5 Q&A’s with West Ham reporter prior to Manchester City match

"Manchester City's Nicolas Otamendi battles with West Ham's Michail Antonio during Saturday's match" (Credit to Manchester City Facebook Page.)
"Manchester City's Nicolas Otamendi battles with West Ham's Michail Antonio during Saturday's match" (Credit to Manchester City Facebook Page.) /
"Kevin De Bruyne celebrates his first half goal against West Ham earlier this season" (Credit to Manchester City Facebook.)
“Kevin De Bruyne celebrates his first half goal against West Ham during the 2015-16 season” (Credit to Manchester City Facebook.) /

Prior to Friday’s F.A. Cup Third Round showdown at London Stadium with West Ham United, we sat down with “Green Street Hammers” reporter Scott Johnson to get some answers on our upcoming competition.

Friday will be the start of the competition for both sides, who enter in this round. Manchester City are coming off a 2-1 league win vs. Burnley on Monday, while West Ham fell 2-0 at home to Manchester United also on Monday.

To get an idea on how the current match-up is viewed from the other side, we sat down with Scott and asked five questions about West Ham’s season and how they believe the F.A. Cup showdown this weekend will go.

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1.) LH- After a poor start, West Ham have kicked it in gear with some positive results. What do you think Slaven Bilic has changed?

SJ- I’m not sure how much has changed, Carroll has come back into the side and that has given us focus. Bilic does seem to have improved the defense, as most of our wins have been 1-0. The games against United and Leicester have seen us go back to a back 4, so i expect that to continue. But if you look there haven’t been to many changes, just the players actually turning up!

2.) LH – Michail Antonio and Dimitri Payet have been the Hammers’ best players so far. What do you feel is expected of them for the second half of the season?

SJ – Payet is still doing well, despite some criticism. He needs some help as he cant do it all on his own. I’d like to see him involved more, but just more of the same for me!
Antonio is a very raw player, very physical but he could do with some more finesse. Again there’s a lot of pressure on him, and the other players need to help him out.

3.) LH – The F.A. Cup is one of the most exciting tournaments in the world. What do you think the atmosphere will be like at London Stadium for Friday’s third-round opener?

SJ – Our only previous cup match at the stadium was a good atmosphere (despite the crowd trouble) so I’m hoping for that again. West Ham fans love the cups and as such the atmosphere should be good. With some disappointing results the fans will be right up for this clash.

4.) LH – With the January Transfer Window open, what needs do you think West Ham will go after to bolster the squad for the second half?

SJ – A right back and a striker are essential. Jermain Defoe is looking like the top target for us and he’d certainly add a cutting edge to the side. Michy Batshuayi on loan is another idea.
As for right back it could be interesting. Trippier from Spurs would be big and possibly Jenkinson back from Arsenal is another option. Whoever it is they need to be able to balance Cresswell on the left as we are lopsided at the moment.

Next: New left back to get January trial with Manchester City

5.) LH – How do you think the team will line-up Friday (strong or rotated)?

SJ – I think Bilic will go with a strong team. We should be safe in the Premier League so the cup is a great chance for some extra momentum and possible silverware. There’s no point going soft against City or we’ll be torn to shreds. If there’s anyone deliberately rested I’d be surprised, but we may see some youngsters if Bilic is trying something new after a few players went to AFCON. Either way we’ll have to be at our best to get anything on Friday. The draw certainly wasn’t kind to us!

Overall a fair set of answers from Scott, and much thanks to him for his contribution. Be sure to check out the rest of the Green Street Hammer‘s content ahead of this F.A. Cup draw.