After a shoddy opening two seasons at the London Stadium, West Ham finally look to be building a team worthy of playing at such a magnificent ground. A number of impressive signings, including the club-record fee paid for Felipe Anderson, have seen Hammers fans start to believe in their club once again after years of discontent.
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Last Time Out
Slaven Bilic’s decline as West Ham manager continued into the start of last season, and he was replaced by former Sunderland boss David Moyes by November. Initially, Moyes had no effect on the team, and the Hammers recorded just two league wins by the start of December.
A run of one defeat in ten over the Christmas period saw them solidify themselves in mid-table, though, and there was some praise for Moyes over how he had eventually got the team playing to its capabilities.
Despite two consecutive 4-1 losses in the closing stages of the season, they finished the campaign on a high note, going out with a goalless draw to Manchester United and a 3-1 win over a hapless Everton side.
This wasn’t enough to convince Moyes to stick around, and he left the club at the end of the season. He was replaced by former Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini, who had spent some time managing in China.
West Ham have made a number of excellent signings this summer, including the £22 million capture of French defender Issa Diop.
They also have Marko Arnautovic, last season’s top-scorer, at their disposal. He is a fan-favourite at West Ham and is extremely important to how they play.
However, the standout man has to be new signing Felipe Anderson. The Brazilian winger made the move to West Ham for £35 million earlier in the transfer window and is seen as a massive coup for West Ham.
The former Lazio man scored eight goals in all competitions in Italy last season, as well as putting in a number of excellent performances that haven’t gone unnoticed by clubs higher up in the Premier League than West Ham.
A notable inclusion is Andriy Yarmolenko, another new signing who joined from Borussia Dortmund. A front three of consisting of him, Arnautovic and Anderson is enough to cause problems for the best sides in the league; expect West Ham to be scoring plenty of goals this season.
Whilst they have been impressive in the transfer market, West Ham must also be applauded for their capture of Manuel Pellegrini as their new manager. The Chilean became the first non-European manager to win the Premier League during the 2013/14 season with Manchester City and has an impressive record throughout his managerial career.
His longest spell in charge of any club was his first, managing 259 games with Malaga; he achieved a 47.5% win percentage. His best win percentage came in a spell with Real Madrid (75.0%), but this was also his shortest time in charge of any club; he saw just 48 games with the Spanish giants.
While a place in the Europa League may be slightly out of West Ham’s reach at the moment, do not discount them to at least make a challenge for it. There was enough quality already in the side to go for it and they have significantly added to that quality this summer.
Pellegrini also won two league cups in his last spell in England, so Hammers fans may have some cup runs to look forward to, as well as an impressive league finish. The top half will be the satisfactory aim after last season, but there’s no reason why they can’t go as high as eighth.