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West Ham Fan’s Premier League Season Preview
After a sensational season where they secured qualification for the Europa League, The Hammers are looking to continue the good times into the 2021/22 campaign.
Ahead of a brand new season of Premier League football on BT Sport, we spoke to fans of each and every team about their expectations for what lies ahead over the next nine months.
Talking all things West Ham, BTSport.com spoke with Ex-WHU Employee of The West Ham Way to get his thoughts ahead of the new campaign.
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I'm hoping for more of the same!
To see us finish in a similar position to last season and have a decent cup run would be enough. It would just be great to come close to winning something again because we haven't won anything since 1980. So we’d value going far in the Europa League as long as it’s not to the detriment of our league position... We are West Ham fans! We don’t expect to be going to big European away days often.
I’d like to continue the way we are with Tomas Soucek, Vladimir Coufal and Declan Rice and then bring in another forward. Of all the most essential things we need to do, that is it, because even if Michail Antonio is a real handful you never know when his hamstring is going to go.
The only thing I would change about how we play is we need to have more bravery when taking on the big teams. We set up too defensively against the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea. I’d rather we go for it than show them too much respect because it didn’t work last year.
I’m worried about the Europa League being too much of a stretch on the squad. We’ve only signed a few youngsters and we need to strengthen, we need to replace Jesse Lingard, we’ve got one fit striker and we are a few injuries away from being seriously weakened.
There wasn't a negative atmosphere last season because we were doing so well and fans weren't at the games, but if we haven't signed many players and we lose the first few games then some fans will get on the board's back.
I don’t think we will be in a relegation battle but I think we may struggle to have as good as a season because the likes of Arsenal and Tottenham weren’t at the top of their game last season. As long as we stay in the top half with a decent cup run then fans will be happy but if last year turns out to be a one-season wonder then that will be disappointing.
Most important player
Declan Rice. He showed in the Euros why West Ham fans rate him so highly. He’s a world-class player and we just need to make sure we keep him happy.
Rice brings leadership as the captain at 22, on and off the pitch, and he’s loved by fans and players. He’s composed, breaks up the play and offers a good line of protection for the defence and he’s now much better at driving forward and creating.
He’s so important for the link-up play between the defence and the attack. He’s our only world-class player and when he plays to that level he can drive other players to another level. When he was injured last season the other players’ performances deteriorated and we looked vulnerable.
Conor Coventry. Coventry has the potential to step in and fill the void left by Mark Noble when he retires at the end of the season. He’s a natural Noble replacement... a very similar type of player who also came through the academy as a local kid.
He’s probably been the standout player of pre-season so far and if he can build on that he’s got a good chance of a very good season. I hope Coventry will get some game time in the Europa League and two cup competitions. He's 21, so if he's going to make the breakthrough then it's got to be this season.
What I’ve missed the most
Before the games we [The West Ham Way] organise pre-match events hosted by an ex-player that are all-you-can-drink for £25! So I miss having a drink before and after the game and seeing my mates.
I miss the atmosphere. I've been able to watch the games on TV but I've missed the social side. I actually maybe miss the away games even more because it's about the whole day - being in the minority and representing your club.
8th – Our squad is quite thin, so it’ll be hard to maintain consistent performances across all competitions. I’d like us to build on sixth place but I don’t think it’s realistic, especially if we are going to have a cup run, plus we’ve added the Europa League to the mix too.
I just don’t know if our squad will maintain the levels of performances if we are in Russia on Thursday and away in the Premier League on the Sunday.