Fancy another one? Go on then. Rearranged following the passing of Her Majesty in 2022 (R.I.P Ma’am), United head south for a week of Thames cruises and a couple of vital football matches. First up: the club that sold its soul for an empty bowl. Karter is here. He has your preview.
Wednesday 5th April | 20:00 kick off | Live in front of the Sky cameras (again)
The games are coming at us thick and fast in April, and after Sunday’s complete performance against the Red Devils, focus is now on the 300+-mile trip to The Soulless London Stadium, and the re-arranged fixture at West Ham. This is fixture 2 of 7 this month, and the preview boys are on quick turnarounds!
With 3 wins on the spin, Eddie’s Mighty Mags sit in third place. The possibility of Champions League football is real people!
I can’t move onto Wednesday without giving huge Kudos to the whole squad after the magnificent win on Sunday. If that had ended 5-0, I don’t think anyone could have complained. From minute one, we were at them. We hustled and harried them to a man and came out deserved winners, leapfrogging Man United into third (before Spurs play on Monday).
Sights are now firmly set on finishing the season in the mind-boggling Champions League positions. If someone had told me that on the 3rd April we’d have been in our first cup final since 1999 and third in the league, then I’d have called for the men in white coats! Yet here we are, fucking class, and with a huge chance of a return to the big time!
We’ve gone toe-to-toe with the very best this league has to offer, and 3 defeats in 27 tells a huge story about this group of players and staff. Eddie and his back-room team have the boys focused. He has them hard to beat and playing some superb football. I’ll repeat that. 3 defeats in 27, with only Liverpool and Man City denying us points in a game! Unbelievable Jeff!!
I was asked on Sunday whether I think we’ll maintain our charge towards the biggest of competitions. I really don’t know. We’ve 11 Cup Finals remaining, and the first of those come this Wednesday in East London.
Sunday also saw David Moyes’ Irons pick up a huge 1-0 win at home to relegation rivals, Southampton, with the solitary goal coming in the 25th minute from Aguerd. This shifted them out of the relegation zone and up to 14th in the table. Yet, they’re only a solitary point off the bottom 3 and 4 ahead of the rock bottom Saints. That’s how close it is as the battle to avoid the trap-door goes to the wire for many clubs.
For me, The Hammers present a head-scratching scenario. They’ve got some quality players amongst their ranks, including Jarrod Bowen, who I’ve always admired and would love to have seen us snap up when he was at Hull. It was an easy signing. He’d played under our former “manager”. Sadly the Fat Controller wouldn’t stick his hands in his deep pockets. It is what it is, and we’ve moved on, but I do think he was very much one that got away a few years ago.
Others in their ranks include Danny Ings, another I’d have liked us to sign a few years back, Said Benrahma had a load of talent, but perhaps hasn’t quite delivered consistently enough. The jewel in their crown is clearly Declan Rice, who I thought ran the second half of the return fixture back in February.
If you cast your minds back to that game, it was a weird one. We scored a disallowed goal in the first minute, before Callum opened the scoring for real in the 3rd minute. The goal we conceded that day was really sloppy, and unlike Eddie’s Mags, with Bruno’s BFF, Lucas Paqueta, stabbing home from a scrappy corner. I thought we were poor that day, and perhaps a little fortunate to draw the game 1-1.
We travel to London in great heart though. The International break and warm weather training camp in Dubai seems to have worked wonders (as did both camps in Saudi earlier in the campaign) and we focus purely on the run in.
That run in starts on Wednesday. 11 cup finals ya say? Maximum points hauls at home to Wolves and Man United, and at Forest takes us to The London Stadium full of confidence. All of a sudden, we have options in midfield, with the return of J7 and Anthony Gordon adding new dimensions to the side.
We know that Eddie loves to stick with a winning formula, but I’d love to see AG get a start and run them ragged on Wednesday. I’m also loving the confidence that Callum’s goal will have given him, but, for me, Isak is streets ahead of him in every striking department.
In Eddie’s selection dilemma we trust!
Prediction time – I’m torn between a hard-earned 1-1 draw and another 3 points, so in the interest of positivity, I’m taking us to win 2-0 again, with goals from Willock and Longstaff. For the punters amongst you, grab that at 9/1, but don’t come a-crying if it doesn’t land.
Safe travels to those heading down. Please bring back the 3 points.
@peekeekay – Paul K