We had a chat with Hammers fan Joe Connell (@The_Ironworks_) to get the lowdown on tonight’s opponents, who’ve enjoyed a narrowly better start to the season than Bolton. However, there’s some hope for the visiting side as tonight’s hosts haven’t tasted success against Wanderers in over a decade, have lost in their last nine attempts and have only beaten us twice in our last 18 clashes going back to 2002.
However, tonight will likely prove a much tougher ask for the Whites. Over to Joe...
West Ham’s season so far
After a slow start to our Premier League campaign, it seems like we're starting to gain some momentum. Slaven Bilic has reverted to the back three that was used intermittently last season and it's yielded an upturn in results, with a 2-0 win against a resolute Huddersfield and a valuable point on the road at the Hawthorns.
Stand out performers so far have been few and far between, but Chicharito has brought a poaching instinct and an urgency that we have lacked in the past. It's a shame that in our current 3-4-3 system he is being wasted out wide, much to the displeasure of our fans.
Hammers’ record against Wanderers
Games against Bolton in the past have been pretty awful for us Hammers. I still can't shake the memory of Jay-Jay Okocha skinning about 9 of our players and smashing the ball into the top corner to all but send us down in 2003, or the Matty Taylor masterclass at Upton Park in 2008. Hopefully tonight we will see a change in fortune.
Thoughts on Bolton this season
I have been following Bolton's progress in The Championship fairly closely, mainly due to the addition of Reece Burke and Josh Cullen to your ranks. Many see Cullen as the natural successor to Irons stalwart Mark Noble, with his passing range and dynamism in the middle of the park making him an incredibly exciting prospect. Burke is also highly lauded at West Ham, and by all accounts he's been putting in the rugged performances at Bolton that have made him so revered in east London.
The West Ham line-up
The word is that Bilic will be fielding an exciting team tonight, with a mix of young and old talent on display. Academy boys Nathan Holland and Declan Rice could be in line for a start, with £25 million man Marko Arnautovic set for his home debut after his ridiculous red card against Southampton. Captain Mark Noble is also back from injury and could start.
I think that given Bolton's poor run of form and Bilic's desire to progress in the cup, we should be winning this. I'll go with a 3-1 West Ham win . Good luck to all the Trotters fans making the trip down to the London Stadium. Come on you Irons.
Thanks to Joe for speaking to us, and give him a follow for plenty of Irons banter @The_Ironworks_. Come on you Whites.