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

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

West Ham United vs Everton - Carling Cup Quarter Final: Match Preview - 12/12/2007

1. We're Gonna Need A Bigger Boat

Consecutive preview number four and HeadHammer Shark is still nowhere to be seen (never thought I'd say that. You can usually spot him from any point in either hemisphere).

Rumour has it he is pursuing Roy Scheider across the Atlantic, having seen him board a tugboat wielding a box of powdered jelly doughnuts.

2. Seconds out... Round One

Tonight's game is the first of a double header against the blue half of Merseyside.

Given the choice of victory in just one of the next two games against Everton, I think most would opt for a win in tonight's Carling Cup quarter final and be willing to sacrifice Saturday's Premier League fixture (we could always trounce them at Goodison).

The chance of a two-leg semi-final does not come around too often and it could be a mouth-watering prospect with the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Spurs still in the draw.

3. Home And Away

Such is the story of our season so far, I would be more confident of us nicking a result away from home than at Upton Park but the fact that this is a one-off Cup tie should be to our benefit.

The traditional League setting, with the onus being on the home side to attack, goes out the window as a draw is no good to either team. With this in mind, we should have a chance of some counter-attacking football (something we've looked not half bad at this year) as well as hopefully sustained spells of pressure.

This combined with a no doubt vocal home support should see us start as slight favourites to win, but therein lies the danger. We'll also need to match the on-song Toffees for work-rate are we to progress in this competition.

Word of warning: with our sticky-fingered scouse friends probably in town for the next few days, I wouldn't leave any treasured possessions in plain view. Your best bet is to wear a full suit of armour whilst holding a sign sporting an arrow pointing in the opposite direction, along with the slogan 'Shell Suit Sale' .

4. Ringing The Changes

David Moyes band of pilfering pick-pockets have been in fine form recently: unbeaten in their last 10, scoring 23 goals in the process and conceding just four.

Their always loyal support have revelled in this recent form, resisting the urge to cash in their Giro's in order to pack out Goodison Park every week and thereby seeing a sharp downturn in petty crime throughout the Merseyside area.

They will be missing new signing Leighton Baines with a hamstring injury and there's talk of Moyes mixing up his attacking options with Andy Johnson, James Vaughan and Gary McSheffrey all battling to partner Yakubu upfront.

West Ham will also be fielding a few changes from Sunday's game, some of those enforced by the late summer signings. Nobby Solano and Henri Camara are both cup-tied and so Freddie Ljungberg could be getting his first start for some time. Dean Ashton must also be hoping for a much-deserved place in the starting line-up.

5. Alan Attack!

If Alan Curbishley has any sense at all, he'll set us up in an attacking 4-4-2 formation this evening. Sunday's display against Blackburn further enhanced our recent solid defensive efforts with Rob Green rarely troubled bar a couple of first class saves/misses.

It's been a while since we've looked so coherent at the back and with both Mullins and Parker likely to team up again in central midfield, we should have licence to launch forward. I would also like to see Parker push up a bit more when we're in possession.

With Nobby out and Etherington a doubt, I would expect Curbs to play Boa Morte and Ljungberg on the wings with Cole and Ashton upfront. This would give Luis the chance to get some white powder on his boots as opposed to his face.

Leaving Deano on the bench again would, I suspect, begin to raise quite a few voices, let alone eyebrows.

It's true that some managers have a disliking for certain players - the way Curbishley offloaded Paul Konchesky like a hot potato with herpes at both Charlton and West Ham being just one example. So erratic have been Ashton's appearances this year that I'm fearfully beginning to think the same of his relationship with our Number 9.

'Lack of match fitness' as a reason for Ashton's omission will only last so long. To keep our best striker out of the 1st XI for any reason other than death or imprisonment would be folly.

6. Battle Of The Aussie Battlers

Tonight sees the first round of the Antipodean clash between our own Lucas 'The Water Walker' Neill and Everton's Tim 'The Pug-Faced Gimp' Cahill.

Everyone knows the history between England and Australia and I'm probably least well-placed to comment, what with my beautiful girlfriend hailing from the colonies along with her lovely family and friends (that's contractual), but I'm going to anyway...

There are a few exceptions to the general rule that we hate most Aussies - our stalwart captain Lucas 'Bringer Of Light' Neill, the legend that is Richie Benaud and of course, Sir Stefan Dennis - but Tim Cahill is a particular bugbear of mine.

Not only is he a smug Australian sportsman, but he has also played for Millwall. Combine that with his ridiculous 'boxing at the corner flag' celebration and the fact that he's a smug Australian sportsman who has also played for Millwall and... well, you get the point.

I'd love to see Hayden Mullins chop him down early doors while Lucas 'The Scourge Of Beelzebub' is curing lepers by the corner flag, bathed in a luminous glow.

7. In Summary

With any luck, the only thing anyone associated with West Ham will lose tonight will be their hub-caps.


  1. Anonymous9:37 PM

    Would be surprised to see Gary McSheffrey up front tonight, seeing as he plays for Birmingham...

  2. Did I say Gary McSheffrey? I meant Lenny Bennett.

  3. Anonymous2:21 PM

    Good answer! Although I have been told that James McFadden is known behind his back as 'Frankie Boyle'.