WHO Poll
Q: 2021/22 What competition should we prioritise this season?
a. The league is our bread & butter, so this year let's have a club sandwich
27%
  
b. We're owed an FA Cup after Gerrard nicked our last one in 06, our name's on it in 22
10%
  
c. A bye to the League Cup 3rd round gives us a good start, let's make it count
6%
  
d. The Europa is our best ticket to the Champions League, this is the one
35%
  
e. What's wrong with you, let's do the lot, has the quadruple ever been done
21%
  



Irish Hammer 1:13 Wed Aug 11
Europe and a bit of positivity !
Benrahma can sparkle and Moyes is the right man in charge – West Ham are ready for Europa League adventure


With West Ham United unbeaten during pre-season, attention now turns to whether they can repeat the trick in the opening stages of the Premier League campaign.

It is an away trip to Newcastle United in the season opener and judging by the style of play in the wins against Celtic, Brentford and Atalanta, David Moyes’ side are ready to pick up where they left off last season.

Who could forget last September, when West Ham fans ranked bottom of The Athletic’s Hope-O-Meter. It was a challenging time for the club, and although there have been frustrations about the lack of signings so far this summer, there are plenty of reasons to feel optimistic about 2021-22…

What would be a good season?

Last term West Ham missed out on Champions League qualification by two points. The hope is for Moyes’ side to have similar success this season. The West Ham manager has stated on numerous occasions he believes his squad is capable of challenging higher up the table. More signings will certainly strengthen their chances of securing Europa League qualification once more.

Aside from the league, it would be great to see the club go on a cup run. It has been 16 years since West Ham last played in an FA Cup final, while the last time they reached the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup was in 2014.

What would be a bad one?

The nightmare scenario would be fighting relegation. West Ham have improved massively since they narrowly stayed up at the end of 2019-20, but the squad is thin and they have to adjust to the added demands of a Europa League campaign. Injury to Michail Antonio in the early stages of the season would be a crushing blow, especially with the club yet to sign a striker.

Lukasz Fabianski sustaining a thigh injury in September 2019, and his unreliable understudy Roberto contributed to the club’s poor form during 2019-20. But having players of the quality of Tomas Soucek, Declan Rice and Vladimir Coufal should prevent the club from being in the lower reaches of the league.

What’s the biggest unknown about this team?

How they will cope with the Thursday-Sunday schedule of the Europa League. Last season West Ham had the advantage of playing once a week, not factoring in cup competitions, so it will be interesting to see how Moyes’ side deal with the quick succession of games. This further highlights why squad depth is key to any success the club have this season.

Who will be a star by the end of the campaign?

Said Benrahma. He has been arguably West Ham’s best player during pre-season having scored against Celtic, Brentford and he provided two assists in the 2-0 win against Atalanta. The Algerian playmaker is playing with confidence, is a lot more settled on and off the pitch and will feel like a new signing in his second season at the London Stadium.

Last term we saw glimpses of Benrahma’s talent, noticeably in the 2-1 win at Burnley in May. But it was always going to be difficult with it being his first campaign in the top flight, and the challenge of trying to dislodge Jesse Lingard in the team. Pablo Fornals deserves an honourable mention and with the club yet to sign any attacking players, this should give Benrahma confidence he will feature heavily in Moyes’ plans.

The most common type of goal this team will score is…

On the counter-attack. The 3-1 win at Aston Villa in February was a great example of the threat West Ham pose when they hit teams on the break. The pace of Antonio, Jarrod Bowen and Fornals also enables them to stretch the opposition defences. Aaron Cresswell has a penchant for providing assists and his delivery means Moyes’ side will be a threat on set pieces.

Things other fans or pundits say about this team that annoys you most…

That the team only qualified for the Europa League because they weren’t playing in front of crowds. West Ham previously qualified for Europe at the end of the 2015-16 season and the supporters were the 12th man. The final home game of the season against Southampton saw supporters give the players a great send-off — and even during the pre-season win against Atalanta the atmosphere was brilliant, especially the rendition of “I’m forever blowing bubbles”.

Lastly, and arguably most frustrating, is the narrative that Declan Rice is overrated. But at this summer’s Euros, the England international showcased why he is a sought-after talent, having played in every fixture leading up to the final.

How safe is the manager on a scale of 1 (not at all) to 10 (Pep Guardiola)?

Eight. In June, Moyes signed a three-year deal and spoke about wanting to continue pushing boundaries. West Ham have a great chance of having stability not seen since Sam Allardyce was at the helm between 2011-15.

A sixth-place finish, a huge improvement in recruitment, a brilliant backroom staff and the integration of academy players into the first team means there are plenty of reasons to feel optimistic about the future.

Tell us something you’ve been hearing…

West Ham is a club known for giving former players opportunities. Zavon Hines coaches the under-14s, Carlton Cole coaches the under-15s and under-16s, Paul Konchesky is the assistant manager for the women’s team and Steve Potts is the assistant coach for the under-23s.

And The Athletic understands former West Ham trainee Elliott Ward is working with the under-13s and under-14s alongside Hines as a trainee. Ward, who announced his retirement in June, made 21 league appearances for the club and was recommended for the role by Noble.

Who will be the first player the crowd get on the backs of?

This looks set to be a big season for Fabianski. The 36-year-old remains the No 1, ahead of loanee Alphonse Areola, but if the Poland international struggles to produce consistent performances it could lead to him being demoted to the bench.

The goalkeeper has not faced this level of competition for a starting berth since his spell at Arsenal. Injury problems last season were also a concern and with Areola waiting in the wings, Fabianski will need to replicate the type of performances that saw him receive the Hammer of the Year award in 2019.

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

Joe C 4:35 Thu Aug 12
Re: Europe and a bit of positivity !
Yeah that's true - but I suspect overseas is likely a no go

joyo 3:45 Thu Aug 12
Re: Europe and a bit of positivity !
Your probably right Joe C,but at moment only internationals
It really depends on which country and infection rates,if we get one of the jock clubs its likely away travel ok,

Joe C 12:10 Thu Aug 12
Re: Europe and a bit of positivity !
Combination of that combined UEFA-FIFA letter in June saying there would be no away fans at qualifying and play off rounds for UEFA club competitions, and that now being extended to the September internationals and will be reviewed in October.

First two rounds of the group stage are in September - so seems likely it will apply to them also

Fortunes Hiding 11:57 Thu Aug 12
Re: Europe and a bit of positivity !
Joe C

Where did you get that from?

LAF 8:13 Wed Aug 11
Re: Europe and a bit of positivity !
Yes, nice t9 have positivity amongst the moaning that we all do from time to time on here. The point about the crowd is interesting. Let’s hope we can affect the team in a positive manner.

Joe C 8:11 Wed Aug 11
Re: Europe and a bit of positivity !
Looks like there won’t be any away fans at the first two rounds of the group stages at least

Swiss. 7:18 Wed Aug 11
Re: Europe and a bit of positivity !
An away day in Prague or Brussels would be fun.

Nagel 2:56 Wed Aug 11
Re: Europe and a bit of positivity !
"Things other fans or pundits say about this team that annoys you most…That the team only qualified for the Europa League because they weren’t playing in front of crowds. West Ham previously qualified for Europe at the end of the 2015-16 season and the supporters were the 12th man."

This bit completely ignores the fact that 2016 was our last year at Upton Park and the new stadium is nowhere near the fortress that UP could be. Also, it's not that we'll necessarily be worse with the fans there, it's that the other clubs will improve more than we do with having the crowds back.

AKA ERNIE 2:01 Wed Aug 11
Re: Europe and a bit of positivity !
Reserves and youth team playing in europa so absolutely fuck all to get excited about thanks to our cunt owners

gph 2:00 Wed Aug 11
Re: Europe and a bit of positivity !
I like the narrative that Declan Rice is overrated.

Slightly improves te chances of him staying longer.

Vexed needs to get out there and convince more scouts not to believe their own eyes...

ludo21 1:54 Wed Aug 11
Re: Europe and a bit of positivity !
Starting to get excited about the Europa League now... the qualifying rounds are taking shape and there's going to be some decent teams in the group stages.

Mike Oxsaw 1:29 Wed Aug 11
Re: Europe and a bit of positivity !
Good man, Irish.

Site needs a bit of contemporary positive spin...even if it does all evaporate again on Sunday.

Thanks Irish 1:19 Wed Aug 11
Re: Europe and a bit of positivity !
Thanks Irish





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