Season Previews 09/10 – West Ham United

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west-ham

Last Season: 9th.

Say hello to your new teammates: Fabio Daprela, Herita Ilunga (loan made permanent), Frank Nouble, Peter Kurucz, Luis Jimenez.

Close the door on your way out: Lee Bowyer, Freddie Sears (loan), Lucas Neill, Diego Tristan.

Predicted star: Carlton Cole knows that if he maintains the form of last season where he scored ten goals and led the line magnificently then he’s going to the World Cup. In an unassuming team, he’s one of the few current players to consistently make headlines. A good West Ham season will rely on him a lot.

More of the same please.

More of the same please.

Needs a big year: Savio Nsereko was signed for quite a large fee in January and spent the following five months adjusting to the Premier League. Yet to score in his ten games, West Ham will need him to start putting in effective performances. Given that Dean Ashton is never fit, he’s essentially first choice striker alongside Cole.

One to watch: Jack Collison was one of a number of youngsters introduced by Zola last year and he continues a long line of youth academy products. A tidy little midfielder, he scored three times and assisted twice in his twenty appearances.

What they want to happen: Some off field stability is required as Iceland and its associated rich people have lost all their money. A mid-table finish and a cup run on the 20th anniversary of the 1980 FA Cup win would do nicely thanks.

Nightmare scenario: A smallish and quite inexperienced squad struggles to make an impact and Cole’s goals dry up.

Plan A: Play nice passing football in midfield and look for Cole to create chances out of nothing as he did last season. The addition of Jimenez should provide extra attacking threat while Steve Clarke will ensure the defence doesn’t concede too many.

Plan B, just in case: Try and get Ashton and Dyer fit, just for a little bit at least.

Predicted finish: 10th.

Why? After the appointment of Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola and the poor start that followed, you could forgive West Ham fans for thinking another season of struggle was due last year. However, after some initial poor results, the appointment of Steve Clarke as Zola’s number two saw a change in fortune and respectable 9th place finish was achieved.

While Zola is a promising manager who puts his trust in attractive, attacking football, it’s the work of Clarke behind the scenes that gets West Ham where they are. His renowned ability to organise a defence coupled with his tactical work mean West Ham should enjoy another season of relative comfort.

Who'd have thought two Chelsea legends would be doing so well at West Ham.

Who'd have thought two Chelsea legends would be doing so well at West Ham.

The squad is a little on the small side and there is a lack of firepower but this should hopefully be addressed with rumoured targets such as Luca Toni and Eidur Gudjohnsen. The midfield is strong and nicely balanced with the underrated Scott Parker holding things steady allowing for Behrami, Collison and Noble to create further forward. Jimenez is an interesting gamble and he could well prove useful this season.

Keeping hold of Matthew Upson is key, what with Man City sniffing. The defence would be severely weakened if he left though Rob Green is a excellent keeper to have between the sticks. Overall I think it will be a quiet season for the Hammers, hovering around mid table for most of the season. Given the perilous state of their finances off the pitch I think the fans would be quite happy with 10th.

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T.

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