As the dust settles on last season, it is fair to say that there were highs and certainly lows.
From becoming the first visiting team to win at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and Declan Rice’s first senior goal for West Ham, to a disastrous FA Cup exit to AFC Wimbledon and the Marko Arnautovic affair.
However, one thing most of the fan base can agree on is the signing of experienced, Premier League winning manager Manuel Pellegrini, who brought us, at times, free-flowing football and building belief that the club are finally going back to playing the “West Ham way”
Fast forward to the present, with the Premier League a little under two months away, it’s time to look forward to Pellegrini’s second year in charge at London Stadium.
This pre-season campaign is crucial, not only to West Ham but Pellegrini and Mario Husillos. It is now time for the Chilean manager to mould this team into his own.
We have seen some departures already in a ‘clear-out’, selling fringe players such as Lucas Perez and Edmilson Fernandes, alongside the release of high earners like Andy Carroll and Samir Nasri. On the other and more exciting side of things, we have already signed an exciting Spanish midfielder in Pablo Fornals, as well as being linked with some very intriguing players; for example, Maxi Gomez and Joan Jordan. It is these sorts of players that should get any West Ham fan salivating at the thought of what the 2019/20 season can bring.
At the back end of last season, we managed three impressive back-to-back wins against Spurs, Southampton and Watford. What those games demonstrated is that when Pellegrini has a near fully-fit squad to choose from, we can be both solid at the back and very exciting and potent going forwards.
Hammers fans should expect a much improved showing this season, as long as those dreaded injuries don’t rear their ugly head.
I imagine we will see early on when we head to China for the Asia trophy (where we will play Wolves and one of Man City or Newcastle) what Pellegrini’s team will look like going forward and what formation we will play.
Our squad is looking strong in most areas and I believe Husillos and Pellegrini have targeted positions such as a striker to strengthen. We should be aiming higher than 10th this season alongside a decent cup run after last year’s dismal efforts against Spurs and AFC Wimbledon.
We as West Ham supporters have only ever asked that our players give their all in our famous claret and blue attire, and I am hoping this season will demonstrate that.
By Neil Thompson (@NeilWHUThompson)
[Featured image from whufc.com]