Who should be West Ham’s No.1?

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AdrianDuring the January transfer window, there was an outcry from many a Hammer for Jussi Jaaskelainen to be replaced as the number 1 keeper. Some of his performances earlier in the season were not in the same light of his past reputation and it seemed that perhaps he was past his best. He began to improve later into the season and the tide began to turn. His experience is one of the many factors that made Jussi an invaluable member of last season’s squad and although he is reaching the latter stages of his career, we saw some of the quick reflexes and stunning close range saves that made him one of the best ‘keepers in the Premier League.

Jussi signed from Bolton Wanderers on a free transfer after Rob Green left the club at the beginning of last season. Rob had been a vital part of the Hammers’ starting lineup over the past 6 years and his departure left a hole in the side. Despite Greeno’s reputation taking a beating after the 2010 World Cup, his consistency and ability to make point-blank saves made him the immediate choice between the sticks at Upton Park. He was a fan favourite and was often asked to update the fans in the East Stand with the score, which was always met with rapturous applause.

It was difficult to see him go, especially as a replacement with similar Premier League experience would not come on the cheap. Luckily, on the 13th of June, Jussi signed a one-year deal with former boss Allardyce. He played all 38 league games for the Hammers and was named runner-up for “Hammer of the Year”. The option to extend his contract has been activated, despite the recent signing of former Real Betis ‘keeper Adrian.

Adrian San Miguel (perhaps we should replace the half-time Carlsberg?) came into the Real Betis side last season to act as cover for their injured number 1 and made the first team spot his with a string of wonderful performances. He managed to keep 11 clean-sheets, most noticeably against Real Madrid, on his way to helping Betis qualify for Europe. With the immergence of Spaniards in the Premier League, could Adrian’s free transfer prove to be one of the coups of the season?

Not many of us have seen Adrian first hand to judge whether he will be a successful replacement for Jussi. Of course, there is a dramatic montage of all his best saves from last season but we can’t judge a player on his YouTube videos (see Pablo Barrera) so we will have to wait and see whether he can adapt to the Premier League.

However, I did incidentally manage to watch Adrian play last season against Real Madrid. Although I was primarily watching to see Madrid, I remember saying to myself, “Betis have got one hell of a ‘keeper”. Adrian single-handedly kept his side in the match with a string of miraculous saves, denying Kaka from range and Cristiano Ronaldo from a free-kick.

I would not be surprised to see Jussi start the campaign, with Adrian perhaps being used more in cup-ties. Jussi’s connection with the back four from last season and his Premier League experience will see him take the starting role, however with Jussi coming to the end of his career, perhaps this is the hand over to our new number 1.

Who will be our first choice ‘keeper this season? Tweet me @TollyCoburn

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  • RonBoy29 says:

    Give Jussi the shirt for starters and see what happens. I think he deserves to start after having such a good season. Rob Green is still the keeper I would take back tomorrow but that wont happen. COYI !!

  • Pam says:

    I think Jussi did well last season after all he saved 166 goals last season, the best in the PL.

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