Sunday, 1 August 2010
Avram's Dream Start - So Many Positives!
This is quite disconcerting. I am a Jeremiah as you know, somebody who will see the dark side of the moon on a blazing hot summer's day, but even I'm beginning to feel uncomfortably optimistic as we head towards the new season.
This happens to me to a certain extent almost every year of course. Two seasons ago I posted how we could challenge for a place in the top four, comparing Cole and Ashton to Sutton and Shearer, and promoting the idea of using Etherington and Faubert as out an out wingers for home games, pinging in crosses for our two big men to bury. Sadly, Ashton's injury put paid to that, but it looked promising briefly as we banged in the goals at home to Wigan, Blackburn and Newcastle.
Last season was different. It was obvious to me that the squad was threadbare and ill equipped to cope with a Premiership season - but the Claret and Blue Klan were convinced that under Zola's brilliant stewardship we were top 10 certainties! How absurd does that sound now?
But everything is different now. If we sign Ben Haim and a full back, I think we have a more than reasonable squad. If we sign a quality striker and don't sell anybody, I think we will be equipped to push for a Europa League place! Hang on, did I just type that? Deep breath. Hasty rethink. Let's try that sentence again. If we sign a quality striker and don't sell anybody, I think we will be equipped to push for a Europa League place! Bloody hell, it's come out exactly the same!
Why the optimism? Well five friendly wins on the bounce is a pretty good inducer of a feel good factor, amongst players and fans alike. True, opponents have included MK Dons and Peterborough, but you can only beat what is put in front of you - and a 1-0 victory at Ipswich in the Cup would be a well received result. The victory over Borussia meanwhile is looking bloody impressive given their victory today over Liverpool and then there is the triumph over Champions League qualifiers Panathinaikos. All in all, that's not a bad nap hand!
But more impressive than that is the way Sullivan, Gold and Grant are addressing the weaknesses exposed last season. Piquionne may not be Klose, but he is an experienced striker who will score at least as many as Franco. Importantly, we are still trying to sign another striker and it appears increasingly unlikely that Cole will be sold. He has been given the number 9 shirt and has worn the captain's armband. Why if we are planning to sell him? Pulis, meanwhile has confirmed that Stoke are not interested. If that extra striker arrives, we will have Cole, Piquionne, McCarthy and A.N.Other, with Sears, Hines and Nouble providing added depth. Then there is Diamanti who, despite all the rumours, remains a West Ham player.
Meanwhile, the arrival of Der Hammer and Barerra has changed the complexion of the midfield which suddenly has much more attacking threat. The persistent selection of Faubert as a wide man on the right is also exciting. Five of our first six goals two seasons ago came from Faubert assists. If Grant can get the guy playing to his potential, he may yet merit the nickname TGV instead of Faux Pas! Incredibly, as I write, Dyer is still fit! If we can get 30 games out of him this season then...OK, I know, that is a huge IF but that's what a feel good factor does to you! And then there is Stanislas and Diamanti to come off the bench! I will not discuss Parker or Behrami here, let's wait and see what happens with those two. And Kovac? Well he is an option!
The defence remains a concern but I'm hoping for new arrivals to toughen us up at the back. Again Ben Haim may not be ideal but he has played for Chelsea under Jose and the Very Special One doesn't suffer fools does he? I'm hoping Ilunga will be back to his best and that Gabbidon can stay fit. He is a former Hammer of the Year remember and, if back to full fitness, is no mug. Daprela is an exciting prospect to cover Ilunga meanwhile. So it is that right back berth we need to fill.
As for Green and Upson, well they have something to prove. I fancy both to have strong seasons. Green will retire one day as the great "If only" keeper!
So with Noble finding his form again, Boa banging in the goals and Collison coming back in January, there are plenty of reasons to look on the bright side of life!
This isn't a great Prem meanwhile. Chelsea and Man Utd remain in a different league to the rest although Man City may yet buy themselves a passport to success. But I don't think that will happen personally. Villa aren't that special and I fancy Tottenham will implode when the Champions League venture goes awry. Liverpool minus Torres are little better than ordinary.
Look at the Fulham team of the last two seasons and I reckon we are just as strong so why shouldn't we do as well as they did? If there are no sales, therefore, I reckon the Europa League is a realistic target. Shit, I've just said it again. I think I may need to lay down!
Posted by Hammersfan at 20:47