Pub Talk: What did you make of our start to the season? What are your views on the takeover bid?

'I couldn't be much happier with our start to this season.'

Michail Antonio (WHU) at the EPL match West Ham United v Burnley, at the London Stadium, London, UK on 16th January, 2021. English Premier League matches are still being played behind closed doors because of the current COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, and government social distancing/lockdown restrictions.

What did you make of our first three games against Newcastle, Leicester and Palace? 

Meirion Williams: It was a great start to the season. Our games against Newcastle last time out were the ones that seemingly cost us a Champions League place so it was great to not only beat them but to also come from behind to do so. As for Leicester, we really showed that last year was not a flash in the pan. The draw against Palace was disappointing particularly as we had so many chances to win that one. But seven points in three games to start the season is a fabulous return.

David Meagher: Obviously with 10 goals, the forwards are on fire, especially Antonio and Fornals, but also Benrahma looks ready to push to a higher level. Two small gripes are that our corners need to be better and Craig Dawson is a tad slow on the turn.

Lucy Woolford: I couldn’t be much happier with our start to this season. It’s been great to watch so far. In fact, the Leicester game was the most I’ve enjoyed a game in years. I agree David, Benrahma is looking on form and Fornals just keeps growing into this team.  

What has been your take on the PAI Capital takeover bid / saga? 

MW: To be honest, I haven’t really followed it a great deal as it has not seemed to be something that will aid the club to progress. Although I do want a change of ownership, we have been bitten too many times in the past. We need to be a rich man’s play thing and not owned by a group that seemingly wants to make a quick buck.

DM: I think that the two Davids have done their job. They have both aged a lot in recent times and look ready to move on. The PAI crew look like small fish trying to look big – given where we are now the next owners should be genuine big fish. 

LW: I’m on the fence. I don’t like that they needed a PR stunt like bringing in the Ferdinands to back them up. And the plans do seem to be more stadium focused than club orientated. Thinking about it, I’m not really on the fence at all! It feels a little ‘better the devil you know’ at the moment. 

What are your thoughts on our Europa League group? Do you think we’ve got a chance of progressing to the knockout stages?

MW: It’s a great draw if we want to progress but I must admit that it was a slight disappointment. I was hoping for one of the big Italian sides but sadly that was not to be. There is a risk that a fun event will now be replaced by a greater feeling of expectation that it is an easy draw and one we should progress through with ease. We all know what happened the last time we were in Europe and played so called unglamorous teams and it was full of disappointment. The other three teams will also look at the group and feel that they too can progress. It’s going to be tough and expectations will be high. 

DM: It’s a kind draw both in terms of difficulty of opponents and travel. Let’s hope we get a good start so we can manage our squad and stay as fresh as possible for the Premier League. The Zagreb game will be fiery as they have a ‘robust’ fan base.

LW: Yes, Meirion! It was a little disappointing not to see the romantic European draw coming up. But in reality, none of those games will be easy, it wouldn’t be a competition otherwise. The group is, however, the nicest looking for us and I don’t see why we couldn’t make the knockouts. I’m excited now!

What did you make of our summer transfer window? 

MW: Until those last few days I thought it was pretty much a bust but what a final few hours! Firstly we needed a goalkeeper to challenge Fabianski and we got that in Areola. But to also get Zouma, Kral and Vlasic is pretty impressive. Our defensive frailties showed that we needed Kurt Zouma and Vlasic could be the man we need to aid Antonio up front. As for Kral he will fit in nicely with the other Czech players. But let’s also not forget that we kept Rice, Bowen, Lanzini and Yarmolenko. Keeping those four will certainly help us during a difficult season ahead.

DM: Great business. Moyes said he wanted first team standard players not squad-fillers and that’s what we got. However, the lack of a back up striker is naive beyond belief and will cost us dearly.

LW: I totally agree, it was a good window. We signed a few and kept everyone we wanted, which is a success in my eyes. Moyes clearly has a vision and has been allowed to go after who he wanted, which is how a club should be run. We did need another striker though – I guess we’ll just have to cough up in January. 

West Ham posted a video of all of Antonio’s goals; Which were your favourite, and which were the most memorable / important to our cause?

MW: Well he is proving that he deserves to now be wearing the number nine shirt. It’s difficult to pick out my favourite mainly because at my age I can’t remember what I was doing yesterday let alone who scored in which match. So no particular goal for me but the four against Norwich last season, albeit one from the penalty spot, was pretty impressive and as for showing the sheer physical presence he had on the field that goal recently against Palace was pretty impressive.

DM: The four goals against a hapless Norwich defence was probably his best day as it really was like a man amongst schoolboys!

LW: Oh yes, the four against Norwich was a great occasion! He scored a lovely overhead kick against Man City at home last season, it was such a shame no fans were there to see it. Watching his goals back, he really does score some nice ones and doesn’t always get the credit he deserves. 

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