Thursday 27 December 2018

Pitbull would fit in well with the pack!

Right now West Ham feel like a club on the cusp of something great - having weathered a difficult (and defeat-laden) bedding in period under Manuel Pellegrini they have found their stride and have been marching up the table towards the top six.

That march was temporarily halted by Watford on Saturday but they will be hoping to bounce back to winning ways tonight against Southampton at St Mary's Stadium.

A big worry for Manuel Pellegrini is the extent to which injuries have taken their toll, with midfield the position that they are most stretched with Summer signings Carlos Sanchez and Jack Wilshere both out injured. undoubtedly Mark Noble and Declan Rice have done a great job, with Robert Snodgrass making a massive contribution in a more central role, but a big physical presence in midfield will surely be top of the wish list in January.

Chilean veteran Gary Medel looks like he could be just the solution that the Hammers are looking for. Nicknamed 'The Pitbull', his aggressive style would add needed bite to the squad. Medel enjoyed a mixed experience a few years back at Cardiff where despite a string of good performances he couldn't prevent the club from being relegated and moved to Inter Milan where he made 109 appearances in three seasons before switching to Besiktas.

Medel is only 5ft 7 in height (and perhaps a comparison to a staffie might be more appropriate?) but such is his athleticism that he has also played as a centre back on multiple occasions!

With 114 caps to his credit, Medel is just the type of wise head that you want in the dogfight for European placings and no doubt that wealth of experience is something that young Declan Rice would surely benefit from in his journey towards being a potential future club captain.

The rumour mill has it that the Hammers have already made a £6million offer but Besiktas are so far holding out. However, the Turkish club are known to be financially stretched right now and may be forced to sell off their best assets, including Medel who at 31 years of age will hope to still have a year or two to contribute at the top level and may well want to make up for what was ultimately a disappointing time at Cardiff .

The arrival of a pitbull will surely start a series of dog comparisons amongst our squad. can you name the players that bear resemblance to these 4 breeds?

For the answers see below. Number 4 may be the hardest but think about recent International speculation and it should be a little easier!

As for today, Southampton are on the rise with a sequence of wins under new manager Ralph Hasenhuttl, while West Ham may be without both Chicharito and Fabien Balbuena, both of whom had poor games against Watford. Angelo Ogbonna acted as a more than able deputy for the General and will be looking to start today. Up front, things are not quite so straightforward as Marko Arnautovic is unlikely to be rushed back from injury but should be ready for the Brighton game on the 2nd January. Similarly, Andy Carroll does not look quite ready for a starting berth.

The Hammers have only beaten Southampton at St Mary's once in their last nine visits and are 5/2 against for a win. Southampton are 6/5 with the draw a decent bet at 5/2.  It's likely to be a big day for Michail Antonio as he looks to impress at his former club. On form and back in the goals, it's a hard call to decide whether he is likely to leave or stay at the Olympic Stadium in January. Today presents a chance to convince Manuel Pellegrini that his physicality and direct style is enough to make up for his modest first touch on the ball.  
As for the quiz......
1. English Bull terrier = Squad #16

2. Afghan Hound = Squad #9

3. Border Collie = Squad #1

4. Irish Terrier = Squad #41


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