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Three reasons for West Ham fans to be positive despite poor results in pre-season


Filed: Wednesday, 2nd August 2017
By: Staff Writer #3


West Ham rounded off their pre-season tour of Germany with a 3-3 draw against minnow Altona 93, which saw captain for the night Winston Reid sent off before half-time in his first game back from injury.

The draw means that the Hammers have come through their tour with one loss and two draws, having faced Werder Bremen twice in the Betway Cup beforehand.

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Slaven Bilicís side, then, have picked up just one win in their entire pre-season thus far, a 2-1 triumph over fellow Londoners Fulham in Austria, with Pep Guardiola and his Manchester City side in Iceland to come before the Premier League season gets underway with a trip to Old Trafford.

After all the excitement surrounding the additions of Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta, Marko Arnautovic and, most recently, Javier Hernandez all that may make rather bleak reading, however, we can turn to an age old footballing clichť that itís not the result which matters in pre-season, itís all about the fitness and performance levels.

While it is an adage which has been hugely overused, itís true that the results really donít matter, so long as players get fitter and fitter as the games go by, and are showing signs of understanding in training there is little to worry about.

With that in mind, there are plenty of positives Hammers fans can take from the little jaunt around Germany.


Marko Arnautovic

The Austrian winger arrived from Stoke City with a hefty £23m price-tag, not a lot in the context of this summer but for a club such as West Ham and for a player of his level Ė itís more than enough, and a reputation for being a bit of a hot-head.

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However, across the German tour the former Werder Bremen man shone as he looked to impress upon his new fanbase and management team. The 28-year-old, brought in as a readymade option for the first team, looked just that, ready to go when Bilicís side face Manchester United on the opening weekend.

Bilic will be hoping he can continue to integrate with the squad and the other new signings if they are to take anything from a game in which they are clear underdogs, with Jose Mourinhoís men 1/3 (odds taken 02/08/17) to take all three points with Betway.


Declan Rice

The Hammers take pride in being the ĎAcademy of Footballí, with the phrase emblazoned across the touchline at London Stadium, just as it had been at Upton Park.

That said, itís been a while since any youngsters made the step up and became a regular in the first team, with Mark Noble really the last to really establish himself in claret and blue.

However, given the form of 18-year-old Declan Rice in Germany, fans could well be treated to the next rising star this season.

Whether he was deployed as a centre-half or in central midfield the youngster shone and was arguably the most impressive player on tour.

With Reece Burke and Josh Cullen both heading to Bolton on loan, it seems a temporary move for Rice is unlikely this summer, affording him the chance to step up in the cups or even the Premier League depending on how Bilicís side cope with injury this season, which takes us to the third positive.


Injuries

Aside from skipper Noble, who picked up an ankle injury in the first clash with Werder Bremen, the Hammers escaped lightly when it comes to injuries this summer.

Given the clubís record when it comes to injuries in recent seasons, and their supposed penchant for bringing in injury prone players, the staff will have been watching with keen interest over the early stages of the preparations.

Last term, as the Hammers returned to form after a horrendous Christmas period, they were once again hampered by injuries to key players such as Andy Carroll, Michail Antonio and Winston Reid.

Their early success when it comes to keeping players fit will be a source of hope that a clean bill of health can be kept for the majority of the season to come.


Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.







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