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Can West Ham at last become a force in the Premier League?

Tuesday 1st August 2017
The Premier League season is approaching and with every hour that passes by each fan will be dreaming of how their team will do in the coming months. Be it lifting the famous trophy, clinching European football or dodging the trap-door, every supporter will be put through the footballing ringer once again.

One such side that have fans dreaming of a much better season than last are West Ham. The Hammers have floated between the top and bottom half of the Premier League table for some time, with last season highlighting an indifferent campaign which culminated in safety, but an unexciting finish.

It was exposed at multiple points throughout the campaign that Slaven Bilic lacked players of relevant ability as they were too often torn apart defensively or shown to be blunt in attack.

This summer, the powers that be for the Hammers have been backing their manager with some seriously good signings. Former Manchester City teammates Pablo Zabaleta and Joe Hart will reunite under Bilic, while the likes of Marko Arnautovic and Javier Hernandez have been added to bring some real firepower to the side.
Acquisitions of this nature have long been expected by the fans, but they have been left disappointed. A lack of signings means that West Ham were always going to fall further and further behind their rivals at the top, which was displayed last season as the Hammers finished a massive 48 points shy of champions Chelsea, while they were also 31 points behind Liverpool in fourth.

This season constitutes a massive chance for West Ham to climb up the table. They have been laying the foundations for some years now and have become something of a mainstay in the league of late, with their safety usually assured long before the end of the season.

Where they must now improve is their ability to accumulate points once they are safe. Last term it was West Brom that struggled to push on once they secured their safe passage into the next season. West Ham must succeed where they failed then.

On the pitch, things are also looking up too. Before the season even begins, the Premier League winning experience of the likes of Hart, Zabaleta and Hernandez could prove invaluable, while Arnautovic was one of the most coveted available players on the market this summer.

West Ham now have a stadium with a large capacity, a team with some top quality players in it and a manager that is looking to take them forward. It is now vital for the Hammers that they make the most of these impressive signings and push on.

Unfortunately for them, the top seven have never been stronger. The traditional top six have always been some way ahead of the rest, but now Everton are making headway with their squad and are closing the gap on those above them, meaning the vast expanse below them is widening.

West Ham are, at the moment, very much in that area of the best of the rest, along with the likes of Southampton and West Brom. They must do more this season to put some space between themselves and the teams below the top seven, or they face yet another disappointing year and will fall even further behind the teams they are so desperate to catch.

 
Ben Darvill

I graduated with an upper second class degree in English and Creative writing from Cardiff Metropolitan University. I have been a freelance sports writer since leaving University and have written for a number of online websites. I am a Chelsea and England fan but I enjoy watching any team play as I have an intense passion for football.


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