Premier League Fixtures Pre-Cursor 16/17
By Tom Dowsett
Tuesday 14 Jun 2016 19:04:00
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West Ham United enjoyed their best ever top-flight season to end 112 years at the Boleyn Ground and now they will not only be looking to build on that but trying to finish even higher, as they enter an exciting new era at the Olympic Stadium.

The fixtures for the 2016/17 season are released at 9am tomorrow and it remains to be seen who will be the first visitors to the Hammers' new home in Stratford.

Although the club were trying to secure a top six finish last campaign, they just fell short finishing in seventh.

However, Manchester United's FA Cup final victory over Crystal Palace meant just like last season they would have UEFA Europa League football once again but this time, Slaven Bilic's men will enter the competition in the third qualifying round rather than start at the very beginning.

The first three games away from East London last season looked tough but West Ham managed to pick up their first win at The Emirates Stadium for nine years coupled with successes at both Manchester City and Liverpool.

In front of their own fans though, the Irons didn't start at all well, losing to eventual Champions Leicester City and then being undone again a week later by newly-promoted AFC Bournemouth. After that, the East Londoners didn't suffer defeat again at Upton Park until the penultimate weekend of the season when Swansea City spoiled their last Saturday encounter at the ground when they won 4-1.

West Ham's 100% record against the Premier League's so-called "big hitters" continued in October, as they picked up three points at home to previous title winners Chelsea for the first time in 12 years but they were to suffer a setback the following week as Watford shocked their system by recording a 2-0 win at Vicarage Road at the end of the month.

When Sam Allardyce was in charge of the Hammers, apart from his first visit to White Hart Lane, he had a pretty successful record against Tottenham Hotspur. The same could not be said for Bilic, as when he took his team to North London Spurs turned on the style, meaning West Ham went back to the East End with nothing.

Five successive draws followed until the last game of the year produced a 2-1 home win against Southampton. The hosts had to battle hard for three points as Ronald Koeman's Saints led at half-time.

That win was followed five days later by West Ham's first and only double of the season, as they took the positives from the win on Merseyside back in August and came away 2-1 winners to make it a very good start to 2016.

The winning formula continued as they finally beat a newly-promoted side with an impressive 3-1 comeback at The Goldsands Stadium to get their revenge on AFC Bournemouth, before falling to a rare defeat away at Newcastle United, who went on to be relegated at the end of the campaign.

Two "big" games were up next, as the Hammers first took another point from the hands of Manchester City and then travelled to Anfield for a second time, as the two sides were paired in the fourth round of the FA Cup only for West Ham to take the tie back to Upton Park and then prevail in extra-time, as Angelo Ogbonna netted his first for the club setting up a fifth round meeting with Sky Bet Championship outfit Blackburn Rovers.

Although the home form was still going strong, results on the road started to dip, as the East Londoners suffered yet another defeat at St Mary's, while they then produced another classic comeback to come from two goals down to earn a draw at Norwich City.

Sam Allardyce could have led the club into the Olympic Stadium but returned to Upton Park in February with his relegation threatened Sunderland side. Fortunately though, Michail Antonio's winner for the home side made it an unhappy return for their former manager.

March saw another comeback from two goals down, but unlike Carrow Road in February, the visitors took all three points in a topsy-turvy game at Goodison Park.

It was then time to face Manchester United four a second time in an FA Cup quarter-final tie and although Dimitri Payet scored a stunner to put West Ham in front, the game ended level and the Irons were to suffer disappointment in the replay, as Louis Van Gaal's side ran out 2-1 winners.

A spate of controversial refereeing decisions meant the Hammers picked up for consecutive draws before wins against newly-promoted Watford at home before triumphing 3-0 at The Hawthorns three days later.

After Manchester United had dumped them out of the FA Cup a few weeks earlier, West Ham weren't going to let them spoil their final league game at their famous old home as well. Thankfully, that wasn't the case as Winston Reid scored the winner in a thrilling match which ended 3-2 and condemned the Red Devils to Europa League rather than Champions League football for next season.

Unfortunately, the East Londoners suffered defeat at Stoke City on the final day, meaning they ended a wonderful campaign on a sad note.

Now they look ahead to what hopefully is another exciting and entertaining season. Come on you Irons!!!

As always, all key dates and fixtures will be published here as soon as they are announced.

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