After a disappointing start to the season, West Ham now turns their attention to the League Cup and a match against League One side Charlton Athletic.
The Addicks have won their last two games, beating Swindon in the first round of the cup and Crewe Alexandra in the league, so have better form than West Ham going into the cup tie. GSH spoke to Louis Mendez, who covers Charlton for @BBCLondonSport to get the inside track on the Addicks.
What are Charlton’s aims this season?
I think the most important thing is that the club’s ownership situation gets sorted out before they start to think about what their aims will be. They have had problems with ownership for years and years. There was a takeover at the club in January that people thought would be the start of a new dawn, but the group that came in called East Street Investments turned out to be a bit of a sham really.
It then turned to another businessman called Paul Elliot, but it still seems unclear if that has gone through or not, this has led to Charlton being put under a transfer embargo, which has made it difficult to build a proper squad together. There is a new guy waiting in the wings called Thomas VAngard who wants to buy the club and could provide some stability.
Lee Bowyer has said the club cant have any hopes of being in the top two until this gets sorted out. If it does, then the manager can strengthen the team and challenge for promotion.
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Charlton have had a positive start to the season, who are the dangermen in the side that should worry the Hammers?
Well, it depends who actually plays, but what I have seen so far this season I like the look of a midfielder we have signed form Milton Keynes called Alex Gilbey who seems to be comfortable on the ball and has an eye for a pass. He set up the goal against Crewe yesterday with an excellent through ball, so he is one that the West Ham team will have to pay attention to.
The scorer of the first goal against Crewe, Alfie Doughty, is young and can play left-wing, left-back and was even on the right-wing yesterday and is a real big prospect for Charlton, he is quick, good on the ball and added a few goals to his game already.
Finally, I will say Macauley Bonne, a striker we signed form Leyton Orient last summer. He had a couple of injuries last season but still managed ten goals in the Championship, which was very impressive. Bonne scored a lovely goal against Swindon Town in the League Cup and is a good finisher. These three are probably Charlton’s most dangerous players at the moment.
How big is the loss of Lyle Tayler?
Any team would struggle if take a Lyle Taylor out of the side. He was the talisman in the season that saw Charlton promoted from to the Championship. He carried this on when he showed his ability in the Championship.
Taylor did not want to risk his ‘big-money’ move to Forest at the end of last season and did not come back to the Addicks after lockdown. He was someone that gave Charlton a real edge, presence up top and character and he was an excellent player for Charlton. He will be missed a lot.
Charlton are managed by ex-hammer Lee Bowyer, whats his managerial style like?
Bowyer is brilliant, Charlton fans absolutely adore him. When you consider everything he has had to work with regarding crisis’ on and off the pitch, people are pleased with how he has done.
In terms of style, Bowyer is very tactically astute, which may come as a surprise to people when you compare Bowyer, the player to Bowyer the manager. He is a lot calmer than when he was a player and has obviously grown up a lot since his playing days.
He is quite a good man-manager and gets 110% from his players, and he is not afraid to make a change when needed, which is a good thing.
Josh Cullen was great at Charlton during his loan spell, can he make the step up to the Premier League.
Josh Cullen was with us for two years, and I would really like to see him be given a chance. I don’t know much about West Ham’s midfield and whether he would be able to squeeze in straight away. But he is one of those defensive midfielders that can break up play, pick a pass and keep play ticking over.
The Irishman has quality on the ball, and he stood out in the Championship, and League One for Charlton and I would really like to see him given a chance at the Hammers. I think he could do a job in that midfield.
West Ham have had a turbulent time since moving stadiums, what do you think is going wrong at the club?
From the outside looking in, there seems to be a lot of fan unhappiness. I came to the London Stadium when Manchester City won 4-0, But I found the atmosphere was lacking and nothing like the old place, Upton Park.
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It was so tight into the pitch at Upton Park, and I feel that West Ham have lost a bit of identity, which is a shame. When you are in the Premier League, there is always an expectation that you should pick-up enough players to make yourself competitive. It doesn’t seem to be the case that they spend a lot of money.
There is always a big expectation when you move into a massive stadium that you will make that step up as a club. It does not seem to have gone the way that you hoped to see it go.
Who will advance to the next round?
Charlton’s number one priority is always going to be the League. When I asked Bowyer yesterday he said he was going to make a couple of changes to the side. But the strange thing about Charlton at the moment is the squad is so small that he won’t be able to change too much. So the side Charlton put out will still be a strong side.
Regarding West ham, I hope they give Cullen a chance. A club like the Hammers should really be targeting the Carabao Cup as a tournament they can go and win. West Ham, should they put out a reasonably strong side, should go and beat Charlton.
It is a cup game, and you never know, but I hoping Charlton can go to the London Stadium and cause a bit of an upset, but West Ham are the favourites.
West ham 2-1 Charlton, unfortunately for us.