The 2015/16 Premier League Season saw West Ham say good-bye to the Boleyn in emphatic fashion as they finished in 7th Place in the table with 62 points, only four points off of a champions league spot. Dimitri Payet was on fire and the move to the London Stadium with a promised transfer kitty to strengthen the squad, and hope was in the air along with the bubbles. A year later, an 11th placed finish that could have been worse and a defensive record that saw a goal difference of -17, the sixth worse in the league, not only has the hope dissipated, but there also seems to be less bubbles in the air.
So, when it was tasked upon me to look at the West Ham side for players to invest in during the Fantasy Premier League 2017/18 season, I was hopeful of some transfer business occurring. So I sat and waited… and waited… and waited. Then in the space of a week suddenly everything got exciting. It’s like Bilic and the higher ups woke up and realized it was pre-season. Now adjusted to the stadium (hopefully), here’s to hoping there are fantasy assets to be picked from this side, and that I can tip the right ones!
STAR MAN – Manuel Lanzini (7.0m)
This was a struggle for Star Man, as it was between Lanzini and Antonio, as its not sure how any of the newbies will fit into their new surroundings. This coupled with the fact that from last year’s squad, the only two that I had any sort of belief in Fantasy Football wise were Lanzini and Antonio. Michael Antonio in particular definitely has had periods where every FPL Manager has been swooning over him.
That said, Lanzini for me just seems to have that quality of someone that could become a world class player. I’m not promising he will, but when I watch him play, he’s the one I think West Ham could build a team around. That doesn’t mean we will and it doesn’t mean my feelings will become reality. But if I was a betting man, which I feel like I need to be when judging this side, I’d bet on Lanzini.
Last season he appeared 35 times and started in 31, getting 8 Goals and 3 Assists in the FPL Game. It’s proof of how poor West Ham where, that this meant he was involved in 30.3% of goals scored whilst he was on the pitch. His shot accuracy was also in the 30.4% range, so there’s the chance that he can build on his totals from last season. He also created a chance every 48.4 minutes and had a shot on goal every 39.3 minutes. So, if I’m calling anyone a future star man for West Ham, it’s Lanzini.
HIDDEN GEM – Andre Ayew (7.0m)
Big things were expected of Andre Ayew when he joined West Ham. He was the big signing after a transfer window where we waited and waited for a big signing. He then he got injured early in the season, meaning he didn’t get a full season to adjust to his surroundings or show his class. That said, we bought him for a reason and his season at Swansea the year before got him 171 points. That would have made him a viable fantasy asset last season had he repeated that feat.
Now priced at 7.0m, last season saw him only start 16 times and had 25 appearances in total. But in that time he got 6 goals and 3 assists. That’s only two less goals than Lanzini and the same amount of assists. He also beat Lanzini for goal involvement at 47.4% and better shot accuracy at 35.3% .
So why isn’t he the star man? Well the injury and the fact that despite those stats Lanzini seems to be the more nailed on option and the addition of Marko Arnautovic also puts into question what role Ayew may play this season. But could he be explosive this year… it’s definitely possible.
BARGAIN – Chicharito (7.0m)
The West Ham Faithful have been waiting for a striker of class and quality to join the likes of Andy Carroll at the club. Don’t get me wrong, Andy Carroll has all the capabilities to be a leading man at West Ham. He also has an injury record only bested by the likes of Daniel Sturrdige. So when he is injured, we have desperately needed someone else to play. The likes of Zaza failed and Ayew got injured, whilst both are also capable of playing behind a striker. So West Ham have been looking, but not buying. Carlos Bacca, Jermain Defoe and many more have been linked, but we seemed to miss all of them. There were even rumors of Lacazette joining the Hammers during last year’s Summer Transfer Window.
It was safe to say that I wasn’t hopeful when it was rumored that Javier Hernandez could be bought for around £15 million. I thought it was another player we would miss out on. But low and behold we finally got our man and a man that knows the league, with a proven goal scoring record. At Leverkusen in his first year he got 17 goals and 2 assists in 25 starts, but considering his record for Manchester United, he got 13, 10 and 10 goals for the three seasons he played more than 10 games (18 games at most).
So many were surprised when he came in at 7.0m and 16.7% of players believe that to be a bargain as they have put him in their teams.
Zabaleta – Reid – Ogbonna – Cresswell
Noble – Obiang
Ayew – Lanzini – Arnautovic
If you have enjoyed this early view of the fantasy potential of West Ham, be sure to check the other teams here.
Written by JNO United (@JNOUnited)