With the likes of Mark Noble, Kevin Nolan, Mohammed Diame and Jack Collison as established central midfielders, the likes of Alou Diarra, Ravel Morrison and Sebastien Lletget emerging as first team challengers this summer, and then the potential signings of Orlando Engelaar and Drvanzo Kuzmanovic to come, West Ham United have quite an embarrassing amount of riches in the central midfield department.
The starting 3 is likely to be Noble, Diame and Nolan. There is no reason to change this as all 3 played their part in securing a tenth place finish last season. However, all 3 now know that if they are under performing, or are fatigued, there will be quality replacements to come in.
With Nolan, Morrison and Lletget making up the attacking midfielders, with a possible move for Kuzmanovic (although Malaga have come in for his services as well now), creating chances shouldn’t really be a problem. Noble, Diarra, Diame and possibly Engelaar, there are four solid defensive midfielders for those tough away trips. The return of Diarra is a real plus. A French International player, who looks strong in the tackle, but can also play a bit, he could be a real asset to the team, so I hope him and Allardyce have patched up their differences. It also puts pressure on the likes of local boy, Mark Noble, who has been a regular in the team for a number of seasons now. However, I can’t help think that maybe we as fans show him a bit of favoritism being that he is an Academy Product. There is no doubting his ability, but sometimes I feel Nobes goes missing in games where we need him to step up.
Finally, Jack Collison, again, another fans favourite for being a youth player who’s made it to the first team. Poor old Jack will never be a first team regular due to the poor state of his knee. He is useful to have in the squad, as he proved at Stoke City last season, and the Playoff Campaign of the season before last. As long as the club are happy to have him as a squad player, Collison can play many roles throughout the midfield, so is important if we can keep him fit.
The season ahead is going to be interesting to see this midfield battle – don’t be surprised to see some rotation!