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What a difference a year makes.

This time last year, West Ham were within shouting distance of the FA cup semi-final and 4th place in the League.

Oh what a difference a year makes at West Ham UnitedThe team was in the midst of a long undefeated run and full of confidence, Slaven Bilic was a tactical genius who had delivered wins against Liverpool (3 times!) Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal and Spurs. The feel good factor was evident everywhere sure we were leaving the Boleyn, but onwards and upwards and what a way to say goodbye to the old place!! All was good.

A year later, West Ham are struggling, the feel good factor has gone, teething problems with the new stadium, injuries and the terrible dealings in the transfer market have contributed to the loss of any momentum last year may have given. The result on Saturday combined with the win over Swansea have steadied the ship and should see West Ham safe, but there are clearly issues that need to be addressed.

West Ham desperately need a regular goalscorer with pace, Carroll is a fantastic weapon to have but I feel he would be brilliant alongside someone with real pace. Having someone who is willing to run in behind would stretch the play and give more room to Lanzini to operate in. The question is who? And where? West Ham have had a certain degree of success scouting in the Championship, Cresswell and Antonio being hugely successful additions and despite a somewhat laboured start to his West Ham career Byram does look like he has promise. A striker that interests me is Tammy Abraham the young Chelsea striker currently on loan at Bristol City looks to have real promise he has scored goals in the Championship in a struggling side and has scored goals for England at every age group. Realistically Abraham’s chances of breaking into Chelsea’s first team are fairly small given their recruitment policy and it maybe Abraham is tempted by the chance to play Premier League football at such a young age.

I feel that we need to build for the future by keeping faith with the younger elements of our squad and recruiting players of a certain age, as much as it does pain me to say it look at what Tottenham are doing, West Ham can’t compete financially with the big guns so we need to be smarter and be prepared to risk putting in the youngsters in the team. Reece Oxford has to be given his chance next year, are our defensive problems going to get any worse with him in the team? Collins is aging and Fonte was a baffling signing. Reece Burke has performed well while on loan with Bradford last season despite an injury-plagued season with Wigan this time out. Josh Cullen has gained great experience and many plaudits, I would like to see them be given a chance at the club next year.

Another area of concern is the goalkeeper, there has been talk of Joe Hart who I think would be a fantastic signing, he is a big character and a leader as well as a talented goalkeeper who will undoubtedly return from Italy a better player although wages maybe an issue for the Manchester City man. Tom Heaton has had a brilliant season with Burnley and has shown consistency over the last 3 years, he would be a great addition to the team.

I would love to see Bilic leading a young vibrant West Ham team, I think that would give the crowd something to unite behind and with momentum, we saw how close we came last to achieving something really great. It’s been an awful season for West Ham but lessons must be learned quickly a slow start given the run of away games that the team will face in the opening month of next season could be disastrous.

Last summer it felt like we made an attempt to improve our squad without improving the team, it’s clear we have areas to strengthen for next season, we have a number of very experienced Premier League players and I would like to see a sprinkling of younger players around them.

Originally published at moorethanjustaclub.com

Post written by Ciaran Judge
for Moore Than A Club, Blog: moorethanjustaclub.com, Twitter: @MooreThanAClub

Note: The views expressed within this blog post are those of the contributing author, and may not necessarily reflect those of MatchDayApp Limited, its representatives or associated partners.

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