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EPL Preview: Does New Additions Make West Ham United Contenders?

West Ham United

photo via West Ham’s Facebook page

Last season, West Ham United finished 13th in the English Premier League, but struggled down the stretch as a move into the top-half of the table was on the horizon. West Ham could have ended up deeper in the bottom-half of the table if it wasn’t for any other teams making a move forward in the league. If West Ham wants to move up in the table, losing streaks will need to be kept at a minimum.

Coach, Sam Allardyce, has seen his share of criticism but at one point, West Ham stood at tenth in the table and was in the driver’s seat of moving upward in the league, but a stretch of losses pushed Allardyce and West Ham into thirteenth to finish the season.

Allardyce has had a successful transfer window bringing in Enner Valencia, Carl Jenkinson and Cheikhou Kouyate to name a few. These three players will allow West Ham to compete. Jenkinson is on loan from Arsenal but is a promising defender. As well, Kouyate is a talented player that experiences versatility in his position by playing both midfielder and center back. Kouyate arrived to West Ham from Anderlecht and will more than likely see plenty of first-team minutes. Valencia is the player that I have my eye on. Valencia had a great World Cup for Ecuador and displayed plenty of skill at forward for the club. Valencia signed for £12 million and has the goal of competing in the Champions League.

Valencia will probably enter the starting forward spot due to Andy Carroll being sidelined for four months due to ankle surgery. This will be a tall task for Valencia since Carroll has scoring power and is West Ham’s “star.” Valencia will probably take a backseat to captain, Kevin Nolan, at the forward position, however. Last season, Nolan did not impress while Carroll was away but due to his status at the club, Allardyce will likely choose Nolan over Valencia.

Valencia’s inability to see first-team minutes in the first half of the year will put West Ham at a disadvantage which could cost West Ham a spot in the top-half of the league. I predict a fourteenth place finish for West Ham United.

Collin Ruby is a Writer for StoppageTimeSoccer, Follow him on Twitter @Collin_Ruby, Like him on Facebook and Add him to your Circles on Google+

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