With West Ham set to start their Premier League campaign at Stamford Bridge against title contenders Chelsea and with the squad shaping up nicely, here are my predictions for the season.
Predicted Premier League finish?
Last season’s 7th place finish, although on paper is a very good finish, doesn’t truly represent how good we were last year. When reflecting on the season as a whole we did deserve to qualify for the Europa League without having to play the qualifying rounds but we didn’t so we have the challenge of overcoming Astra, again, before getting into the group stages.
If we do manage to qualify naturally there will be an impact on our domestic performance as we have seen with Everton, Liverpool and Tottenham in the last few years. I would like to think that we will qualify for the group stages. Therefore, I think we have to be happy with a top half finish in the Premier League purely due to the fact that we do not have the squad depth. However, in failing to qualify I believe we definitely have a squad capable of pushing for a European place.
PREDICTION: 10TH with Europe. 6th without Europe
Europa League finish?
Quite a simple one for me, I am confident we can overcome Romanian outfit FC Astra this time around as the squad we have available now is far superior to the likes of Kevin Nolan and Modibo Maiga who played against them last season when we crashed out of the 3rd Qualifying round.
I do however think that the group stage will be a challenge for us and being realistic I struggle to see us getting into the knockout stages. Having said that, if we were to get an ‘easy’ group then my mind could be changed but as it stands I can’t see us progressing past the group stage.
PREDICTION: Group Stages
This summer the club have once again strengthened the squad significantly and to pick a player that will stand out from the rest is difficult as they all have great qualities.
Andre Ayew is a player that excites me hugely and I see a partnership being made between him and his former team-mate Payet.
Nordtveit looks like a very assured midfielder and I think his versatility will become invaluable to us with our history of injuries.
We haven’t got the chance to see Gokhan Tore yet but he is rumoured to be quite a clever winger as well.
But for me bringing in Sofiane Feghouli on a free transfer is an incredible bit of business and I think he will prove to be our signing of the season. The Algerian international is proven quality and having already got off the mark in the Europa League I can see him becoming a crucial part of our team.
PREDICTION: Sofiane Feghouli
Consistently throughout this transfer window we have been open about our desire to sign a top ’20 goal-a-season’ striker to really give us a focal point in our attacks.
Initially, we attempted to sign Alexandre Lacazette, but the price that Lyon were asking for was way too much. Then we moved to Marseille forward Michy Batshuayi and we were very close but then at the last minute Chelsea became interested and stole him from under our nose.
Many bids were placed after this but the clear favourite was Carlos Bacca of AC Milan. The saga dragged on for weeks with the player holding off committing to us in the hope of securing a Champions League transfer.
Now we have signed Andre Ayew and a deal for any ‘marquee’ striker now appears unlikely given the outlay of the deal. While many are disappointed I believe that it isn’t absolutely crucial, now that we have signed so many offensive players this summer, to sign a striker. I believe that IF he can stay fit, Andy Carroll is more than capable of leading the line successfully for us and I can see him finishing the season as our top goalscorer. Obviously Carroll has been blighted with injuries since joining the club and if this persists then I would be backing Andre Ayew to fill his shoes.
PREDICTION: A fully fit Andy Carroll or Andre Ayew.