It was a decision that was met with surprise by West Ham fans and Premier League experts, but David Moyes’ choice of picking Frenchman, Alphonse Areola, as his number one for the 2023/24 season has proven to be an inspired one.
Having been used primarily as a backup to Lukas Fabianski since arriving at the club, Areola played a huge part in The Hammers’ surprise Europa Conference League win last season and has carried on his fine form into this campaign.
The Hammers’ Leading Light
With Areola’s form so far this season, it is no surprise to see West Ham now priced at 19/1 to finish in the top four for those having football bets. It is a position that the Hammers faithful could hardly have dreamed of after a poor Premier League performance last season, but wins over Chelsea, Brighton, and Luton, see them sitting comfortably at the upper reaches of the table.
Next up Areola and his teammates will host Man City, with today’s Premier League odds giving them a 5/1 chance of seeing off last year’s treble winners. It will be the biggest test to date for David Moyes’ men, but if their French ‘keeper can continue his fine form, there is no reason why they couldn’t cause an upset.
From Perennial Loanee To French International
Areola’s rise to being a top Premier League goalkeeper has been a long one, with the now 30-year-old having spent most of his career on loan at various clubs from his boyhood club, Paris Saint Germain. Lens, Villarreal, Fulham, and even Real Madrid were some of the places that Areola would call his temporary home over the years, but he seems to have found his forever home at the London Stadium.
As well as finally taking his career to new heights at club level, the West Ham stopper has also begun to make his name on the international stage. A part of France’s 2018 World Cup squad, Areola has made five appearances for his country, and with Hugo Lloris now retired, he will be going head-to-head with AC Milan’s Mike Maignan for the number-one spot.
What Next For Areola And The Hammers?
Up next for West Ham in the Premier League is the visit of Pep Guardiola’s all-conquering Man City side. Last season’s treble winners have continued where they left off so far in this campaign and it will be a big test for Areola and co, despite what is sure to be a raucous crowd at the London Stadium.
David Moyes’ side will then make their return to European action as they face Serbian side, Backa Topola, in the Europa League. Last season’s Europa Conference league win proved that the Hammers love their European adventures but things will be a little tougher this year with Olympiacos and Freiburg also in the group.
Just three days later they will make the trip to Anfield for a battle with a rejuvenated Liverpool side before the first domestic cup action of the season comes with an away day at League One side, Lincoln City.