Cottee keen on Arsenal showdown

Tony Cottee is excited by the prospect of an opening-day Barclays Premier League showdown at the Emirates Stadium
Though Tony Cottee only ever once tasted victory at Arsenal as a West Ham United player, the Hammers legend thinks players and supporters alike will be relishing the prospect of an opening-day trip to the Emirates Stadium in August.  

It’s an exciting way to start, albeit not the easiest game for Slaven’s first match! It’s been quite a while since we won at Arsenal, not in Liverpool terms, I know, but it’s certainly been a few years. 

I always believe if you’re going to play the big boys, you’re better off playing them early in the season when they’ve perhaps not found their rhythm. 

Arsenal don’t always get out of the blocks that quickly, particularly last season, they had a very sluggish start, so let’s hope we can get them on an off day.  

But they have some fantastic footballers and I’m pretty certain they’re going to buy some more. Petr Cech’s obviously been linked with making a move across London and it’d be hard work getting past him. As far as I’m concerned they’ll be one of the favourites for the title, so let’s not underestimate them by any means. 

I must confess, I can’t remember too many victories at the old Highbury in my playing days. There were a few creditable draws, but not too many wins if my memory serves me well.  

I obviously never had the pleasure of playing at the Emirates, but it’s a fantastic stadium. It’s a great venue for our fans for the first match of the season, with a new manager as well, and I think it’s one the supporters will really be looking forward to.  

It’s always nice to have a glamour game first up, which we’ve got, and then to follow up with two home games. Under normal circumstances, you’d be pretty confident of getting at least four points out of games against Leicester City and Bournemouth. 

Let’s not forget Leicester had an excellent end to the season and they’ll be full of confidence. Bournemouth, as we know, have got some fantastic footballers and thoroughly deserve their place in the Premier League. They’re going to come to West Ham and play their stuff. They’re not going to be scared of anyone this season. I don’t expect either to be easy. 

As for the last game at the Boleyn, it’s probably for the best. There’s going to be so much focus and attention on what’s going on off the field, it’s probably a good job we’re not playing one of the big boys. 

Swansea are a good footballing team and I’m sure it’ll be a good football match but the day will all be about reminiscing and the fans, showing their appreciation to what’s been a fantastic home for us. 

We all know we’ve got to move on and we’re all looking forward to moving to the new Stadium, but it’s going to be a very emotional day against Swansea. One to look forward to, no doubt about that. 

It’s such an important season for the Club and it’s a really exciting time. We’ve got an excellent young manager in place now and I think we can all look forward to an enjoyable last season at the Boleyn Ground. 

I was always certain there was going to be a buzz around the place, provided we appointed the right manager, and in my opinion we have done. 

Come on you Irons,