Monday, May 17, 2021

West Ham United Preview – Mediocrity or Europe

West Ham United kick-off their season after a mixed bag of a summer in both a results and transfer sense. As an opening fixture, the only way the Hammers could have been awarded a tougher first game would have been if they were visiting Manchester City at the Etihad as opposed to welcoming the current domestic treble holders to Stratford.

West Ham United State of Play

The consistently inconsistent form of West Ham United from last season’s Premier League campaign still appears to be very much alive for the moment. During the summer the Irons suffered defeat at the hands of potential relegation candidates Newcastle, Athletic Bilbao and Saturdays opposition, Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City. However, the Hammers did secure good victories over Fulham and Hertha Berlin.

For the sake of efficiency, I hope the main door at Chadwell Heath training ground is a revolving one as the amount of transfer activity that has taken place in East London this summer would have taken the average door off its hinges. Big names such as Andy Carroll, Adrian, Lucas Perez and Reece Oxford have all departed from West Ham while Goalkeepers Roberto and David Martin have signed for the club. As far as outfield players go; Pablo Fornals and Sebastien Haller could prove to be very good signings with the latter arriving from Frankfurt following a record £45 million move.

West Ham United Striker Sebastien Haller

Despite leaving it late, the Hammers went on to sign a further two outfield players in the last week of the transfer window. Portuguese teenage centre back Goncalo Cardoso and former Basel striker Albian Ajeti have become the most recent recruits in East London. Though I feel it is unlikely that two will be regular starters, hopefully they will get enough game time to impress.

Signing of the Summer

Given the summer he had, I am very tempted to go with the Spanish U21 international, Pablo Fornals, following a fantastic showing at the European Championships. However I have to go with the big money signing, Sebastien Haller as he had a very good season at Frankfurt and formed a lethal partnership with the now Real Madrid striker, Luka Jovic.

The majority of West Ham United’s strikers in the Sullivan and Gold have been woeful. Here’s hoping Haller can be the answer Hammers fans are dreaming of up front as the last player to notch over 20 goals in a top flight campaign for West Ham was Tony Cottee over three decades ago.

George’s verdict

Given the painful first two years at the London Stadium, a comfortable tenth place finish with no real fear of relegation made for a nice Premier League season in 2018/19. On a number of occasions last season, however, West Ham had the chance to take seventh spot but blew it. Even against the lesser sides such as Cardiff.

Should those opportunities present themselves again this year, Manuel Pellegrini’s men should be better equipped to take advantage. Extra quality has been added through the transfers and with Lanzini, Yarmolenko as well as Wilshere (for the time being) coming back into the squad fully fit, it could be a fantastic season for West Ham, especially if they take both cups seriously, that’s a must-do in my book.

I feel like this season West Ham United could and should finish anywhere between seventh and tenth. The potential is certainly there, though teams around West Ham, such as Everton and Wolves have strengthened this summer. As well as that; Leicester and Watford should also be targeting a seventh place finish. It looks like a big fight out the final Europa League spot is on the horizon this Premier League term.

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