You must have been living on Mars if you hadn’t noticed that there were huge deficiencies in the West Ham squad over the last couple of seasons, not helped by poorly performing players and mismatched managers with club owners unwilling to speculate to accumulate.
However, as the club held their nerve and survived to stay in the league…dastardly plans were afoot to change the fortunes of the club and blow away the grey clouds that had hovered over the fan base for some time.
The most important signing so far has been the manager; Pellegrini, who has come in with a clear plan and has made the ownership sit up and listen to where the problems lay and what was required to fix it all.
Signings have been plentiful, to the relief of the West Ham faithful who were rightly losing their minds over the last seasons’s debacle, however now all eyes are focussed on Pellegrini and what formation he is likely to start his campaign with and which players are likely to feature in the starting eleven.
There have been frailties in the defensive areas which have been bolstered by the acquisition of Fredericks, Diop and Balbuena…however the fans can only suppose they will make the grade of the Premier League, whilst our midfield woes have been given a lift with the arrivals of Wilshere, Anderson and Yarmolenko who all on paper…and if fit, should be able to lift the spirits of any dour soul, whilst Fabianski should provide ample challenge to Adrian’s unsteady goalkeeping crown.
The revolution is almost complete and with a potential of a few more signings of free transfers and loan deals, it is clear that the West Ham Way made indeed be ready to return and entertain our eyes. However, in what form and shape will this new way be and will it be in any way effective to keep secure footing in the Premier League over the next few seasons or even challenge for silverware?
There is much conjecture at the moment…which players will feature most, which will be favoured in starting positions and which formation is Pellegrini likely to adopt? Of course the manager is assessing the new recruits as well as the old guard too, however the squad is already better equipped to deal with the challenge on three fronts as the season progresses, now that there is quality in depth all over the field.
As long as players are not sold with wanton abandon and we can retain the services of key players, then this will give the manager the best chance to enact his assault on the league and in the cup competitions. Yes, it is a very exciting time to be a Hammers’ fan and this new found optimism surging through the fanbase is based upon the positivity of the acquisitions thus far, the methodology of Pellegrini and the organisational prowess of Husillos in managing the transfer deals since his arrival. At last the faithful can have faith in certain aspects of behind the scenes activities and now simply focus on what occurs on the grass week in and week out.
If the pre season friendlies are anything to go by, then Pellegrini is likely to favour a strong defensive posture with fast advances and penetrating passes to the strikers from either midfield or from the rear guard. The signs are that he will start with a flat back four and possibly alternate, with two holding midfielders in front, then three attacking midfielders and a lone striker….a 4-2-3-1 formation or even look at a straight 4-4-2 to make the best use of the attacking talent introduced into the ranks and the attacking intent which Pellegrini is likely to demonstrate.
Of course this is mere speculation at the moment, however with the embarrassment of riches that are in the squad now, and if a role can be found for all of them, whilst still trying to introduce youth to the senior squad…Pellegrini must find the key ingredient that can make the defence resolute and also link up the defence, midfield and attack when advancing into the opponents half. It’s looking promising and the players seem to be buying into the Pellegrini mantra…Strong at the back, play it forward from midfield and fast paced attack with dynamic width…and now the club have the players to make this a possibility too.
Over the next couple of weeks, the manager and the coaching staff will be fine tuning their plans and honing and toning the players until they are battle ready for the start of the season. Can we expect success from the very first game against Liverpool? No, however this will be a fine test of where the squad sits and what it will need to do when facing the top six throughout the season. If they can be strong and defiant in those games, and not succumb to the lesser teams…a top eight finish is not beyond the realm of reason.
Here’s hoping! The dream is alive, the bubbles are rising and they can soar as the sun finally shines on our club.
Up The Hammers!