EPL Season Preview: West Ham United

STRATFORD, ENGLAND - AUGUST 04: Cheikhou Kouyate of West Ham United celebrates scoring his second goal during the UEFA Europa League Qualification round match between West Ham United and NK Domzale at London Stadium on August 4, 2016 in Stratford, England. (Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images)
Cheikhou Kouyate of West Ham United celebrates scoring his second goal during the UEFA Europa League Qualification round match between West Ham United and NK Domzale at London Stadium on August 4, 2016 in Stratford, England. (Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images)

Updated August 11, 2016

Coach: Slavn Bilic

2015/16 Finish: 7

2016/17 Preseason Ranking: 8

Sportify Rating: 1588

2015/15 Wagebill: £70M

Stadium Capacity: 80,000 at Olympic Stadium

Departures: Jordan Brown (Hannover); Leo Chambers (released); Josh Cullen (Bradford, loan); George Dobson (Walsall, loan); Stephen Hendrie (Blackburn, loan); Kyle Knoyle (Wigan, loan); Elliott Lee (Barnsley); Nathan Mavila (released); Amos Nasha (released); Joey O’Brien (released); Josh Pask (Gillingham, loan); Lewis Page (Coventry, loan); James Tomkins (Crystal Palace)

Arrivals: Andre Ayew (Swansea); Sofiane Feghouli (Valencia); Ashley Fletcher (Manchester United); Manuel Lanzini (Al Jazira Club); Toni Martinez (Valencia); Arthur Masuaku (Olympiakos); Havard Nordtveit (Borussia Monchengladbach); Domingos Quina (Chelsea); Gokhan Tore (Besikas, loan). Pending International Clearance: Jonathan Calleri (Deportivo Maldonado, loan).

The good: Finishing

West Ham were elite last year both in finishing chances and finishing games. The Hammers scored 65 goals last season (T-4th) on 53.7 xG, and their +11.3 goals minus xG was second best in the league. While Dimitri Payet was responsible for quite a bit of their attack (took or assisted 35% of xG), the team had a league best 7 players who outperformed their xG by at least one full goal. Nineteen of those 65 goals came after the 76 minute mark (best in the league) while they conceded only eight (T-3rd best) last season. Those goals turned a loss to a draw thrice and a draw to a win a whopping five times.

WestHam_gminusxG

The bad: Failure to defend a lead

No team in the EPL averaged more goals scored plus conceded than West Ham last year (3.1 per game), and the Hammers usually came out on top finishing the season with a +14 goal differential. Exciting? Yes. Pragmatic? No. Thirty times the Hammers scored a goal that gave them a lead, but 14 times they went on to concede an equalizer, more than any other team in the league.