Thursday, September 07, 2006

West Ham vs Aston Villa

West Ham won the corresponding fixture 4-0 last season, but everyone expects O'Neill's Villa to be a different proposition this season to Villa under O'Leary. Stilian Petrov is set to make his debut for the Villans, who have made a good start to this year's campaign. A draw away at Arsenal and home wins against Reading and Newcastle see them lying third in the table.

However West Ham have two new additions themselves in Mascherano and Tevez. It remains to be seen if Pardew will throw them both straight into the first team. West Ham's midfield has looked very solid this season and Pardew may not want to disrupt the established midfield pairing of Reo-Coker and Mullins. Up front Zamora has been on fire so far this season, so it is hard to see him being dropped, however Harewood has yet to find his form of last season so he may give way to Tevez.

The Argentinian duo are obviously on the minds of the Villa team. Gareth Barry has certainly writen about them on the club website,

"They are quality players, they are Argentinian internationals, but the Premiership is a different ball game and them being involved is not going to change us thinking we can get a result.

We will be getting the first of them and hopefully we can shown them what the Premiership is all about and making the headlines."

I expect the Villans will play a tight, defensive game at the Boleyn and look to pack the midfield. However Tevez should feature at some point in this game and what little I've seen of him he looks a fiery player who will be desparate to make an impact in his first game for the club.

I predict West Ham will have a tough game but expect us to win by the odd goal.

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