Opposition Q & A

West Ham seem to have packed their cases for their end of season holidays at the moment. This weekend sees us travelling to Old Trafford, which with a few notable exceptions has not been a happy hunting ground for us. We will be hoping that we can take advantage of their mid-week exertions, and their need to keep something in their pocket for next week’s return match against Barcelona. Ahead of the game I chatted to lifelong Manchester Red Robert Gayle to discuss his thoughts on the game and the season.
Hi Robert, as we enter the dog end of the season you’ve just about got something to fight for, but must be disappointed by the home defeat to Barcelona, do you think you will be able to turn that particular result around?
Barca were poor last night and we should have got something out of the game, so yes disappointed at the result but what was encouraging was the manner in which we took the game to them after a poor start.

At least Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has given you something to cheer about. How do you view the Mourinho era? I notice he has started briefing the press that he wasn’t fully backed by the board during his tenure – any truth in that our just typical Jose bluster?
When he came to the club I thought it was the right choice and would bring a certain amount of success and stability with the sacrifice of a change to the, some might say degenerate, style of football. In reflection it was a disaster and toward the end of his reign, toxic. Like you say everything he said or did seemed to relate back to the board not backing him, which began if I remember correctly when he started with McTominay in a back three against you lot earlier in the season with better options on bench.,

Is Solskjaer going to be able to return you to the glory days of Sir Alex, or will he turn out to be another short term appointment?
Only time will tell but at least the players are responding to him.

It must be quite galling to see your two main rivals fighting it out for the top honours, which of these do you least want to win the league come the end of the season?
Urrggghhh, what a dilemma!!!!!!!!! I couldn’t bear to see the Scousers winning the league, they’re unbearable at the best of times. But City doing the Quadruple is an equally terrifying thought. I think the best of both worlds is City win the league and get knocked out of the Champs league and the Scousers win the sweet FA!!!!!! I’d settle for that.

Are Manchester United going to be able to gatecrash the top 4? Predictions for the other two places?
Yes, so that only leaves one top four place. I’d say Arsenal in top 4 because they have the easiest run in, then Spurs and Chelski 5th and 6th.

I think you may be being a bit optimistic as you’ve got to play Everton away, as well as Chelsea and Man City. Where do you think West Ham will finish the season?
11th, where you are now: you’ve a couple of tricky games coming up and I’d say you’ll get another six point from now to the end of the season.

Who will get your vote for player of the season this year? And who has come close?
Marcus Rashford. Luke Shaw has had a great season also.

I thought in the 0 – 0 game at our place at the back end of last season that Luke Shaw was the best player on the pitch, and couldn’t see what Jose had been complaining about with him. I notice the rumour mill is tipping Manchester United to make a move for Declan Rice this summer, something West Ham fans will be praying won’t happen. How do you rank the achievements of the three previous West Ham juniors to make their way to Old Trafford: Paul Ince, Rio Ferdinand, and Michael Carrick?
Ince, Rio and Carrick were all been great players for us but with the latter two winning the champs league they rank higher. Ince went to Liverpool (nuff said)
Where else needs improving in your squad for next year?
Declan Rice , Central Defender, Creative midfielder, 20+ goals a season forward.

West Ham fans will have fond memories of beating you in our last game at Upton Park, and Paolo Di Canio sliding the ball past Fabien Barthez at Old Trafford a few years ago for an improbable away FA Cup victory. Any particular memories of games against West Ham?
The most memorable (not for a good reason) is the 91/92 the last season before the premier league started. It was a race between us and dirty Leeds for the title and we needed to beat you to regain top place. We battered you (as far as I remember) but couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net. We lost the league on the last game of the season shortly after.

Ah yes Kenny Brown’s goal, but I thought it might be taking the Mick a bit too much to mention that one as well. I also remember Sir Alex saying in one of his autobiographies that as he walked off at the end of that game, an old bloke in a hat sat in the stands called out his name, and when Ferguson turned to him and said ‘Yes?’ the geezer told him to ‘Go away’, but in less a less friendly manner: Sir Alex was not amused! Anyway back to this game: how will Man Utd line up against us this Saturday? Team/ Line up?
Young (if not suspended with Shaw), Lindelof, Smalling, Dalot
Pogba, Mactominay, Fred, Martial.
Lukaku, Rashford

Will your Champions League endeavours mean that West Ham will be able to sneak a point? Prediction for the score?
I don’t hold much hope for your chances. I’ll go 1 – 3 to Man U.

Well thanks to Robert for his time. Not physically able to predict a defeat for West Ham I shall go for a 1- 1 draw, hoping that they rest 10 of their players. COYI!

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