How will West Ham line-up against Chelsea?
Posted by James Jones | Published on August 11, 2016
West Ham United enjoyed playing against the big teams last season in Slaven Bilic’s first year in charge of The Hammers. Coming away with all 9 points on offer from the first 3 away fixtures of the 2015/16 season, West Ham won at The Emirates, Anfield and The Etihad. Along with beating Chelsea at home, then being majorly unlucky not to win the reverse fixture due to a double referee blunder, having to settle for a draw. Adding to Bilic’s stand out team performances are the draw at Old Trafford and then going on to beating Van Gaal’s Manchester United in remarkable fashion from behind in the final game at The Boleyn ground.
Following another active transfer window from the East London outfit and the new tenants of the former ‘Queen Elizabeth Olympic Stadium’, West Ham have added some great depth to their already attacking squad who were the 4th highest scoring team in the Premier League last time round. The board at West Ham United have been working non-stop with Slaven to bring in additional players to the club in which is a massive season for everyone at West Ham. Moving stadium and the addition of Europa League football, while teams above and around us splashing the cash on new players its certainly going to be a tough season for all involved.
Sofiane Feghouli from Valencia. (Free)
Havard Nordtveit from Borussia Monchengladbach. (Free)
Manuel Lanzini from Al Jazira Club. (Loan to permanent £9m)
Toni Martinez from Valencia. (£2.4m)
Domingos Quina from Chelsea. (Compensation)
Gokhan Tore from Besiktas. (Loan)
Jonathan Calleri from Deportivo Maldonado. (Loan)
Ashley Fletcher from Manchester United. (Compensation)
Arthur Masuaku from Olympiakos. (£6m)
Andre Ayew from Swansea City. (£20.5m)
Following the above signings, there will be healthy competition for places in the matchday squad that will face Chelsea on the opening weekend of the 2016/17 season. Unfortunately, we will be without two of our best assets for the first few games of the new season, as Aaron Cresswell and Manuel Lanzini are recovering from injuries picked up in pre-season friendlies and international duty. Dimitri Payet has returned this week after a well-deserved break after helping his nation to the Euro 2016 final, statistically being the best player of the tournament.
My Predicted Line-Up:
Goalkeeper: I’ve gone for Adrian, although it’s a very close call after an impressive Euro 2016 campaign from Darren Randolph who has just signed a long-term deal at the club.
Defence: With the absence of Aaron Cresswell due to an injury picked up in the last few minutes in a pre-season game, I believe new boy Arthur Masuaku will go straight into the line-up. Followed by a centre back pairing of Angelo Ogbonna and Winston Reid. I personally think James Collins just edges Reid, but I believe Slaven will stick with Winston. I think Sam Byram will complete the back four after impressing fans and manager alike in pre-season while he covered his less preferred position of left-back until Masuaku signed earlier on in the week.
Midfield: A West Ham midfield wouldn’t be complete without captain Mark Noble. Closely followed by Senegalese powerhouse Cheikhou Kouyate, who recently scored the first goal at the new London Stadium.
Wingers: On the left, new boy Sofiane Feghouli. After having a good pre-season following his free transfer from Valencia, and like Kouyate, scoring in the first game at the new London Stadium on his debut for The Hammers and showing his passion for the game, he will be one player to watch throughout this Premier League campaign. On the right is none other than Michail Antonio, who is personally my favourite player currently at West Ham. Antonio has been tried and tested in the right-back position by Slaven, but it’s proven to be somewhat of a failure, despite playing most of his games there last season, still scoring and assisting, Michail is a goal scoring winger who cannot defend that well. Leaving us exposed on the counter attack more often than not.
Attackers: Andy Carroll has completed his first full pre-season with West Ham for the first time since he joined the club in 2012. When fully fit, he’s unplayable and is a handful to even the most experienced defender, and after coming back from injury last season and scoring 9 goals, continuing into pre-season too with a brace against European giants Juventus, I’m confident in saying this will be Andy Carroll’s season to shine. Last but not least Andre Ayew, West Ham’s latest signing who also happens to have broken our record transfer fee, previously held by his fellow forward Andy Carroll.