Thursday, October 22, 2020

West Ham United – Under The Microscope

West Ham United had a roller-coaster season in 2017-2018 with the team flirting with relegation on several different occasions over the course of the campaign. The team had made some great acquisitions in the summer of 2017. These players such as Javier Hernandez and Marko Arnautović did not help them early in the season. West Ham started the season with Slaven Bilić as manager. However, the team was not performing well in the league and Bilić was fired on 6 November. At this point, the team looked relegation bound. David Moyes was brought in to steady the ship and ultimately led them to 13th in the Premier League table.

The EFL Cup was a particular highlight of the season for West Ham. The team made it to the Quarter Finals and went out to eventual runners up Arsenal. This included a wonderful comeback against Tottenham in the Fourth Round, where the team pulled off a 3-2 win after trailing 2-0 at half time. Finally, there was not much to get excited about in the FA Cup as the team went out to League 1 side Wigan Athletic.

State of the Club

West Ham just finished their first season at their new ground and it did not come without controversy. Fans have complained about the new stadium and that the atmosphere felt at Upton Park has not been captured at the Olympic Stadium. There is a heated tension between the board and the fans. This culminated in ugly scenes in the 3-0 loss to Burnley in March. This included fans storming the pitch and throwing objects at chairman David Sullivan who was attending the match. This was one of the ugliest moments of the season as a whole.

Although David Moyes came in and saved the side from relegation, he was not rewarded with a new contract. The Scotsman was let go at the end of the season and Premier League winning manager in Manuel Pellegrini was brought in for this coming season. The Chilean manager is hoping to bring his experience and success to West Ham and ensure they are not plagued by the threat of relegation again this season. It certainly says something about West Ham’s aspirations that they managed to attract a former Real Madrid and Manchester City manager. For a team that was threatened by relegation last season, that’s not a bad start. The team has made steady progress in the off-season and looks to be well position for a new season. This is with the hope that West Ham will hit higher heights than the relegation threatened club they were last season.

West Ham United – Diamonds in the Rough

Sead Hakšabanović

The young Montenegrin looks like one of the big players to watch out for in this coming season. Hakšabanović hasn’t yet broken into the first team at West Ham. However, he has already made his debut for Montenegro. The highly touted midfielder was bought by West Ham last summer as an 18 year old. The East London club paid £2.7m for him. The young midfielder has an eye for goal and breathtaking speed. The midfielder can certainly be called on this season, if given the chance.

Sead Hakšabanović
Source: Getty Images

Reece Oxford

The 19 year old can play both defence and defensive midfield. The West Ham graduate has been highly spoken of ever since he made his first team debut at the age of 16. This meant Oxford became West Ham’s youngest ever player. The young West Ham player has spent the last season playing in Germany for Borussia Mönchengladbach. This contributed to his development as he saw more regular playing time. Now that he has returned to West Ham, he could look to be a more permanent member of the team.

Reece Oxford
Source: Getty Images

Declan Rice

The 19 year old Irish defender had a breakout 2017-18 season. Rice broke into the first team, playing in 26 of West Ham’s Premier League matches last season. Rice also made his debut for his national side last season, representing Ireland on 3 different occasions. He has the ability and now the experience to take his game to the next level, becoming an important member of the Hammers.

Declan Rice
Source: Getty Images

Writer’s Suggestions

In:

Jordan Lukaku (Lazio)

The younger brother of Manchester United’s Romelu Lukaku, the Lazio left back would be a good player for a team trying to rebuild from last season. Aaron Cresswell is seen as the main player at left back, but lost his place in the team to Patrice Evra as soon as he arrived at the club. Now that Evra has left, left back looks to be one of the weakest positions for the club. The young Belgian left back would solidify the position. At 23 years old, he could be West Ham’s long term answer at the position.

Out:

Robert Snodgrass (West Ham United)

Snodgrass originally signed for the club in January 2017. Since then, he has made 15 Premier League appearances for the Hammers. The Hammers midfielder spent last season on loan at Aston Villa, where he was met with a lot of admiration from Villa fans. Although he has had a good pre-season so far, he seems to be surplus to requirements at the club and may feel more at home back in the Championship. His chances of getting into the team will have decreased even further with West Ham’s record signing of Felipe Anderson.

Lazy Fan Insider Knowledge

Ins:

Issa Diop (defender, Toulouse)

Łukasz Fabiański (goalkeeper, Swansea City)

Ryan Fredericks (defender, Fulham)

Sebastian Nebyla (midfielder, Spartak Trnava)

Jack Wilshere (midfielder, Arsenal)

Andriy Yarmolenko (midfielder, Borussia Dortmund)

Fabián Balbuena (defender, Corinthians)

Felipe Anderson (midfielder, Lazio)

West Ham United have high hopes for new record signing Felipe Anderson
Source: WHUFC.com

Outs:

James Collins (defender, free transfer)

Patrice Evra (defender, free transfer)

Korrey Henry (midfielder, free transfer)

Rosaire Longelo (defender, free transfer)

Rihards Matrevics (goalkeeper, free transfer)

Ben Wells (defender, QPR)

Reece Burke (defender, Hull City)

Marcus Browne (midfielder, Oxford United) (loan)

Martin Samuelsen (midfielder, VVV-Venlo) (loan)

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