The view from the London Stadium

09/09/2016 10:40

Watford travel to the London Stadium on Saturday afternoon to face West Ham United in the Premier League, with the Hornets looking to secure their first win of the season.

The Golden Boys have faced Southampton, Chelsea and Arsenal so far, in what has been a tough start to the season for Walter Mazzarri's men and they currently have one point.

Slaven Bilic's side have also endured a tough start to the season. They currently have three points on the board, courtesy of their 1-0 win over Bournemouth a couple of weeks ago. West Ham were condemned to defeats to both Chelsea and Manchester City in their other league games so far and they have also been knocked out of the Europe League by Astra Giurgiu.

Ahead of Saturday's game, I caught up with Hammers fan Sean Whetstone (Twitter - @WestHamFootball) to get the lowdown on West Ham and to hear his views on Watford.


What are your hopes for West Ham this season?

Sean - "Well it is that second tricky season for Bilic. There is a chance we overachieved last season so it will be difficult to get better than seventh this season. I will be happy with a top ten finish, as we continue to build and invest at our first season at the London Stadium."


How have things faired during the opening month of the season for the Hammers? Crashing out of the Europa League must have been a big blow.

Sean - "Both players and fans are getting used to our new stadium so the early start to the season was not ideal. It was a big shame to crash out of the Europa League so early to the same Romanian team as last year, but that's football and we were missing a large number of first team players through injury and the Euro Championships in France. With one win against Bournemouth at home and two away losses against so called top four sides, we are exactly where we were last season (3 points after 3 games). Without moaning too much, those two away games against Chelsea and Manchester City both had controversial incidents where both Diego Costa and Sergio Aguero should have been sent off. Who knows how that would have changed either game."

How highly do you rate Slaven Bilic and how do you reflect on his first year in charge?

Sean - "So far so good.  He is loved by the players, loved by the fans and loved by the media. A breath of fresh air compared to Sam Allardyce. The big test is whether he is a one season wonder or whether he came replicate what he did last year. We beat so many big teams last season including a treble over Liverpool and he instantly earned respect from the West Ham fans."           


What have you made of West Ham's decision to move to the Olympic Stadium? 

Sean - "Change can be difficult sometimes and I miss the Boleyn Ground (Upton Park) but it was required if we want to compete with the top teams and one day become a Champions League club. We have doubled our season ticket holders from 26,000 to 52,000. We have a capacity of 57,000 soon to rise to 60,000 and will hopefully pass 66,000 next season.  We need to get used to our new home but that will come. It feels like a day out at Wembley at the moment."

Have you found your first trips to the stadium this season enjoyable and is there anything Watford fans should look out for before the game on Saturday?

Sean - "Walking over the bridge is like going along Wembley Way. The transport links and facilities are far better than our old stadium. Some fans have raised eyebrows at popcorn and ice cream being sold but that is modern football and times change. The doors open two hours before kick-off and they offer discounts on drinks and food for those are arrive early."


Dimitri Payet was superb for the Hammers last season. How highly do you rate him and will he be West Ham's key player on Saturday?

Sean - "If Payet stays fit, he will be key to our success. It is not just his free kicks but his assists and work rate that changes games. Despite all the headlines last season and over the summer during the Euros, Payet doesn't turn up for some games despite being on the pitch. He seems to raise his game for big games but can sometimes be more anonymous for lesser games. I hope he will be more consistent this season."


Thoughts on Watford? What have you made of the dealings we've made in the transfer market and do you think we have enough to stay up this season?

Sean - "Like us you bought in a large number of new players. You grabbed Newcastle right back Daryl Janmaat who was linked to West Ham and I rate Roberto Pereyra from Juventus. I think signing him was also a good piece of business for you guys. I know less about your £12.5m record signing Isaac Success from Granada but I hope he is a big success for you, if you will excuse the pun."


One Watford player you'd like to see at West Ham?

Sean - "Odion Ighalo, we can always make room on the bench for someone who has proven he can score goals in the Premier League."

Score prediction? 

Sean - "2-1 to West Ham with goals from Dimi Payet and Simone Zaza."

Thanks to Sean for his time and good luck for the rest of the season!!