After two turbulent seasons in our new home under Slaven Bilic and David Moyes, Manuel Pellegrini brought about a season of relative stability in East London. 2018/2019 will certainly not go down in our history as one to remember due to poor cup runs and a rather large injury list throughout the season. However, it was a season that has laid a foundation for us to build on as a club.
West Ham couldn’t have asked for a tougher test on the first day of the season, Man City travel to London having accumulated 198 points in the previous two campaigns. After City however, our fixtures do look appealing. Brighton (A), Watford (A), Norwich (H), Villa (A) and Man U (H) is a very nice opening run of games. Last season we started with 4 losses in the opening 4 games, and I think that the squad will be desperate to pick up some early points. There is certainly a lot of points to be gained from West Ham assets in the opening 6-10 games.
Main Attacking Targets
In terms of West Ham assets for the upcoming season; Anderson and Lanzini are the clear stand out options for me (if they remain at the club). Pellegrini has always looked to play free-flowing attacking football wherever he has managed. After a tricky start to the season, this attacking style started to take flight.
Over the Christmas period, the fans were able to see the best from our record signing Felipe Anderson. The Brazilian scored 7 and assisted 1 goal in a 9 game run that saw West Ham pick up 19 points. His form over the rest of the season was inconsistent at best. Anderson has the best potential when it comes to FPL, he could quite easily score 20+ in a season. But, I would also not be surprised if he only scored 4/5, he is that sort of player. If you’re willing to take a risk, and Anderson is available for £7m or less, it would be worth a punt with our nice run of fixtures at the start of the season.
Due to cruciate ligament damage, West Ham’s key creative spark, Manuel Lanzini, was injured for the majority of the season. He was not able to score a goal until the final day of the season away at Watford. If he is available for £6-6.5m he will be in my thoughts.
Something to mention however, is the potential £30m signing of Maxi Gomez from Celta Vigo, he could positively or negatively affect our attacking players.
This could be summed up quite easily in one sentence; “Fabianski is our only defensive asset”. I will go into a bit more detail however. Only Fulham and Huddersfield (5) had less clean sheets than West Ham’s 7 in 2018/19. Fabianski topped the overall list of saves with 148, leading to several bonus/save points. Depending on your goalkeeper strategy, he could be an option for £5m or less. I personally will be looking at a set and forget goalkeeper that is likely to keep more clean sheets.
If Masuaku is reclassified as a defender, he and Ryan Fredericks could be good options at £4.5m. They love to bomb forward and get crosses into the box. If our defensive ability improves then £4.5m could be a bargain.
With the introduction of VAR, Mark Noble somehow could become an FPL asset. With pacey, creative players like Lanzini, Anderson and Antonio, many penalties could come our way in the new season. £5m or less and he would be a very nice enabler for any squad, however I expect to see much better value from other penalty takers in the league.
New signing Pablo Fornals is a creative midfielder who contributed 11 goals in 49 games for Villareal last season. Which on paper doesn’t look great, but we’ve seen great point hauls from new signings that we didn’t expect, like Michu and Pascal Gross in previous seasons. So I’d certainly keep an eye out for him in the new season, but I’d personally steer clear to start with.
Overall, I am cautiously optimistic about the new season. I will almost definitely have at least 2 West Ham assets in my team (depending on prices of course). We are certainly a team worth considering when it comes to picking your new 15 man squad.
Big thank you to FPL_Irons for writing a great article, be sure to check out his Twitter page for FPL advice ahead of the new season!