We’ve had the successful Lions tour of Australia, the Ashes and even the start of the Football League to keep us entertained recently but now the time has come for our first Premier League game of the new season.
There will be thrills, spills, excitement and despair, and that’ll all come in the first game! We face a newlypromoted side in Cardiff City and I fancy us securing three points won at the end of play just like last season after a 1-0 win over Aston Villa. I am also hoping we replicate the great start to the season we enjoyed last year when we raced out of the blocks, gaining 11 points from their first six games with only one defeat at Swansea City, which could have ended with a different result on another day.
To get 11 points from the first few matches was the perfect start to what turned out to be a solid first season back in the Barclays Premier League. It’s fair to say we made the most of their generous opening fixtures, and we must do the same in the upcoming campaign. We play two teams promoted teams from the Championship, three sides who finished in the bottom half last season in Newcastle, Stoke and Southampton, while Everton are under new management under Roberto Martinez. To start at home is always a bonus, especially against a newly promoted side, and I think it’s fair to say we are all hoping for a better opening day game against Cardiff than we did in the Championship in 2011!
After Cardiff is Newcastle United away. Going to St James’ Park is always tough but we go there with belief after a 1-0 win against the Geordie faithful last season. West Ham’s final match of August is at Upton Park against Stoke City who have a new manager in Mark Hughes. We should go into that match confident of victory, especially with our good record against the Potters in recent seasons.
After the international break a trip to Southampton is followed by welcoming Everton to east London. Then it’s a trip to the KC Stadium to take on Hull. Now these first six games are all winnable. It’s not an impossibility to get the maximum 18 points from the first six matches. Okay, it’s highly unlikely that will happen, but if we can keep tight at the back and put away a few of our chances, especially at home, I can definitely see West Ham getting 11 points, if not more. If the club can get off to a good start, I’m confident another top-ten finish is in order.