Here’s a first sighting of the Leeds debutant Lewis Bate. On his phone, obviously. Bah, the youth of today, etc and so forth.
David Moyes has a chat with ITV. He’s still miffed about the rescheduled Norwich game – “I don’t think it’s right that our game’s been put midweek but it has been, and we have to get on with it” – but otherwise seems pretty chipper:
It shows how important I think it is to play well against Leeds, because they’re a good team. We want to get through in the Cup but we want to try to do well in the Premier League as well. Everybody would [want to make the final], but I’m guessing all the reporters are asking managers the same question. It’s a long journey, hard games. Today we’ve got a tough game and we have to concentrate on that before we start thinking about finals.
West Ham’s starting XI is perhaps surprisingly strong, while Leeds pick Sam Greenwood, Leo Hjelde and Lewis Bate, three teenagers who have not started a single league game this season between them, as well as Robin Koch, who has made three league appearances, but have strength on the bench.
Team sheets have been handed in, and here they are:
It’s FA Cup third round weekend, a time to revel in fixtures we
don’t usually get to see will be able to see again very soon! West Ham v Leeds is on TV twice in a week, with the Hammers’ home Premier League clash against these very same opponents due to kick off precisely seven days after this cup-themed version. Of the two matches, this is the one they’ll be taking a bit less seriously. It’s hard not to conclude that the TV cameras could have been better deployed elsewhere, but these are two well-supported clubs who will guarantee decent viewing figures, so this is where we are.
Marcelo Bielsa goes into his fourth tilt at the FA Cup having never won a single match in the competition, which is a bit bobbins. And with a lengthy injury list to deal with, his chances of improving on that record don’t seem very good. “We always try to win in every official game we have,” Bielsa promised. “There is never a need for added motivation. Every time that the group plays, the desire is always the maximum to win. Every competition is a possibility and we take it in that way. Every game we focus on it with the intention to win it. We’re going to try that the characteristics of our play are expressed and that will allow us to beat them.”
I’ve read the last sentence a dozen times and still have no idea what’s going on.
West Ham will also rejig their line-up, what with having to squeeze a rearranged league game against Norwich between the two Leeds matches and everything. “I’m not really sure yet exactly which way we want to go,” David Moyes said of his team selection for this game. “I think because the Premier League have put the game on Wednesday night, that’s changed the whole dynamics of this FA Cup tie.”