West Ham’s progress in the last year has been extremely impressive. The club now have a competitive squad who can hang with the various ‘big’ clubs in the division and a very good manager.
The upcoming season will be demanding for the players, having to play on Thursday’s and then Sunday’s assuming we progress in the Europa League. However, the depth and quality within Slaven Bilic’s team will hopefully guide West Ham to a good domestic campaign whilst also enjoying the European adventure.
Predicted league finish – 8th
Playing in any European competition is tiring for players and undoubtedly the league position will be effected.
That and various other clubs have strengthened their squads with the likes of Liverpool and Chelsea having no European competition to distract them. Bilic’s persistence with Antonio at right back will definitely not help the club’s league position as he will be targeted.
However, I think a good run in the Europa League and a top 8 finish in the league would qualify as a fantastic season. We finished 7th last season and some might say finishing 8th this season isn’t progress but with all things considered it definitely would be.
Europa League finish – Round of 16
Predicting where we will finish in the Europa League is difficult because dependent on the group we are in, we might not even get out of that. We have to defeat Astra both away and home first but given the change in squad depth and quality since last year, I would expect us to beat them.
It will be interesting to see how West Ham compete against other European clubs but with a fully fit Andy Carroll and a in-form Dimitri Payet, we should be able to get past the group stages and the round of 32 stage. I feel in the round of 16, we will come up against stiffer opposition and struggle over two legs.
Signing of the season – Sofiane Feghouli
A very difficult one to predict because I think any three of Feghouli, Nordtveit or Ayew could be the best signing but on what has been so far, the Algerian winger looks an absolute steal on a free transfer.
Feghouli’s crosses are custom made for Andy Carroll’s head and the former Valencia man adds skill and class to an already talented frontline. Swiftly becoming a fan favourite, Feghouli should accumulate an impressive amount of goals and assists.
Top scorer – Andy Carroll
Hopefully for the club, the big man stays fit because if he does I expect him to score 15-20 goals with relative ease. On his day, he is unplayable in the air, not even the top Juventus defenders could stop him.
With the services of Payet, Lanzini, Feghouli etc, he won’t ever be short of chances and will score goals. If Carroll were to get injured, I’d fancy Ayew or Payet to be the top scorers.
Hammer of the year – Dimitri Payet
One of France’s best players at Euro 2016 and West Ham’s best player last season. On his day, the Frenchman is one of the best midfielders in the league and is undoubtedly ‘world class’.
His mesmeric skill scares defenders and although everyone knows his quality, he’ll still deliver goals and assists in abundance. In recent years, West Ham haven’t been blessed with world class footballers, however in the spectacular new stadium, we have a spectacular player.
Honourable mentions for this award are, Carroll, Antonio (if not at right back), Ayew and Feghouli.