Predicting a Possible West Ham Starting XI in the EPL Next Season
West Ham's starting 11 for the 2013/14 season will feature a number of new faces alongside some of the club's top performers.
The Hammers returned to the Premier League and finished the season comfortably in 10th place. A few more signings could make them even more of a nuisance than they were last season.
Changes will likely occur in the defense and midfield, with Andy Carroll a familiar, and now permanent, member of the West Ham squad leading the line. West Ham have already signed Razvan Rat to solidify the defense, and the Guardian reports a deal for Ecuadorian winger, Jefferson Montero, is close.
Other deals may be completed, but those two are the most likely options to start as newcomers. Sam Allardyce may look to stay with the 4-2-3-1 formation that served his side so well in 2012/13.
Here's what the West Ham starting 11 may look like at the beginning of the 2013/14 campaign.
Goalkeeper: Jussi Jaaskelainen
Experience is the name of the game for West Ham in goal, as 38-year-old veteran Jussi Jaaskelainen will be the starter.
The former Finland international will enter his second season as a West Ham player, and his 14th in the Premier League. He had a decent debut season with the London club.
FoxSports statistics shows Jaaskelainen had 11 clean sheets, and 163 saves against 215 shots on goal faced.
West Ham may have signed Real Betis' Adrian, but his solid 2012/13 season was only his first experience of La Liga action.
Right Back: Joey O'Brien
Joey O'Brien spent the majority of the season as the left-back for West Ham, but Razvan Rat's introduction should change that.
His overall play as a fullback wasn't better than Guy Demel. The two were virtually equal statistically, but he'll get the nod. His contribution on the offensive end—two goals and four assists compared to Demel's two assists—is what gets him over the top.
Central Defender: James Collins
James Collins' aerial prowess and strength make him a great asset for West Ham's defense. He plays a key role in West Ham's set-piece setup on both ends of the pitch.
He played 29 games for the club in the Premier League last season and his experience is vital.
Collins had a decent season statistically, averaging 1.8 tackles and 1.7 interceptions per game.
Central Defender: Winston Reid
Winston Reid appeared in 36 Premier League games for West Ham last season, and was a consistent player throughout. The New Zealand international was arguably West Ham's best defender last season.
Reid only scored one goal for the Hammers, but that's not his job. After striking up a good partnership with James Collins, the 25-year-old will keep his role in the center of defense.
Left Back: Razvan Rat
Razvan Rat brings a wealth of experience to the West Ham squad, and a player of his caliber will surely start in the left-back spot for the Hammers.
Rat will provide a solid presence down the left flank for the London side, bringing good play to both ends of the pitch. He had four assists in 16 Ukranian league games last season, as shown here by Transfermarkt.
Central Midfield: Mark Noble
Mark Noble is an extremely important player for West Ham. He brings creativity, industry, and consistent play to the West Ham midfield.
The 26-year-old Englishman scored four goals and added three assists in a great season for the Hammers. His contribution on both ends of the pitch were evident, as he led the team in tackles, with 3.6 per game, and key passes, with 1.5 per game.
He is generally at the hub of every good move the Hammers make, and there's no doubting his starting spot.
Central Midfield: Mohamed Diame
The energy and power that Mohamed Diame brought to the West Ham midfield is a big reason why they were successful.
He provided the same sort of productivity that Mark Noble did on both ends, notching three goals, and adding 3.5 tackles per game. He was part of a midfield trio that was key to West Ham's success, and will keep his starting spot.
Right Attacking Midfielder: Ricardo Vaz Te
Ricardo Vaz Te contributed to West Ham's cause more than his fellow wingers.
The Portuguese attacker scored three goals and had five assists during the season, while putting in some good effort defensively. His per game ratio of 1.3 tackles and one interception per game were only slightly less than some of West Ham's defenders.
Unless he gets injured, or Matt Jarvis has a fantastic preseason, he'll get the nod to start.
Central Attacking Midfielder: Kevin Nolan
West Ham's captain will certainly keep his place as the club's attacking midfielder next season.
Kevin Nolan drove the team forward throughout the season, and led his side in scoring with 10 goals. He also added three assists.
Nolan's partnership with Andy Carroll will be important moving forward, and Sam Allardyce will look to improve on that.
Left Attacking Midfielder: Jefferson Montero
Matt Taylor and Matt Jarvis had disappointing seasons, so Jefferson Montero will get the nod on the left side of midfield if he signs.
The Ecuadorian attacker will provide some flair to the West Ham attack. He scored three goals and added two assists in his last season with Mexican side, Morelia.
Forward: Andy Carroll
Andy Carroll will get the starting spot even if another forward is signed. Whether he'll keep that spot as the season progresses is another matter, but he is West Ham's record signing, and a key component for Sam Allardyce's preferred style of play.
The Metro reports that the Hammers have submitted a bid for Wilfried Bony, and Carroll will certainly have to worry if he signs.
He will have to improve on his seven goals and four assists, but, for now, the starting spot is his.
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