Before the short trip across London, TEB had a chat with the guys at Green Street Hammers to find out about their season so far, thoughts on Palace and much more.
Q. What are your hopes for the new season?
Quite simply, progression. I know it’s still early but how the squad has played has been amazing and way above expectations for us. To finish top eight with a good FA Cup run is the hoped end result.
Q. Looking back, how do you rank last season now that the dust has settled?
Being that it was Pellegrini’s first season, it went okay. Definitely times of form and then times of a lack of it. The growing pains made for a tough season but finishing strong has only pushed the Hammers to start better so far.
Q. It looks like the move to the London Stadium has settled down now both on and off the pitch, so does is it starting to feel like home now?
Oddly, the addition of the claret carpet (as funny as it sounds) has helped ease the fans a bit. It’ll be interesting to see how the new naming rights go, but I think many fans are starting to get used to it. It’ll never be our home like the Boleyn was but it’s a good place to be.
Q. How was the summer transfer window for the club – were all needs addressed?
For the first time in a while, yes. No longer are the days of West Ham just buying anyone and everyone. Pellegrini and Husillos have done well and got the right types of players in. Chichartio leaving hurts us at forward, but freeing up the money made sense.
Q. Is it disappointing that clubs like ours do not seem to take cup competitions too seriously, particularly how the League Cup draw has panned out this season?
Yes, I’m not to sure how you guys feel but it is frustrating that it seems that at some point the players or staff just slack it off. This season to Oxford and last season to Wimbledon were both huge disappointments.
Q. One to watch for West Ham this season?
Andriy Yarmolenko. His resurgence from injury has been incredible to watch. He honestly feels like a new signing after only playing a month last year. Many fans, me included, didn’t fancy him when Antonio went out but he has been a great surprise.
Q. If you could pick one Palace player to sign, who would it be and why?
This choice has nothing to do with his current season but I would bring back James Tomkins in a heart beat! The entire West Ham fan base was gutted to see him go. Plus it wouldn’t hurt to have another solid veteran on our bench to help with leadership and mentoring.
Q. Name a player from each side that you believe will be a threat in this game?
As I said before for us, it would have to be Yarmolenko. His current form mixed with being able to control and push up the pitch will challenge your defence. For Palace, I think Andros Townsend will be a factor. His ability to slip into the right areas and fire it from way outside the box could be an issue this weekend.
Q. Perhaps you could share your views on what you expect from Palace this season?
As we speak you are sitting in 9th place and how they have faced the likes of United and Wolves very well, I think top half for sure. In no way do I see them struggling with relegation and at worst case maybe 12th. Old Roy’s working some magic.
Q. Your prediction?
Maybe not the most publicised London Derby but still all the same, it’s a Derby day match. Both sides are coming off well played months of football and are looking for more. Like usual I predict a tough but highly attack type match until midway through the second half when the Hammers midfield will be too much and they will find a late goal to win 3-2.