Gale's View

Tony Gale reckons it could be a classic against Chelsea as the Hammers look to beat them in the FA Cup for the first time ever.

While Tony has a soft spot for the Blues, there is no doubt who he is rooting for at the weekend; these are his personal views on one of the ties of the round.

He starts by saying that the players must banish the memory of last Sunday's trip to Stamford Bridge...

"It was 5-1, and it could have been a bit worse if David James hadn't been in such magnificent form, with some great saves to boot.

"I think he was the one player who could come away with it with his head held high; he had a magnificent game, and it was one to forget from the boys.

"We were poor all round; we held out until just before half time, but I think they didn't defend well, the midfield got outplayed, and up front we were non-existent.

"I'd like to put it down to a bad day - but Chelsea played well as well.

"Spurs showed how to do it midweek, by getting at them and I think we sat back a little bit against them; if you do that against a team of such quality strikers like Zola, Gudjohnsen, and Hasselbaink it is fatal, and I'm hoping that Glenn rather takes it to Chelsea.

"With 6,000 fans behind the goal I'm sure it is going to be a great atmosphere that will spur the boys on.

"It was a shame last week really; you are powerless as a manager in that position and there wasn't a lot he could do about it.

"The injury to Trevor, which could rule him out tomorrow, was a bad blow as well.

"I think the only changes he can make are tactically rather than personnel-wise; if I was looking at it and I saw Chelsea play ever so well with that sweeper system and Zola behind the front two of Gudjohnsen and Hasselbaink, I would be tempted to play the same system against them and go for it like for like.

"I would use Carrick, Hutchison, and Joey Cole and really go at them; you really have to match them all over the pitch with those man for man battles.

"No one is saying it is going to be easy but they can give it a good go.

"It is not a case of making amends for the fans, it is for themselves; I think their pride was dented last week and it could have been more, and a few heads went down.

"I didn't see those defeats at Ever ton and Blackburn but people that did were a little bit worried that heads went down, and I thought they had got out of that under Glenn; but it proved to be the case again when the goals went in, and that was a little bit worrying, I felt.

"But if the boys have got anything about them, and I'm sure they have, they will give it a better go this week.

"I think it is a particularly bad cup draw for us, against one of the best sides in the league, but I think the game is winnable especially when you have reversed the league form at Old Trafford and beaten them in the cup as we did last year.

"If it is a defeat, definitely first of all you have got to preserve your Premiership status, and we have been saying before the teams we have got to play at home, apart from Manchester United, are all below us in the table.

"I feel that could be a stage to go for an outside chance of Europe, but you have to believe in yourself.

"If we do go out the cup there will be a dent in confidence but we can't think the season is over, and we have to go on from there.

"If you look at the teams in the table, there is nothing to worry about outside the top five.

"I hope this a tighter game!

"I'm looking forward to this one; it is few and far between that you get the games with great atmospheres, because all you get is crowds in little pockets in corners of grounds given poxy seats, and you never get that atmosphere that you used to in the old days when one end of the ground was for your supporters.

"Okay, it is only the bottom tier and we could probably have taken the whole of the ground if they had given us the tickets, but I just hope there is no trouble.

"I'm just a little bit worried that above those West Ham supporters there might be some idiots from Chelsea putting some stuff down on them.

"If there is there could be trouble, and I'm just hoping it goes off without any; I really want the fans to get behind West Ham, and I know they will, as they did at Old Trafford last season.

"They did it at Sunderland as well, and it spurred them on; it is a special day and I hope it is for the players as well.

"The only way around it would be to give West Ham both tiers and that is obviously more than the 15 % allocation that you can have.

"With 6,500 fans around there could be a few idiots so let's hope that there is no trouble.

"If Chelsea have got anything about them, like us, they will be wanting to turn it round and get their fans with them.

"If we can get to 20 or 25 minutes and there are no goals on the board I think those Chelsea fans could turn.

"There were a few cock-ups from Ranieri against Spurs in the tactical formation that he used; he should have stuck with the same system that he did against West Ham.

"In that first leg he changed the system half way through to cater for Spurs and in the second leg, astoundingly, he went at Spurs with a back four again, with four in midfield.

"I hope he does that again, but I feel he will go at West Ham with three strikers thinking that is the way to beat them.

"To cater for that I think we have got to play three defenders, Carrick in front of those, with Hutchison and Joey Cole just floating around that midfield to do battle with Petit and Lampard.

"We may see a lot of personal battles that I hope we can come out on top of, because we have seen against Spurs that they are not as good characters as everyone thinks they have got down there.

"I know Glenn likes playing with a back four and personnel wise there is not a lot we can do, but tactically we can change it to get the best out of our players.

"But Glenn knows best; he is with them every day, and he has got Labant and Stevie Lomas - and it wouldn't surprise me if one of them starts.

"Let's hope Paolo has a real great game; if he is to leave for Manchester United before the Champions' League deadline then this will be his final game.

"I think he owes us one after last week; he was having a poor game and everything he did was one touch, he wasn't holding the ball like he normally does to produce those little bits of brilliance.

"That is what he is in the side with a free role for but last week everything was one touch, as if he didn't really want to get involved in the game.

"In the end when he got sent off, although it was a bit harsh, it was silly.

"As far as kissing the shirt was concerned after you had got sent off - that wasn't the time, for me.

"The time for doing that is if he leaves - and if he does, let it be with a grandstand finish."