Manuel Pellegrini’s first season in charge of West Ham can be seen as a relatively successful one.
It was a difficult job to take on – having enduring a very difficult time settling into the London Stadium for the previous two seasons, as well as four sub-standard transfer windows and two relegation battles, any manager in world football will have been brave to take on the job after David Moyes left.
But Pellegrini appeared to have liked the look of the challenge. West Ham don’t deserve to be battling relegation every year and the infrastructure surrounding the football club is there to enable a more fruitful future with European football and perhaps the odd piece of domestic silverware. Quite clearly, Pellegrini believed he could be the man to deliver just that.
So having overseen £100m of investment in his first summer in charge, expectations were high. The season that transpired suffered mixed fortunes, though.
Pellegrini got his Premier League career in East London off to the worst possible start with four consecutive defeats but eventually managed to orchestrate a turn around that saw the Hammers eventually finish 10th.
At the beginning of the campaign, a 10th placed finish will have been the absolute minimum target – punters keen for bet placing would’ve got some good odds on that before the start of the season – and given the problems of seasons previous, it certainly turned out to be a relatively successful season in Stratford.
But what next? Expectations will be a lot higher and fans will be looking for an even higher finish in the league and better fortunes in the domestic cups, but what can Pellegrini achieve and what are the bookmakers saying about it at present?
Well, the spine of the team is already there and it’s widely believed that bringing in reinforcements at right-back, central-midfield and up-front should be the priority, before replenishing the team with better squad players who can deputise when needed without necessarily weakening the fortunes of the team on the pitch.
That shouldn’t prove to be too hard for Pellegrini to get right and if he gets the players he wants, then West Ham will be expected to compete next season. That’s why bookmakers are giving very short odds of just 5/4 for West Ham to secure the very minimum of a top 10 finish, which some may even see as very attractive given the way in which the Hammers ended the 18/19 campaign.
And if you’re feeling particularly positive about West Ham’s fortunes in 19/20 then odds of 16/1 for West Ham to finish in the top six and as much as 66/1 for them to break the top four, although that may be a little bit too ambitious at this stage.
Either way, you can expect Manuel Pellegrini’s West Ham to be challenging in the top ten of the Premier League again next year.