Welcome to IntoTheTopCorner’s team-by-team preview to the new Barclays Premier League season. Here we look at West Ham United’s vital stats, their summer transfers and analyse their chances.
Manager: Sam Allardyce.
Captain: Kevin Nolan.
Stadium: Upton Park (35,014).
Last season: Promoted via Championship Play-Offs.
Leading scorer (CL): Carlton Cole (14).
Odds: Title 1500-1. Relegation 5-2.
In: James Collins (£2.8m, Aston Villa), Mohamed Diame (Free, Wigan), Alou Diarra (£2.2m, Marseille), Stephen Henderson (£655k, Portsmouth), Modibo Maiga (£5.2m, Sochaux), Jussi Jaaskelainen (Free, Bolton), George McCartney (Free, Sunderland), Raphael Spiegel (Undisc., Grasshoppers).
Out: Pablo Barrera (Undisc., Cruz Azul), Rudd Boffin (Free, Eskisehirspor), John Carew (Released), Papa Bouba Diop (Released), Julien Fabert (Free, Elazigspor), Abdoulaye Faye (Free, Hull City), Robert Green (Released), Peter Kurucz (Released), Olly Lee (Free, Barnet), Ravel Morrison (Loan, Birmingham), Frank Nouble (Free, Wolves), Freddie Sears (Free, Colchester), Marek Stech (Free, Yeovil).
Key Man – Mark Noble
Noble hasn’t proved his potential in the Premier League yet, but last season in the Championship the former England Under-21 international showed his true talent, as he bossed games and showed a level of poise and quality he previously lacked. As a graduate from the West Ham academy, he remains a loy fan and will give his best to help the Hammers stay up in the Premier League this term.
18-Aug – Aston Villa (H)
25-Aug – Swansea (A)
01-Sep – Fulham (H)
15-Sep – Norwich (A)
22-Sep – Sunderland (H)
01-Oct – QPR (A)
Probable Formation (4-4-2): Jaaskelainen; Demel, Collins, Tomkins, McCartney; Collison, Noble, Nolan, Taylor; Maiga, Cole.
Verdict: Big Sam did his job by getting the Hammers back to the Premier League in the first attempt, albeit through the play-offs, but the real test of his credentials is yet to come. He has vast experience in the top flight and most of the people would back him to do a solid job at West Ham. The fans and the club are ambitious and already have a strong squad but they shouldn’t be dreaming of a top half finish. The signings of James Collins and Modibo Maiga are very good ones but with one or two more signings, they should be able to keep clear of a relegation dog-fight. I expect them to have a comfortable season and finish in the mid-table. Allardyce has never taken a team down from the Premier League yet and I don’t see that happening this season either.