Following yesterday’s heroic, dramatic, nail biting penalty shoot-out win in the Betway Cup final, I have mustered up some individual ratings from the starting XI and what we can expect from each player ahead of the new season.

Adrian

6/10

I thought Adrian had a decent game today. Made some smart saves throughout and the goal we conceded was not because of him. Still tends to have a ‘mad moment’ in each game, but overall, he did well.

What we can expect:

For the upcoming season, Manuel Pellegrini has both Adrian and Fabianski at his disposal. Many have vouched for the new signing Fabianski to be our number one, but personally, I would start with Adrian. He isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but he is a vocal keeper, someone who isn’t afraid to command the box and communicate. Although Fabianski may also acquire these attributes, I would give Adrian the chance he deserves to prove himself as number one.

Pablo Zabaleta

6/10

Typical Zaba performance. Solid in defence and consistent throughout. Rarely misplaced a pass and worked hard. Gave some much needed experience to our back line today.

What we can expect:

It is a difficult one for Zaba, because he was one of our best players last season. However, with the recent arrival of Ryan Fredericks, it does appear that Zaba will mainly be used as a back up to the new full back, and almost act as someone who will give advice to Ryan throughout the season. I do feel that Fredericks will be our first choice right back next season, and Zaba , going into the final stages of his career, will expect this. Although he may not be playing week in, week out, Zaba will still play a vital role in our success next season, both on and off the pitch.

Issa Diop

5/10

Evident that Diop is going to take time to adjust to the pace of the Premier League. Looked rather nervous at times, but also showed glimpses of what he can bring to our defence.

What can we expect:

Diop was brought in for over £20m, and with that price tag comes an expectation. It is important to remember that he is only 21 years old, and his best days are still to come in a claret and blue shirt. I feel as if the first couple of months, we will have to be patient with Issa. He clearly has the talent, but I think he will need time to settle, more than any of our other signings. Whether Pellegrini will throw him in the deep end and start him against Liverpool remains uncertain, but he is a player that excites me for sure.

Fabian Balbuena

7/10

Excellent performance from the new man. Assured, calm and collected at the back, timing the majority of his tackles perfectly throughout. Won most of his aerial duels and stopped us losing in the dying minutes with a last-ditch tackle. As good as a goal, that!

What we can expect:

Since arriving from Corinthians for just under £5m, Balbuena has surprised me. He looks like an absolute bargain, and if I were Pellegrini, I would look to start him against Liverpool. Not only can he play, but he is a fighter. He won virtually every tackle in yesterday’s friendly, and he was so calm throughout. This could be our surprise performer for this season, and he will be hoping to establish himself as a regular starter in the near future.

Arthur Masuaku

8/10

What an exceptional performance from Masuaku! One of the best players on the pitch, and really looks as if he is cementing that starting XI spot for next season. Was excellent offensively as well as defensively, brilliant performance.

What can we expect:

Arthur has often been criticised for his inability to defend, which to an extent, has been true. However, in a back four, he has more defensive duties, and now he is playing like a defender, rather than a winger. Don’t get me wrong, Masuaku could do an excellent job as a winger, but I feel as if he is going to relish this new role under Pellegrini, and the added responsibility of ‘having’ to defend is evident. He looks sharp, fit and ready to tear up the new season. Will be one of the first names on the team sheet for Liverpool!

Declan Rice

8.5/10

Man of the match for me. Outstanding performance in the defensive midfielder role. Looks like Pellegrini has warmed to Dec and rightly so. What an exceptional talent we have on our hands!

What we can expect:

Since breaking into the first team last season, Rice made 27 appearances in the Premier League. May I remind you that he is 19 years old! He has rapidly developed overthe past year, and when thrown straight into the deep end he proved he is more than capable of keeping his head above the water. Although he is only 19, Dec should be starting for us next season in my opinion. He is now being played in his favoured position, meaning we shall see Rice developing game by game and will be determined to prove to the Premier League what he is all about. West Ham means so much to him personally and it is refreshing to see an academy star becoming a regular first team player. 

You can watch the highlights of yesterday’s Betway Cup win here: 

Mark Noble (c)

7/10

Very good performance from Mr. West Ham. Did the usual work he normally does, wasn’t scared to bring the ball forwards. Seems to be playing with more confidence under Pellegrini, good to see.

What we can expect:

Lots of fans have said that Noble’s “legs have gone” and he will not be a starter. I disagree. Every time a new manager comes in, he keeps his spot, and there is a reason for that. The man keeps us together, it is difficult to put into words just how important he is for us! I feel as if he still has a good few years left to give to us on the pitch, and as captain, he will play a large part of the coming season.

Jack Wilshere

6/10

A decent performance from Jack. Was sloppy in possession on a few occasions, but, in spells, showed what he can bring to the side.

What we can expect:

So, we finally have the midfielder we have been linked with for the past 5000 seasons! For a free transfer, it is an excellent signing as he was highly rated by many Arsenal fans. If Jack can find some consistent form and steer clear of injury, he will be a great asset to our side. Time will tell for this one, but I feel as if his best days will be in a West Ham shirt!

Robert Snodgrass

7/10

Did not stop working the entire match. Excellent work to assist the goal, and clearly, he wants to be part of West Ham this season. Well done, Snoddy.

What we can expect:

Snodgrass got a lot of stick when he arrived. He was given the impossible task of filling the boots of Dimitri Payet, and the expectation was evidently way too high. However, now, he has no pressure and can go out and just enjoy his football, which is showing in his performances. It looks as if Pellegrini is going to keep him in the squad for this season, and I am still concerned whether he will be able to perform in the Premier League for us, but there is no harm in trying.

Michail Antonio

5/10

Not a pleasing performance by any stretch. His lack of desire to win the ball back after losing it was evident and that is so frustrating to watch. Again, glimpses were shown of his talent, but overall, displeasing performance.

What we can expect:

Michail has recently been linked with a move to Crystal Palace, but Pellegrini wanted to give him some time in pre-season before making a decision on the winger. He has displayed signs of his quality and why we should keep him, but his attitude is my main concern. I do think he will stay, but whether he starts will be an interesting one.

Marko Arnautovic

6/10

A frustrating evening for Marko. Worked hard, played well when involved but struggled with a lack of service. Enjoyed a very good pre-season thus far.

What we can expect:

I believe that this will be Marko’s best season in the Premier League, let alone for West Ham. We have reinforced in areas around Arnie and have given him the ammunition required to absolutely tear apart defences this season. I expect a minimum of 15 league goals from the Austrian, and it is pivotal he stays fit and firing if we are to compete with the big boys and seek a top 10 finish.

Gonzo

By Gonzo

West Ham fan for as long as I can remember. I was flukey enough to watch The Irons beat Bury 10-0 in my first ever game . . . True to form, West Ham then went out and signed their central defender 😬

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