A transfer window that saw 13 new players arrive at West Ham, with four of those signing on a deadline day widely accepted to be a good one for the Hammers, suddenly hands Slaven Bilic some selection dilemmas.
Few can argue that the strength of the east Londoners’ squad has been enhanced, as the substitutes bench transforms from housing academy prospects to genuine impact players able to change a game.
Picking a strongest West Ham XI, one that assumes everyone is fit and suspension-free, is now a tough task when before it was depressingly simple.
Although not all the players selected in Ladbrokes News’ below attempt are available for the Hammers next outing against Newcastle, which they are 23/20 to win, the side certainly looks like one capable of a top-10 finish:
There are some positions on the field that West Ham have no trouble filling, with Adrian as goalkeeper, Aaron Creswell as left-back and Winston Reid as one half of the centre-back pairing undisputed in a strongest XI.
James Tomkins at right-back, over Carl Jenkinson, is perhaps contentious, but is justified following the 26-year-old’s performances against Arsenal and Liverpool. His selection allows Angelo Ogbonna to continue as the physical presence at the heart of the defence.
Song’s capture means the three central-midfielders used regularly last term can reprise their roles, with Pedro Obiang keeping them honest from the bench.
The forward line is undoubtedly the most well-stocked following the club’s summer recruitment. Bilic’s preference for a 4-3-3 formation means the pace and scoring form of Diafra Sakho should be retained as the lone striker at Andy Carroll’s expense.
Dimitri Payet’s impressive early form from the left will ensure Michail Antonio is nothing more than a £7m substitute early on in his West Ham career, while Victor Moses is better suited to the Premier League starts than talented-but-lightweight Argentine pairing Mauro Zarate and Manuel Lanzini on the right.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
Fancy a flutter? Sign up today to claim up to £50 in free bets.