We’re only four games into the season and it has already been a wild ride for West Ham United.
The new-look Hammers have put in what could best be described as mercurial performances over the last few games with both huge upset victories and some head-scratching losses. Their upcoming match against Newcastle United should say much about the team’s prospects for the coming season as well as offer a chance to see some of the squad’s new signings in action.
West Ham had a very busy transfer deadline day and added a fair amount of depth to an already decent roster with a host of talented new players. New manager Slaven Bilic picked up veteran footballers Victor Moses and Alex Song on loan from Chelsea and Barcelona, respectively, to provide some extra firepower on the wings and defense.
Despite some concerns over his fitness, the team was quick to jump on the opportunity to have Song return for another year in East London. “When I left I didn’t know I would come back here,” Song told the Daily Mail. “It was not easy but at the end of the day, the most important thing is I’m here now and I’m very happy.”
The team also signed Croatian striker Nikica Jelavic and English winger Michael Antonio for some added creative playmaking to complement Bilic’s counter-attacking style. So far, their quick-paced brand of counter-attacking play has worked out swimmingly. The Guardian reports that the team has currently scored second most goals in the Premier League with 9, behind Manchester City’s 10 goals.
Picking up Italian centre back Angelo Ogbonna from Juventus was a shrewd move to reenforce the back line. Also, the addition of attacking midfielder Dimitri Payet has already paid off in spades with the player already contributing a goal and an assist in his two games with West Ham.
Right now it appears as though the Hammers are playing to the level of their competition as opposed to realising their own potential. The squad opened the season with a terrific 2-0 victory over Arsenal and then lost its next two matches to Leicester City and newly promoted Bournemouth FC, respectively. They followed this up with a ridiculous 3-0 drubbing of Liverpool.
It seems that when West Ham plays a team at the top of the table they are able to elevate their play to new heights. However, the moment the team is actually favoured in a match, they fall apart. Hopefully the team will be able to play to its potential when it meets Newcastle on Monday.
As for how the game’s outcome is being predicted, Betfair has the team listed at 2.26 to win against Newcastle United, who’s listed at 3.55 odds to take the match (with more details here). With any luck, this will be the game where the team can finally show some consistency and prove to doubters that the wins over Liverpool and Arsenal were more than flukes.
The similar circumstances in which both teams have found themselves to start the season is one of the things that makes Saturday’s match up such a potentially interesting one. Both teams have signed a significant number of players during the transfer window who will definitely have a noticeable affect on the teams’ styles of play. Also, West Ham and Newcastle both have brand-new managers, so they’re entering the contest in very similar situations on paper.
After a woefully disappointing 2014 season that nearly saw the team relegated, Newcastle is doing everything it can to avoid a similar fate.
A new coach and a slew of transfer signings leave them hopeful they can turn things around, but the team is still currently sitting in 19th place. Chronicle Live reports that defender Paul Dummett suffered a hamstring injury that will keep the Welsh back on the sidelines for several weeks. Centre back Mike Williamson is also recovering from injury and will be doubtful at best to suit up Monday.
This practically guts the back line of the Magpies and can only help West Ham’s chances of winning.