The season begins this weekend

New season, new signings, fresh ambitions. West Ham United begin the 2019/20 season with a 5-0 home defeat to reigning Champions Manchester City. The natural order is restored. But what went wrong?

In hindsight not actually that much. Bar the comprehensive scoreline and the immediate impact VAR managed to assert on the game, on paper we were not 'that' bad.

Manchester City have and will dish out afternoons like this, and against better sides than us. They put six past Chelsea last year, six again against Watford in the FA Cup Final.

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While it doesn't excuse the fact that a 5-0 home defeat is unacceptable, it highlights how good Man City are at doing what that do.

Pep Guardiola's side will capitalise on any openings, half-chances, or in our case, obvious holes in defence when presented with the opportunity. It's the kind of game that offers a reality check, but also makes us question how competitive the domestic league and cups actually are in the present format.

This is the kind of result that you might expect Pep's Barcelona dishing out against Espanyol or Sociedad each week.

Manuel Pellegrini expressed after the game that he felt the scoreline was an unfair reflection of the proceedings and I'm inclined to agree. We looked fairly well equipped in the first half to deal with a Man City side that had a fair amount of rotation.

If you share the notions of Jose Mourinho however, what happened in the second half might have been something to expect regardless.

Conceding early on and losing our defensive shape far too often was a real blow after such a promising display in the first 45.

Previous experience tells us this fixture is one we should prepare for the worst prior to. Having shipped over 20 goals to Man City at home since moving to the London Stadium, it's fair enough to say that these three points won't be the ones we look back upon come the campaign's end.

So our season begins this weekend.

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We travel to Brighton with the knowledge that both Sebastien Haller and Felipe Anderson may not feature. Often this would point to further doom and gloom, but we can take comfort in the fact that we have bolstered the offensive options in the squad enough to rotate.

I'm curious to see how Albian Ajeti gets on and remain hopeful that he'll lead the line at the Amex. His record for Basel is excellent and it looks a steal for the fee paid.

I'd also welcome the long awaited return of Andriy Yarmolenko out wide. We saw at Goodison Park last season how chaotic he can be when cutting inside and running at defences.

It'd be a big step in the right direction if we can respond to last week's defeat with a convincing performance and a victory against opposition we'd expect to finish in the bottom half, despite our recent awful record at the Amex.

The Seagulls will set up to go at us and Graham Potter won't back down or shut up shop. I can see this being a high-scoring affair; our defence is still keeping us from being a top side and until we resolve those issues we can't expect to make massive progress over our rivals.

I hesitantly predict a 2-2 draw but in many ways, wouldn't be surprised by any scoreline. Even with the quality options amongst the current squad, we still can't quite shake those "typical West Ham" performances.

With a trip to Newport in the League Cup on the horizon however, perhaps we'll save some of that calamitous energy for Rodney Parade...

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