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With international players late back, signings coming in dribs and drabs and a few frustrating injuries, it’s not easy to read into pre-season results at West Ham, which have been underwhelming.
However, there remains a buzz around the club after last term, when they reached the semi-finals of the Europa League and fought hard for another top-six finish in the Premier League.
Can West Ham fans hope for another impressive campaign in 2022-23? Malik Ouzia takes a look.
How have they done in the window?
Alphonse Areola’s return was a no-brainer, while Flynn Downes looks a shrewd buy and in Gianluca Scamacca the Irons have finally signed a striker. However, new centre-back Nayef Aguerd is already injured and David Moyes was hopeful of having more new faces by now.
Tactic to look out for
Tomas Soucek’s goal-threat dried up last term. The big Czech has scored a couple of times in pre-season and his late runs and aerial presence can be a weapon once more, particularly if Moyes gets his wish with a new, attacking left-wing-back to supply the ammo.
Aguerd is potentially sidelined for as long as the first two months of the season, but he arrives from France with a lofty reputation. The Europa Conference League should give Moyes more chances to blood youngsters than last term.
Is the manager under pressure?
After transforming West Ham’s fortunes in his second spell here, Moyes has rebuilt his reputation and has the full backing of the hierarchy, as seen in the club’s ambitious moves in the transfer market.
Success would be?
The dream would be to crack the top six, which they came almightily close to doing last season, but even finishing seventh again would be big for Moyes’s hope of establishing West Ham as European regulars. Going deep in the Conference League is high on the agenda, too.
Failure would be?
Finishing outside the European places would probably mean West Ham needing a cup to term the campaign a significant success. In Europe, getting out of the group is the minimum requirement, provided they come through a qualifier this month.
Player of the year will be?
The easiest prediction of the lot. Declan Rice is one of the best players in the division and could star for England at the Qatar World Cup, too. The only concern will be that speculation over the midfielder’s future is sure to ramp up as the season goes on.