West Ham United are back in the Premier League at the first attempt and Sam Allardyce will be looking to cement their place at the top table this season. The former Bolton and Newcastle United boss has been splashing the cash over the past few months bringing in new faces and shipping out the deadwood.
The likes of Jaaskelainen, Collins, McCartney, Demel, Diame, Maiga and Diarra will all be lining up in the famous claret and blue this season, but what is Big Sam's best XI?
I posed this question to Matthew Beeby, a West Ham United season ticket holder, and was a little taken aback with his selection.
Who will play in goal, Jaaskelainen or Henderson?
"Given the choice of between someone unproven but highly rated or a 37-year-old who barely got a game in the Premier League last season I’d hope we will go with Henderson. Jaaskelainen is a decent enough back-up keeper, but if he’s going to be our first choice then it doesn’t bode well."
Who will line up in defence?
"Looking through the list of defenders in the squad is worrying. Guy Demel or Joey O’Brien on the right, George McCartney or Dan Potts on the left, then a choice of James Tomkins, James Collins or Winston Reid in the middle – we’re lacking in quality all across with only Tomkins truly good enough for the Premier League in my opinion.
"O’Brien is a solid enough RB, but he’ll get torn apart by anyone with pace. Demel fits the Big Sam mould of being strong and good in the air – but he’s unproven in the top league and there are doubts about his fitness. McCartney is actually a good defender, which I guess is the main thing, but he looks terrified if he crosses the halfway line.
"In the centre, Tomkins has to be the main man with either Reid or Collins partnering him. Personally I’d go for Reid – he looked shaky when he last played for us in the Premier League, but we were a struggling team and he hadn’t adapted to England. After a good season in the Championship last year I think he deserves a chance ahead of Collins, who I think is a poor signing – I can’t remember the last time I watched a Villa match and he wasn’t at fault for a goal."
Who will grab a midfield place?
"Again, we actually look a little bare across the midfield – Matty Taylor and Gary O’Neill are 6/10 low end midfielders, Mohamed Diame wasn’t even first choice for Wigan last season, Kevin Nolan brings leadership and goals to the team, but at the expense of mobility, whilst Mark Noble and Jack Collison really need to kick on this season and prove themselves to be capable in the highest division.
"We’re crying out for more creativity, but I guess when the plan is to hoof the ball to Carlton Cole it doesn’t really matter."
Who will lead the attack?
"I would love to see us playing 442 and giving our small, fast strikers a chance to play off ‘the big man’ but it’s not going to happen. Sam Baldock is disgracefully being pushed towards the door and I honestly have no idea why we bought Nicky Maynard – it was horrible to watch us lumping balls forward to him last season expecting him to be able to do anything with them.
"Vaz Te provides something unorthodox, but he’s one of those players who’ll either score a hat-trick or be anonymous. I want to be proven wrong, but I can’t see him being any great concern to defences this season. Carlton Cole is a decent enough target man and will get goals for us, but his knees are rubbish and he won’t be able to play every game, meaning Modibo Miaga will have to lead the line sometimes, with probably Taylor or Collison coming in on the left.
"Miaga is something of an unknown to me, but I’m hopeful he can fire us to safety!
"Ideally I’d love to see us bring in another quality defender, someone more creative in midfield (now we’ve admitted defeat with Ravel Morrison) and some support for Carlton. Maybe Liverpool would like to get Joe Cole’s wages off their bill? Sadly I suspect we’ll end up with a loan for Shelvey and signing Heskey."
Here is Matthew's team for Saturday's opener against Aston Villa.
Well that's what Matthew thinks, but what is your view? Would you find a place in your team for Jack Collison? Would Jaaskelainen shade it over Henderson? Whatever your views, we'd love to hear from you.