Tony Looks Ahead

Tony Gale reckons West Ham United's next two games, rather than the last two, are going to be a more realistic indicator of how the season is going to go.

Tony, who saw the 2-2 draw with Arsenal on Saturday and will be in attendance again for the visit of Charlton at the weekend, says: "The next couple of games, Charlton and West Brom, are probably bigger than the first two because when you looked at the first two games you might have thought anything we got would be a bonus.

"But you look at these two games now and say we have got to do well against the sides that are probably going to finish below us - and that is what we did last season, certainly at home.

"Before the Arsenal game you would have said a draw would have been a point gained, but in hindsight after the game you'd say two points lost - we played great.

"If anything we just lost it at the end when we backed off them a little bit, but it is hard to maintain it for 90 minutes against the best side in the Premiership.

"I think we showed how you can play against Arsenal, and Arsene Wenger was fulsome in his praise about how our lads played - and it was so different from the Newcastle game.

"Sometimes you can kill off sides by playing well for an hour, but not against the best sides, although I personally think we can take a lot from that performance.

"I have seen a lot of Arsenal in the last three or four years and they are an excellent side, but I think we showed we can be up there among the best, probably in the top six.

"Last season we were the team that played the best at Highbury and the way we did it on Saturday showed we have got a lot of good players - and are becoming far more professional about our work."

Of the penalty miss by Fredi Kanoute, he says: "I just had a feeling he would miss it, because he was hanging around a while and there was a little bit of gamesmanship going on.

"It was just the way he ran into it, decelerating into it and waiting for David Seaman to move - which he didn't.

"It was a poor penalty, there are no two ways about it, and you have got to take chances like that."

As for the weekend, he says: "Charlton are a very good side and we shouldn't take any notice of the poor result against Spurs.

"They have got some underrated players in their side, and although the words 'discipline' and 'well organised' come to mind they have also got some good individual performers.

"Jensen, Euell, people like that are very good players, though I am surprised they let Kinsella go as I think they would have needed him later in the season.

"It is sometimes hard to keep everyone happy, though, but I feel Alan Curbishley did him a favour by releasing him at this time after the good service he gave to Charlton."

Tony is confident of a Hammers victory and says: "I think the first win will come this week. We are the better side, and if we play anything like we did against Arsenal we will win the game.

"Charlton won't come for a draw and I think it will be a good match."

He also predicts better times ahead on the road, and adds: "If we can take that spirit away from home as well it would be good, because I don't think we can just go away looking to nick a draw.

"If we play positively as Arsenal did when they won the Premiership last season, I think we can gain some valuable wins away, even if we might lose a few in the process."

Tony has been impressed with loan signing Eduoard Cisse so far and says: "Cisse looks excellent; I thought he was the best player at Newcastle and he had a good game against Arsenal as well.

"He is really mobile, has a good touch, and what I was delighted to see was that he doesn't mind mixing it, either.

"He did it against Patrick Vieira and if you can do it against him you can do it against anyone and at the moment he looks like a very good signing."

Comparisons with another previous holding midfielder who came from France to Upton Park are, perhaps, inevitable but Tony says: "He is better than Marc-Vivien Foe as he has got more about him on the ball, though he may not be as physical."