Monday, August 18, 2008

Deano's Double


Ten minutes into the Premier League season, Dean Ashton had made his presence felt - twice. West Ham United's 24 year old striker pumped up the bubble-blowing faithful at Upton Park 3 minutes into the season by scoring the Hammers' first goal, and then sent them into a frenzy 7 minutes later by scoring their second. What a start. I can only imagine what it must have felt like in the stadium when the lofty optimism he'd launched was abruptly grounded by the sight of him limping off the field in the second half. With Ljundberg having been released (probably because of age and recurring injuries) and Bellamy and Dyer sidelined with injuries, much of East London's hopes rest on the performance of Deano and Julien Faubert. Both have been injured for the majority of their brief tenures at West Ham, so to see Ashton limp out of a season opener that was still 2-1 at the time must have been pretty brutal. (On a personal level, the exit cost him a chance to get another cap with the England national team.) Fortunately, an MRI scan has confirmed that it was just a cramp and not something more serious. He'll be back in action Sunday at Manchester City. If there's any hope for the Hammer's season, we'll need Deano to stay on his feet.



Here's a look at the healthy Deano in action:



I don't have much for you in terms of a West Ham season preview. In addition to the aforementioned names, the roster will include most of the same names from last year, Zamora and Pantsil excluded, a few rookies and a couple international signings included. Look for solid play from youngsters Kyel Reid, Fred Sears, and James Tomkins and from Swiss defender Behrami, freshly signed from Lazio. Management is intent on cutting payroll so there may be a couple transfers out and probably won't be much coming in, intriguing Saha rumors notwithstanding. My hope is that a healthy Hammers squad will challenge to remain in the top half of the table.

Nor do I have much of an EPL season preview. (Can you throw down a "nor" clause to start a paragraph, referencing the first sentence of the previous paragraph? Doubtful.) I expect the Big Four to finish 1-2-3-4, probably Man U, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal. Sorry Fuge, but the other 3 made themselves better, while the Gunners gave up my boy Hleb, Flamini, and Gilberto, and haven't replaced them with equal talent (to my knowledge).

9 comments:

fuge said...

Have you not heard of Samir Nasri or Welsh Wunderkind Aaron Ramsey?!?!

I'm dissapointed they didn't use some of the Hleb money on Gareth Barry...But I foresee a strong 3rd or Second. I don't think United or Chelsea have made themselves tremendously better, unless united gets Berbatar, which I guess is a distinct possibility.

And I'll wait till I see Robbie Keane score a goal that matters before I think he's any better than Peter Crouch.

Arsenal makes a move this week, nothing big, just solid, young players like Denilson, Ramsey, Clichy, Djourou, Bendtner, Sagna et al get another year better...Theo Walcott coming to age, as well.

It all boils down to whether or not RVP (Robin Van Persie) can remain healthy...sadly, to this stage in his career, that hasn't happened.

Oh yeah, and a strong return from Injury from Tomas Rosicky won't hurt things.
But Gareth Barry would have solved two problems, who fills in at central midfield, and the lack of English stars on the team.

Dan said...

I think Keane's going to motivated to play well for his boyhood favorite team, Liverpool. He'll make a good tandem with Torres if he gets regular playing time. Rosicky feeding RVP and Adebayor will make Arsenal competitive. No doubt.

fuge said...

Oh yeah, I saw both former West Ham players (Zamora and Pantsil) at Fulham last week...I expect a BIG year out of Zamora, I think he's been good at West Ham, but I think Fulham will rely on him more, and he'll score a larger number of goals...clearly the class of the field last week against Torino.

Dan said...

interesting. both were scarcely used at WHU last year. Pantsil was reportedly pretty good in the African Nations Cup, so both might contribute well at Fulham.

fuge said...

Don't have much of an opinon of Pantsil, he didn't strike me as anything great...but Zamora as a target, and one of the main men up front with the Overhyped Andy Johnson should put up some numbers.

Remember, west ham is a decent Squad, Fulham fights for relegation every year.

Dan said...

West Ham were a Tevez miracle away from relegation 15 months ago. Not an annual struggle though, I guess.

Is Dempsey still at Craven Cottage? Hard to dislike a team that calls its home stadium Craven Cottage.

fuge said...

He is, and is well liked it seems...Eddie Johnson who has SUCKED it up for a while now, is on the team, and all over the merchandising, and I can't understand why....

That is true about west ham...they did almost get relegated the season before last, but Fulham did as well, Dempsey had the 100 Million Pound goal to beat Liverpool...

Craven Cottage is nice, even though I seemed to run into some dumb fans...who seemed to hate Seol Ky Heon for no reason...I am stopping short of calling them racist...but not far away from there.

Dan said...

Eddie "Fast" Johnson? That's his only discernible skill. Why not sign Usain Bolt? At least he's from a soccer loving nation. I'm sure he could pop a few goals in while blazing past defenses.

Dan said...

Tough day for North London today!