West Ham United Pre-Season 2022/23 Round Up
West Ham United have now finished their pre-season ahead of the new 22/23 Premier League campaign. It was a mixed one for the Hammers as they have not won many games, have signed some top players but maybe not enough and have had some serious injuries along the way.
The East London outfit began their pre-season campaign in Switzerland, where they faced Servette. A Swiss Super League side based in Geneva. This rounded off the team's trip to Evian, France which is just a short journey from Servette. This camp didn't include the International players who were given an extended break due to playing for their countries after the Premier League season had come to a halt. These players included newly named club captain Declan Rice, Jarrod Bowen, Ben Johnson and summer signing Nayef Aguerd.
West Ham won the game at Stade de Geneve 2-0 thanks to goals from youngsters Divin Mubama and Ajibola Alese who recently departed for Championship side, Sunderland. It was a shaky start for the Hammers as the home side struck the woodwork on three occasions.
However, Alese was there to tap in the opener from an Aaron Cresswell crossed free-kick due to a mistake by Servette goalkeeper Jeremy Frick. In the second half, after pressure from Servette. A low strike from Said Benrahma was saved by Frick, who parried it to 17-year-old Mubama who was there to finish with a backheel from close range.
The Hammers then continued their pre-season tour at St Andrews golf course in Edinburgh. The next games were a double-header on the same day and time way to Boreham Wood and Ipswich. The squad was split over the two games, giving youngsters a chance to impress David Moyes and the coaching staff.
The Ipswich game gave the third new signing of the summer, Flynn Downes a chance to make his debut against his old team. This game also welcomed back the International players, however, Nayef Aguerd wasn't involved in either team. Angelo Ogbonna made his first appearance in claret and blue for almost a year vs Boreham Wood after suffering a serious knee injury last season.
West Ham opened the scoring at Meadow Park thanks to a beautifully placed free-kick from 25 yards by Said Benrahma. In the second half, Darren Randolph's punch fell to Will Evans who was able to equalise. The game finished 1-1. At Portman Road, goals in each half from Kurt Zouma and Dan Chesters saw West Ham United get a 2-1 pre-season win.
In the first half, Michail Antonio struck the goal frame with a fierce strike before his accurate cross led to Zouma's opener after Walton saved his initial header. The second goal was made in the 'Academy of Football' as right-back Harrison Ashby's long-range effort cannoned off of the bar and fell to Dan Chesters who was there to tap home.
The next game for the Hammers was back in Scotland as they travelled to face Europa League finalists Rangers at Ibrox. The first half ended 0-0 after a very balanced period of play. However, the Gers came out of the blocks quickly in the second half thanks to goals from Tom Lawrence, Ryan Kent and Rabbi Matondo all before minute 57.
The home side's clean sheet didn't last too long as Tomas Soucek bundled the ball in from a corner in the 70th minute. This was a poor performance from David Moyes' team being so deep into pre-season. Rangers were a week ahead in their pre-season with barely any important players arriving late to their camp due to International commitments.
Just four days later, West Ham had returned to London in preparation for their penultimate friendly against Luton Town at Kenilworth Road. West Ham went 1-0 up midway through the first half as Soucek powered into the box and headed in a perfect cross from Aaron Cresswell. A trademark goal for the Czech Republic international.
The away side kept testing the Luton goal as Ethan Horvath was forced into saving two reasonable efforts from Michail Antonio and Nikola Vlasic in the second half. However, it was heartbreak at the end of the game, as Sonny Bradley tapped in a corner from the right side in the final minute.
Finally, the Hammers finalised their pre-season campaign with a 0-0 draw vs RC Lens at Estadio Bollaert-Delelis. A few hundred West Ham fans travelled to northern France to see their team struggle to break down the Ligue 1 side without both Michail Antonio and brand new signing Gianluca Scamacca. The performance wasn't great but the team welcomed back Craig Dawson, which is a huge boost going into their Premier League opener vs Manchester City.
Overall, this hasn't been a great pre-season for West Ham. While pre-season is more about fitness than performance, fans may worry that there hasn't been one outstanding performance in any of the seven games. The biggest disappointment of the campaign was Nayef Aguerd's injury at the beginning of the game vs Rangers at Ibrox. The brand new £30m signing had West Ham fans excited that they finally had a top left-footed centre-back to replace the injured Angelo Ogbonna, However, they will have to wait two or three months to see him in competitive action after injuring his ankle in a challenge.
The lack of creativity which was a problem at the end of the 21/22 continued to show but this looks likely to be addressed in the transfer window. The club are being linked to creative players like Filip Kostic and Piotr Zielinski. Michail Antonio was disappointing also, failing to score in any of his six appearances in pre-season.
It isn't all negatives for West Ham though, as some of the academy talents like Harrison Ashby, Divin Mubama and Dan Chesters looked promising, Nikola Vlasic looked a lot better playing centrally instead of out wide and Declan Rice looks like he's still improving.