Saturday 19th February 2022 

An inconvenient kick off time of 12:30 for the travelling masses 

Live on BT Sport

Well, once again the telebox aficionados stick the middle finger up to the cacophony of travelling Mags for the upcoming trip to the London Stadium. Nevertheless we land in The Capital in great fettle, having notched up a hat trick of wins, latterly with a hard fought victory at home to The Villans.

My esteemed True Faith friends have already covered off the report and player ratings so I won’t digress other than to say we battled like hardened warriors on Sunday and probably deserved to send Stevie G home with nowt for their bluster.

This morning, the untimely news broke that wor new hero, Kieran Trippier has knackered a bone in his foot, and having it on good authority from my pal Bobo, that’s at least 6-8 weeks without our new talisman. That’s one bastard of a blow but hopefully our new found confidence means we might not miss him as much as we fear.

If you’d asked me a month ago about this fixture I’d have it nailed on as a home win, but time moves on and wins breed confidence. I’ll come onto my prediction later though.

The upwardly mobile Hammers sit in a relatively surprising 4th place and are replicating the last campaign. They have Man U and a resurgent Arsenal breathing down their necks though and a I suspect, like last season, they’ll fall away outside the Champions League spots.

It should be pointed out that they Happy Hammers are about as enamoured with their owners we we were with a certain Mike Ashley. There’s definitely no love lost with Gold, Sullivan and Brady at the continued helm.

West Ham come into this one in mixed form. Their last 5 Premier League outings have returned 7 points, with victories coming against Watford and Norwich. They suffered a home defeat at the hands of Leeds and a late heartbreaker at Old Trafford. Sunday’s late game at Leicester saw them take the lead through Jared Bowen before looking defeat in the eye. Craig Dawson stole a point for them at the death to share a 4 goal thriller.

Jarrod Bowen….. If there was an easier deal for Ashley to have done, I haven’t seen it. Bruce had him at Hull and a good offer would have seen him lining up on Saturday in the black and white and not the claret and blue. Amazing that £9.99 and a giant Sports Direct Mug couldn’t secure his services. Bowen is 100% one who got away. He’s brilliant and their danger man on Sunday.

So with Tripps out for a prolonged period, how do we approach this one? If Manquillo is fit, presumably he slots into right back and Matty Targett comes back in after he was ineligible for the Villa game. Schär and BIG Dan Burn were rock solid and surely retain their places. How to get Bruno in though? Joelinton and Willock are sure starters so perhaps Shelvey drops out? Isn’t it nice to have some options for a change instead of the team picking itself week in week out,

As i intimated earlier, a month ago this was a home banker. Now I’m not so sure. We quite like a trip to The Hammers and if I’m to plump for a result, I’m going for a share of the spoils in a ding dong Desmond 2-2.

Safe trip to The Mags and if you’re in London on Friday night, pop along to The Angelic in Islington where Alex and the team will be chatting all things NUFC with @GeorgeCaulkin

Howay the upwardly mobile Mags.

Paul Karter – @peekeekay