It is a 5.15 kick off so for now I can relax and look at how the other games are unfolding. I was chatting to a Newcastle supporter yesterday and the mood at whatever the stadium is called these days must be very bleak right now. On 20 points in the league (just two points above third bottom Wigan) and today out of the Cup thanks to Championship side Brighton. The side has injuries, its best player has just gone to Chelski ( and scored already) and I suspect that West Ham old boy Alan Pardew must – at the back of his mind – be starting to think that a P45 is on the way. Newcastle thinks it is a big club and unless Pards turns it around quickly, he looks like toast.
As for West Ham, Fat Sam has been active in the transfer market. Two new strikers (Maguire and Chamakh) are on board given options other than Carlton Cole up front with Carroll still injured and Maiga off to the African Cup ( and perhaps shipped out in the transfer windown anyway). But Joe Cole will almost certainly be playing today. With him, Jarvis (he of the covershoot in gay magazine Attitude fame), and Noble (if on form) playing behind Cole we do look able to score goals. Top scorer Kevin Nolan is back from suspension and although he is not universally loved I welcome his return. He may slow the game up a bit but a) he scores and b) he adds a bit of grit in defence which is where I always panic.
Injuries means that we have recalled young Danny Potts from his loan spell at Colchester. He is someone I see as a great hope for the future. But that says it all about the difference between the Irons and Man United in terms of our respective squads. We suffer injuries and recall a young lad from a loan spell at a feeder club. They suffer injuries and they just bring another International player from the reserves onto the bench.
Clearly everyone expects Man United supporters to head back to the tribal heartlands of Surrey celebrating a win today. Everyone includes me. But we have upset the pundits before against Man United. I remind you of this goal by the man who I’d like to see taking over from Fat Sam Allardyce as manager in May:
There is only one Paulo di Canio.
And of course there was that League Cup game a couple of years ago in the snow when Man United were taken apart by the Irons with Carlton Cole scoring twice and (somewhat improbably) Jonathon Spector bagging a brace. In case you had forgotten, relish this video
Okay, I am not expecting a win or even a draw. I fear for West Ham defensively. Diame is badly missed to boss the midfield. But we can but pray…at least I am not attending so we have a chance.