Mike Dean appointed as referee for West Ham’s opening round fixture against Man City

Have West Ham incurred the wrath of the fixture gods? Judging by the opponents they’ve been given in the opening week of the last few seasons, we feel tempted to say yes.

Since 2014, West Ham have always drawn a member of the “top six” for their first league fixture of the season.

WHUFC opposition on opening day of the season- last five seasons

2014/15- West Ham 0-1 Tottenham
2015/16- Arsenal 0-2 West Ham
2016/17- Chelsea 2-1 West Ham
2017/18- Manchester United 4-0 West Ham
2018/19- Liverpool 4-0 West Ham

A bad start to the season almost always ensures you’re playing catch up. This season appears to be no exception either, with the Hammers drawing defending champions Manchester City on the opening day of the season. The only small mercy- the fixture against Pep Guardiola’s all-conquering side is at home, instead of the Etihad Stadium. There is also the possible element of pressure if Liverpool, as expected, win on Friday night against Norwich, given the neck and neck tussle City and the Reds had last season.

West Ham Opponents Aug Sep

The referee for this clash is Mike Dean. City’s three fixtures under him this year (2019) have seen them win 9-0 (v Shrewsbury), 6-0 (against Chelsea) and 1-0 (against Leicester) respectively.

How have West Ham played recently under Dean?

Not too bad- they managed a draw at home against Chelsea and a win away at Fulham in the two fixtures that Dean officiated in the 2018/19 season.

However West Ham’s last defeat under Dean came against City- a 2-1 loss back in December 2017.

The Hammers have lost only one of their last six games at home when Dean’s been in charge.

Dean

There are some weaknesses in the City side- Leroy Sane is out injured, a good right-winger can cause Zinchenko troubles, as Salah did in the Community Shield on Sunday, and defence looks a tad fragile if Laporte and Fernandinho don’t feature. Otamendi is good but not in the same class as Laporte, and Rodri is still finding his feet in the Premier League.

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