All mods con: 2019/20 predictions

At last - the new season is upon us!

So we thought we'd ask the KUMB Forum moderating team to offer their predictions for the forthcoming campaign. Who will excel? Who may struggle? Where will West Ham finish in the table?

Discover what our team think below...


BristolhammerFC

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A new season with old problems. As usual, the marquee signings have all been up front and the defence has been largely neglected.

Last season we were punished on the counter by wingers exploiting Pablo Zabaleta's lack of pace and pedestrian midfield cover, or a positionally-incompetent Aaron Cresswell with a ball over his head as he stands next to a ball-watching Angelo Ogbonna. Only Issa Diop looks of real quality; Winston Reid and Fabian Balbeuna remain unconvincing.

I feel we are still short of a couple of quality full backs. We will be like Brazil going forward - and Barnet when we defend. I expect some high scoring games. Great entertainment, but against better teams we could get murdered.

Our attack looks very potent and cover is good. Whether an ageing Mark Noble and an increasingly improving Declan Rice can cover the charge of our flair players remains to be seen.

I predict that we will throw the Carabao Cup under the bus, going out in our second game but have a go at the FA Cup - possibly reaching the quarter final. If we do though, I also predict that Pellers will leave at the end of the season for a top European club.

Hang on, its going to be a ride!

Prediction: 8th


Rio

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Judging by our pre-season exploits we're in for a hell of a ride this season. We've added genuine attacking quality in the shape of Pablo Fornals and Sebastian Haller - plus there's the added bonus of, wait for it, an apparently fit Jack Wilshere.

Combine them with the mercurial talents of Manuel Lanzini, a fully-acclimatised-to-English-football Felipe Anderson, plus a supporting cast of Michail Antonio, Andriy Yarmolenko, Javier Hernandez et al and we have the creativity and firepower to trouble the best of them.

However the (initial) recruitment emphasis on attack has not addressed some question marks on our defensive attributes.

Lukasz Fabianski was our Player of the Season for a reason. He had to be to combat our back four being exposed way too often. We really do look short of at least one powerhouse, pacy defensive midfielder. The failure to recruit one could see Declan exhausted and in a state of footballing PTSD by October.

I'm hoping the we'll outscore you, even if it is 5-4 every week will be as fruitful as it promises to be entertaining. The big worry for me is that injuries to key players will decimate us. The streamlining of the squad/wage bill has left us thin on the ground in key areas.

Avoiding the injury crisis we've endured year on year could see us challenge for Europe. Cross your arms in the West Ham fashion, but cross your fingers too.

Prediction: 6th


The Pink Palermo

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As always we're two or three players short, but in this division that could be ?80million and it's money we simply don't have. We're lacking at full back on both flanks, and we really could do with a physically imposing defensive midfielder.

The strategy seems to be outscoring those teams in positions 7-20, but we won't. They'll shut up shop, defend in depth and numbers and take points they scarcely deserve. We, meanwhile, will turn in heroic performances aginst the top six, but won't be collecting six points from any of them.

Four from the two games against Tottenham though will be fun.

This needs to be Lanzini's season; we all like him, all sympathised with his injury issue last year, but this term he needs to win us some games.I think he will, and with the likes of Anderson, Yarmolenko, Antonio, Heller, and Wilshere around him we ought to be easy on the eye. The downside of course with that lot, is we will probably be easy to beat as well.

We'll have enough for a top half finish despite a negative goal difference, and most will be happy with numerous high scoring matches, although a note of caution I'd sound is from a personal perspective - a high scoring FA Cup final was the worst hammer blow I've suffered.

We would do well to remember that, in a final, any kind of goal and clean sheet is enough. Wigan have a trophy that proves that.

We'll do nowt in the Carabao Cup, the team will be made up of the usual pensioners, kids and stiffs, but the FA Cup - providing we get even chances in the draw - could see us go all the way. Who could begrudge our longest-serving player a well-deserved single day of glory at the Empire stadium?

A 93rd minute penalty would do...

Prediction: 9th


Chalks

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They say that Rome wasn't built in a day, but shoving up a load of prefabs every year and hoping they don't fall down isn't going to build a kingdom.

A mid-to-lower mid-table finish plus early Cup exits beckons once more, but at least the football will be entertaining. I can see the usual happening from January; we'll need reinforcements in the window but the cheque book will remain closed.

Pellers will do a Big Sam and Slaven and go from 100 per cent commitment to 75 per cent - and we'll have four months of seeing the season out while we speculate about who will be our next boss.

Or could it be different at long last? Could Haller and Fornals be the pieces of the puzzle that make everything fall into place? Nope, I don't think so either.

It's lovely going into the season with a new carpet, and it genuinely does make the ground a little bit more West Ham. Who'd have thought we'd be excited about a DFS special in three season's time on that amazing last night at The Boleyn though eh? Heart breaking.

Carpets aside, we did manage to do some decent last-minute transfer window business and potentially strengthen the defensive side of the first 11. So we could well have a stonking season, which would be a lovely way to celebrate turning 50...

Prediction: 8th


Gnome

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The new signings look promising enough but as ever there are a few caveats to consider.

It took four games and a few injuries for MP to happen upon his best starting XI. That was inevitable to a certain degree as the new boss had to learn not only about the new signings but also about the players already there. So, on the face of it that part of it ought to be slightly easier.

The recent injury to Fabianski is a worry - he was so good last term it was actually a surprise when he let in a one-on-one. In fact the phrase "West Ham Injury crisis" is so old it pre-dates football itself (see also "bare bones".)

And in an ideal world, financial constraints notwithstanding, we would have a bit more cover in certain areas. It's good to see Ben Johnson getting match time in defence but it appears that there are few out-and-out goalscorers in the youth ranks at present and we need decent cover up front if we are not to be sussed out as one-dimensionsal by opposition defences.

Hopefully the arrival of Albian Ajeti will provide this.

There is talk of Europe - that won't be impossible, but will depend as much on how others in the "not the top six but not relegation fodder" group are performing. However I would like to see us give the cups more of a go. I mean as good as Man City were last season I'd like to think we'd have put up a better fight at Wembley than Watford did.

Finally, it will be interesting to see if the authorities grasp the opportunities offered by VAR to try and raise refereeing standards. You'd hope that if VAR constantly overturns a particular individual an alarm bell should ring somewhere. It won't happen - PGMOL is more concerned with protecting the status quo than improving matters - but one can dream!

Prediction: 7th


-DL-

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Another season is upon us - and another season that starts with me feeling excited and apprehensive at the same time. Whilst our signings, on the face of it, look to be just what we need, as per usual it seems that we are going in to the season with a couple of holes in the squad.

With no replacement for Pedro Obiang, and just a young new defender, we are a couple of injuries away from having to stick players from their natural positions to cover the gaps.

With our history of injuries, plus of course the players we have that are partial to the odd knock or three like I'm partial to a curry, it doesn't take a genius to see there are going to be games this season where we're in the good old West Ham position of having to fit square pegs in to round holes.

I can see there being entertaining high-scoring games, because the jury is still out for me in regards to our defensive unit as a whole. I can also see some very painful high scoring games too for the very same reason. Unfortunately, it will be the opposition doing most of the high scoring in the latter example and not us.

This defence certainly gives me the heebie-jeebies at the best of times. Let's just hope Reid can get his old form back and more importantly, stay fit; ergo hopefully Cresswell will be the Cresswell of old, but I wouldn't count on it.

Most likely it's going to be another mid-table finish, and missing out on Europe, despite having the chances to get in to the elusive top six and like last season, we'll fluff our lines each time and be scratching our heads. Most likely against Sheffield United.

If - and Christ, let's make it a big if - we can keep our perennial sicknotes and flair players fit - we may well scrape in there. But this is West Ham, we all know what's going to happen. Don't we?

Prediction: 8th


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