Laura Woods watched West Ham lose 4-1 to Manchester City but still was left with a positive impression of the Hammers.
The Sky Sports presenter claimed that she thought the Hammers were a stronger team then some may think after losing Marko Arnautovic and in particular took a moment to rave about Felipe Anderson.
“When you look at West Ham’s team, they’ve lost Arnautovic, but they’ve brought someone in, I think it’s Haller,” said Woods on talkSPORT (6:28am, Thursday, July 18th).
“He has just been signed, their record signing, then you look at the other players they have got: Fabianski, Fredericks, also got…what’s his name…he’s brilliant…Anderson, Felipe Anderson was excellent yesterday then you’ve got Jack.
“Jack Wilshere is coming back in, then all of sudden you look at West Ham’s team and you think they’re stronger than you think they are.”
Given that Woods thinks West Ham are being underrated, and there are still popular figures like Harry Redknapp and Tony Gale tipping the club for a top-six finish, her verdict will surely have many Hammers fans raising their expectations for the 2019/20 season.
This is especially the case when you consider that she was still convinced the Hammers could be underrated by others going into the season, despite seeing Man City sweep them aside in pre-season.
The Hammers finished 10th in their 2018/19 campaign with 52 points, 14 points behind sixth-placed Manchester United, and it would be quite an achievement if the club could finish significantly higher.
When you consider that the Hammers do have the likes of Felipe Anderson, who averaged a goal every 311 minutes last season (Source: BBC), as he scored 10 goals in his debut season at the London Stadium and they have just signed Sebastien Haller, who scored 20 goals in his last campaign for Eintracht Frankfurt, surely West Ham can have a good season?
Haller, who averaged a goal every 148 minutes (Source: BBC), can make up for the Hammers losing their 2018/19 top-scorer, Arnautovic, and because he’s new to the Premier League, other sides may struggle to know how to stop him.
So when you consider that’s it’s hard to pick holes in Woods’ verdict, it’s easy to see Hammers fans will be raising the bar for what they consider success in the upcoming campaign especially with the transfer window still open.