October 25 2014 Latest news:
Tony Cottee, West Ham Columnist
Thursday, August 14, 2014
West Ham legend is desperate to see a more attacking Hammers team at Upton Park this season
Pre-season results mean nothing, you only have to look at Avram Grant’s excellent results for the Hammers in pre-season to realise that.
They are a time to have a look at the new players, to work on formations and tactics and to get everyone as fit as possible before the real football starts.
So despite our indifferent results and even with the victory over Sampdoria last Saturday, it will have no bearing when we come to play our old enemies Tottenham Hotspur at Upton Park on Saturday.
Obviously the biggest problem we have to overcome is going into the first few months without star striker Andy Carroll.
Last year, there was no Plan B when we realised how long the big man would be out for and this time we have to come up with something and fast.
No-one knows how long Enner Valencia will take to get up to speed in the Premier League, though I think he is an excellent player and a really good signing.
Mauro Zarate didn’t pull any trees up at Birmingham so the jury is out with him, so I think we might see a lot of work coming the way of Carlton Cole for a while.
What I will say and what I have always said is that we need to play two up front in home games this season. To me it is so important.
Without Carroll and with the new emphasis on attacking football, it is essential we take the game to teams at Upton Park much more than we did last season.
That to me, means playing two up front, so Cole with Valencia, or Zarate or even with Elliot Lee, who seems to be getting better and better and certainly deserves a better chance this season.
West Ham have always prided themselves on bringing through the youngsters and my philosophy has always been if they are good enough, they are old enough.
I think we have signed two very promising players in Aaron Cresswell and Diego Poyet and though Big Sam will be under pressure to get results again this season, it is time to give these players, as well as Lee, a chance to show what they can do.
The board have demanded a top-10 finish this season and we certainly have a chance to do that if things go well from the start, but I am predicting us to finish somewhere between 10th and 15th.
I can’t wait for Saturday’s opener against Tottenham, though I think it is going to be a really tight affair.
Spurs will be well aware of what happened to them last season against the Hammers, it really was an incredible run of results, and they will be determined to try and make sure that it doesn’t happen for a fourth time.
It certainly won’t be easy, but I have to go with my heart on this occasion, so I am tipping West Ham to take a close match by 2-1.
Here’s to a great season – Come on you Hammers!