Overly long writings about West Ham United FC. This is the kind of thing you might like, if you like this kind of thing.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Birmingham City vs West Ham : 18th August 2007 (Match Preview And Other Ramblings)

1. Things Are Looking Dyer

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the sports section, Alan Curbishley spends £6m on Kieron Dyer. The price is still the same as the originally proposed deal that fell through when Newcastle chairman Mike Ashley upped the price at the last minute. Quite what universe Ashley is operating in escapes me. How is £6m not enough to buy an oft injured trouble maker like Dyer?

Anyway, the new arrival goes into the squad for the trip to Birmingham where he will compete for a place with Lee Bowyer. Hopefully not literally.

2. London Calling

Not content with uniting Bellamy, Bowyer, Dyer and Ferdinand as the Premiership version of The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse, Curbishley has decided that this simply isn't enough disruption in one team and apparently now plans to add renowned good egg, Nicolas Anelka to the mix.

Whilst the talent of all of these players is undeniable, it is no secret why they have either moved from one club to another or, in Dyer's case, seen their careers stultify at an unsuccessful club.

The law of averages suggested that Anelka would end up here eventually given his propensity for one year stays, but it's a surprise that Curbishley would try and shoehorn so much potential dissension into the ranks.

Given that we were supposed to have had a summer clearout of the club's troublemakers is anyone else wondering exactly what Nigel Reo Coker and Marlon Harewood were doing last year? Short of selling drugs to Junior Hammers I can't quite imagine what it is that they were up to that could see them be viewed as worse than the players listed above.

Just to jog the memory, Bowyer and Dyer ended up in court for having a fist fight in the middle of St James's Park - during a Premiership game.

Perhaps all of this is indicative of the challenge facing Magnusson and Curbishley. Their statement of intent about being regulars in the Champions League is not quite so easily achieved as simply spending a boatload of cash (see United, Newcastle) and attracting the right players to do this.

At this juncture we appear to be trying to buy those players who are either not quite good enough for the top 4 teams (Parker, Upson) or those who have had issues in staying at one of those bigger clubs (Bellamy, Ljungberg). It's a passable scheme but one that does lay us open to having a team full of lunatics.

3. The Opposition

For the second consecutive year our first away game sees us at a newly promoted team. After an impressive opening day draw at Chelsea, City then managed only a 2-2 draw at home to Sunderland. With no wins thus far, they will be looking to open their account against us and St Andrews should prove a difficult trip.

Our recent history is decent enough as we managed a 2-1 win during Birmingham's relegation season. Zamora and Harewood helped us come from behind after we managed the not inconsiderable feat of allowing Emile Heskey to open the scoring. Later in the year we bashed them up real nice to the tune of a 3-0 victory at Upton Park.

Our previous visit was a sombre one, as a 2-2 draw sealed our own relegation. Paolo di Canio did score with a header though to highlight what a curious day it was.

Nowadays, Birmingham are relegation favourites themselves, although early indications are that they aren't as poor as previous newly promoted sides. In Mikael Forsell they have a proven Premiership player and new boy Olivier Kapo looks like a potentially good investment. I can't say that I care greatly about their prospects but I certainly buy into the idea that they contribute more to the league than say, Bolton or Wigan.

4. The History

We haven't lost our first away trip since Newcastle marmalised us 4-0 on the opening day of the 02/03 relegation season. Our horrendous away form of last year however, cannot continue if we expect to achieve any kind of stability this time around. Our travels last season yielded just 4 wins, of which 3 came in the last 9 games of the year, which I don't count as someone at the club had clearly sold their soul to the devil during that time.

It wouldn't be entirely unreasonable for us to stop conceding the first goal though, which has become a worrying trend under Curbishley. In only 7 of 22 games under him have we gone in front, and as such we tend to give ourselves large mountain shaped molehills to climb.

Come back Lucas, all is forgiven (not that you did anything wrong).

5. Striker Light

With Bobby Zamora performing against Man City like a chimpanzee on mind bending drugs, it's not inconceivable that Curbishley may choose to start with Dean Ashton tomorrow. I'm not sure that I would be in agreement with that plan, irrespective of Zamora's hallucinogenic attempts to stay onside.

Ashton hardly set the world alight last week (as opposed to Zamora who would have set his own face alight if someone gave him a candle), and looked rather short of fitness, even against Richard Dunne. Unless he accidentally disembowels Mark Noble whilst warming up I can't see that Zamora could be any worse than last week, and he will have fond memories of his last trip to St Andrews when he scored a wonder goal.

Ashton should temporarily remain as a late replacement battering ram substitute until he is able to outmanoeuvre cement bags, and one would hope that the addition of goalscoring midfielders Ljungberg and Dyer will allow us to cope in the meantime.

6. A Personal Insult

I almost forgot! I hate Steve Bruce! Not only is he a champion whinger but he also took far too much pleasure in our relegation.

Despite all of this I must confess that I have a sneaking admiration for a man whose nose points in two different directions at once.

7. The Return Of - "Oh My God Get Over It You Losers"

Sheffield United are suing us again. Their "No Win/No Fee" lawyers have determined that they have a splendid case despite the fact that, well, they really don't.

Quite what they thi - "OK, these are Head Hammer Shark's fingers here. His brain is asking us to keep typing some stuff about this monotonous load of claptrap but we're putting a stop to it. We know you'll all thank us. And 'Hey Doofus', stop clicking your cracking your knuckles, you'll give us arthritis'".

8. The Return Of The Oft Injured

Our ex Bluenose Matthew Upson returns to St Andrews. I have no idea of the kind of reception he'll receive, but if he was as good for them as he has been for us then it might involve Molotov Cocktails.

Mind you, instead of booing him they should probably be worshipping him as some sort of god given that they got £6m for him.....

No comments:

Post a Comment