Opposition Talk: ‘The Champions League must be won with Pep at the helm’

How do you think your team will get on this season?

Louis Writtle: We will continue to be battling for the title but there’s a few teams in the race this year, so it’ll be a tight one to call. As well as that, there’s a good chance we’ll win a domestic cup as always. Then the Champions League, let’s hope it’s finally our year.

Does Pep Guardiola have to deliver the Champions League this season?

It’s the only trophy we haven’t won but I can’t see why not. We look as good as ever this season and given the squad we have, along with arguably the best manager in the world, I’d like to think we will win it before his reign is over.

Is there any new signing that opposing teams should watch out for?

The only signing we made other than Grealish was Kayky, a youngster from Brazil. He’s only recently started training with the first team, so I doubt he’ll play. However, academy graduate Cole Palmer has been impressive recently after scoring his first Champions League goal.

£100 million for Jack Grealish; Worth the money or should you have gone all out for Harry Kane?

I certainly think Jack Grealish has been worth the money, he’s offered something no one else in our squad can. His probing runs and directness against opposition teams is what we’ve lacked in recent years and provides another way to open up defences rather than passing them to death all the time. Obviously, Harry Kane was more of a ‘need’ if you like but I thought the £150m price tag was too much and to spend £250m on two players would have provided huge pressure.

How does it feel not being the richest club in England now?

It was always nice to say we were the richest club but adding Newcastle to the mix will provide more competition in the league. It doesn’t directly threaten us either as it’ll take them a good two to three years at least to build the foundations to compete at the very top.

Do you think West Ham will be able to sustain their performances from last season?

Given what we’ve seen from them so far this season, it’s much of the same. Sitting in the top half of the table backs this up and proves that you are back competing where you left off. I thought the addition of the Europa League into your fixtures may hamper your form in the Premier League, but it definitely hasn’t.

As it’s Mark Noble’s last season do you have any vivid memories of him playing against your team?

There aren’t any specific moments off the top of my head, but he’s certainly been an incredible player for you. His leadership and passion is always clear to see whenever he’s played us and that’s definitely helped you drive on in games against us and other teams. I do remember him saying that City were the best team he’s ever faced a few years ago so for that level of respect to come from an experienced pro is great to hear. I wish him luck when he retires at the end of this season.

What’s your score prediction for our game?

I’m also going to go with 2-1

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