Extreme smokescreen over the Hammers


michail-antonio-west-ham-stoke_3387473As smokescreens go the one covering Slaven’s team plans for Saturday evening’s match against Watford couldn’t be much more extreme.

The Andy Carroll scenario appears to change not so much by the day as by the hour and explanations vary accordingly as the clock ticks down.

After ruling out an appearance, the manager is now saying a decision is unlikely until a late fitness test which may or may not be after the big fella has trained tomorrow.

The whole idea of course is to keep the opposition guessing until the last moment given the importance our manager places on the guy, despite a massive performance from the team last week – possibly our best of the season.

Our own information leads us still to believe that Michail Antonio will lead the attack at the start and that AC is likely to be on the bench.

That makes sense as it keep the Watford guessing game going on throughout the game as to his possible appearance!

Although Slav has mentioned the player has a small injury (groin) and David Gold had tweeted last week that he was set to play at Watford it never does any harm to build a smokescreen when circumstances allow.

However, we have been told that the injury is sorted and that it’s only a shortness of fitness which is causing a problem.

It’s an  interesting sub plot to what should be an exciting Saturday evening.

The line up we’d like to see in Carroll’s absence – which we believe is the case –  would be: Randolph; Byram, Reid, Fonte, Cresswell; Ayew,  Kouyate, Obiang, Lanzini, Snodgrass, Antonio.

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Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!"

Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon


  • Hammer64 says:

    Surely you don’t need a fitness test to establish whether you are match fit? Isn’t that just to test out an injury. Sorry but I think the groin is still an issue.

    I don’t pretend to understand the ins & Outs of modern football but does all this cloak & dagger stuff over injuries actually make any difference. Watford would prefer AC not to be playing, but if they think he might not be playing, but then shows up on the team sheet at 4.30…so what? I don’t get it..

  • John says:


    That’ll be Roman if Carroll doesn’t start v Watford with his “told you so’s”. Mr ITK 😂😂

  • kevin says:

    David Gold tweets too much , end of . He should keep stom about our squad and players .
    Keeps giving too much away regarding our players , team & ambitions .
    It’s Bilics job for crying out loud to talk about or not talk about the team , players and any future signings .
    Watford will be a hard game , no two ways about it . But it is a game we should be winning.
    If we have any dreams left of Europa League it is a game not to throw away .
    Gold is West Ham to very core but , he should shut up .

  • Stan The Man says:

    You moan too much Kevin.Big deal Gold tweeted something a week ago.So what!!!!

  • BrookingtoDevonshire says:

    By the pics on the club website I would say Carroll is out. No sign of him doing any running as Bilic said he would. If he can run tomorrow then put him on the bench.

  • PopRobson says:

    He won’t play I don’t think very disappointed.

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