Projected starting XI
Joe Hart; Arthur Masuaku, Angelo Ogbonna, Winston Reid, Pablo Zabaleta; Pedro Obiang, Mark Noble; Marko Arnautovic, Manuel Lanzini, Michail Antonio; "Chicharito" Javier Hernandez
How do you feel about your club’s summer transfer business?
David Sullivan and the rest of West Ham's management gifted fans the dream transfer window. They knew they dropped the ball last year and were hell bent on making it up to the organization, and more importantly, the fans. Every gaping need was not only to be addressed but answered with punctuation. I'm not aware of many teams that brought in four players to immediately join the starting XI.
West Ham desperate for a right back? Bam, bring in Pablo Zabaleta. Tired of the constant rotation out on the wings? Marko Arnautovic, at your service. Need a proven forward to bang in those absent goals? Chicharito, welcome to East London. However, their most important key addition just might have been Joe Hart. West Ham have a formidable defense with Jose Fonte, Winston Reid, and Angelo Ogbonna on the line, but the missing piece has always been someone to marshal the lads into position. Hart brings that veteran presence and leadership that has been direly missing these last few seasons.
Are you happy with ownership? Elated? Cautiously optimistic? Furious?
Fans are thrilled with ownership at the moment. Why shouldn't they be? Sullivan and Gold have spent an enormous sum of money to bring in the best quality players to the club and provided every answer that fans have been clamoring for. Cleverly, they have removed the blame that found their shoulders last season and placed it onto the manager and the players. 2017-18 will rest in the hands of Slaven Bilic, as will his own fate as manager of the club.
What’s the highest reasonable goal your team has and what needs to go right to get there?
Six points separated 8th position from 17th in last year's Premier League standings. That's Southampton down to Watford. The top six clubs have moved even further towards arming themselves for the upcoming campaign and realistically remain off West Ham's radar as a reasonable goal. Our real competition lies with Everton and Leicester City, both of which have been making strong moves in the transfer window. At the very least, West Ham should be seeing themselves in 8th place by year's end. Anything short of that will be viewed as a dismal failure.
What are you scared of that might derail your season?
Injuries have been the bane of a West Ham fan's existence for years. Namely, Andy Carroll. Sure, we now have Chicharito to cut through a defensive line, but ideally, we'd all love to see our large target man alongside our world-class poacher. Sadly, Andy isn't our only key player susceptible to the injury bug. Michail Antonio, Aaron Cresswell, Andre Ayew, Angelo Ogbonna, and Pedro Obiang all missed large periods of play time last season. West Ham's most formidable adversary isn't Tottenham Hotspur, it's the medical team.
Who will be your team’s MVP this season, and why?
Manuel Lanzini is a future world-class player. The 24-year-old No. 10 made a name for himself last season, bagging eight goals and two assists in 36 appearances. His dribbling and technical ability is matched by no one on the squad. Lanzini prefers to take players head on and dribble at goal. However, he's shined brightest when he's had a steady partner to work alongside. The arrival of Chicharito should prove to not only be a major boost to West Ham's attacking woes, but to further the already blossoming career of Lanzini. Liverpool and other major clubs have been knocking on the door inquiring about the Argentinian international, but credit the board for not giving into surely enormous sum Manuel Lanzini would warrant.
What do you think makes your team’s fan culture better than any other team’s?
West Ham United have the best fans in the world, and that fanbase is growing. With supporter clubs popping up all over the United States, as well as worldwide, the Hammer brand is thriving. Ask any player who joins West Ham what aided their decision to join, they will always point towards the passion of the fan and the atmosphere created. If you haven't seen or heard 60,000 people sing, "I'm forever blowing bubbles" in unison prior to kickoff, you need to head on over to YouTube right now. London Stadium was a difficult transition for the fans at first. The atmosphere wasn't as intimate as the Boleyn Ground, nor was the history there. However, by the end of 2017 campaign, I dare you to spot a difference. When West Ham ended Tottenham's title hopes with a Lanzini goal at home, you could have closed your eyes and never have known the difference.
Main photo: Ian Walton/Getty Images