West Ham has long been the forgotten team in London.
Arsenal, Tottenham, and Chelsea tend to dominate the city’s football landscape. However, this season, things are much different. The Hammers currently sit fourth in the Premier League table, ahead of the aforementioned London big three.
Chelsea is just one point back in the top four hunt, but there’s no reason to think they can play at a high level for the rest of the campaign. The same can be said for Man United, Leicester, and Liverpool, all of whom are vying for a Champions League position.
Out of every club I’ve mentioned so far, West Ham is the most consistent and tactically sound.
Top to bottom, West Ham’s roster is incredibly talented.
Declan Rice is having a tremendous season in midfield alongside Tomas Soucek. Michail Antonio is finally healthy and back to bagging goals for The Hammers. Man United loanee Jesse Lingard has revitalized his career in East London. They’re strong on both ends of the pitch, ranking in the league’s top 10 for both goals and goals allowed.
West Ham isn’t just going to go away. They are determined to finish in the top 4, and the way I see it, it’s going to be difficult for anyone to stop them.
The formula to success in the Premier League is simple: take points from the big six sides and handle your business against the rest of the league.
No club outside of Man City has met those criteria. I’d argue West Ham has come close, though. At the start of the season, they struggled against the perennial top 6, but they also managed to steal a point from City. Here and there, they managed to pull out a good result against top teams, which is part of the reason why West Ham are where they are now. More importantly, they’ve beaten just about everyone else in the league. The Hammers only non-big six loss came in their first match of the season to Newcastle.
They’ve taken care of their business, unlike Man United, who lost to Sheffield United, Chelsea, who’ve dropped points to multiple bottom half teams, and Liverpool who well, lost back-to-back games at home to two of the worst teams in the league. West Ham has 12 matches remaining, and while the margin is tight between them and the other top 4 contenders, they’ve put themselves in a great position to finish top 4.
It also helps that West Ham play the easiest remaining schedule in the Premier League.
Arguably their most difficult match comes next Sunday when they play away at Man United. This isn’t even a massive test for West Ham. In this exact fixture last season, they came away with a 1-1 draw. Seven out of their final 12 games are against sides in the bottom half of the table, and the other four are at home.
My point being, West Ham has it easy down the stretch, whereas their competitors still have difficult away matches they need to win. West Ham has already done the dirty work; now they need to finish the job.
I really think West Ham will finish in a top 4 spot, and if they don’t, it will be because Chelsea or Leicester finish the season on some unbelievable run.
On paper, there’s no reason to doubt The Hammers in the top 4 race. They have the players, the resume, and the easy home stretch needed to finish in the top 4.
Watch out for West Ham because they might very well steal a Champions League spot from your club.
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