Thursday, 20 August 2015

Rival Lines: Iron Views gives us 'The West Ham Way' of things

Rival Lines
Match Preview: West Ham v AFCB
22 August 2015
Blogger Interview: Iron Views
Twitter: @ironviews 

It is Rival Lines time. I had tried to get hold of our old friend Liam Spencer who writes on Iron Views last week and found that he was on his travels which left me stumped for a bit, but then I was lucky enough to come across his good friend Stuart Plant, who also writes on Iron Views! So with the visit to the Hammers quickly coming up, let's find out how confident they are of adding to their points tally this weekend.

CC: It was a great start to for you against Arsenal but was that result a surprise even for Irons fans?

IV: Before the game, any fan who said we'd beat Arsenal was either talking in jest, or, perhaps already had too much to drink During the game though, it was more than comfortable, never did I fear we'd lose the match - especially after the second goal. That, in itself was a surprise - as under Sam even at 2-0 up all our fans would've thought "when's their comeback going to start then!"

CC: Who in particular do you feel wasn't so great last season and needs to have a big season for the Hammers this time around?

IV: Nolan, Zarate, Jarvis.
Nolan delivered in his early stages at the club, and, on the whole was a brilliant purchase and solid captain. Now though, he just doesn't have the legs, Bilic has given Noble the captaincy, so, seems there's no chance of redemption for Nolan.

Zarate and Jarvis are two who were given chances in our Europa stint, Jarvis was very impressive and actually ran at opposing players for the first time in years! Zarate has proven that he is capable, but, is awfully greedy. He'll be the main player to benefit from Bilic coming in though for a second chance.

CC: If you sign anyone else before the transfer window shuts where do you think you need strengthening?

IV: Feels like déjà vu again. We desperately need another out and out striker, and, a defensive midfielder too ala Song (injury permitting) would be perfect.With only Sakho as our fit senior striker, we can't rely on him and Zarate for goals.

CC: Would you have liked more of a run in the Europa League?

IV: Would it have impacted our PL campaign? Yes. Is our squad to thin for giving four competitions an equal go? Yes.

Would it have made the last season at Upton Park more magical with those night games? Of course. That's the sticking point for many fans as they wanted that. Realistically, it's probably for the best though.
Saying that, AZ Alkmaar (who we'd have played if got through to play-off) are no pushovers.

CC: How pleased are you that Slaven Bilic has given 16-year-old Reece Oxford his chance in the first two Premier League games?

IV: Massively.
Seen him for the U21's and England U17's who he captains, and he is genuinely an exciting prospect. Saying that, I didn't expect him to play as he did up against Cazorla and Ozil given he is predominantly a CB, just with the technique and ability to play further forward.

Against Leicester his inexperience showed though, which is fine, he's 16 and just picked up his GCSE results so you can't berate the boy too much.

The club have handled it well, anyone who didn't feel chuffed for him after hearing his interview post-Arsenal game has no heart. Came across so well, and, level-headed. If he carries on his development steadily, well, the talk of Rio comparisons will be a thing of the past.

CC: Bilic has brought in quite a few midfield players like Manuel Lanzini, Dimitri Poyet and Peitro Obiang, do you think that was where West Ham were weak last season?

IV: Yes and no.
Payet was his main target, the club got him. I know it's early doors, but he looks like he could well be one of, if not, THE best transfers this Summer In The PL.

Obiang comes with a lesser reputation outside of Italy where he was playing, but, was highly regarded by their fans. You can see why after his 45mins debut last week too. Lanzini is young and raw, if we build him up though, he could be something special.

CC: What did you feel about how west Ham played in the first half against Leicester - not at the races?

IV: I wrote in a preview piece that it'd be won and lost on the wings. Leicester have proven how strong they are there, and, did so again! Bilic was naive to think he'd get away with the thin formation used against Arsenal against a team who optimise the wings.

CC: Are you worried about Darren Randolph coming into goal? [Ed - AFC Bournemouth put 12 goals past him last season!]

IV: In his matches in Europa and Pre-season, he has looked rather suspect to put it mildly. He did have a good reputation amongst Brum fans I believe, so we've got no choice but to support him. He's a West Ham player, so he'll get my utmost respect and long as he doesn't let in any(!) or at least anywhere near that many at the weekend!

When you take a punt on a free transfer, of a back up keeper, from a lower league, it's always a gamble. Talk of us looking for another keeper purely on Adrian's red card are beyond ridiculous. [Ed- West Ham appealed against Adrian's red card against Leicester City but failed so Randolph looks like he's in for West Ham's next three matches unless he gets injured or sent off himself]

CC: Who do you hope is in the side to play AFC Bournemouth?

IV: After his influence in the second half, I really want to see Obiang start in place of Oxford. Other than that, our long term injuries remain the same meaning it'll most probably be Zarate and Sakho up top, the midfield picks itself now that Obiang is back too.

CC: Do you expect to win easily against the Cherries?

IV: It doesn't matter if we had Messi, Suarez and Carroll (ha!) starting upfront, you cannot EXPECT anything from games in this league. We've already witnessed that across the league this year. So, no, in a nutshell! I hope we do, if our players play to their potential we 'should', but, these are all based on if, buts, and maybes.

Something, the Premier League doesn't take into account!!!

CC: Any advice for first time visiting fans coming to Upton Park - anything they should make sure they get to see in or around the ground?

IV: Just try and soak it up id say, I guess? It's not a dazzling area, or a state-of-the-art ground, but, there's magic around the place when it's match day.

The WC statue is an obvious one to see, as it should be something all fans of Football, and, history should see. The fans love an away section who have some good banter/chants too, so hopefully there's some of that too-and-fro.

CC: Many thanks to Stuart for putting his views across and for giving us such a good insight as to what it feels like to be a West ham fan at the moment. You can follow Stuart @ironviewsStu and please catch up with what he and Liam have been writing Iron Views - Bullet point breakdown, Payet deal suggests a new era and west Ham's European cowardice (their headlines not mine) are well worth a read and there are lots of other features and news on the site.

If you enjoyed that run in with a West Ham look out for Rival Lines again before the weekend as we have west ham Til I Die blogger Sean Whetstone also taking part in a Rival Lines - Hammer fans just love the banter don't they.

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