At the time of writing this, West Ham are currently involved in a pre-season friendly against Bishop Stortford, we are currently one nil up through a rather odd Stanislas goal (or at least that is what I presume from the text update on the West Ham website).
This is my first West Ham blog, I have made a few posts here and there on my other blog but I felt that I had so many views on West Ham, that I may as well have my own blog for it! Please note this is not going to be one with constant updates about transfers and results, it will just be a fans personal view on life as a fan and what I see could help.
Everything is settled in place at West Ham now, we are in the Championship, whether we like it or not, although I see it as a blessing in disguise, we've had two seasons in a row spent at the bottom of the table, this is a chance for the team to get back to basics and rebuild for the future. We haven't lost many players yet, the main players being Jacobsen, Upson and Spector. I was shocked to see the latter go, I felt he did pretty well last season, among a culprit of under performers, Upson being one of them, who I felt was nowhere near good enough and I do not feel I saw enough of Jacobsen to really decide on him being good or not.
We haven't as of yet lost the likes of Cole, Green, Parker etc, although I will not be surprised to see Green and Parker go before the end of the season, they are far too good for the Championship and we have already bought Nolan as an obvious replacement for Parker, Green I can see going to West Brom as they have just lost their number one goalkeeper. Cole on the other hand I suspect could stay after not being able to agree personal terms with Stoke, it is clear he enjoys playing for West Ham and I do not doubt for a second that he would be a threat in the Championship, I genuinely hope this could help his compusure in front of goal and possibly make him a much better goal scorer.
I'm struggling at the moment to truely decide what players we will put out in the Championship, it appears West Ham have been playing a 4-1-4-1/4-3-3 style hybrid formation but I cannot be too sure as I haven't actually seen a match live, I have just been reading text updates. If this formation is the case and the transfers I suspect could happen do, then the squad I could guess right now would be something like this:-
Spence/Faubert, Tomkins, Faye/Reid, Ilunga/Brown
Stanislas, Collison, Nolan, Sears
If this is the case (I could be very wrong depending on new signings) then I would suggest we played Spence over Faubert, I'd probably sell Faubert given the chance and I would also sell Ilunga and buy a new left back. Fry and Brown are both decent players who I really hope get chances to shine, but we don't have much experience in the back four so I feel that could help a lot. I would play Noble in front of the back four as I felt he is a player much like Parker, he likes to get stuck in with tackles and use the muscle he has to win and hold on to the ball, if he's playing simple passes there then he can't go too wrong. I personally wouldn't feel the need to add much more to the midfield, I feel our younger players have a lot of quality to rotate in to a very succesful midfield, I also hope we keep hold of Barrera as I feel he could rotate with Sears and be pretty deadly in the Championship. Cole up front should be brilliant in the Championship, I'd also like to see Nouble play now and then off the bench or starting as I feel he has a lot going for him, with pace and strength with added height which a player like Zavon Hines doesn't really have. I'd like to see Zavon do well but at the moment I really don't know if he will, he's got pace and an eye for goal, so only time will tell, but I think he could only work in the squad with another striker there, so maybe if we are stuck in a 0-0 deadlock in a game we look like we could win then maybe bring him on and switch to a 4-4-2. I wouldn't mind seeing us buy another striker though just to bolster the front line.
With the squad we have I genuinely think it should comfortably reach the play-offs, I'm a little sceptic at us getting automatic promotion at the first time of asking, there are some brilliant teams in the Championship and it will no doubt be tough and I will always remember our first season there last time, with a squad most would have said should have reached automatic promotion, only to head all the way to Cardiff for the play-off final to see Crystal Palace fans walking away celebrating!
I suggest for now though, we wait and see what the future holds, especially in the transfer market. So far we've tried sigining sensible players who can hold their own in that league, but unfortunately we haven't had too much luck, so hopefully we will have a better chance as the season gets even closer.