Season Preview: West Ham United

Overall Outlook - It's been quite some time since I felt like I had any idea what the people assembling the Hammers roster are thinking.  It seems that every year they go out of their way to overstock one or two positions where they really didn't need any more support in the first place.  This year the overstocking seems to be coming at strikers who aren't target players.  With Franco [ed note. Franco was released at the end of last season], Diamanti, and Sears already on the books to vie for time opposite Carlton Cole they have now added Frederic Piquionne and Miralem Sulejmani and are rumored to be after Yakubu as well.  Hard to know why they'd be doing that when there are other positions that are in need of more help perhaps anywhere and everywhere across the back line which is adequate but hardly rock solid.

Projected Starters - Green, Faubert, Upson, Tomkins, Spector, Parker, Kovac, Noble, Behrami, Cole, Diamanti

In the Rotation - Da Costa, Ilunga, Stanislas, Hines, Hitzelsperger, Piquionne, Franco, Ben Haim, Collison

Kicks - Noble and Diamanti are the most likely to be taking kicks for the Hammers although with the potential that Hitzelsperger will come into the squad there is even more potential for kicks being split up as he hammers (pardon the pun) kicks toward the goal.


  • Hitzelsperger, M - Hard to tell if this move is in preparation for Scott Parker moving on (which has been rumored much of the summer) or if it is just the new owners creating some strong depth in the center of midfield.  If it is the former, then the aptly nicknamed "Hammer" may represent decent value.  If he is depth then he isn't nearly as interesting to fantasy managers;
  • New Forwards, F - There are all sorts of new options available but you have to wonder how the playing time will be spread around.  If one emerges then there's a decent shot that there will be some value but if not, they'll just frustrate;
  • Ben Haim, D - Apparently tied to Avram Grant's hip but as no more than a third or fourth center back if the Hammers are lucky -  he hasn't been decent value in quite some time;
  • Barrera, M - The winger certainly has potential but until we find out where he'll fit in the rotation we should take a wait-and-see stance on the Mexican international; 
  • Reid, D - Another young recruit from outside of the traditional footballing power countries who could represent value for the Hammers but probably not until later in the season or even next year after some time getting used to the speed of the English game;
Rising Youth
  • Tomkins, D - He and Da Costa were back and forth in the starting line-up as Tomkins struggled with a winter injury but it seems likely that Tomkins will win the job and hopefully be the next high quality product of the Hammers youth academy.  Not a fantastic fantasy option but not bad either;
  • Collison, M - Had a solid run in the team but sustained an injury toward the end of the season and will be out until January at which point he'll have to see if there are any holes in a crowded midfield that he can fill on a regular basis; 
  • Stanislas, Hines, and Sears - More youngsters from the West Ham production line but with the squad continuing to grow it is uncertain where and how often any of these promising youngsters might play.  Hines starts off the season injured but note of the three has an obvious place no matter how healthy;
Fantasy Breakdown
  • Best - Diamanti was the best of a mediocre group last season but with all of the strikers available he's hardly a no doubt about it starter so you have to wonder if he'll continue to be the best of the new bunch;
  • Best Value (non-newcomer) - honestly, there isn't a lot to love outside of Diamanti among the players who were at Upton Park last season - if the defense is tighter then Green might represent value but its hard to get excited about that possibility after his exploits against the US over the Summer;
  • Best Projected Value - I honestly don't know how the newcomers will shake out but if I had to guess I'd say that Barrera will have the best shot at being a value play but I'm certainly not willing to go out on a limb on this one;
  • Worth Considering With Good Match-ups - CCole, Diamanti, Noble, Faubert;
  • Worth Knowing If He's Starting - Barrera, any of the new strikers


  1. I think there's a lot to the 4-5-1 that Neal outlines above, but I wonder if Grant will play 4-3-3 at home. Imagine Diamanti (l) and Piq flanking CCole. That's a fairly formidable front three with Parker, Behrami and Kovac/Noble not quite Lamps/Essien/Ramires quality... it's not bad. WHU just need to sort out their defence and unfortunately I don't think they've got the players to do it. I expect WHU to be a lot like Pompey under Grant - competitive and dangerous, but brittle.

  2. Spector in particular looked in poor form on several occasions at the end of the season making numerous mental errors. He couldn't crack the USA lineup during the world cup.

    What are your thoughts about Robert Green?

  3. Never mind, just re-read and saw your ambivalence. At his price I'm a potential buyer.