Another round of Europe’s best competitions wrapped up this week. Much of the focus, naturally, will be on the Champions League and the likes of Arsenal and Manchester City.

However, West Ham are drawing eyes as they aim to win the Europa League.


For the first time in a while, the Champions and Europa League will have stacked quarter-finals. Most of the teams left are former or current European title winners, and then there’s West Ham.

To completely write off West Ham as a fluke in this mix is wrong. Like City, they’re the only current competition title holders left. The Hammers aim to join Chelsea and Porto as the only clubs to win a lesser competition one year then win a better one the next.

Photo: Getty

Looking back at it, the David Moyes appointment saved this club from becoming the new Palace. Along with a fantastic scouting side, West Ham built one of the best sides just outside the top six. If they were to win another European title, they’d surely cement themselves among the Prem’s best.

The Europa League quarters are stacked, so a path to the final will be tough for West Ham. However, they’ve got a fighting chance to at least rival Liverpool for the title.


On Friday, the football gods decided the Hammers’ fate for their ambitions. In order to fulfill their dreams of  European glory, they must overcome the hottest team in Europe.

Outside of Liverpool, no team remaining is better than Bayer Leverkusen. Xabi Alonso’s side is currently steamrolling through Germany with an insane unbeaten streak. For fans of the Hammers, this may be the worst possible opponent.

There’s an argument to be made that this Leverkusen side is the best side in Europe. The suffocating press and counter that they will throw at Moyes’ side will stunt them. At no time this season has West Ham truly impressed defensively.

However, should they overcome Alonso and his team, West Ham must become the favorites for the title. Especially with Liverpool in the midst of a title run, they need to strike while the iron is hot.

Photo: Getty

 

Even with their defensive struggles, Moyes has built this team into a good offensive side in Europe. With most of the attack running through Kudus, Moyes uses the creator as a pivot. This allows for the wingers to just bomb down the flank and cut in.

Again, outside of Liverpool and Leverkusen, this style will cut through the remaining teams. Additionally, this West Ham team possesses that championship experience that will matter when games get tighter. Mix that experience with high end talent and a fun playstyle, and it’s tough to see teams truly exposing the Hammers.

If Moyes and his team aim to follow the likes of Chelsea and Porto, they have a tough road. Overcoming Leverkusen and, potentially, Liverpool will be difficult, but it could cement this team’s legacy.


Much has been said and written about the jobs that de Zerbi and Emery have done for their respective clubs. However, Moyes deserves a shout for the way he has rebuilt his career in London.

One of the best aspects of this Prem season has been seeing so many coaches invigorate clubs. There are the usual suspects, of course, but the likes of Emery and Moyes deserve attention too. Both managers came back to the Prem after previous spells tattered their reputations.

Moyes especially deserves to receive more praise for reinventing his system after his failure at United. This West Ham spell could have easily been a disaster where outdated tactics met a club in desperate need of a change. From the trust in youth to a fun style, Moyes has Hammers fans dreaming.

Photo: Bein

While it’s fair to say it hasn’t always been a smooth ride in the Prem, Europe has been a different story. Moyes transformed a dormant side into a contender.

Over the past five seasons, the Scottsman delivered results that fans couldn’t have dreamed of. Winning the Europa Conference League last year cemented his legacy with the Hammers. This was the club’s first major trophy in decades and was the culmination of a fantastic project.

Some additional praise should go towards the front office as well for pulling off some great coups. Trusting Lucas Paquetá and giving James Ward-Prowse a chance at a good club hasa helped this team tremendously. However, getting Mohammed Kudus will go down as the club’s best move since signing Dimitri Payet.

Moyes could have easily become another washed-up manager to attempt a failed comeback in the Prem. Instead, he found a way to revive a fallen club and get them to play exciting football.

Beating Leverkusen will be the toughest task for this Hammers side. However, they should look back fondly on what has been an incredible past few seasons in Europe. Moyes’ return to the Prem has transformed both him and a once falling club.

 

Featured image: Getty

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