West Ham in 2014/15 – Do Hammers now have the tools to score?

Read West Brom in 2014/15 – Baggies must rise from ashes of near-disaster

Read Arsenal in 2014/15 – better off without Khedira?

Splashing out the majority of their summer transfer market on one striker was always going to be a risk, and Davids Gold and Sullivan quickly found out that it was perhaps ill-advised to put all their eggs into the Andy Carroll basket. The £15m man had just recovered from a heel injury when he signed, but suffered a broken foot in September, causing him to miss 23 games in total. Captain and unofficial Carroll mentor Kevin Nolan assumed responsibility and finished as the club’s top goalscorer with seven, while the recently re-signed Carlton Cole finished as the only other player to score over four goals. At the turn of the year, there were calls for Allardyce to go as he found his side in 19th place, amassing only 15 points from their first 20 games. The chairmen stuck with him however, and the veteran manager rewarded them with a turn of form and a League Cup semi-final appearance. Wins against Aston Villa, Southampton, as well as completing the double over Tottenham lifted the Hammers up into mid-table safety. Allardyce and his side were safe, finishing the season in a relatively comfortable 13th place.

Aims for the season ahead

Improve upon the 40 goals scored last year. Netting an average of a little over a goal per game isn’t going to help any club’s survival in such a ruthless league but the Hammers seem to have learned from the mistakes of last season. In come former-Birmingham striker Mauro Zarate, Colombian World Cup star Enner Valencia and Senegalese international Diafra Sakho, who will all be all be looking to score goals and give Allardyce a selection headache when Carroll recovers from his latest ailment. Ex-England international striker Teddy Sheringham has joined Allardyce’s backroom staff as an attacking coach, in the wake of comments that the manager thinks his side need to be more entertaining. Meanwhile, Aaron Cresswell, Carl Jenkinson and Cheikhou Kouyate will add security to a defence responsible for the club losing more than half of their league games last season, while bringing down the average age of the backline.

Key summer signing so far

Diafra Sakho. The new man brings a leggy frame to the Premier League not too dissimilar to that of Carlton Cole, however it is his pace and killer instinct in front of goal that can set him apart this season. He contributed 20 goals and four assists in Metz’s promotion winning campaign last year while showing a distinct composure in front of goal that will serve him well. He has physicality and agility in equal measure and can be the perfect foil for the likes Zarate and Valencia, at least Big Sam will hoping so.

Predicted finish: 13th

Although the manager has targeted a top half finish this season, I feel there will be too much competition in the middle of the pack for him to achieve this. That said, I think the club are looking in good shape and have significantly improved their forward line which was left wanting last time around. 13th would still represent a solid season for the Hammers, as they look to bed in their new signings.

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  1. […] Read West Ham in 2014/15 – Do Hammers now have the tools to score? […]

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