Despite spending £99.18m last summer, West Ham are in trouble at the wrong end of the table.
As it stands, they are currently in 16th position, but they are still level on points with Bournemouth, who currently occupy 18th place and are therefore in danger of being relegated to the second tier. The London outfit have already seen one change of manager, too, with David Moyes returning to take over from Manuel Pellegrini, but that appears to have made little difference.
It wasn’t meant to be like this. When the Hammers moved into the London Stadium in 2016, they were looking to establish themselves amongst the top sides in the country, but at times it has been a hindrance rather than a help – the supporters remain unhappy with their new stadium.
Their final season at Upton Park was a positive one, as they finished seventh in the league under Slaven Bilic.
Here, we compare that 2015/16 XI with the one from this campaign.
The duel that jumps off the page is Dimitri Payet against Jeremy Ngakia. Four years ago, the former was in stunning form, managing 12 goals and 15 assists in just 38 matches in all competitions. Ngakia, meanwhile, has made just four appearances in his career to date – it would be interesting to see how he dealt with the France international at his peak.
Considering only three sides have conceded more than the Irons’ 50 goals this term in the Premier League, Andy Carroll would surely relish playing against Issa Diop and Angelo Ogbonna – he scored nine times that campaign.
Sebastien Haller, though, would not be too daunted to face a duo of Ogbonna and James Tomkins, who were part of a backline that conceded 50 times themselves in 15/16. Elsewhere, Declan Rice against Cheikhou Kouyate could be a tough battle in the middle of the park – the latter averaged 2.8 tackles per game back then, whilst the former has managed three himself this campaign.
Payet was undoubtedly the star man for the Irons at Upton Park. No-one could match his tally for goals or assists, whilst his form earned him a call-up for the France squad for Euro 2016 – his stunning late goal in the first match of the tournament against Romania gave his nation all three points.
Others, such as Manuel Lanzini and Michail Antonio – they managed 16 goals and nine assists between them – were in good form, whilst Mark Noble was, as ever, Mr. Reliable in the middle of the park.
For this one, there is surely no doubt who the winner would be – the class of this term would likely be no match for that previous XI. Payet on his own would cause plenty of problems, whilst Noble managed his highest-ever WhoScored rating of 7.15 that season.
This campaign, the Hammers have looked disjointed and out of shape, which translates to their league position – they would definitely struggle to contain what was a well-oiled Hammers machine at the time.
For the fans, though, this is a bleak reminder of how far they have regressed when they should have improved – the promises made to them have been broken.