West Ham.

A new season, a new stadium for the hammers, and with it comes fresh optimism for the new era. Followers of the East End club could hardly believe their Donald Duck when they were given the keys to the Olympic stadium. They’ve left their old Upton Park home behind, and whilst their famous ‘Blowin’ Bubbles’ anthem comes with them, they’ll be hoping that fortune is no longer hiding. The future looks bright under Slaven Bilic for West Ham. Finally they look like a side that can start to compete with the big guns rather than flitting between the Championship and mid-table mediocrity. A good stint in Europe this year will go some way to cementing their status as one of the big boys, but they face an even bigger challenge in replicating last seasons league form. With seemingly 7 clubs vying for the title, West Ham face a fight to remain in the top 7. Keeping hold of talisman Dmitri Payet will prove crucial. The mini Frenchman has gone from zero to hero and the Hammers fans have their new idol in the Di Canio mould. How they fare this season will lie largely on his shoulders and the contrasting central midfield pairing of Payet and Noble. You could say they’re like chalk and cheese, one a flair player, the others proper geeze. But Irons captain Noble has more in his locker than meets the eye, and he’s helped the club keep their identity in a changing time. If they can rekindle last seasons form then you wouldn’t contest their place among the top sides for a second season running. And who knows, maybe a trip up the Wembley apples and pears for something to really blow bubbles about.

Key man: Dimitri Payet

Best signing: Andre Ayew

Verdict: 7th

By Darren Wells


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