With both teams looking to secure three points, ahead of this weekend’s fixture against the Premier League’s bottom club, Sheffield United, we caught up with their resident matchday programme artist, Nick Bianco.
Who would you consider the best player is for West Ham?
I know a lot is made about Declan, there is no doubting he’s got a lot of ability. However, based on statistics and my personal opinion it would be Michail Antonio. I think his work rate and honesty is superb- I genuinely like watching him play.
What do you think West Hams strengths and weaknesses are?
Honestly, I don’t know. I have obviously only seen bits of games here and there but a weakness that comes to the top of my head is consistency. From what I’ve seen you can be equally very good but on the other hand you can also be a bit naive within the space of a few minutes.
How do you think Sheffield United will get on this season?
Hard to say. I know that seems a little positive considering our current points haul but I’m not sure it’s a completely true reflection on our season’s performances. I have belief that we’ll hopefully be better than 3 teams in the division come the end of the season.
What player for Sheffield United should opposing teams watch out for?
I’m hopeful that by the time this comes around I should have said Rhian Brewster but that’s a lot of pressure on a young player that’s played very little Premier League football. Regardless of how well he does, he will have done really well to be as good as Sander Berge. Not only is he a tall but he’s deceptively quick and can pick out the right pass. He’s probably the one player that Sheff United fans have sat there and said “Yep he’ll eventually play for a top European side. He’s pure class.”
Are you worried about the so called 2nd season syndrome this season?
I wasn’t. At all. However, I believe it’s becoming a ‘thing’ the longer we don’t get the results- I won’t say that we deserve it I think that would be unfair. We definitely should have more points on the board by now. We’ve also had some horrendous refereeing decisions that have really gone against us.
Home support at Bramall Lane creates quite an atmosphere do you think by not having supporters there has affected their performances so far?
Hugely. I saw a table of results since fans have been absent and we’re unsurprisingly rock bottom. I guess you guys can share some of that pain as you were pretty low down and you’ve had to deal with your move from the Boleyn Ground to the London Stadium. When there is such a connection between the fans and the team but then to suddenly lose that has been catastrophic. I genuinely believe we ‘might’ have snuck into Europe last year without lockdown. We’re a team that needs 11 players playing at 100% for 95 mins. At times in games where they’d slightly drop off the crowd would lift them and get them going again. We’re missing that.
With regards to the Pandemic what support, if any do you think the Premier League and/or clubs should be giving to the rest of the football pyramid?
It’s a tricky one this and I had a massive rant on Twitter about this a few weeks ago. I believe ‘something’ should be done to especially help league 1 and 2 teams cover their financial losses. I also can’t help but feel that any bailout would just be covering up the cracks. I believe a lot of teams were in a pretty bad place financially anyway! Teams will continue to overspend while the reward for gambling is so great. As top teams are constantly getting richer, they are able to pay more wages so the knock-on effect for the rest of the EFL is a ticking time bomb despite the pandemic even happening!
Do you want to play Wednesday in the Premier or see them relegated to League 1?
I’m not one of those people that say ‘oh it would be great for Sheffield to have two premier league teams’ one is fine provided that’s us! In all honesty I’d probably like to see them go out of business.
Could you give our readers an interesting fact about SUFC that they may not know?
Don’t know about interesting but Bramall Lane is the oldest professional football ground in the world! However, it only had three sides until as late as 1975! As it was a multi-purpose football and cricket stadium!
Do feelings still run deep regarding what happened with Carlos Tevez?
Honestly. No. The couple of seasons after it happened really was a big thing and we really hated West Ham. We found it all a bit weird when the Tevez masks popped up again last year though.
How do you think the Sheffield United vs West Ham game will go?
I don’t think it will be a draw. I either think you will score first be comfortable and snatch another to win 2-0. Nevertheless, we might turn up like Prime 70s Brazil and win 3-1.