It’s been the usual kind of summer at West Ham United. They splash the cash and optimism rises for a successful season. Then they get off to a slow start, end, recover, have another bad patch and end up in mid-table. Will the 2019/20 season follow a similar pattern?
West Ham United finished tenth in the Premier League last season. In the seven seasons since winning promotion, that’s only the third top ten finish achieved. They won their last three league games to achieve that position. 52 points were earned, ten more than in the previous season when finishing 13th.
West Ham may have finished 10th but they still lost more games than they won. The Hammers had a negative goal difference too for the sixth time in seven seasons. They were one of only six teams that both scored and conceded 50 league goals. The Hammers are a frustrating team with notable wins over Manchester United, Tottenham and Arsenal but losses to Brighton, Cardiff and Burnley and don’t mention the FA Cup!
West Ham have made two massive signings during the summer transfer window. £45m has been spent on signing Sebastian Haller from Eintracht Frankfurt. He scored 83 goals in the past five seasons for Frankfurt and Utrecht but can he do that in the Premier League. Another £24m has been spent on acquiring Pablo Fornals from Villarreal. He has 15 goals in his last three seasons playing in La Liga. Two goalkeepers have been signed with Roberto arriving from Espanyol and Millwall’s David Martin being recruited.
It’s not been all good news though with Marco Arnautovic leaving for China. He’s been their top league goal scorer for the past two seasons with 21 goals. Andy Carroll has also been released with Sami Nasri and Adrian also leaving the club.
The arrival of Haller from Eintracht Frankfurt has to work. Their top scorer for the past two seasons has been sold and the next highest league scorer last season was Anderson with just nine goals. He has to score more this season as does Chicarito. Only once since 2007 has a West Ham player scored more than 12 goals in a Premier League season.
Away form has to be improved if they are to climb higher in the league. The past two seasons have both seen West Ham lose ten games on the road with 70 goals conceded. Only nine away games out of the last 38 have been won. That has to get better if they want another top ten finish. You can get odds of 6/5 (2.2) at Unibet on that being achieved this season.
133 goals have been conceded in the past two league seasons. That figure has to be reduced but there have been no defenders signed, just a couple of goalkeepers. West Ham also need to start games better. Ten league defeats last season saw them losing at both half and full time.
Early Season Fixtures
10 August: Manchester City (home)
17 August: Brighton and Hove Albion (away)
24 August: Watford (away)
31 August: Norwich City (home)
16 September: Aston Villa (away)
Last season began with four straight league defeats. This new one is likely to begin with a home defeat. West Ham have a terrible record against Manchester City. The last eight encounters have all been lost with 27 goals scored. You can get odds of 12/1 (13.0) at BetVictor on them beating City on the opening weekend.
Brighton and Watford away are games that West Ham can get points from. It’s 7/4 (2.75) at Unibet on them winning at Brighton. The same can be said of a home game against newly promoted Norwich City. Aston Villa might not be the easiest of games but West Ham should be able to make a steady start to the season.
Not until November 23 do they face another side who finished in the top four last season. That’s a home game against Chelsea with a trip to Tottenham up next. If West Ham are to do well this season, the first three months has to produce plenty of points. If not, then those dreams of a top six finish (11/1 (12.0) at Boylesports) will fade.
West Ham are a side that nearly become the finished item but not quite. They have made some good signings and will hope players such as Anderson and Lanzini do better this season. The defence still needs major surgery though. They need to improve their away form too and again are likely to finish mid-table this season. A bet on them being the bottom London club in the Premier League is worth a go. It’s basically a match bet with Crystal Palace and SkyBet will give you 9/4 (3.25) on them trailing the rest of the capital..