East London faces West London when Fulham are the visitors to the London Stadium to face a West Ham side looking for a third win in a row

After an indifferent start to the season the last week has been a good one for West Ham. A 2-0 win over Wolves which led to the sacking of their manager was followed by a 1-0 win in Belgium, a minor form of revenge against Anderlecht for our defeat in the 1976 European Cup Winners Cup final. Two victories, two clean sheets and an opportunity for most of the first team squad to get minutes on the pitch under their belt, and a chance to show the manager what they can do.

Three points last weekend were badly needed to move out of the bottom three and a game against Fulham is an opportunity to build on that. That is not to say that the newly-promoted West Londoners should be under estimated for they have made a decent start in their return to the top flight. They sit in eighth place with eleven points with wins over Brighton, Brentford and Forest and a draw against Liverpool being the highlights. Their last game a week ago was a bit of a nightmare after having a player sent off in the first few minutes, and they eventually lost 4-1 to Newcastle. They will be looking to bounce back. But this is exactly the type of game we should be looking to win if we want to continue our progress up the table.

Nine changes from the league game gave a lot of fringe players the opportunity to shine on Thursday evening, and in my view one player stood out, namely Flynn Downes. In two European appearances he has been my man of the match on each occasion. Surely he must be given an opportunity soon in the league? I won’t get bogged down in statistics here, but he demonstrated his skill in so many facets of the midfielders role. One thing that I particularly admire is his ability to find a team mate with his passing enabling retention of the ball, a skill not necessarily shared amongst all his colleagues.

Areola had very little to do but showed his concentration when making a magnificent save late in the game to confirm the win. The summer recruitment meant that we had the strongest bench seen for a long time, and the triple substitution bringing on Rice, Paqueta and Scamacca was key to taking the lead. I would have liked to see the manager experiment for at least a short period with Antonio and Scamacca on the pitch at the same time but he seems reluctant to do so, preferring just one at a time.

I don’t usually publish the team I would like to see playing in a game, but for this game against Fulham I will. I know the manager will not pick this team but here goes.

Kehrer, Dawson, Zouma, Emerson
Downes, Rice,
Bowen, Paqueta, Antonio

It won’t happen of course and I fully expect Fabianski, Cresswell, Soucek and Fornals to be in the starting eleven. I like Benrahma but he appears to be lacking in confidence at the moment. He has the skills to unlock defences but seems to have lost his composure when making the final pass or in front of goal. He needs a manager to have faith in him. I worry about Cresswell, Ogbonna and Lanzini. All three have been great servants but haven’t been the same following serious injuries. Fornals and Soucek have some great attributes but both seem to me to give the ball away too easily at the moment.

Apparently Mitrovic is an injury doubt, but if he plays he will be a threat. But I predict a third clean sheet in a row, a 2-0 win. I can’t remember the last time that we won two league games in a row – it must be many months ago. 

One thought on “East London faces West London when Fulham are the visitors to the London Stadium to face a West Ham side looking for a third win in a row”

  1. Agreed on all points. Everyone wants to see Scamacca with Antonio. Time for DM to give it a go. I believe he will. 2-1, with both scoring 😉


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