Mark Noble suggests West Ham are facing a tough challenge ahead of Premier League return

West Ham United midfielder Mark Noble feels the club could be affected by playing six competitive matches before the start of the Premier League.

West Ham United midfielder Mark Noble has claimed on the club’s official website that the side playing six games before the start of the Premier League season is a tough challenge.

Noble is wary of the impact that West Ham’s six Europa League qualifying matches will have over the side, ahead of a very important campaign in the Premier League before the club’s highly anticipated move to the Olympic Stadium at Stratford.

It’s a challenge, which can be approached one of two ways but it’s one which Noble claims he and his teammates are looking forward to.

“We've had to take the games seriously from day one because of the Europa League,” he told

“We've got six games in qualifying before the season starts, and that's going to be tough but we're looking forward to it.”

It could be seen as a negative

The Europa League games could be seen as a negative for the Hammers because of the extra strain they place over the squad.

Manager Slaven Bilic may also be fighting his urges in terms of taking his focus away from the Premier League, as the Hammers face a very difficult opening game at Arsenal.

It’s a tricky situation for him because he’s got multiple competitions to focus on already, a squad he’s getting to know and the challenge of trying to bring in more new players via the transfer market.

It could be seen as a positive

It could also be seen as a positive, because few of West Ham’s rivals will have competitive games before the start of the season.

Competitive matches are different because the intensity and quality during them is much higher, regardless of the opposition.

Playing six games before that league match against the Gunnes could well mean that the Hammers are sharper than their opponents.

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