It's finally here! After months of transfer chat and England's dismal Euro 2016 campaign, it's time to bring the real football back.


West Ham have a massive campaign ahead of them as they try to improve on last season's seventh placed finish, and will be hoping to make their first season in the Olympic Stadium a good one. 


​Last Season


2015/16 was something of a mixed season for the Hammers, despite all of the obvious positives. Dimitri Payet was masterful, Michail Antonio was intermittently staggeringly dangerous going forward, and Andy Carroll was, well, Andy Carroll. 

West Ham United v Manchester United - Premier League

A top four place looked on the cards when the spring rolled around, with promises of further investment ahead of the move to the Olympic Stadium. 


Yet for all of that, there was a sense of anti-climax in May. Fourth became seventh, and a slot early in the Europa League qualifiers. The stars faded. An FA Cup run fizzled and died. Chances were missed, both in a micro and a macro sense. 


Their Summer So Far


A spiritual succession to their 2015/16 season, West Ham's summer has been one of early promise without fulfilment. ​The capture of Sofiane Feghouli on a free transfer may prove to be one of the savviest pieces of business done all summer, but the promised big moves haven't panned out. 

FBL-EUR-C3-WEST HAM-DOMZALE

It's not been for the club's lack of trying, but it turns out that a shiny, massive stadium isn't enough to tempt the continent's hottest talents if it's paired with a team which might, maybe bag themselves a European place next season. Perhaps. 


On the other hand, they have managed to keep hold of Payet. Things could be worse. 


Key Men


Does it even really need to be said? It's all about Dimitri Payet. ​To call the Hammers a one-man team would be unfair (and more importantly, inaccurate), but there's little doubt that things will run a lot smoother if the Frenchman can keep pinging the ball into the top corner at will. 

Beyond him, it's a matter of the rest of the team producing their best consistently. Andy Carroll's double against Juventus was yet another example of his talents, but it's a matter of bringing that terrifying potential to bear against defences on a regular basis. 


Strengths


That forward line. There's barely a team in the Premier League who could stand against a fit and firing Payet​ on his day, and the likes of Manuel Lanzini, Carroll, Feghouli and even Michail Antonio from right-back will all add their own angles of attack to the mix.

The addition of Håvard Nordtveit, though, should give Slaven Bilic's side a more solid core than they had last season, with Adrian holding firm as one of the league's most underrated goalkeepers at the base of it all. 


Weaknesses


With the way the club have bought up to this point, it's hard to bet against the weaknesses from last season ​rearing their heads again. 

Nordtveit's addition in the defensive-minded midfielder slot aside, there hasn't been a real push to strengthen at the back. While the defensive unit may be better than they showed last season, they conceded at least 10 goals more than any team above them. 


That's something that needs attention, rather than chasing the ego-boosting 'marquee signing' up front. Monday's signing of Arthur Masuaku is a start, but more needs doing. 


Prediction


They might have snagged a couple of shrewd signings but - compared to the sides around them - the Hammers have shown little this summer to show that they're ready to make a real push for the top four. In what promises to be one of the most competitive ​Premier League seasons for a long time, Bilic's men will be pushed into relative obscurity. 

Predicted XI: Adrian; Antonio, Ogbonna, Reid, Masuaku; Kouyate, Noble, Obiang; Payet, Carroll, Feghouli.


Predicted finish: 7th


For more from Chris when he's not writing on 90min, follow him on Twitter at @ThatChris1209!