After a turbulent campaign last term saw West Ham flirt with relegation and rely heavily on Marko Arnautovic to propel them out of danger, the Hammers have spent significantly this summer to rejuvenate the squad.
Manuel Pellegrini’s arrival at the London Stadium has been followed by a vast spending spree, with the east London side spending in excess of £80m so far to land seven new additions – including the expensive captures of Felipe Anderson, Issa Diop and Andriy Yarmolenko.
Jack Wilshere, Fabian Balbuena, Ryan Fredericks and Lukasz Fabianski have also been drafted in, giving Pellegrini very good options to create a side capable of surging up the standings next season – joining the likes of Arnautovic and Declan Rice as core members of the squad.
After a disappointing campaign last season, West Ham’s goal will now be to ensure they fight for a place in the top-ten but the Hammers should be aiming higher than that, as the Premier League odds suggested by 888 – the signings they have landed should help them push for a return to Europe.
West Ham’s two most previous ventures into the Europa League have ended prematurely at the qualifying rounds and the fight to secure a spot in the competition has intensified since, with the Premier League’s established top six pulling away from the rest of the division.
That has led to a different sort of table beneath them, as the likes of West Ham, Everton, Burnley, Leicester, Newcastle and Southampton fight for a top-half finish and potentially a route into Europe, with Sean Dyche’s side securing that honour last season.
A side with the quality that West Ham now boast should certainly be able to push into the European spots, especially with the experience of Wilshere, Yarmolenko and Anderson, all of whom featured in the Europa League last term.
Securing that finish will not be easy though due to the competitiveness of the Premier League, especially when the matches against the top six are considered – with West Ham having a poor recent record against those clubs.
West Ham are not aided in their quest by an extremely difficult opening six games that sees the Hammers tackle Liverpool, Bournemouth, Arsenal, Wolves, Everton and Chelsea, before then tackling the likes of Manchester United and Leicester before November.
With a difficult start, West Ham need their new recruits to hit the ground running and will hope that Javier Hernandez enjoys a better campaign than he did last season, while also requiring Arnautovic to continue the form that saw him crowned the club’s Player of the Year last term.