Noble - It's a competitive league

  • Noble anticipating highly-competitive Premier League campaign
  • Skipper relishing opening day derby at Chelsea
  • No16 cannot wait for season to begin

Mark Noble says the Hammers can lay down a marker ahead of what promises to be the most competitive of Premier League seasons when they travel to Chelsea on Monday evening.

With plenty of change in terms of personnel, both managerial and playing-wise at the teams chasing league glory – not to mention last year’s top two Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur looking to mount challenges again – the level of intrigue has been ramped up to the max as the new season get underway.

The Hammers face one of those sides to change bosses, and with Antonio Conte in the dugout for the first time, Noble is looking forward to the challenge, both on Monday and all season long.

He said: “We’ve got seven or eight of the best ten or eleven managers in Europe in the Premier League now. We’ve got some of the best players too – Paul Pogba’s just come here for £100m, Ibrahimovic, the players who Man City have signed and I’m pretty sure there’ll be a lot more to come from the top clubs.

“Do I think this is going to be the toughest season I’ve played in? Probably yes. When people talk about the top teams, they talk about Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea. They don’t even talk about Spurs, who are a top team.

“They were probably the toughest team we played last year. It’s going to be a really tough league.

“We know we can compete with the big boys, we did that last year. We haven’t got the same spending power or maybe as big a squad, but we have got a great bunch of lads who enjoy playing together.

“Of course it’s important to get off to a good start and Chelsea will be saying the same thing, at home to West Ham. First game of the season, new manager, a lot of millions of pounds worth of new signings, and a lot of new hope at Chelsea.

“To be honest I’m looking forward to it, getting the pre-season games out of the way and getting back down to business with proper football matches.”