I often find myself scrolling down Twitter to see many of our fans expressing their worries about the current affairs surrounding West Ham United. It seems one of the most popular growing concerns is the feeling that our squad has hardly improved from last year’s which saw us finish 10th in our first season back. I have to admit that I share the view that we have only improved very slightly, if any, however I think you have to take many things into account before saying that just because our squad is similar that we cannot improve on last season’s finish.
First of all you have to realise for large parts of last season we had to settle for Carlton Cole, who only scored two goals, to lead our front line while Andy Carroll nursed numerous injuries. During this time we still performed quite well and picked up a good few wins and draws and only lost a small number of times. This season I would hope that Carroll can perform like a new signing. Last season his appearances were scattered around two long term injuries and yet he still managed to score seven goals and help the entire team to play better with him even playing as a defender when we were desperately trying to hang on to leads. This season he will hopefully be injury free and his performances can flow into one another without his rhythm being constantly broken up by injury.
Joe Cole is another one who will be like a new signing for us next term. If Salomon Kalou doesn’t join us then I would imagine that Joe Cole will be our first choice right winger. Cole only rejoined the club in January but made a definite impact when he was not struggling with injuries. Hopefully without the injuries that plagued him last year he can also get into his rhythm and maybe reproduce the form that we saw of him in his younger days at the club and when he moved on to Chelsea.
Finally I come to Razvan Rat. It amazes me when I see people on Twitter saying that we need a new left-back. It seems either that us signing Rat managed to escape their attention and they don’t actually realise we have him or, perhaps more alarmingly, they don’t believe that the captain of the Romanian national team who has won many Ukrainian league titles with Shakhter Donetsk and has played in the Champions League on numerous occasions is not good enough for West Ham! I believe Joey O’Brien is very underrated and actually did a very good job for us playing out of position at left-back to cover for the injured George McCartney last season, however I am now very excited, and possibly slightly more comfortable, in the fact that we now have such a highly rated and top class full-back in our ranks in Razvan Rat.