West Ham are looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2016/17 season and have set themselves up to do so with a number of interesting signings. The Hammers have acted to avoid the signings of last summer, when the club gambled on unproven talents and have instead looked to proven stars.
The club face a tough challenge at the start of this season, beginning the season with a trip to Old Trafford, though they will want to rack up points before facing Everton, Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal all in the space of two weeks in late November to early December.
How has their summer gone?
West Ham have been active in the transfer market with a number of high profile arrivals. Two of those have come from Manchester City in free transfer Pablo Zabaleta and loanee Joe Hart, with other proven Premier League stars arriving as Marko Arnautovic joined from Stoke and experienced goalscorer Javier Hernandez signed from Bayer Leverkusen. Highly rated 18-year-old winger Sead Haksabanovic also signed up.
The club have also cut loose a lot of their deadwood, with the likes of Alvaro Arbeloa and Enner Valencia finding new clubs. A number of fringe players have also moved on, as the club cashed in on Ashley Fletcher and Darren Randolph. The only first team player to leave was Havard Nordtveit, who returned to Hoffenheim after failing to adapt to life in London.
On the field, it has been a concerning summer in terms of results with their only win coming over Championship side Fulham. Defeats to the likes of Werder Bremen and Manchester City also failed to convince, but Slaven Bilic has been trying to integrate his new signings into the squad.
Manager: Slaven Bilic
The pressure is on manager Slaven Bilic this season after a disappointing campaign in 2016/17. Despite that, the board have backed him this summer by spending big on several recognisable names and Bilic will be expected to live up to expectations as a result, regardless of his popularity with fans.
Bilic has support from the stands but will need to show more signs of bringing young players through with very little depth to his first team squad. If he can do that, he could become a huge success. If not, his position may be under threat.
How could the Hammers line-up this season?
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Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta, Marko Arnautovic and Javier Hernandez will all walk straight into Slaven Bilic’s starting line-up. Jose Fonte may face a struggle, but is expected to start the season as first choice, despite failing to impress last season.
Robert Snodgrass is likely to miss out to Arnautovic, with Andre Ayew the probable choice on the left flank. Mark Noble, Pedro Obiang and Manuel Lanzini are all set to retain their spots in midfield.
Who are West Ham’s best fantasy football options?
The obvious choice is striker and key summer signing Javier Hernandez. A reliable goalscorer everywhere he has been in his career and with a proven track record in the Premier League from his time at Manchester United, he seems a safe bet for any fantasy football squad.
His goal return is an exciting proposition and given that he will be first choice for Bilic this season, if he can stay injury free then he could prove to be a prolific point scorer.
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Premier League Verdict
After some impressive signings this summer, West Ham should certainly improve on last season. Their recruitment has been substantially better than this time last year and is likely to ensure that they can guarantee a top half finish.
Their lack of squad depth may cost them a real shot at European football, but their starting eleven is certainly enough to be up their and fighting. This season may be the start of a process which sees them become contenders in the near future.