Preview: West Ham (v) Aston Villa – Doomsday beckons or more false hope?

Well, here we are again.  Collectively sighing after another shambolic transfer window.  The arguments for action and inaction abound, but the fact is that Villa head to West Ham with no new faces to lift spirits or raise hope.

As many have referenced in considering the clubs lack of activity in the transfer market, Remi Garde has returned very few points in his brief time at Villa.  He isn’t solely to blame, but he is conservative, and whilst we are suffering fewer defeats in the league, remain toothless up front.

The blame, again, doesn’t lie at Remi’s door, but a visiting Villa side needs to be more expansive and threatening to stand a fighting chance.

Having watched Villa get taken apart by Man City at the weekend in stadium emptying fashion, it is important to note that West Ham ran them very close recently.

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Having watched both of those games, I am concerned about the creativity West Ham have, their pressing game and a will to win over an entire 90 minutes.  West Ham, like it or loathe it as a Villa fans, are trying to put themselves onto a trajectory for greater things.

They are acting to move with the times into a stadium with global appeal and have begun recruiting top talent in the form of the superb Payet.

Ourselves, by contrast, have a bleaker outlook.

The club looks absolutely listless, more-so than before the window closed and Garde cut a dejected figure during his press conference.  He looked like a man way out of his depth given our situation – and also one who had been absolutely hung out to dry by Tom Fox and Randy Lerner.

The jury is still out for me on Garde, but I don’t think we will ever know if he could be a success at the club, with a seemingly inevitable resignation on the cards.

We also go to West Ham with a genuinely threadbare squad.  Kozak, Gestede and Sanchez are all sidelined.  Hutton, Richardson and Westwood are carrying knocks.  Lescott is also apparently struggling.

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This might otherwise be considered good news for fringe players to prove their worth, but, these are figures already proven unfit for Premier League life or well past their sell by dates.  Agbonlahor, appearing at the weekend for the first time since an embarrassing display at Tottenham saw him ridiculed by Sky pundits, finds himself in line for a start.

It is this sort of situation that underlines the short sightedness of our transfer window policy, leaving the manager without genuine options and also forcing embarrassing recalls for players deemed surplus to requirements.  Such is the disarray, it wouldn’t even be a surprise to see the disgrace Charles N’Zogbia.

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The fact that the club seem absolutely resigned to relegation does little to inspire the notion of a miraculous fightback starting at Upton Park tonight.  In fact, given that West Ham have some momentum of late, it could be a very long evening indeed.

Best we can hope for? A draw.

Prediction:

1-1 (Ayew To Score)

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