West Ham had a very fast start to the 2013/2014 season. However, this was soon halted with a seven game winless streak either side of the New Year. However, their relegation fears where eased with four straight wins in February thanks to Kevin Nolan’s goals. This season, Sam Allardyce will be hoping to achieve the fast start again, however they will be hoping to sustain this for a longer period. Big Sam has looked to strengthen his squad with signings such as Enner Valencia and Mauro Zarate to avoid the problems suffered last season. Injury prone Andy Carroll had a huge impact on the team and their success as soon as he was ruled out injured.
STAR MAN – Mark NOBLE
Mark Noble is an ever-present figure for West Ham and is the clubs longest serving player. His performance during the 2013/14 campaign earned him the club’s Player of the Year award. The midfielder managed to score three goals and bag six assists, with two of his goals coming from the penalty spot. He himself along with Nolan were both crucial to the Hammers’ survival. With a price of £5.5m, the 27 year old should be considered, firstly due to the fact that he is generally the first member on the team sheet and also that he is the team’s penalty taker.
HIDDEN GEM – Mauro ZARATE
The striker has been seen as a prolific striker at Velez Sarsfield, managing to bag 18 goals in 28 games, finishing as the top goal scorer in the 2013/2014 season. He has now signed for the Hammers on a free, and at just £6.5m he could be a huge differential if he hits the ground running just as he did with Velez Sarsfield. It should also be noted that Zarate managed to bag his first goal against Wellington Pheonix during pre-season, which shows some promise for more to come.