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

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Aston Villa v West Ham : 6th October 2007 (Match Preview And Other Ramblings)

1. Yawn

God, the prospect of this game is so dull that I can barely bring myself to write about it. It's the only 3 o'clock kick off in the Premier League - does that count as interesting? Because the prospect of writing about John Carew and Gabriel Agbonlahor is, well, zzzzzzzzzz.

2. The History

After a period of prolonged equality and constant draws, last season saw us gain a rather fortuitous point at home, and then lose an interminable game at Villa Park.

Whenever I think of our games against Villa I struggle to come up with any truly stand out affairs. We mustered a marvellous 4-0 victory after our return to the top flight with Marlon Harewood grabbing a hat trick. This so aggrieved David O'Leary that he became even more of a smug muppet and got himself sacked.

If there is a constant to these fixtures, it is that there invariably tends to be very little between the two sides. They're boring, and sadly we have a tendency towards tedium ourselves when the mood takes us.

The answer, my friends, is drugs. And hard ones at that.

3. The Opposition

Well, they've got Nigel Reo-Coker and Marlon Harewood which should at the very least inspire some ridiculous dancing in the centre circle. I have great respect for Martin O'Neill, who has a proven track record of taking mediocre clubs and making them better, before leaving and watching them deteriorate again.

His first season at Villa Park saw him spend £9.5m on Ashley Young, and latterly £11m on Reo-Coker and Harewood. And yet they say we are flashing ridiculous cash.

Of the two, I'm more enamoured of Harewood as he seems like a big friendly teddy bear, with absolutely no idea of how to mark up at a corner. Reo-Coker doesn't engender quite the same feelings, as he was never truly embraced by the Upton Park fans, most of whom found the ear cupping a bit rich.

Elsewhere, Villa have lots of solid players doing a passable job in a mediocre kind of way. My word, they're dull.

4. Ingerland

Much of the talk this week has been more around England than of club affairs and today duly saw Steve Maclaren recall Dean Ashton to his squad after a year out and 3 passable performances. On a personal level, it's nice for Ashton but I think we can all agree that absolutely no good can come of West Ham players turning out for England.

They either come back crippled or tapped up.

Fortunately, he is one of six strikers (Alan Smith is not a striker, he is simply inept in more advanced positions than other players) and is therefore perhaps unlikely to figure. In particular, the thought of him playing on a plastic pitch in Russia fills me with dread. Like he isn't fragile enough, we now have to send him to the coldest place in the Universe on the least safe surface ever.

5. Outerland

One name not in the squad is Robert Green, who fails again despite having arguably being the best English keeper in the Premiership for some time now. I personally would choose David James as the Number 1, who has been extremely consistent for a long period but The Sun wouldn't allow it, so we'll get the ongoing antics of Paul Robinson. Either way, Green should be in there.

Quite how Robinson still gets in the tottenham team, let alone the national squad is beyond me. In particular, I dislike his tendency to come out for England games on a unicycle, squirting the mascots with water from a fake flower and juggling with skittles. It's just not what I expect from the national team keeper.

6. The Department Of Injuries

As is customary, all of our new signings are injured, with Bellamy and Zamora having had operations since our last game. Parker is exhausted after his 45 minutes against Arsenal and will need a month to recuperate. All of which leaves Richard Wright and Freddie Ljungberg as our only fit summer signings. Which is a nice return on £25m, 7 games into a season.

Villa was also the end of the beginning of Matt Upson's West Ham career last year, as he injured himself at the coin toss.

Our "medical" team are busy waving scented candles over all the affected players as we speak.

7. Erm...

Gosh, I'd love to write more, I really would, but there's really not a whole lot left to say. It will be dull, and I'm sorry about that. With just the two games tomorrow at least our Match of the Day coverage should be better than the usual bare minimum.

(On that point, I did enjoy the Sky Sports half time analysis of our game at Newcastle, which consisted of 15 minutes of footage showing the Man Utd and Chelsea teams arriving at Old Trafford).

Any way - look on the bright side, we'll only have to play them twice. Unless God has a very cruel sense of humour........

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