I’m sure all Hammers are hoping the opening fixture against Cardiff City does not bring the same outcome as it did two years ago in the Championship.
Cardiff having been promoted to the Premier League in April, yet they are not to be underestimated. Gaining automatic promotion, they are a team that I find we have problems with. I do not know if we play with a closed mind as we see them as a smaller team than ourselves. It looks to be a difficult opening fixture, but weighing up both squads I believe the likelihood is we will win. The players who stand out most for Cardiff City are Tommy Smith, Peter Whittingham and exHammer Craig Bellamy.
As Hammers, we all know what Bellamy is capable off. He is bound to be their biggest threat with the help of Smith. Meanwhile Whittingham, is a problem with free-kicks. A bigger hurdle for our opening games has to be our first away match against Newcastle United. No matter who goes to St James’ Park it’s a tough task. The atmosphere is one of the best in the world and that can make it a daunting place to play.
Ex-Toon striker Andy Carroll will love the prospect of playing at the club he supported as a child. This fixture looks the most challenging in August with Stoke City at the Boleyn looking more promising to snatch three points.
The first five or so fixtures are not exactly the most exciting, but there are at least four matches I think we could get all three points. The Boleyn last season, was a place where we felt comfortable. We dominated and usually outplayed most teams. The first fixture being played at home will boost the players and the crowd being supportive as ever will surely push us to three points.