The 2016/2017 Premier League campaign has been a mixed bag for West Ham United so far. The Hammers did not kick off their season in style, but they sit in tenth place in the table after 25 games and it remains to be seen whether they are capable of booking their place in European competitions.
Ups and downs
Over the years West Ham United have established themselves as a mid-table side in the Premier League and they have been making great progress ever since Slaven Bilic took over the reins. The Hammers impressed in the 2015/2016 Premier League campaign, with the team finishing the season in seventh place in the standings. The capital club claimed several major scalps last season, but they have not been as impressive in the English top flight this term.
West Ham United made a slow start to the season. The Hammers were struggling to find their best form, but thanks to three consecutive wins over the likes of Burnley, Hull City and Swansea City in December the team regained a much needed confidence. Slaven Bilic’s men have been in a fine form in the latter part of this season and they have been scoring goals for fun in 2017.
Many people expected that West Ham would suffer a dip in form when Dimitri Payet left the club, but, as things stand now, the France international is not going to be sorely missed in the remainder of the season.
Dimitri Payet saga
Dimitri Payet was in a thrilling form last season; the French midfielder established himself as a free-kick specialist and he scored a number of wonder goals from set pieces in the 2015/2016 Premier League campaign. Thanks to his terrific performances of last season Dimitri Payet's value rose dramatically and his price could have increased by as much as four times. The French footballer, though, was determined to leave the club in the January transfer window and football experts believe that West Ham have managed to get the best possible deal (£25m) out of Payet’s departure. Payet was always angling to rejoin Olympique Marseille and he eventually signed a £25m deal with the Stade Velodrome outfit. Payet was undisputedly the team’s key player last season, but Hammers have been producing much better displays in the Premier League ever since he left the club, with Big Andy Carroll stepping into the void. Slaven Bilic believes that West Ham are “a proper team” without the disruptive France international.
West Ham United chiefs failed to persuade former Chelsea man Demba Ba to join the club in January, some say that they dodged a bullet, but they competed the £10.2m signing of Robert Snodgrass from Hull City before the transfer window closed. The 29-year-old midfielder is enjoying a very successful season and he is likely to help Hammers improve their game. 'Snoddy" made his West Ham debut in a 3-1 win at Southampton and he started the game against West Bromwich Albion as well (2-2). The club owners failed to sign a top-class striker in the January transfer window, but the good news for fans is that Ghana ace Andre Ayew has returned from international duty fit and well. Portugal defender Jose Fonte, who won the Euro 2016 title with A Selecao, is yet another footballer who joined the London Stadium outfit in the winter transfer window, but he has yet to adapt to the his surroundings . Anyhow, seeing that the team need to improve defensively, the Croatian manager did a great job when he brought the former Southampton captain to the London Stadium.
As I have already mentioned, West Ham United finished last season in seventh place in the table, with the team booking their place in the Europa League qualifiers. However, Astra Giurgiu once again proved to be a major stumbling block for the Hammers in the play-offs and, as a result, the club were able to be fully focused on the Premier League this season. Slaven Bilic’s team were eliminated by Manchester City in the third round of the FA Cup, while suffering a 4-1 loss to Manchester United in the League Cup, meaning that they will not have a busy schedule in the remainder of the season. West Ham United sit in tenth place in the standings ahead of Matchday 26 and they are nine points behind seventh-placed Everton. The Hammers need to keep on raising their form if they are to climb to the Europa League berth, but considering that they made a very slow start to the season, Slaven Bilic’s men would be happy with a top ten finish this season. However, it has to be noted that many football predictions suggest that the club will suffered a dip in form and drop to the bottom half of the table.
Space for Sofiane Feghouli
Sofiane Feghouli was producing scintillating performances in La Liga during his spell with Valencia. The Algerian winger was regarded as one of Valencia’s key players and many people expected that he would became a significant Premier League star. However, Feghouli was in Dimitri Payet’s shadow in the first half of the season, but he has been playing with more freedom ever since the French footballer left the club. Sofiane has established himself as a first-team regular and he has been producing fine displays in the the top flight in 2017. The former Valencia man scored his first ever Premier League goal in a 3-0 win over Crystal Palace and he impressed in a 2-2 draw with WBA. Feghouli found the net against Baggies and he provided an assist for Manuel Lanzini as well. As things stand now, Sofiane Feghouli will play an important role in Slaven Bilic’s team in the remainder of the season.
Anyhow, West Ham United are on the right track to find their best form and seeing that they are 12 points clear of the relegation zone after 25 rounds, there is every chance the London Stadium club will participate in the Premier League next season. Slaven Bilic is doing a good job with West Ham and it is no surprise a number of football predictions suggest that there is a bright future ahead for the charismatic Croatian tactician and his team.
About the author: Ignacio del Valle Ruiz is a colleague of ours and is the man behind FootballPredictions.com, a website focused on football predictions, betting tips and betting strategies.