Premier League 2022-23 preview No 19: West Ham | Soccer

Guardian writers’ predicted position 8th (NB: this is not necessarily Jacob Steinberg’s prediction but the average of our writers’ tips)

Last season’s position 7th

Odds to win the league (via Oddschecker) 150-1

prospects

The aim is to challenge for a place in the top four again. The question is whether West Ham have grown stale. They captured the imagination with their run to the Europa League semi-finals last season, but a small squad struggled to cope with the additional workload and David Moyes has spent the summer trying to add more quality in several positions.

The positive is that West Ham have lessened their dependence on Michail Antonio, who looked weary during the second half of last season. The striker has had no competition for his place during the last 18 months, but the arrival of Gianluca Scamacca from Sassuolo gives Moyes’s attack a fresh look. A tall and powerful forward, Scamacca scored 16 goals in Serie A last season and has broken into the Italy squad. The 23-year-old has all the makings of a fan favourite, though the recent history of attacking players moving to the Premier League from Serie A is not hugely encouraging.

Ready for the Premier League 2022-2023: West Ham – video

However, the striking situation is not the only issue. Moyes needs more from Saïd Benrahma and Nikola Vlasic in attacking midfield. He will hope that Flynn Downes is capable of helping the overworked Tomas Soucek and Declan Rice in central midfield. As for the defence, all is not well. Nayef Aguerd, a Moroccan centre-back who has signed for £30m from Rennes, could be out for three months after undergoing ankle surgery. Angelo Ogbonna is just back from a long-term knee injury. Issa Diop wants to leave and Kurt Zouma picked up injuries last season. Another huge season for Craig “Ballon” Dawson, then?

Of course, there is no need to panic yet. West Ham have made rapid progress in the last two years. But have opponents started to work them out? Moyes, who tore into his players after defeat to Brighton on the final day forced West Ham to settle for a place in the Europa Conference League, has sounded a little impatient recently. It could be a testing campaign.