Premier League Preview Number 9: West Ham United

10 August 2009

West Ham United

Biggest Ins: Luis Jimenez comes in on loan from Inter Milan to give depth in the center of the park. That’s all for signings.

Biggest Outs: Gianfranco Zola cleaned house this summer. Lee Bowyer left, but Jimenez is a like replacement. Diego Tristan did nothing up front and ended up in the Spanish second division. Freddie Sears shouldn’t have left, but went off to Crystal Palace. Matthew Etherington ended up at Stoke City. Craig Bellamy was sold off to Manchester City.

Easiest Month: The easiest four game stretch comes at the end of January into February. In that four game stretch, they host Blackburn before an away trip to Burnley. The stretch ends with visits from Birmingham City and Hull City. This should lead to ten, if not twelve points. They will need them because… Toughest Month: The next four games. A visit to Old Trafford awaits before Bolton visit Upton Park. This stretch ends with West Ham traveling to Stamford Bridge and the Emirates. They should get three points in that stretch. However, that will be all.

Five Questions About West Ham United This Season
1) How have the off field money issues affected this group? There is still plenty of uncertainty around the future of West Ham United. There is still at least one more court date to decide the bankruptcy of the previous ownership group. As long as the ownership is in flux, expect plenty of questions to be asked.
2) Who solves the problem on the left side of midfield? No player had more than 10 appearances on the left side. If Boa Morte or Collison can lock in the role, West Ham will be in much better shape. 3) Can Carlton Cole pick up enough goals up front? Better yet, can Carlton Cole stay healthy? Diego Tristan is advancing in years, and Carlton Cole is just too injury prone. If either goes down for any stretch of time, West Ham is in a world of trouble.
4) Who can secure the role of partner next to Mathew Upson? It was the biggest problem at the back last season and it caused Robert Green plenty of grief. I would not be surprised if James Collins got that spot.
5) Can Gianfranco Zola prove last year was not a fluke? He came in with next to no management experience and ended up holding his own. This year he has a little less at his disposal and will have a much bigger challenge ahead of him.

My Ultimate Reality: I think Gianfranco Zola is a good manager who can build what he has into something that can compete for Europe. However, with no one I trust in the attack, I’m not pulling the trigger on them making it there. I think the back and midfield will be just fine, but when you have to rely on 1-0 results in the Premier League, you won’t get enough points. They will be safe for sure, even push for Europe in the first half of the season. But the depth up front will see them slide late in the season. They finished ninth last season, I see them there this season as well.


wes August 10, 2009 at 11:50 PM  

You did not mention Lucan Neill - if they don't have him then it could be trouble for them at the back unless they gave a good replacement

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Johnathan Starling, the self proclaimed 'most brutally honest man on the net, dishes out his own unique brand of opinions, and analysis on the Premier League, Bundesliga, and all things US Soccer.

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