Pellegrini’s Hammers Set for Top Half Finish
It was a new era for the club when moving to the London Stadium in 2016, which promised fans a next level of football and a more competitive team to challenge for the European spots. However, after two difficult seasons with incidents off and on the pitch, the board steadied the ship by appointing a big name in Manuel Pellegrini, and allowing a £100 million war chest to sign some top players that the fans had been wanting to see since the move.
After the summer of big spending had concluded, Pellegrini’s side had completed the signings of highly regarded players, which included the likes of Felipe Anderson, for a record fee of £45 million from Lazio, Issa Diop, another young promising centre half from Toulouse and Andriy Yarmelenko, a seasoned pro from Dortmund. West Ham fans were expecting that this was the season that would kick start their progression to the next level and enable them to compete for the European spots. This however, was not the reality, and after four games into the season West Ham found themselves rock bottom of the Premier League with zero points. Pellegrini kept the faith with his side, and the wins eventually came. Results against Everton, Manchester United and Burnley saw the Hammers begin to climb the table. Over Christmas, the Hammers experienced their best ever festive period, with fifteen out of a possible eighteen points, which rocketed the club into 8th position.
As the season has progressed into the new year, West Ham picked up wins against Arsenal, Fulham and Newcastle, and draws against Liverpool and Crystal Palace, which has kept them hot on the heels of Wolverhampton Wanderers who are having a fantastic season and are two points ahead of the Hammers in 7th. The return of Manuel Lanzini has boosted Pellegrini’s hopes of reaching the Europa League spot, and having come back from 3-1 down against Huddersfield last week to win 4-3, this will give the side confidence going into their crucial fixture against Everton this Saturday, as the side look to complete the double over the Toffee’s for the first time in Premier League history.
As the club look forward to the conclusion of this season, Pellegrini is already looking at reinforcements for next season, as many players are expected to leave in the summer such as Andy Carroll, Winston Reid, Lucas Perez, Arthur Masuaku and Marko Arnautovic. There are reported talks with Maxi Gomez of Celta Vigo, who has attracted interest from Barcelona, for a fee of around £45 million. The signing of a player of this caliber would bolster the Hammers’ attack, and become a suitable replacement for Marko Arnautovic, who seems set to move to China. The next window will allow Pellegrini to complete the squad that he desires and therefore allow the Hammers to aim to finish higher up the table next season. With a 60,000 person stadium capacity, the club is progressing to become one of England’s top seven clubs, and with further guidance under Pellegrini the Hammers fans can look forward to climbing the table and getting ever closer to the European spots.