7 Days Remaining

Saturday 15th
posted by Morning Star in Sport

by Louie Brownlee

After a poor campaign last season, something really needs to change for West Ham.

They start their pre-season on Monday in Austria against a Sturm Graz B-team and Slaven Bilic may have to make some key decisions for how his team will set up next season.


Four or five at the back?

The Hammers started last season with a back four and were incredibly shaky. As the season progressed they changed to a back five which proved far more effective.

However, with the signing of Pablo Zabaleta, an out-and-out right back and not a wing back, they could revert to the more traditional four in defence.


Randolph or Adrian?

With the arrival of Joe Hart from Manchester City on a season-long loan looking imminent, West Ham will not need three goalkeepers. So which goalkeeper will Bilic sell?

Both Adrian and Darren Randolph were dropped for each other last year after both had strings of bad performances and mistakes.

Adrian ended the season between the sticks and there is no doubt that the Spanish keeper has talent but his fiery temper sometimes causes him to make rash decisions.

Randolph, however, is more composed but is probably a less capable shot stopper.


Striker solution?

With Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho constantly having injury problems and flops Simone Zaza and Jonathan Calleri departing, West Ham need a consistent goalscorer to propel them up the league. With a lot of their targets moving elsewhere or staying at their current club West Ham are running out of options.

Javier Hernandez has emerged as a front runner and the Hammers should do everything they can to get the former Manchester United man.

The “little pea,” as he is known in his home country Mexico, is a proven Premier League scorer and would be a good addition to the squad.

Will youth get a chance?

Reece Oxford became the second-youngest Premier League starter in 2015 but has not nailed down a starting place since and this season has departed to Germany on loan for a year.

West Ham were once branded as having the best youth academy worldwide, but more recently youngsters have founded it harder to get a chance and with chair David Gold saying it is unlikely youth will start for West Ham, their confidence will hardly be boosted.

The question is will Bilic give youth more of a chance this season or will he stick to the more seasoned players?


Will Lanzini continue to flourish?

Since Dimitri Payet’s dramatic departure in January, Argentinian Manuel Lanzini has really come into his own as he became West Ham’s main man. Lanzini’s eye-catching performances even earnt him his first international call-up.

If West Ham are going to push for the European places they may need to rely on Lanzini and his ability to change games. However, they will be wary if Lanzini has a similarly impressive campaign that the bigger clubs may come sniffing around the skilful midfielder.