Sam Allardyce
Allardyce's position at Upton Park is growing increasingly uncertain.Getty Images/Steve Bardens

Last season

Premier League: 13th

FA Cup: Third Round

League Cup: Semi-finals

Top Scorer: Kevin Nolan (7)

Summer's work

The Hammers' transfer business has lurched from the sublime to the ridiculous. In Carl Jenkinson and Aaron Cresswell, manager Sam Allardyce has added well to a defence which kept 15 clean sheets last season. However, in the areas of more pressing concern there has been a distinct lack of success. With Andy Carroll out until at least November, only Enner Valencia and Mauro Zarate have been added to the West Ham attack alongside Carlton Cole. Diego Poyet though is an impressive signing from Charlton Athletic. Further additions have been promised but with less than three weeks of the window remaining, little progress has been made. Elsewhere, with Allardyce having conformed to a new attacking brand of football, Teddy Sheringham has joined the coaching team.

Manager – Sam Allardyce

Allardyce begins the season as the bookmakers' favourite to be the first Premier League manager to be sacked after barely hauling West Ham out of a relegation dog-fight last term. Despite having agreed to a new attacking philosophy which is at odds with his own tactics and to boardroom influence over summer transfers, he faces an uphill task to earn an extension to a contract which has less than 12 months to run. The Upton Park faithful turned from supportive to disgruntled at times last term with uninspiring home victories met with booing at full time. Everything points towards short campaign for 59-year old.

Key player – Mohamed Diame

With a number of key individuals beginning the season either injured or with off-the-field problems, the Senegal international must pick-up the baton for West Ham this season. Having operated in nearly every position for the club last season, including as a make-shift forward, Diame has dismissed speculation over his future to play like a man possessed at times during his two-year Hammers career. A dominant, driving force in midfield who operates adeptly in both halves and though West Ham's new style of play might not fully make use of his physicality, there remains little doubt over his capacity to influence.

Expectations

With Carroll starting the season injured for a second successive term, Ravel Morrison's future uncertain ahead of facing two charges of common assault and harassment and Allardyce beginning the campaign under severe pressure, West Ham's season is heaped in turmoil before it has begun. Having made little improvement to a squad which didn't secure safety from relegation last season until the penultimate game, the club can expect another season at the wrong end of the table. Allardyce's exit meanwhile appears inevitable.

Prediction

Survival should be achievable despite a myriad of distractions. 16th