Tony Cottee Column: We must take it to Villa


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Tony Cottee writes for you each week

Christian Benteke

Christian Benteke - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Images

I predicted us getting a point at Swansea on Sunday which I think was a well deserved one, but to be honest, we could easliy have got all three.

Swansea is never an easy place to go. They play good football, but also are very strong, while the vocal support at the ground is usually excellent.

I think we were helped by the fact that they had played a European match on the previous Thursday. They may have been at home but it still affects the preparations for the league game, the team is being chopped around and like we saw at Spurs a few weeks ago, you can take advantage of that.

West Ham could well have done that in the first half. We may not have played a striker again, but we created loads of chances and that is half the battle towards winning games.

If we weren’t creating then I would be worried, but we are and it is now just a matter of putting them away and I think the chances will come.

We are certainly playing well defensively. Another clean sheet shows just how effective this formation is with stifling the opposition and I think we could safely say that if Andy Carroll had been fit and in the team we would have turned games like Sunday’s into victory to shoot us up the league.

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It was good to see Carlton Cole back in a West Ham shirt on Sunday and he looked lively when he came on and hopefully he can prove his fitness to be able to start games.

Looking back on the last three games, I think the manager would have been quite happy with two or three points, so to get four is a real bonus and shows that the team is not too far away as long as they now start to find their home form.

Aston Villa is a massive game

The best way to describe Aston Villa so far this season is inconsistent.

In truth, most of the teams, including the big four this season have been inconsistent with perhaps only Southampton playing well all season.

Villa managed a magnificent win on the first day of the season at Arsenal, but since then they have certainly been up and down, but West Ham must not take them lightly on Saturday.

With the likes of Agbonlahor, Benteke and Weimann up front they have the pace to hurt West Ham on the break.

West Ham need to get at Villa from the off on Saturday and that means we have to play a striker from the start of this game.

If Carlton can give us 65 minutes then I think that will give us the impetus to take charge of the game and though it will not be easy, I can see us grinding out a 2-1 victory.