So we spring (if that’s the right word) into action again as the first Friday night game of the renewed campaign.
And frankly – however we feel about it – we simply have to focus on survival and the first game could hardly be more difficult.
Wolverhampton Wanderers are currently vying for a Europa Cup qualifying place with Sheffield United and they will know whether the Blades have gone above them – the two teams are currently in sixth and seventh places separated only by goal difference.
Sheffield United meet Aston Villa ahead of our game and whatever the result Wolves will be going for it big time. That’s not to say we won’t but it’s as tough a start as we would NOT have hoped for.
The Hammers have Aaron Cresswell back in training and it’s probably fair to assume that Angelo Ogbonna will be fit again leaving the manager to select from a fully fit squad.
There are some tricky issues however, the first being Ryan Fredericks involvement who has been pretty hit and miss at times. Ben Johnson stands by.
In midfield the big poser is whether the skipper gets in with Rice, Fornals, Soucek and Bowen looking our most natural four for a long time. Moyes may well decide we need Noble’s leadership so we will see.
Will it be Anderson in front of them and behind Haller or will we go with the French striker and Michail Antonio?
It’s an intriguing and tense start and my team would be: Fabianski, Johnson, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Rice (Capt), Soucek, Fornals, Bowen; Haller, Antonio.
Prediction (assuming all are fit ) 2-2
And okay, I know it’s early days but one gets sick of discussing the bug and it’s effects.
What happens if for example the league starts up again and we lose our first two or three games but Bournemouth pick up points. If we then get a second spike and they can’t complete the season, does it then mean we would be relegated on the points per game scenario? I know it’s already close between us and Bournemouth.
In theory , it’s a new season . I don’t think form of 3 months ago will have any bearing on the restart . Start well and it’s completely different. We have done a full pre season by the time of return ..
I like the look of that starting line-up, although I think that Cresswell will struggle with Wolves pace. For me that means that Noble has to sit this one out.
In terms of a potential second spike/ season suspension, with a team having been overtaken by one below, I think there would be a strong legal case to abandon the season. Effectively you’d be deciding relegation on just 2 or 3 games. The whole scenario isn’t great. I’m in favour of no relegation this year with either 3 up, and relegate 6 next year and probably scrap the Carabao cup at the very least.
If Noble plays we will go down . We need athletes and Fornals is a far better runner and technically way superior. The starting 11 you name is our best team to fight for survival .