West Ham have been a club on the rise in recent years and they will now want to show they can consistently compete both domestically and abroad.
Original article published 22 August 2022
A lack of bodies ultimately cost the Hammers last spring, with David Moyes' men falling to eventual Europa League champions Eintracht Frankfurt in the semi-finals.
That run in Europe compromised their domestic form, with seventh the best they could manage after a campaign in which they spent large swathes amongst the top four.
They are 12/1 to finish in the top four in 2022/23 but will again have Thursday night football on the agenda in the shape of the Europa Conference League.
How Moyes manages his squad will define West Ham's season, especially with them already having injury worries and some key figures heading to the World Cup.
England Premier League 2022/23
|When||5th August 2022 - 28th May 2023|
|How to watch|
Selected matches broadcast on Sky, BT Sport and Amazon Prime
|Odds||Manchester City 4/7, Liverpool 2/1, Tottenham 14/1, Chelsea 16/1, Manchester United 33/1|
The more positive Hammers fans will be hoping for another push for the top four, but with European football to think about, that might prove a stretch.
A top-six placing could be more likely at 4/1 and would demonstrate progress after coming home seventh last term. A top-half finish is 4/7 and has to be a minimum target.
Moyes looks to have added well, signing Alphonse Areola on a permanent deal on the back of last season's loan from Paris Saint-Germain, while the acquisition of Italy international forward Gianluca Scamacca from Sassuolo should at least take some of the burden off Michail Antonio.
The injury to defender Nayef Aguerd, who has undergone ankle surgery and may not make his debut until after the World Cup, is a huge blow and may force Moyes back into the market.
Aguerd's return around the New Year could, though, prove a boost come the winter and propel the Hammers' campaign at a similar time to when they started to falter last time around.
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Geography and other factors mean West Ham always seem to get a tough opening fixture and this term is no different, with the reigning champions, Manchester City, visiting Stratford on 7th August.
City ran out the 5-0 winners when the pair met on the opening weekend in 2019/20 and are 1/3 to win, with the draw 7/2 and the Hammers 17/2.
Last term, West Ham actually won their opening game for the first time since 2015/16 by triumphing 4-2 at Newcastle United and will be aiming to test the Citizens again, having gone 2-0 up against Pep Guardiola's men in May, only to be pegged back to a 2-2 draw.
Despite that City opener, West Ham will feel they have been handed a decent start to the campaign.
However, the Irons will need to be wary when they face an inspired Nottingham Forest side in the first Premier League game to be held at the City Ground in 23 years on 14th August.
They are 6/5 to win on the banks of the Trent, with Forest 9/4 and the draw 23/10.
They then host Brighton on the 21st, before heading to Aston Villa a week later. Tottenham Hotspur at home on 31st August is their first London derby of the season, before they cross the capital to take on Chelsea in early September. Moyes' men then look to have a decent run until facing Liverpool on 19th October.
They sign off for the World Cup at home to Leicester City on 12th November, before returning on Boxing Day away at Arsenal.
West Ham round off their campaign at the Foxes, who they are 8/11 to beat in the pair's season match bet, and considering their presence in the Conference League, it might be a busy spring into summer, with the final of that competition to be held in Prague on 7th June.
After keeping West Ham in the Premier League in his first stint, Moyes has transformed the team since being brought back for a second spell in late 2019.
The Scot's reputation had been hit by mixed reigns at Manchester United, Real Sociedad and Sunderland, but he has rebuilt his career by transforming the Hammers from strugglers to genuine top-four contenders.
Moyes was criticised for not being bullish enough in the transfer window last January, but looks to have signed well this summer and, with Declan Rice staying put, will hope his side can kick on.
Nayef Aguerd (Rennes)
Alphonse Areola (PSG)
Patrick Kelly (Coleraine)
Flynn Downes (Swansea City)
Gianluca Scamacca (Sassuolo)
Ryan Fredericks (Released)
David Martin (Released)
Mark Noble (Retired)
Andriy Yarmolenko (Released)
Sonny Perkins (Released)
Arthur Masuaku (Besiktas) Loan
Issa Diop (Fulham)
Nikola Vlasic (Torino)
|Potential top scorer|
Michail Antonio/Gianluca Scamacca
Despite being 37, Lukasz Fabianski remains a rock at the back and Areola will be ready to step in should age finally start to get the better of the Pole.
In defence, Kurt Zouma enjoyed a fine first season after joining from Chelsea and will again be key, while new midfielder Flynn Downes looks a ready-made replacement for club legend, Mark Noble, who retired at the end of last season.
Antonio will look to rediscover his touch after a quiet second half of last season, where fatigue clearly got the better of him. The signing of Scamacca, 6/4 to be the Irons top scorer, provides both competition and a high-class alternative.
However, West Ham's main man is undoubtedly Rice, who after skippering the side for much of last season, has taken the armband permanently from Noble.
Not only is the 23-year-old his club's best player, he is undoubtedly amongst the Premier League's elite. The midfielder is set to play a key role for England in Qatar, but that doesn't mean he will be holding back in the opening months of the season.
As mentioned, Rice will be vital if England, 11/2 to win the tournament, are to reach the latter stages over the winter.
Winger Jarrod Bowen is 4/5 to join him in Gareth Southgate's squad, while goalkeeper Fabianski remains a contender for the Poland national team.
After struggling for consistency the first time around, forward Nikola Vlasic will hope for a breakout season as he hunts a place in Croatia's squad, while Manuel Lanzini may also need to do more as he faces a fight to earn selection for Argentina's final 26.