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Crunch time for West Ham as established players need to help new signings

Crunch time for West Ham as established players need to help new signings

West Ham endured a difficult season last term to mark their move to the London Stadium and vast improvements are needed this term if the Hammers are to kick-on, which puts pressure on their talented new recruits.

Slaven Bilic’s side, on paper at least, have enjoyed one of the finest summers of any Premier League side and their additions of Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta, Marko Arnautovic and Javier Hernandez should lead to an upturn in results, which could make the London Stadium finally feel like home.

The Hammers face a difficult start to the new season though as the World Athletic Championships in London mean Bilic’s men must travel for their first three matches of the new campaign; tackling Manchester United, Southampton and Rafael Benitez’ Newcastle.

That difficult start means that West Ham’s new-look side need to find their rhythm swiftly or they’ll face an uphill battle when they finally do return to their home in East London to tackle newly-promoted Huddersfield.

With an abundance of Premier League experience between them, West Ham’s four new faces shouldn’t find settling in too difficult but they’ll have to build a relationship with the club’s already established stars- including Michail Antonio, last season’s top-scorer, and the highly-rated Manuel Lanzini.

Those two midfielders, partnered with new signings Arnautovic and Hernandez, give the Hammers a front-line that can climb to the top-end of the Premier League and challenge for a spot in European competitions. However, it’s their defence where the biggest improvements need to be shown.

Zabaleta and Hart will provide a big boost but it’s perhaps not the huge improvement that Hernandez and Arnautovic can provide at the other end, which means the likes of Winston Reid, Jose Fonte and West Ham’s other defenders need to step-up and prove their worth.

West Ham had excuses for their poor form last season, as they struggled with the move to the London Stadium and saw their wealth of summer signings fail to provide the impact the club would have wanted, but fans are unlikely to accept similar troubles this term.

If West Ham are to put themselves in the battle for European football, then it’s down to the players already within the ranks to stand-up and be counter, not the new recruits that will catch the eye in the first few weeks.