As far as Premier League clubs go, very few have had as much of a turnover in management, staff and players as West Ham United, resulting in a very exciting time for all Irons fans ahead of the 2018/19 Premier League season.
Here is a preview into how the next nine months could pan out for the Hammers.
What happened last season?
Most West Ham fans would probably agree that last season is one to forget. Starting the season out with many exciting names being brought in, including Javier Hernandez and Marko Arnautović, only to see manager Slaven Bilić dismissed following a fairly abysmal first-half of their campaign, seeing themselves staring in the face of a potential relegation battle.
Next, the controversial appointment of David Moyes, who in fairness steered the club well clear of relegation and into a 13th place finish, before leaving his role at the end of his short-term contract in May, to the happiness of many East-Londoners who were disappointed with his appointment in the first place.
A joyous summer
Following a gloomy season at the London Stadium, it has been a summer filled with joy for the West Ham faithful. Firstly the appointment of former Premier League champion Manuel Pellegrini left many Irons much, much happier than the previous appointment of Moyes.
This was then followed up by the board showing their confidence in the new boss, putting their hand in their pocket and splashing the cash on several exciting new signings. Felipe Anderson, Jack Wilshere, and Andriy Yarmolenko are amongst the names brought in as part of West Ham’s spending spree, which sees them spending just short of £85 million – and there’s still a few days of the window left.
Whilst spending a lot of money, there is always the possibility of many players exiting the club in order to provide the funds for the transfers, although this summer at the London Stadium, this has been far from the case. Cheikou Kouyate is the only big name first-team player to leave the club, for Crystal Palace.
The likes of Patrice Evra and James Collins have also departed the club at the end of their contracts – cutting the wage bill down on players that were hardly regular starters, meaning that all in all the vast majority of West Ham fans would say that it’s been a terrific summer, so far.
A superb pre-season
Life at West Ham has got off to a near-perfect start for Pellegrini, winning five of his seven pre-season games, only further boosting the confidence of his players, as well as the excitement of the fans. Whilst pre-season obviously isn’t everything, and once the season starts almost all is forgotten about, it was important for the Hammers to get off to a positive start to their new era, given all the negativity around the club last season.
The boss himself has commented on his sides form over the summer, “The players that have come in with our new project, both the new signings and the players who were here before, feel that the club is doing things well,”
Club captain Mark Noble also had his say, claiming that it has been “Really enjoyable” to work under the manager thus far.
What to expect from this season?
Over the past few seasons, West Ham have been an incredibly hard side to predict, bouncing around the table to as high as seventh two seasons ago, to being in a relegation battle for a large portion of last season.
Despite this, the experience of Pellegrini, who simply knows how to win, mixed with the quality added to the squad throughout the summer should surely make for one of the clubs better seasons, and should realistically stay well clear of the relegation zone from the off.
Given the quality of their squad, West Ham should undoubtedly be finishing in the top half of the table, and you’d imagine that anything less than this would be considered a disappointment. Although, should the club get off to a good start and keep momentum, confidence, as well as the fans on side, they could potentially push for a European spot – an aspirational target, although one that could be considered realistic given that a much weaker Burnley side, at least on paper, managed it last season.
Whatever the outcome come May at the London Stadium, it is undoubted that Pellegrini’s men should be one of the most intriguing to watch due to the differing expectations and unpredictability due to the clubs summer affairs.