Saturday, 13 August 2016

Hammers Annual Relegation Battle Begins

We are bottom of the league, we are .....

Although it's an alphabetical anomaly, but any year that Wolves are outside the Premiership West Ham begin the year at the bottom. However, after last years lightning start, Hammers fans will be hoping that their new squad can push on further from last years 7th placed finish.

The Leicester story has undoubtedly fuelled a thousand dreams of unlikely Premiership success amongst fans of all clubs, but realistically the big six are likely to dominate the upper echelons of the league with Man City favourites at 21/10, followed by a revitalised Mourinho-led Man United at 7/2 with Paddy Poormakers.

Meanwhile, current champions Leicester are quoted at 33/1 but without N'Golo Kante they may struggle to repeat last year's stunning successes.

The Hammers are an outside bet at 80/1 that could get interesting if Dimitri Payet continues his form. Moreover, with a solid defence and combative midfield, if Andy Carroll could deliver on his potential and Andre Ayew connects well with Payet, it could get very interesting!

Perhaps the best value is Spurs at 10/1 but their longstanding potential to choke when it really matters will discourage all but the most fervent fans to part with cash.


In terms of relegation, rudderless Hull city are favourites at the mildly insulting odds of 13/6 on! Burnley are evens while the dream of Tottenham going down is an outside bet at 375/1 against.

At 33/1 the Hammers history of relegation yoyo remains a factor that observers consider relevant but in reality, the current Hammers squad is far too strong to get sucked into relegation issues. Moreover, the Olympic stadium, and it's revenue stream, will surely insulate the fastest growing club in Europe against such disasters.

However, good and all as the current squad is, are they really that much better than the 2003 side that got relegated? Moreover, the robust defence upon which west Ham built last year's successes looks much more porous on the flanks with a shortage of experienced natural full backs in the squad.

Astute fans will point to the abilities of SuperSlaven Bilic as a definite distinction between the two squads and its hard to see the calm Croat panicking if the team and supporters struggle to settle in at the new stadium.

Moreover, the good news that Aaron Cresswell is recovering more quickly than expected, along with the signing of Arthur Masuaku and the continued development of Sam Byram should tighten things up. the arrival of another right back before the transfer window closes would be reassuring!



Finally, perhaps the most meaningful odds to consider are the much-coveted Champion's League top four spots. At 8/1 against this might be the best Hammers value of all as Bilic's men came much closer than their final position suggested last year and but for a series of unfortunate refereeing gaffes would have been competing very strongly for fourth place. What goes around comes around, so maybe this term the decisions will go their way?

We reckon £30 on a top four finish will earn you the cash for a season ticket in 2017/8.


 

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