West Ham’s season has started early, and Bilic believes that will help them.
The Croatian boss said: “It's good for the start, definitely. The best examples are from your own history, not from the books, the experience you have. I only have to look at last year when we played with Besiktas, we played Arsenal in the Champions League play-off. We were fitter than them. It gives you a definite advantage in the beginning of the season.”
Besiktas had already played a competitive game when they took on the Gunners last term, whilst Arsenal were still coming off their pre-season. The North London club may have won the tie, but they were fortunate looking back on the game.
West Ham have already played two Europa League fixtures, and have another two coming up in the second qualification round. They will already be in full season mode when the Premier League campaign starts in August, and Arsenal could be in for quite a shock when the first game comes around.
The Hammers head to the Emirates on the opening day, and will be looking to get off to a great start by utilising their increased match sharpness and fitness. It may end up troubling them towards Christmastime - when the fixture list overloads - but the Hammers could start the campaign in excellent form.