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west ham

Hammers are firmly in the mix

General preview 2019/20

OPTIMISM... WITH A BIT OF NERVOUSNESS

West Ham head into 2019/20 in a very weird place - there is a lot of optimism ahead of the new campaign but that is also tinged with a bit of nervousness.

The Hammers have recruited very well this summer and that should hold them in good stead but squad depth is looking a bit thin on the ground with two weeks of the transfer window remaining.

That said, West Ham are firmly ensconced in those sides who can potentially break into the top six this season. It will be a struggle for Manuel Pellegrini's men but in the Chilean, they have a manager more than capable of doing it.

Alongside Everton, Wolves and Leicester, the Hammers are firmly in the mix if one of the big teams has a poor campaign.

They have to get off to a good start, unlike last season, and with the fixtures the team has in the first 12 games (apart from the opener against Man City) it's a very favourable run of fixtures.

The new signings will be key and they will have to settle quickly but it should be a good season for the Hammers.

Pre-season news

Good start that went downhill

SCR Altach 2-3 West Ham

Sanchez, Antonio, Diop.

Manchester City 4-1 West Ham

Noble (P).

Newcastle United 1-0 West Ham

Fulham 0-1 West Ham

Lanzini.

Hertha Berlin 3-5 West Ham

Fornals, Lanzini, Haller, Diangana, Antonio.

West Ham 2-2 Athletic Bilbao (2-4 on pens)

Lanzini, Wilshere.

transfer window

HAMMERS SMASH RECORD TO LAND PROVEN FRONTMAN

West Ham have had a very good transfer window, smashing their record to sign Sebastien Haller from Eintracht Frankfurt for £40m to get the striker the club desperately needed.

They also bolstered the midfield with the capture of Pablo Fornals from Villarreal for £25m, an extremely highly-regarded midfielder who won the Euro U21 Championships with Spain this summer. Two back-up keepers in David Martin and Roberto have also arrived to compete with Lukasz Fabianski.

Some of the dead wood has gone, Andy Carroll, Lucas Perez, Edimilson Fernandes and Pedro Obiang have all departed, while the obstructive and tempestuous Marko Arnautovic has also gone.

The Hammers need to replace Obiang in the final two weeks of the window for sure because they are light in that department but it's been an excellent window so far.

Rating: 8/10

Rating: 8/10

Sebastien Haller

West Ham needed a striker after losing Marko Arnautovic to the Chinese Super League and also, missing out on Maxi Gomez. They spalshed out a whopping £40m, club-record fee on the Frenchmen but that could prove to be very cheap indeed considering his goal record in Holland and Germany. Haller will be the number one striker in east London this season, feeding off a very dynamic looking midfield. Tall, gangly, good in the air but adept with his feet, we're expecting big things from Haller this season.

Rating: 8/10

Pablo Fornals

The Hammers moved quickly to secure the Spaniard from Villarreal and, like Haller, looks very good value for money with West Ham shelling out just £25m for the attacking midfielder. Fornals has the ability to get an opposition midfield on strings and can split a defence on a whim when he feels like it. The physicality of the Premier League might be a shock to the system initially but if anyone can subsequently make those physical players look a bit foolish, it's Fornals.

Rating: 6/10

Roberto

Put simply, West Ham needed a number two keeper to backup Lukasz Fabianski having released Adrian and the experienced Spaniard fits the bill. So far in pre-season, despite shipping a few goals, the keeper hasn't done anything wrong and looks a more than competent backup/cup goalkeeper.

Rating: 5/10

David Martin

Martin's signing allowed the club to let highly rated Nathan Trott leave on loan to gain some valuable first team experience. Roberto is ahead of the former Milwall stopper in the pecking order so it's a struggle to see where Martin could get any game time this season. He won't be challenging Fabianski, that's for sure.

Season predictions

The race to be best of the rest

With Manchester United looking set to have a quiet season and not really knowing how Chelsea will fare under Frank Lampard, Arsenal might be in for a tough campaign too, there are a few teams eyeing up not only seventh place this season but potentially even sixth as well.

Wolves, Leicester and Everton are three of those teams, while West Ham are certainly in the conversation as well.

That race to be best of the rest is going to be tighter than ever in 2019/20 and it's usually pretty tight anyway but it really will go down to the wire this season.

For me, I think the other sides have just a little bit more than the Hammers. Manuel Pellegrini's side lack depth in defence and that could be a massive problem throughout the season.

I don't think they will get the sixth place but, if they get off to a good start and can find some consistency, then they can certainly get seventh and into the Europa League next season - which is definitely the target.