Lukasz Fabianski for a while will have. It is likely to take a couple of games for your back up keeper to settle in and for the backline to be used to him behind them so for that reason, I fancy Palace to take a point (1-1).
Again, thank you so very much to Jay over at The Eagles Beak, a fellow FanSided site, for doing a brief Q&A with us. We also did a Q&A session with them on their site, so go there and check it out before West Ham takes on Crystal Palace Saturday night.