Last season: 11th
If West Ham’s last season at Upton Park was a party then the first season at London Stadium was the hangover.
The club, who had come within a whisker of qualifying for the Champions League in 2015/16, lost their way last term with off-the-field distractions and a crippling injury list forcing them to look down, rather than up, the table.
However, an impressive summer transfer window has brought cautious optimism back to east London as a number of high profile players have arrived to solve the club’s problem positions.
Fans had been crying out for a right-back and striker for a number of windows and the deals for Pablo Zabaleta and Javier Hernandez should give manager Slaven Bilic more options this time around.
England goalkeeper Joe Hart has jetted in with a point to prove ahead of next summer’s World Cup while Marko Arnautovic could provide some of the flair that has been missing since Dimitri Payet returned to France in January.
With the majority of London Stadium’s teething problems now solved the club should be able to concentrate on on-field issues again.
If the transfer window is anything to go by it could be a better one.
Glass half full: West Ham have splashed the cash this summer to sign a number of Premier League proven players that solve their main problem positions. Joe Hart and Pablo Zabaleta are upgrades on what they had while Marko Arnautovic and Javier Hernandez should boost an attack that was too often toothless last season following injuries to Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho.
Glass half empty: The Hammers play their first three games away from home due to the World Athletics Championships at the London Stadium and a poor start could put them under pressure early in the campaign. The club’s defence struggled to keep clean sheets last season and they are yet to add a centre-back or holding midfielder to their ranks in the transfer window.
New kids on the block: Pablo Zabaleta – Manchester City, Joe Hart – Manchester City (loan), Javier Hernandez – Bayer Leverkusen , Marko Arnautovic – Stroke, Javier Hernandez – Bayer Leverkusen, Sead Haksabanovic – Halmstads BK.
Left the building: Darren Randolph – Middlesbrough, Reece Oxford – Borussia Monchengladbach (loan), Alvaro Arbeloa – released, Sam Howes – Watford, Sam Ford – released, Kyle Knoyle – released, Sam Westley – released, Havard Nordtveit – Hoffenheim, Stephen Hendrie – Southend, Raphael Spiegel – Boavista, Enner Valencia – Tigres, Ashley Fletcher – Middlesbrough.
The gaffer: Slaven Bilic – The Croatian enjoyed a fine debut campaign with West Ham as he guided the Hammers to a seventh place finish in their final season at Upton Park. Last year was more challenging for the club but the manager still managed to lead them to a respectable league finish despite a crippling injury list and teething problems associated with the move to London Stadium.
Star man: Manuel Lanzini – West Ham needed someone to step up to the plate after selling Dimitri Payet in January and the one they call ‘The Jewell’ did just that. The Argentine international has started to add more end product to his game and, at 24, his best days look in front of him.
One to watch: Joe Hart – This is a big season for England’s first choice goalkeeper. After being frozen out at Manchester City by Pep Guardiola the 30-year-old spent last season on-loan at Torino with mixed success. He needs a strong campaign this year to cement his place in Gareth Southgate’s line-up ahead of the World Cup in Russia next summer.
Premier League Title Odds: 500/1
Top Four Odds: 50/1
Relegation Odds: 10/1
Top Goalscorer Odds: Javier Hernandez 1/2
Star Bet: West Ham’s long running striker-saga reached episode 33 with the summer signing of Javier Hernandez from Bayer Leverkusen. 32 strikers before him have been signed since David Gold and David Sullivan took control of the club in 2010 but this looks to be the shrewdest. The Mexican scored 37 league goals in 103 appearances for Manchester United but many of those appearances were from the bench. He scored 28 goals in 54 league outings for Leverkusen and a similar strike rate could see him nudge those towards the top end of the goalscorer charts this season. Premier League top goalscorer – Javier Hernandez 40/1 (E/W 4 Places)
First five games: Manchester United (A), Southampton (A), Newcastle United (A), Huddersfield Town (H), West Brom (A).