Premier League Preview – Will West Ham Challenge For A European Place?

Since winning the play off final in May 2012, West Ham have gone from strength to strength. Sam Allardyce might not be fully accepted by the fans, but what he does gets results and after years of uncertainty and instability things are finally looking up for the east London side.

Allardyce did his transfer business early in the window, with Romanian international left back Razvan Rat, young Spanish goalkeeper Adrian and Andy Carroll all signing before the end of June. The club splashed out £15 million to sign Carroll and although some will say that they paid over the odds, some of his performances last season do justify the transfer fee.

Carroll’s ex Liverpool team-mate Stewart Downing has joined him at the Boleyn Ground, the 29-year-old was signed for a reported £6 million and it is hoped that the switch will help him rediscover the form he showed at Aston Villa.

As usual with Sam Allardyce teams, West Ham are well organised and strong at the back. An easy game against West Ham last season was a rarity and Winston Reid’s centre-back partnership with James Collins gave West Ham a strong foundation. New left-back Razvan Rat has been impressive in pre-season as he has combined well with Matt Jarvis down the wing.

Ravel Morrison also played well in the Irons’ pre-season campaign, scoring goals as well as creating them. He won’t get many opportunities to start games, but his impact from the bench will be useful.

West Ham will cause most teams problems and will be tough to beat, especially at home. They are lacking depth up front and problems may arise if Carroll is not fit. If another striker can be signed, West Ham will be expected to repeat their mid table finish of last season.

Prediction: 8th.

Thomas Baxter