So in our last installment of promoted clubs we take a look at our play-off winners West Ham United.
When your own fans are singing “We play football on the floor” you know something is wrong. However now we look at the hard facts, West Ham got promoted, then well something must have been right.
It wasn’t pretty a lot of the season, but sometimes you just have to do what you have to do. Ask any Arsenal fan if they would give up some of their style to win a trophy for the first time in what seems like about 20 years. I reckon if they were honest, they would. And deep down most West Ham fans would have been happy with being promoted, however it happened.
So if you have some interest in West Ham, you best read on.
Play-offs are never a great way to go up. It means you’re a couple of weeks behind the top 2 in terms of going up and of course a little less time off for the players. This point was driven even more so by the fact that West Ham was the first of any of the Premier League teams to start pre-season.
The long and short of it is West Ham are back, and don’t expect the easy-to-beat West Ham of the past few Premier League campaigns. Big Fat Sam has got them organized, and they will be one of the fittest teams around no question.
Now they were up and down last year. When the first choice centre backs were there they looked solid. When not, well not so. When their forwards were on song they looked like they could put 6 past any team in the league.
Now lets have a little look at our West Ham 5-a-side Sunday League Team.
Goalkeeper – Jaaskelainen (4.5)
Once it was clear Greeno (4.5 QPR) wasn’t going to sign another contract, West Ham were linked with just about every keeper that you can name. They ended up with two.
Jaaskelainen will most likely start as number 1, but keep an eye out for Henderson (4.0) who is very highly rated at West Ham and it may not be this year, but they have high hopes that he will be the number 1 for many years to come.
Now Jaaskelainen is an experienced pro, who has been there and done it, and then done it again. You know what you’re going to get: solidness! And then that one off wonder save once a season just to boot!
He was unlucky to lose his place to Bogdan at Bolton and seems pretty happy to re-link with Big Sam and I expect him to show the hunger maybe he had lost in his last days at Bolton.
Defender – Tomkins (4.5)
Ok now let me say that it’s a close call with Reid. When paired together they complement each other very well, and Reid (3 goals) is also a goal threat. However Tomkins (4 goals) just shades it for me.
The Championship was a long hard season for the Hammers, and this may have just been what Tomkins needed to start to fulfill his potential.
Last season he came into his own and there are no question marks that he is the number one centre back at West Ham right now. Big in the air he may well scoop a few bonuses for his all action display, and always a big target from corners.
Now here is the interesting note: Tomkins and Reid are the only 4.5 West Ham defenders. Currently McCartney (4.0) and Demel (4.0) would be first choice full backs.
So it might well be a good idea to watch West Ham, and if they don’t end up signing any full backs, then you may just find yourself a 4.0 bargain.
Midfield – Nolan (6.0)
Not a lot needs to be said about Kevin Nolan. He is overweight, lazy and potentially a great fantasy player.
Playing in a 4-5-1 he is given the freedom not to track back, or maybe it’s a case that he can’t drag his body back. Either way it means he is often found almost playing as a striker.
Suddenly his movement is good when West Ham has the ball and he often finds himself getting on the end of crosses and such! Oh and corners … he likes to mark the keeper, and he is kind of good at it and is not opposed to scoring from 2 yards out!
So yes he is fat and lazy, but he WILL score goals.
Midfield – Noble (5.0)
When looking at the West Ham midfield team sheet you really only paid attention to 2 or 3 names, because simply Nolan and Noble were always there. Like Tomkins maybe a year in the Championship did Noble good.
Finally he scored more goals (8 total) than just from penalties (yes he is first choice), and not only just from free kicks (yes he takes a fair amount) but open play (yes he plays 90 mins most of the time). The clever lad even managed to bag 9 assists.
The all action-packed midfielder looks a strong player in the 5.0 range and a very good 5th midfielder option.
Striker – Vaz Te (5.5)
Now look out for Maiga (5.5) who was just signed for a reported 4.5 million. I expect it to take some time for him to be integrated in to the starting 11, but big things are expected.
But back to Vaz, and no question that his name will be on the starting 11 come gameweek 1.
The January signing managed an impressive 12 goals from 16 starts in West Ham colours last season. Now the Premier League is a big step up for sure, and with a lot of his game time coming out wide it’s hard to say if Vaz will be the hit that we all hope he is.
But know this, he may run around like a headless chicken sometimes, but it’s a very affective headless chicken who makes things happen!
So there we have it, the last of our promoted club reviews. Now if there is anything else West Ham related that you need to know then please just ask below! Being a Hammer I’m clued up to the hill!