Slaven Bilic and West Ham were the surprise of the season last year and took the Premier League by storm with the bargain buy of the year, Dmitri Payet, and the Liverpool reject, Andy Carroll, scoring goals and producing top level displays.
Unfortunately, after a summer of new transfers and a move to the Olympic Stadium, West Ham is not looking anything like the side that was a Premier League giant slayer and found its way into the European qualifying last season.
The season began with an unforeseen elimination from Europa League qualifying against Astra Giurgui, a fucking nobody in the world of football.
Frankly, its embarrassing not only for West Ham, but for English football.
Granted, the long summer for Payet forced a late return to the side, but that’s no excuse for the side that went out and spent in the transfer market.
The offseason additions of Sofiane Feghouli, Andre Ayew, and Gokhan Tore were going to take some time to adjust to the new side and that was expected, but the side from last season was more than capable of getting through qualifying on paper.
That obviously didn’t work out too well.
Slaven Bilic realized that a lot more had to be done and went out had some strength at the back and up top with the signings of ex-Real madrid man Alvaro Arbeloa, Olympiacos full back Arthur Masuaka, and the winner of the running-man competition, Simone Zaza.
Age has been kind to Arbeloa… pic.twitter.com/vFw0o0LroZ
— CaughtOffside (@caughtoffside) September 5, 2016
The international break provided some time to cope for West Ham and Bilic, but a lot has to be done quickly to avoid falling off the pace and getting Bilic sacked.
Watford awaits West Ham this weekend in what could be a crucial class for both sides. The Hammers need a win in order to climb the table and prevent what could be a long slide done the table that could include the January disappearance of Dmitri Payet.
The loss of Payet would spell out utter disappointment and self-destruction for West Ham, the loss of Bilic’s job, and losing the Olympic Stadium. No pressure though.
I have looked to catastrophize the situation a tad, but in all honesty this Watford match has more riding on it than the Manchester Derby. Unfortunately for us watching at home, this one will be a hell of a lot more boring.
Better start drinking now.