West Ham Preview: Zola The Connoisseur

We have three very exciting matches lined up in the next seven days. All open games with three good teams. West Ham fixture is like an appetizer and is quite likely to whet our desire for more. We are also in the month where our season slipped last year. It adds a different and somewhat suspenseful flavor to the delicacy that the games will be.

I enjoyed listening to Wenger in his interview with ATVO and the pre-match press conference. There were too many questions about his birthday and his future plans and the boss was in a mood for some fun. But the most interesting bit came in the ATVO interview when he was asked about the Italian contingent at West Ham.

I know them because I have seen them on television. They were good talents but it takes some time to adapt to the premier league. But if Zola has bought them, he is a connoisseur in our game you know, that means they have the talent

I like the players Zola has assembled. They have a talented squad capable of troubling all the top teams. But all teams that attempt to play open football leave themselves vulnerable when facing a more tactical opponent. Given their injury worries and the relative inexperience of the manager it is not surprising that they have struggled this season. I am very keen to see how the season unfolds for them now that they have a number of players returning to fitness. Kieron Dyer is a player I used to admire and if he can regain his quality and fitness the Hammers will entertain and move up the table.

Our game is likely to be an open game played at a slow tempo akin to our second or third gear. West Ham have used set plays well this season and it will be very interesting to see how we cope with that challenge.  I would consider a clean sheet tomorrow to be a very big achievement for our fragile defence. Apart from set pieces and the occasional aerial ball to Carlton Cole, the hosts don’t have any attacking threat that should trouble us. But Zola is in a positive mood

It`s just the kind of game we need.

We are the underdogs. Nobody is expecting us to do well against Arsenal. But we are very close. You can smell it, you can sense it is very close.

We just need the victory that would guarantee a little more comfort t the players and a little bit of confidence.

The Irons don’t have a promising home record against Arsenal with just two wins out of the last fourteen encounters and their present form is even worse. I believe we can secure a big win if we can start at a high tempo and control the speed of the game. Will we see a flying start or another lazy Arsenal performance? That is the key question and could easily decide how the points are shared.

Team news says that Rosicky is out and that means either Eduardo or Bendtner will come into the team in place of Eboue. I don’t expect any other changes to the squad that started against AZ

Mannone, Sagna, Gallas, Vermaelen, Clichy, Song, Cesc, Diaby, Arshavin, Van Persie, Eduardo.

Let’s hope the appetizer doesn’t leave a bad taste in the mouth.

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