Despite a flimsy campaign in the Championship which saw Reading and Southampton demonstrate far more consistency over 46 games, the bookmakers think that the Hammers are better equipped to remain in the Premier League and odds of 9/4 (Paddy Power free bets) are available that they go down.
Jussi Jaaskelainen, James Collins and Mohamed Diame are among those new players to arrive at Upton Park, while Andy Carroll could yet prove to be a masterstroke signing, although it depends on whether the Geordie agrees to a loan move from Liverpool.
Ahead of the new season, no team are odds-on to go down, with Swansea City and Norwich City proving last term that they shouldn’t have been priced so short for the drop, while QPR were the other team in that promoted trio to stay in the top flight.
Perhaps some ‘difficult second seasons’ await these teams and Norwich are a 13/8 chance (Stan James bookmaker) to fail this time around, with Paul Lambert having left for Aston Villa in the summer. Nevertheless, Chris Hughton seems like a safe pair of hands and he’s already done well in persuading Grant Holt to stay.
Swansea look a better bet at 9/4 (bet365 £200 free bets) considering that Brendan Rodgers’ talents were regarded good enough for Liverpool to basically assign him the job of turning the club’s fortunes around. Michael Laudrup now has to organise the Swans although faces the task without Joe Allen should he follow Rodgers to Anfield.
Laudrup has managed several clubs including Getafe and Mallorca in Spain, while he also enjoyed a stint at Spartak Moscow, although he hasn’t exactly enjoyed a long reign anywhere since taking charge of Brondby between 2002 and 2006.
Reading are the favourites to be relegated from the Premier League and the Royals are a best price 6/5 (Coral) for the drop, although there is every reason to suggest they will finish outside the drop zone, considering they have incredible momentum following their Championship success last season.
Brian McDermott achieved a minor miracle in ensuring his team finished as champions, with the likes of Adrian Mariappa, Danny Guthrie and Pavel Pogrebnyak arriving in the summer and the same applies to Southampton who look well equipped to stave off relegation.
The Saints are an 11/8 chance to go down, although Nigel Adkins is also a progressive young manager who will put his faith in the nucleus of the squad that achieved promotion last term, while Jay Rodriguez has been signed from Burnley to add competition for places in attack.
West Brom could prove an attractive bet at 4/1 considering that Steve Clarke has never been in the managerial hotseat before and ‘number twos’ don’t exactly have a great track record in the Premier League when stepping up to the full-time position of manager.