Written by @mansfieldhammer
As the dust settles after England’s successful showing at the World Cup, I’m really looking forward to the new Premier League season. There’s no doubt that the board have backed the new manager and, more importantly, Mr Pellegrini seems to have spent the money wisely.
The acquisition of Wilshere is an impressive coup. When fit, there’s no doubting Jack’s quality. Keeping him fit, something we as a club don’t seem to be able to do, will be crucial in the irons having a successful season in 2018/2019. There is room for cautious optimism however in this regard. Wilshere turned out 20 times in the Premier League last season and 29 the season before.
There is a school of thought that players can grow out of their injuries and I hope that this is true for Wilshere as I believe he can form a really important partnership with Mark Noble or Pedro Obiang in the middle of the park.
Pellegrini seems to have addressed our biggest failing last season too. Any team conceding 68 goals in a league campaign will obviously struggle to make any inroads to the top half of the table. The signings of Fredericks, Fabianski, Diop and Balbuena will provide much needed steel and talent into a back line woefully short of confidence last season. Diop in particular looks a steal. Captain of the French U21 team, he’ll be knocking on the door for full international caps with the World Cup winners in the near future – something which I believe will benefit our team this season.
I like the look of Fredericks too. We’ve not had a decent right-back since Lucas Neill, someone with genuine pace that can get up and down. Zabaleta was excellent last season, a real want-to-win attitude, but his legs just can’t carry him through the demands of that wing back or right back role in today’s Premier League. Fredericks has pace to burn and I can’t wait to see how he links up with Anderson down the right.
Having Yarmolenko and Anderson terrorising full backs this season is going to be very enjoyable, but I do question whether they will be track back enough, potentially leaving Fredericks and Cresswell exposed at the back. Still, exciting signings nonetheless.
There’s no doubt that the signings have been fantastic and given every West Ham fan a terrific boost ahead of the new campaign. The board seem to have listened to the fans deep lying frustrations and in Pellegrini they have appointed probably our best manager in my lifetime (45 years and counting). My optimism is countered a little bit by the experiences of Everton last season. They also spent big in the summer, but their players failed to gel and had a torrid start to the season. So much so that they needed Allardyce to step in and save them from relegation (sound familiar?).
Having said that though, Pellegrini is in a different managerial universe to Ronald Koeman, and I believe that he’s the right man to take us to that promised “next level”.
Things are never dull at West Ham, are they? My season ticket has been renewed, train tickets from the East Midlands have been booked and I can’t wait for the season to start. Our team has goals in it, the defensive side of things looks to have been sorted, can we really dream of qualifying for Europe this season? I believe that we can. Come On You Irons!