If not for their disappointing defeats to Swansea and Stoke towards the end of last season, West Ham would have finished among the top 4. Slaven Bilic’s debut season with Hammers saw a drastic improvement in performances with the club achieving a 7th place finish. It was also the first time since the 1985-86 season that the club managed to finish with a positive goal difference in the top flight.
Last season proved to be the perfect send off to the Boleyn Ground which had been their home since 1904. The 25th anniversary of the Premier League will mark West Ham’s first season at the Olympic Stadium. The goal for the Hammers this season would be register a top half finish and if possible secure some domestic silverware.
West Ham 2016-17 Season Preview
During the winter transfer window of the 95/96 season the manager of West Ham United, Harry Redknapp broke the club’s transfer record to sign a 27 year old Croatian defender. A young Slaven Bilic would go onto feature in over 50 games for the Hammers before moving to fellow Premier League club Everton.
Bilic coming in last season to replace Allardyce came as bit of a surprise. Despite having a credible record with Beskitas, the former Hammer’s player was a relative unknown to the English game.
It’s safe to say that Bilic exceeded expectations in his first season with the club. Apart from earning qualification to the Europa League for the second consecutive season, the club also bettered a lot of their own Premier League records including most points, most goals scored and least number of games lost in a season.
Bilic’s biggest achievement has been to replace Allardyce’s long ball game with creative attacking play. Players such as Dimitri Payet and Lanzini blossomed under Bilic and it will interesting to see how the Croatian will perform in his 2nd season.
The club have been one of the more busier teams in transfer window this season. Hammers have brought in 11 new players this season although most of them are either free transfers or loan signings. The squad are undoubtedly stronger than the one that finished last season so can they improve on their overall league standing?
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Despite their improvements in terms of scoring last season the club struggled defensively. In fact if not for some incredible performances from keeper Adrian, the club would have either lost or drawn some of the matches he had won. He will be the first choice keeper heading into the new season with the duo of Darren Randolph and Raphael Spiegel serving as back ups.
The back four is expected to receive a shake-up with the arrivals of full-backs Alvaro Arbeloa and Arthur Masuaku. Masuaku should challenge Aaron Cresswell for the left-back role while Arbeloa should be the automatic right-back choice. Ogbonna was impressive last season and should keep his place at the centre of defense. James Collins could get the nod ahead of Winston Reid to partner Ogbonna with Reid proving to be far too inconsistent last season.
Bilic is spoiled for choices in terms of holding midfielders. Havard Nordtveit, Captain Mark Noble, Pedro Obiang and Cheikhou Kouyate are all quality players and it has to be seen who’ll get the final nod. Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini are two of the best attacking midfielders in the league and should continue on their good work from last season.
The signing of Andrew Ayew is thought to be the club’s answer for a consistent striker . Andy Carroll who is good as any on his day has had far too many injury troubles to be relied upon. Enner Valencia has struggled to prove himself as a consistent performer while Diafro Sakho has had troubles with the management.
West Ham 2016-17 Season Prediction
It’s been a disappointing start to the campaign for the Hammers. In their 3 league games so far the club has won one and lost the other two. Hammers’ Europa league campaign also came to an early end as they were knocked out in the 3rd play-off round by Romanian side Astra Giurgiu for the 2nd consecutive season.
The exit from Europe may not be a bad thing as Bilic can now focus his resources only on the league. While they were pummeled by Manchester City in their 3rd game, the club were unlucky to lose their opener against Chelsea. Missing several key players including Payet and Lanzini have also not helped their cause.
West Ham should turn their season around after the international break. The club will have most of it’s key players back and can also field their signings on deadline day. It will be good season for the Hammers who will more often that not get the better of the weaker teams in the division but will struggle against the top clubs. While the club won’t be able to match their 7th place finish from last season they should make it into the top 10.
Verdict: – 9th Place
Player to Watch – West Ham 2016-17
Payet was our pick as the best Premier League signing last season. The French international who joined Hammers last season had a sensational campaign recording 12 goals and 13 assists in all competitions. The 29 year old who was named in the Ligue 1 team of the year in 2014/15 made the Premier League team of the year last season .
Payet was sensational for France in the European Championships as he helped his country reach the finals. The Frenchman is yet to feature for the Hammers his season due to some minor injury troubles. He is expected to feature after the break and should build on his performances from last season.
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Betting Tips – West Ham 2016-17
1. Premier League Champions – 251.00 (Skybet)
2. Relegation – 31.00 (Marathon Bet)
3. Top 10 Finish – 1.73 (Bet 365)
Decent Odds! Great Bet!
4. Bottom Half Finish – 2.50 (Skybet)
While we can’t see West Ham improving on their 7th place finish from last season. The Hammers will surely rank up among the Top 10 at the end of the campaign. The odds are not worth it for the gamble either.
5. Assist Leader – Dmitri Payet – 12.00 (888 Sport)
As of now Payet remains the third favorite behind De Bryune and Mesut Ozil to top the assists chart. The Frenchman had a tally of 13 in all competitions last season. With Andrew Ayew set to feature upfront expect the tally to rise this season and is intent a contender worth the gamble. We are sticking with De Bryune but the odds are good enough to place your money on Payet if you want to.
6. PFA Player of the Year – Dmitri Payet – 41.00 (Paddypower)
The PFA Player of the Year usually goes to one of the top 4 teams and we can’t see the trend changing this year. The odds are good but not a winning bet by any means.
All Odds courtesy Oddschecker 
Transfers In – West Ham 2016-17
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West Ham – 2015/16 Stats
Other Season Prediction and Betting Tips
 Dailymail.co.uk, West Ham sign Andrew Ayew from Swansea
 Express.co.uk, PFA Team of the Year 2015-16
 Oddschecker.com, Oddschecker Home Page