Premier League preview 2018/19 - West Ham: Pellegrini has chance to inspire new era
Richard Jolly is analysing all 20 teams competing in the Premier League and giving his verdict on how they will fare. Here he looks at if Manchester City's former manager can inspire a new era at the London Stadium
Lowdown: Two years at the London Stadium have only delivered regression and rancour for West Ham.
After back-to-back bottom-half finishes, a club with far greater aspirations have hired a manager, in Manuel Pellegrini, whose spells at Real Madrid and Manchester City may be less pertinent than his stylish overachievement with Villarreal and Malaga, who he piloted to top-four finishes.
The board, criticised for not spending in the last two years, have overseen one of the biggest summer outlays this year.
The team require consistency and, after conceding the joint most goals last season despite defensive improvement under David Moyes, more of a sense of structure.
Key player: Marko Arnautovic – The great success of Moyes’ time in charge. Arnautovic was converted to become a striker and made off with the Hammer of the Year award after scoring 11 goals.
Yet will Pellegrini, who has long preferred a target man, keep him leading the line?
Manager: Manuel Pellegrini – A Premier League champion with Manchester City and now back in England after a two-year spell at Hebei China Fortune. The Chilean brings the promise of the attacking football West Ham have often lacked in recent seasons but faces a tough start with five of the opening seven games against last season’s top eight.
Talking point: Has West Ham’s money been well spent? On paper, they look to have recruited well. Lukasz Fabianski seems an upgrade in goal, Issa Diop is their costliest ever defender and Jack Wilshere and Ryan Fredericks, on free transfers, are a relatively risk-free deals.
Andriy Yarmolenko may have had a disappointing season at Borussia Dortmund but is hugely gifted and the record £36 million (Dh172.1m) recruit Felipe Anderson was linked with both Manchester United and Barcelona.
Yet too many Hammers in recent years have been injury-prone, underwhelming or a mismatch for new team-mates. Will the class of 2018 prove any different?
Updated: August 4, 2018 08:53 AM