Tag Archives: West Ham United

Where should Tammy Abraham go this summer?

If ever you needed a sign that you weren’t wanted at a football club under a certain manager, it’s being the top goalscorer for the team across all competitions, being available and not even making a 12-man bench for the Champions League final.

That’s the position that Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham found himself in most recently, as the Blues were crowned champions of Europe without him thanks to Kai Havertz’s strike.

With Thomas Tuchel now guaranteed to stay on next season, Abraham must start looking at the next chapter of his career if he wants to continue pushing on to become an international striker on a regular basis. But where is best for him? Lets take a look at some realistic options and which would suit him most.

SOUTHAMPTON

The Saints are likely to be on the lookout for a number nine this summer, with Danny Ings’ future up in the air. Ings’ contract is entering the final 12 months and he has attracted interest from the likes of Tottenham, which means they will need to replace him.

Abraham has scored goals everywhere he’s been, including Chelsea, and Southampton could do a lot worse than looking to bring him in whether it be permanently or on loan. He has great feet, is good in the air, good strength and is at his best in the penalty area where Southampton would want him to hang around to take chances.

Unfortunately for them, his wages could be an issue in getting a deal done. Southampton aren’t the strongest financially and Chelsea are notoriously tough negotiators when it comes to selling so unless it suits them they won’t do it. Add to that they’ll definitely have competition for his signature, they’d need a miracle to make it happen.

BRIGHTON

Graham Potter has built a tremendous squad with Brighton since joining, but the thing that has had them in relegation battles since his arrival is the lack of a clinical front man.

Neil Maupay, Danny Welbeck, Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Aaron Connolly combined for just 16 goals in the league this season and missed a whole host of chances between them, leading to the Seagulls having the worst xG differential among the entire league.

They didn’t have any issues when it came to creating though and having a striker in the box who is always available and reliable to find the back of the next is exactly what they’ve been calling for. They’ve got some cash available and while it’s unlikely to be the £40m that Chelsea reportedly want, they can make an enticing offer or get him in on loan.

Much like Southampton though, a lack of European football and competition for his signature means it would be a huge coup and is unlikely to happen.

ASTON VILLA

Tammy Abraham of Aston Villa celebrates with the trophy following his teams victory in the Sky Bet Championship Play-off Final match between Aston...

A return to his old stomping ground perhaps? Abraham spent a season on loan at Villa and scored 26 goals in 40 games as he boosted them into the Premier League. Following that loan spell, he earned the chance at Chelsea under Frank Lampard and never returned.

But the connection has always been there and he admitted that he greatly enjoyed his time in England’s second city, so why not? Villa were a side who really struggled going forward if Jack Grealish couldn’t get going and while Ollie Watkins scored 14 Premier League goals in his first season, there’s always room for improvement.

Abraham would provide great competition and depth to their attack as well as goals, but it just seems unlikely that Villa would spend so big on him with Watkins performing well. No European football is again a factor, but the lure or returning somewhere he’s clearly still adored could be more tempting.

WEST HAM UNITED

David Moyes did a phenomenal job with the Hammers last season, pushing for a top four place all the way until the end before securing a place in the Europa League.

The loan signing of Jesse Lingard gave them a much needed boost for goals in the second half of the season and with Michail Antonio’s fitness up and down they need someone reliable to run the line in attack and Abraham fits the bill.

The lone striker role with interchanging attacking midfielders behind him would suit him perfectly and they have the money and position available to be filled. It would also mean he can stay in London, and hopefully improve his chances of getting back into the England set up.

There aren’t many negatives to this deal other than whether or not West Ham want to make it happen, or if they prioritise someone else.

ARSENAL

Tammy Abraham of Chelsea is challenged by Rob Holding of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Chelsea at Emirates Stadium on...

Controversial? Maybe. But there’s no doubt that if Arsenal are looking for a striker this summer then Abraham should be high up on their list, and if Abraham is to leave then Arsenal would be an ideal destination.

Mikel Arteta is seemingly being backed to oversee a complete squad rebuild this summer and with Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang both the wrong side of 30 striker could be a position they look to sign in. From the way Arteta has played previously, he wants his striker predominantly in the penalty area and that is where Abraham is at his absolute best.

£40million may seem high, but if Lacazette or Aubameyang were to leave it would be for a similar price or would free up huge wages to make it possible, and he’d likely be happy to stay in London.

No European football would be a problem, but Arsenal have enough credit in the bank as a big club to tempt him where Brighton and Southampton don’t.

Why David Moyes is the Premier League manager of the year

We’re entering the final weeks of the Premier League season and everything is all but settled already for the first time in a while.

Manchester City are set to be crowned champions for a third time in four seasons, while it’s already confirmed that Sheffield United, West Bromwich Albion and Fulham will be playing their football in the Championship next season.

Top four is the only thing left to play for at this point, although Leicester and Chelsea currently have a decent sized cushion above their rivals with only a few games left to play.

That means it’s time for the awards to come out for players and managers, including who the manager of the season actually is. There are a few contenders, but one who really takes the shine when it comes to evaluating the performance of their team but also in comparison with expectations and budgets.

One obvious candidate is the man who has led his team to the title, Pep Guardiola. Manchester City have racked up a fantastic season to earn a third Premier League crown in four years, wrestling the title back from Liverpool after the Reds struggled with several injuries.

It wasn’t all easy street for City though, as they struggled early on in the season with just five wins in their opening twelve games and sitting as low as ninth in December. The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss rallied the troops though and put together a phenomenal run of 15 wins in a row.

Marcelo Bielsa, Manager of Leeds United and Pep Guardiola, Manager of Manchester City look on during the Premier League match between Manchester City...

Guardiola used his experience and incredibly high quality of squad options to rotate freely throughout the tough schedule, but he tightened the defence up to have the best in the league while still maintaining an attack that has scored more goals than anyone else in the league.

You could also look at the other end of the table, where Leeds United earned promotion last season and this season have been excellent to claim a mid-table finish and win the hearts of plenty of neutrals.

Marcelo Bielsa’s attacking brand of man-to-man football all over the pitch has seen 106 goals scored in Leeds United’s games this season, more than any other team in the league. He has used his trademark system to put Leeds in a position where they can challenge with the mid-table sides after just one season and with limited options this season he has done a remarkable job.

He hasn’t quite done the job of a certain David Moyes at West Ham United however.

After taking over the team mid-way through last season, Moyes steered the Hammers to safety with just two games to spare but this season he has done the unthinkable by pushing them to the brink of Champions League football.

West Ham United's Scottish manager David Moyes gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between West Ham United and...
Hands up if you’re the manager of the year

A solid defensive system, successful in part to some excellent signings he made with a lower budget than most, Moyes has seen West Ham perform at a level far beyond even the most hardcore fan’s wildest expectations this season.

Only the current top four have been able to win more games in the season so far and only Liverpool below them have lost less games this season. Moyes has also been able to reinvigorate the career of Jesse Lingard after he joined in January, while he has been able to employ a system that has got the best out of new signings Vladimir Coufal and Tomas Soucek and kept Declan Rice and Michail Antonio as important and influential as ever too.

Bringing the east London outfit all the way up the table in such a short space of time has shown everyone that he is still a great manager despite his struggles with Manchester United and Real Sociedad.

West Ham have been fantastic this season and in no small part thanks to the excellent performance of David Moyes, so he deserves to be the Premier League manager of the year.

West Ham’s Jekyll and Hyde performance shows why Top 4 will be tough

West Ham United turned in a Jekyll and Hyde performance at the London Stadium as they blew a 3-0 lead against Arsenal to take away only a point from the game.

Jesse Lingard scored a screamer early on with a half volley into the top corner, before a quickly taken free-kick allowed Jared Bowen to score just a minute later to double the lead. Michail Antonio’s header was then touched in by Thomas Soucek to give the Hammers a 3-0 lead inside half an hour, leaving Arsenal stunned.

The Gunners pulled one back before half-time as Alexandre Lacazette’s strike deflected in off Soucek, making the Czech midfielder a goalscorer for both teams in the same half. Mikel Arteta’s side came flying out in the second half and forced a second own goal, this time from Craig Dawson to make it 3-2 after a great run from Calum Chambers, before Nicolas Pepe’s cross found Lacazette to head home an equaliser late on.

It was a real performance of two halves from West Ham, who came out and dominated in the first half then seemed to go into their shells and quiver as a win got closer and Arsenal fought back.

Lingard and Antonio were willing runners throughout but their decision making in the second half suffered greatly, with both men seeming to opt for individual glory rather than keeping possession or playing their teammates in.

Declan Rice was excellent in the first half, keeping the play ticking over and putting a halt to the Arsenal attacks in the middle of the pitch but in the second half he was an almost entirely different player.

Martin Odegaard dropped a bit deeper to help the central midfielders and Rice and Soucek couldn’t cope. The Norwegian was able to completely dictate the game and it was because of him that Arsenal sustained attacks for almost the entirety of the half.

He was able to turn in the half-spaces, beat players and find passes through the lines or out to the full-back that had West Ham retreating and panicking. While he ended the game with no goals or assists, for my money he was the man of the match with an influential second half.

It was a performance that was very different from what we’ve seen from West Ham this season, in a year where they’ve been incredibly consistent in their style and performances.

They currently sit in fifth place in the table, two points behind fourth placed Chelsea after this result with nine games to play. Many have tipped them to potentially break into the Champions League places based on their performances this season, but it now seems unlikely.

This performance is the reason why many also tipped them to eventually fall away earlier than now, because the quality in the side just isn’t quite there.

Finishing among those in the race is still an achievement for Moyes’ side based on pre-season expectations, but it will be disappointing how a game in which they should have wrapped up and seen off turned into them being relatively happy to come away with a point.

The level of performance throughout the season has been great for them and players like Lingard, Antonio and Rice have rightly earned themselves plaudits – but the lack of top level quality in them and around them is showing as we enter the final stretch of the season.

Jesse Lingard finds his level with a brace on West Ham debut

A picture perfect debut for Jesse Lingard as the new West Ham loanee scored twice in the Hammers’ 3-1 win over Aston Villa.

The 28-year-old started on his first appearance for the club since joining on loan from Manchester United in the January transfer window and made an immediate impact with a man of the match appearance.

He was lively throughout, making good runs off the ball and linking well with fellow attackers Said Benrahma and Michail Antonio. His energy was high, he looked to play forward as much as he could but he also showed an in-game intelligence that outshone the rest of his teammates.

The two goals sealed all three points for the Hammers and kept them in and amongst the top four race, but it also had some Manchester United fans talking about a potential return to the club already.

But people need to be careful what they wish for. This is the same player that recently went all the way through until the final minute of the last season before scoring or assisting a league goal in a Manchester United shirt.

Between January 2019 and January 2021, Lingard scored just once for the club in the league and turned in a number of poor performances that had fans screaming for him to be moved on.

The romance of an academy player being successful at your club, as a fan, is the greatest thing in football. There’s a reason United fans love Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood so much, or Arsenal fans love Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe, or Chelsea fans are so happy with the amount of young talent in their first-team squad.

But it’s also that same sentiment that can often make a team hold on to a player for too long, even when they’re not good enough.

Lingard has had more than ample opportunity to put himself into the first-team picture at Old Trafford and what we’ve seen is the same thing over and over again.

He has a great football brain, his IQ is high and his thoughts are good. He just doesn’t have the ability to execute those thoughts to a high level often enough to make it at a top club. He’s capable of playing one-touch passes and his movement has always been good, but that final pass has always been lacking.

A club like West Ham is perfect for him for that reason. The pressure on him to deliver at an elite level isn’t there, because West Ham aren’t an elite side. Their setup is suited to him because teams are happy to attack against them, whereas for much of his time at Old Trafford even a draw is seen as a good result for the opposition.

With teams leaving more space in behind against them, he will get more chances to make an error but get another attempt later in the game. At Manchester United, you need to take those chances you’re given when teams make mistakes because their approach is likely to ensure those chances are few and far between.

Lingard has an outside chance of making the Euro 2020 squad, with Gareth Southgate a big fan of his. With regular football in a team that suits his strengths, Lingard has found the perfect environment for himself and his style.

United fans should be thankful that he continued to work hard during his time at the club and he’ll now likely make the club some money from a permanent transfer away.

But they don’t need to wish for him to return to the side, that ship has sailed.

Jesse Lingard to leave Manchester United on loan

Manchester United have finally agreed to allow Jesse Lingard to leave the club during this winter transfer window, with West Ham United looking the most likely destination.

Lingard has made just three appearances in all competitions for the Old Trafford club this season, and played for just 80 minutes since September, with each appearance coming in domestic cup competitions.

He was expected to leave last summer, but after discussions with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer he stuck around believing that he would get more game time as a squad option than he has.

It means that he has become unhappy at the club where he came through as an academy graduate and has asked to leave, with regular game time needed at 28 years of age.

Manchester United were initially wary of loaning him out this winter, with the club aware of how hectic the fixture schedule is in the coming months. However the arrival of Amad Diallo has seen those fears eased, as the young Ivorian winger has impressed in training and has gone straight into the first-team picture.

This means Lingard has finally been given the green light to leave the club on a temporary basis, with West Ham leading the chase for his signature.

Hammers boss David Moyes managed Manchester United back in 2013/14, when Lingard was on the cusp of breaking through into the first-team. It’s said that he liked Lingard’s character and that his hard-working style will fit in with what he wants at the London Stadium.

West Ham are currently short in attack after letting Sebastian Haller join Ajax earlier this month, and their hunt for a back up striker has hit a snag with their prime targets being priced out of a move.

It’s possible that Moyes will use him as a winger in order to use Andriy Yarmolenko as a back-up striker to Michail Antonio, while Pablo Fornals has seen his form dip after an initial good start to the season.

With Jarred Bowen, Manuel Lanzini and Said Benrahma also among attacking options, as well as young Nigerian striker Mipo Odubeko coming through from the academy, Lingard will have competition for his place which is a positive for him.

They are competing well right now in the league, with their points total just seven points off the entirety they managed last season.

West Bromwich Albion are also interested in the signing of Lingard, and the fact West Ham already have two loanees in their squad could prove problematic. Said Benrahma is due to join permanently in the summer anyway, but they may need to make that happen now in order to get the player in.

Lingard’s hunger to get back playing will be seen as a positive and United will be hopeful that he will be able to help West Ham take points off their rivals during the remainder of the season.

Despite being evidently not good enough, United fans will be sad to see that is hasn’t quite worked out for Jesse at Old Trafford. Watching an academy graduate perform in the first team is every fan’s dream and his passion and love for the club has never been in doubt. He is popular among the first team in the dressing room and the coaching staff haven’t got a bad word to say about him.

His ability on the ball doesn’t match all of that though and the decision to let him leave is probably the right one.

Who can West Ham sign to replace Sebastian Haller?

After spending £45m on a brand new, shiny striker in the summer of 2019, Sebastian Haller’s time at West Ham has come to an end.

The French born Ivory Coast striker has scored just ten league goals since his move from Eintracht Frankfurt and is now on the move to the Eredivisie, with Ajax agreeing to pay £20m for the 26-year-old.

It bring to an end a poor show in England for Haller, but West Ham will look to move on and will now need to replace him this winter to provide attacking cover for first-choice striker Michail Antonio.

With Antonio suffering with muscle injuries throughout his career, but in particularly this season, David Moyes will look to reinvest the cash in someone he can rely on and likely someone who fits their style a bit more. So who are his best options?

The one that instantly comes to mind is Brentford’s Ivan Toney. The 24-year-old English forward has been fantastic in the Championship during his first season with the Bees, scoring 16 goals in 20 league games so far this season.

His touch is excellent, he has good poaching instincts and is a very confident finisher. He’s mobile, can run the channels but most importantly for a Moyes side he has a physical presence that would see him fit in well. He’d also likely not expect to be an automatic starter but is good enough to provide competition and eventually become someone who starts regularly.

Another forward option is the current Championship top goalscorer in Blackburn’s Adam Armstrong. The 23-year-old has similar attributes to Antonio, playing like a winger up front. He has a preference for cutting in from wide positions despite being deployed through the middle, has a wicked finish on him and is full of pace. Where he struggles is in physical battles and aerially, but as a back up option could provide good depth and would suit the rest of the setup well.

Looking at the Premier League, Moyes could look to move for one of Chelsea’s front men should Lampard decide to allow them to leave.

Both Tammy Abraham and Olivier Giroud have been competing with each other for the centre forward role at Stamford Bridge this season, despite the arrival of Timo Werner. With the German struggling for form having been played out on the left wing for much of the campaign, Lampard could decide to move him into his natural position as he is now under severe pressure for his job.

If that’s the case, one of Abraham and Giroud would become third choice. With Euro 2020 coming this summer, neither will want that to happen as both are currently expected to go with their national teams to the tournament but their place will be under threat should their playing time reduce.

Both players are big figures up front but despite a similar physical size, their styles are different. Giroud is the more proven forward, with his hold up play excellent and a great knack for scoring goals at the near post of from set-pieces, while Abraham is a lot more similar to Antonio.

Chelsea Training Session : News Photo

He prefers to run into spaces and is a more mobile threat, although he delivers his best form in and around the penalty area relying on his instincts. Either would be a good option for Moyes, but both would expect to be first choice ahead of Antonio if they were to move to the London Stadium.

The first choice target however seems to be Ligue 1’s Boulaye Dia, who currently plays for Reims. Dia has scored ten league goals this season so far, bettered only by Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe, and would be available for a sum similar to what Haller is leaving for.

Dia has great pace, is good with both feet and is a confident finisher but does have some flaws to his game too. His touch isn’t the greatest, he lacks a physical presence and isn’t very good aerially which could see him struggle in this West Ham side.

He has good raw attributes that are similar to Antonio’s and with a bit of coaching and time to adapt, he could be the answer for Moyes.

Is Declan Rice Good Enough For a ‘Big Six’ Club?

For the last 18 months the biggest question coming out of east London has been when, not if, will Declan Rice be leaving the club?

Vice-captain at just 21 years old, Rice has come through the West Ham academy and been their shining light during a tough period where relegation seemed like a genuine possibility at times.

He was heavily linked with a move to Chelsea and while it didn’t materialise then, the links have persisted and there’s now talk of a potential move in January. Manchester United have also reportedly shown an interest in the past, but is Rice actually a good option for one of the top clubs in the country?

It’s an interesting question and one that we see banded about regularly about players performing to a high standard for lesser teams in the league.

We’ve seen the likes of Sadio Mane, Diogo Jota, Ben Chilwell, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Ngolo Kante and others make the step up and perform admirably.

We’ve also seen the likes of Danny Drinkwater and Morgan Schneiderlin make the step up and drown because of the extra quality needed at the top level. So where does Rice fit in?

Likely somewhere in the middle.

As a defensive midfielder, we’ve seen Rice is very effective for West Ham. He reads the game well, tackles well, intercepts well and is smart enough to know his strengths and play to them. He’s also pretty good in the air at 6ft tall and copes well with all the physical demands of Premier League football.

Chelsea v West Ham United - Premier League : News Photo
Could Rice join his long time friend Mason Mount at Stamford Bridge soon?

At West Ham, where they often set up to sit back and soak up pressure those attributes are perfect for him to shine and stand out since he’s their best player when it comes to those things.

But those things become a little less important at the top clubs, because they have the ball in those games. That’s when your on the ball attributes become so key, and Rice’s aren’t the greatest.

He’s a competent passer and carrier of the ball but he’s not one to excel at it. He keeps passes simple and we see in the England team that with lots of possession, Rice becomes a hinderance against a low-block defence.

Chelsea seem to have the right idea with Rice, as many reports suggest that they want to sign him and move him back into his central defender role. That would allow him to still use his strengths from midfield in terms of winning the ball back and being physical, while he can keep his passing relatively simple by just passing it on to the midfield players to let them unlock opposition defences.

If that is indeed the long-term plan for Rice, then the answer to the original question is likely to be a resounding yes – although a reported £80m fee is wild and highly inflated.

If not, then maybe teams should hold fire on making him their first-choice defensive midfielder for a little while longer. He’s still young, there’s no harm in letting him develop elsewhere and keeping an eye out.

That is what scouts are for after all, isn’t it?

Manchester City: Are Pep Guardiola’s Methods Catching Up With Squad?

Another weekend of Premier League football has begun and once again Manchester City have dropped points.

For the third time in just five fixtures so far this campaign, Pep Guardiola’s side looked flat and slow as they were held to a draw at the London Stadium against West Ham United.

Michail Antonio opened the scoring in the first half with a stunning bicycle kick as Guardiola’s side failed to register a single big chance against David Moyes’ defensive setup. A goal from substitute Phil Foden early on in the second half got them back level, however they could get a second goal and the points were shared.

Sergio Aguero is back from injury and started the game but he looked extra slow in comparison to when he’s previously come back from injury, while Kyle Walker struggled going forward and the midfield without Foden and Kevin De Bruyne from the start severely lacked creativity.

Riyad Mahrez couldn’t get the better of Arthur Masukau and Raheem Sterling had an off day as City were held to a stale performance where a win would have flattered them.

West Ham United v Manchester City - Premier League : News Photo

It’s not the first time they’ve delivered a performance like that either. Against Leicester they were flat all over the pitch and exposed defensively, while even this midweek against Porto the side really struggled to create chances in the first half before Porto tired.

While the schedule is definitely a reason behind the bad performances, as City aren’t alone in struggling, they seem uninspired and completely out of rhythm rather than unfit.

Guardiola’s meticulous approach has often been criticised by players who didn’t play much under him and even by those who did after he left. His philosophy requires extreme concentration and repetition and with games coming so thick and fast and players undeniably tired already even before that, it may just be getting to them that little bit more than normal.

It’s not a coincidence that City’s brightest players this season have been the ones who haven’t played as regularly under him in the past. Phil Foden, Ruben Dias and João Cancelo have been the stand-out performers thus far and have all played much less (or not at all in Dias’ case) than they currently are previously under Pep so they are still stimulated.

It’s also Guardiola’s fifth season at the club. He’s never stayed at a club beyond four years before and even then he blamed the reason for the poor performance in that fourth season on his own tiredness.

He looks worn out, City look worn out and stale and the whole club looks bereft of ideas right now. They will get results this season more often than not, simply because individually they have got better players than most sides they come up against. But they’re being found out more and more often now and it could be a case of Guardiola’s contract expiry coming at the perfect time for all parties.

Premier League Predictions: Relegation

After 48 days away, the Premier League is back!

At the top end of the table, Liverpool were crowned champions while Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea filled up the Champions League places with Leicester and Tottenham securing Europa League places. At the bottom end, we said goodbye to Premier League regulars Watford and Bournemouth who were relegated on the final day to follow Norwich back into the Championship.

They were replaced by three familiar faces as Leeds United finally make their long awaited return to the Premier League as champions, their first venture into the top division for 15 years. They were run close to the title by West Brom, who were relegated from the Premier League in 2018 while Fulham have bounced back at the first attempt yet again following a playoff win over local rivals Brentford.

Having already predicted the top 6 I’m now going to break down and predict what I think the bottom 3 will be and why, taking into account any business that is expected to happen before the window closes.

18th
West Ham United
Likely line-up: Fabianski; Fredericks, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Rice, Noble, Soucek; Bowen, Antonio, Anderson

West Ham United v AFC Bournemouth - Pre-Season Friendly : News Photo

After scraping survival last season with a game to spare, you’d have thought that West Ham would look to build on their deficiencies to improve their league position. Instead, they’ve sold one of their brightest talents to a direct rival and signed nobody. Grady Diangana was sold to West Brom and sparked outrage from members of the playing staff towards the board, including captain Mark Noble. With the expectation at the time that the club would invest the money on new signings, it was soon reported that the club were refusing to meet the asking price of Brenford’s Said Benrahma. They’ve since had two bids rejected for Burnley defender James Tarkowski and it’s unlikely they’ll be able to secure the deal, with the Clarets looking for £50million for the England defender. With moves up in the air and no real concrete targets anymore, things look bleak. I’ll be shocked if David Moyes survives the whole season and with no reinforcements and a new manager, it’s hard to look beyond West Ham returning to the Championship for the first time since 2012.

Overall it’s not for a lack of talent on the pitch, more the big mess off it that will cause them to suffer and go down.

19th
West Bromwich Albion
Likely line-up: Johnstone; O’Shea, Ajayi, Bartley, Gibbs; Livermore, Sawyers; Diangana, Pereira, Robinson; Deeney

West Bromwich Albion v Fulham - Sky Bet Championship : News Photo

After bottling the title at the end of the Championship season, West Brom only got automatic promotion because Brentford messed up on the final day. But throughout the season they were scintillating under Slaven Bilic. They scored goals, they attacked well and they played entertaining football. In the Premier League though, they will struggle. They’ve made two first-team signings while also turning Pereira’s loan permanent and that could be their saving grace. If the Brazilian can maintain his form from the Championship then they will score goals in this division whether they end up signing Troy Deeney from Watford or not. Robson-Kanu and Charlie Austin both have Premier League experience as does the manager and that could be a key reason for any success they have. With that said, the overall squad is deeply lacking in depth and quality and with the fixtures as congested as they are it will be tough for West Brom to maintain any sort of form. If they can stay solid at the back and change their style slightly to ensure they concede as little as possible then they may have a chance, but with the personnel in their squad they are better built for attacking.

Overall, they’re just not strong enough. Not enough quality and depth and not enough goals in the side. Bilic is a good manager who could switch up their approach but that would likely take away from their most talented players and could be counter productive. They’ll put up a fight, but ultimately they return to the Championship at the first hurdle.

20th
Fulham
Likely line-up: Areola; Aina, Hector, Ream, Robinson; Reed, Lemina, Cairney; Cavaleiro, Mitrovic, Decordova-Reid

Fulham v Cardiff City - Sky Bet Championship : News Photo

After gaining promotion in his first full season as a manager, Scott Parker marches Fulham into the Premier League for a real test. The squad is thin and despite five summer signings so far, it lacks real quality and Premier League experience. They’ve made a good signing in goal with Alphonse Areola returning from his loan at Real Madrid to head to west London from PSG. A World Cup winner (despite not playing in the tournament), Areola has plenty of top level experience having played in the Champions League 19 times. There’s plenty of potential at full-back with Robinson and Aina, but neither of them are top flight proven and it’s a risk. In midfield the club have added Mario Lemina on loan from Southampton to boost them a little but once again the club are lacking real quality there and then in attack they will rely heavily on Aleksandar Mitrovic. The Serbian has been their top goalscorer every year since joining permanently in 2018 and did well last time out in the Premier League with 11 goals. He’ll have even less support in attack this time around though and with such a severe lack of goalscoring threat it’s hard to see where they secure points.

Overall, they look destined to struggle. They’re a good defensive unit as you’d expect with Scott Parker as the manager, but they just have such a lack of quality in the side and lack a consistent goal threat beyond Mitrovic that I can’t look past them going straight back down once again.

West Ham Players Publicly Speak Out Against Board

West Ham’s owners are under increasing pressure to sell the club after a group of players publicly spoke out against the sale of youngster Grady Diangana.

The young Congolese winger spent last season on loan at West Bromwich Albion and was expected to be welcomed back into the fold at West Ham this season, with manager David Moyes keen to use him as he looked to build a “young and hungry squad.”

His plans were trashed however, as David Gold and David Sullivan accepted a bid worth £18million from West Brom. The player signed a deal with the Baggies and will now compete directly against the Hammers as both sides fight to stay in the Premier League next season.

The official announcement drew huge criticism from fans but shockingly first-team players too, including captain Mark Noble. As well as Noble, Jack Wilshere and Sebastian Haller also publicly criticised the decision to sell the 22 year old.

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West Ham briefed when the bid had been accepted that the club would reinvest the money almost immediately, with Brentford attacked Said Benrahma reportedly a target. But the hope fans were given was immediately dashed when it was revealed that the club wouldn’t match Brentford’s £20million asking price.

Benrahma would have shown some sort of ambition to at least help build the squad back up with young talent, with the Algerian being one of the best performers in the Championship last season.

But with a refusal to meet the asking price, West Ham are now seemingly sticking with their current attacking options who have failed to perform like Felipe Anderson and Andriy Yarmolenko.

With Moyes looking to build a certain type of squad the owners clearly selling players over his head, they’re not providing the best situation for him to succeed.

Fans have been calling for the two Davids to leave the club for a while now and were recently told by Sky Sports and talkSPORT presenter Jim White to “stop complaining and get behind the team.” But with clear issues between the owners and the management/playing staff, West Ham are heading for big trouble this season.

The club can rectify the situation by signing Benrahma and another couple of young talents to show they still have a long term vision but the likelihood of that becoming a reality is low. Sullivan and Gold have their own interests at heart and West Ham fans are slowly losing their club. They need to fight to get it back and the players speaking out is a big help.