Two more wins in Europe, another away win at Everton, and a home victory against Spurs; Was Brentford therefore a huge disappointment last month given the other results?
Meirion Williams: It was a slight disappointment but let’s not forget that Brentford are difficult to beat and are in their first Premier League season honeymoon period. I just hope that they do not become this year’s Newcastle for us where results against one team has a major effect on our final league placing.
Marcus Johns: I think it’s one of those frustrating bumps in the road, where perhaps our European exploits took it out of us enough for them to get the upper hand so late in the game. But if we can learn from it, and get a better idea of how to manage our squad going forward it could be worthwhile in the end.
David Meagher: It was a cracking match and a good performance. They are a decent side with an astute manager who have troubled most opponents so far this season. Sometimes you just gotta take a hit and go for all three points even if it means putting the one point for the draw at risk.
Last month also saw the Saudi-led takeover of Newcastle. Were you jealous of the Magpies and their partying fans? What do you think this’ll mean for the Geordies?
MW: Well it seems as if they are happy for anybody other than Mike Ashley. I am certainly not jealous. Our owners do not have a history of human rights abuse as long as Mr Tickles’ arms. What it means to the Geordies is that they will be a top four team but at the cost of giving up the moral high ground. Such a sad affair for a team with a rich history.
MJ: Envious to an extent, given how much potential our club could have with an owner who would be prepared to invest, but at the same time, I’m not jealous of their particular owners. I think there’s a huge question mark over the human rights record, that would make me feel uneasy about them owning my club.
DM: We are a happy club at the moment with a brilliant atmosphere and strong squad. It’d be silly to be envious of any other club. Our Prince Charming moment will come – London, big fan base and such a beautiful kit. I would never underestimate Newcastle’s capacity to mess up but a great club and their fans deserve it after the Ashley dictatorship.
We got the job done against Spurs last month. That’s two wins and a very memorable draw in our last three outings against them, which came after four defeats in the previous five matches. We’re often mocked that this game is our ‘cup final’ but do you see us as the dominant team right now?
MW: I think people get a little carried away with the Tottenham game as in my eyes it doesn’t rank as a major result when we beat them. Tottenham are not a big club as can be shown by their regular league position outside the top four. A win against Citeh, Manure or Liverpool now that’s one to celebrate. It’s almost a case of winning against Tottenham? Yeah, whatever it’s the norm.
MJ: I think the key difference here is mentality – and we have to credit David Moyes for that. We’ve started to believe in our own ability, and the set up of the team. We’re not yet a bigger club, and nor do we have many bigger name players – but we play as a unit now, and are certainly in better form.
DM: Quite simply, yes. We need to have less respect for the likes of Arsenal and Spurs who are behind us as clubs now. We should expect to get results against them. Both are miles away from the quality of their teams of the past
Assuming we do go onto win our Europa League group, who would you like to see us play first in the knockout stages? Are you keeping your fingers crossed for a tie we could win, or do you want us to land a big club like Barcelona?
MW: As a West Ham fan, it has to be a game against someone like Barcelona or Napoli, better to play the big boys as the underdogs rather than a smaller team that we will inevitably struggle against. We have a history of going out in cup games to lesser opposition and so a draw against a big name would in my eyes be more of a winnable tie.
MJ : Agreed – we will have to face these teams sooner or later, so why not sooner? Surely playing the likes of Barcelona and AC Milan (both third in their groups as we speak) is the point of getting into Europe. Plus, as someone who booked travel to Genk but couldn’t get a ticket, those stadiums at least have large away sections!
DM: We should target the Europa League big time as with a little luck we could go all the way. That luck probably means a softer draw so I’d prefer easier sides along the way.
Do you think West Ham needs a player like Jesse Lingard right now? Looking ahead to January, where would you like to see us strengthen?
MW: Lingard is a thing of the past. He had his chance to join but blew it. Benrahma has come on in leaps and bounds so we don’t need Jesse. It’s pretty clear that as usual we need a striker as Yamelenko looks uninterested so is not the solution. And we all know that Antonio will pick up an injury at some point and so a forward is a must.
MJ: At the time of the summer window, I couldn’t see how we would progress without him. But I have total faith in Moyes’ transfer dealings, and while he hasn’t had the initial impact Jesse did, I believe that Vlasic will come good. I also think we need an alternative striker as a priority. Everywhere else, I’m comfortable.
DM: First of all we need a second striker. Bowen has done a great job buzzing about as the main man up front when asked but we need him running from behind the front man. I think we miss Lingard’s ability to turn defence into attack. Obviously Fornals et al are doing a good job but Lingard was really good at that and has a decent shot on him which means he needs less shots to accumulate goals. I’d take him back in January if he wants, which may be the case given the mess at Man Utd just now.
We’ve got a tough run of games coming up with Liverpool, Man City, our bogey team Brighton and Chelsea. There’s also our game against Wolves that could be tougher than we think. How many points are we picking up from these games?
MW: It is a tough run as looking at those games all, except Wolves, are fighting for European football. Liverpool, Citeh and Chelsea seem at a different level at the moment. I would be delighted with six points but fear it could be less as injuries when the cold weather sets in might just take its toll.
MJ: I would fancy ourselves against Wolves, and the run against Brighton has to come to an end at some point. I suspect Liverpool and City are still too good for our smallish squad, but no reason we can’t compete against Chelsea and get at least a point. Seven points from that run is a good return, and keeps us competitive. Five isn’t the end of the world.
DM: We need to be more confident against the ‘bigger’ clubs if we want to get something from those games. Last season we were very cautious and were easily rolled over. I’d take five to six points if we can get them which would keep us up there as we move into Christmas and beyond.