Defences unlikely to be on top in KC clash.
What’s in a name? Well obviously a great deal to Hull City owner and benefactor Assem Allam, who is threatening to give away the club if he doesn’t get his own way over the controversial rebranding of the team.
The outspoken Egyptian-born businessman has appealed to the Court Of Arbitration for Sport over the FA’s rejection of his proposal to change City’s name to Hull Tigers.
He’s put an estimated £70 million into the Humberside club since saving it from bankruptcy but has told a press conference that he will walk away with nothing if he can’t get the FA’s verdict overturned or, alternatively, can’t find a buyer – the club is now up for sale.
The likes of Michael Dawson, Mohamed Diame, Tom Ince and Robert Snodgrass have come through the front door at the KC Stadium in recent months, though the latter is already injured an will miss a huge chunk of the season.
Hatem Ben Arfa and Gaston Ramirez have also joined on loan and Steve Bruce had the makings of a competitive squad this year before the latest controversy. They made a decent start, winning at QPR and drawing with Stoke, but then got knocked out of the Europa League by Lokeren and lost their final match before the international break at Aston Villa.
There is a large degree of uncertainty surrounding the club’s future again and that can’t be good for team morale so it will be interesting to see how they cope with the erratic Hammers in the Monday night game.
West Ham have lost two of their three opening games in the Premier League and also been knocked out of the Capital One Cup by lower league opposition. But their one victory came away from Upton Park – maybe that move to the Olympic Stadium can’t come soon enough.
Sam Allardyce has been tasked with the job of ensuring that the Hammers are a top flight side when the move takes place so expect him to continue playing the Allardyce way and not in the expansive style that many fans are demanding.
On paper, West Ham’s squad looks one of the weakest in the Premier League with the new signings Aaron Cresswell and Diego Poyet still to prove themselves at the top level, though Morgan Amalfitano and loanee Carl Jenkinson have added experience and they might have picked up a bargain if Enner Valencia adapts to the English game.
But they’ll probably still be missing inspirational skipper Kevin Nolan at the KC through injury.
This looks a close one to call as both teams could struggle this season. The best bet may be for both teams to score at Evens with West Ham fancied to win on the handicap at 7/10 getting a goal start.
The match kicks off at 8.00pm on Monday, September 15th at the KC Stadium.