Summer Ins and Outs:
IN: Razvan Rat (Shakhtar Donetsk, free), Adrian (Real Betis, undisclosed), Andy Carroll (Liverpool, £15.5m), Danny Whitehead (Stockport, undisclosed).
OUT: Carlton Cole, Gary O'Neil, Jack Powell, Jami Rafati, Eoin Wearen (released), Jake Larkins (Leyton Orient, free), Robert Hall (Bolton, tribunal).
What to expect from 2013/14:
West Ham boss Sam Allardyce seems to be continuing his straight forward approach at West Ham. With the signing of Andy Carroll, The Hammers are bound to play direct football and avoid the fan’s desires for beautiful football. But you can’t blame the man. He has a job to keep and his approach is working considering the quality of West Ham’s squad. The London club finished 10th last season and look to improve this season, but with a lack of quality signings outside of Andy Carroll, they might be in a bit of trouble.
They should have no problem avoiding relegation, but after finishing in 10th place last season, the Hammers will find it tough to improve. They lack a second striker, which can prove troublesome with Carroll injured and will put a lot of pressure on their midfield to create. Razvan Rat has looked impressive so far and should help with creating chances out of the back, and Andy Carroll will provide goals they desperately need, but other teams below them seem to have improved more. Southampton has made a few quality signings and will challenge for a top ten spot. Aston Villa have made a series of signings that strengthen their entire squad and can also challenge for the top ten. Other teams have also made moves to improve their squads, so West Ham are likely to struggle to keep last year’s spot.
Players to watch:
Andy Carroll – Carroll is still in the process of getting fit for action, but he should be a nice source of goals for the Hammers and your fantasy team. You may be able to get him for cheap if he missed the first couple weeks of action so he might be a low risk, high reward player to bet on. You can keep him on your bench until he starts scoring goals.
Joe Cole – Cole has seemed healthy and impressed this preseason. The veteran will be making a final push for the English World Cup squad, and although it’s unlikely he gets it, he might be good enough to contribute to your fantasy team at a cheap price.
Razvan Rat – West Ham’s defense was mid quality last season, and with a solid goalkeeper, they can keep a few clean sheets. If Rat can create some chances like he did in preseason and score a few goals, he can be a good option in the back of you fantasy team.
Other players to keep an eye on are Winston Reid and Mohamed Diame. Modibo Maiga will also be of interest as he had an impressive preseason after a bad first season at West Ham.
12th - I think West Ham fall off a little from last year’s success. Their midfield is getting slower and less creative and will have trouble creating chances in this fast and physical league. 12th place is just far enough to not be worried about relegation, but not enough to call the season a success. They may need to spend some more money next summer.