Few people would have guessed that West Ham United would enter the spring stretch of the season looking at a top-four finish. But the Hammers have been playing with style and it’s little surprise to find that many are predicting that David Moyes’ team could be playing European football next season.
As it stands, West Ham are in sixth place in the Premier League table. There’s a still long way to go with over one-third of the league’s games to be played. But many of the bookmakers featured in the betting reviews at CaptainGambling are starting to give the Hammers shorter odds to have their best-ever Premier League season.
In the 1998/99 Premier league, West Ham managed to finish in fifth position. But recently the East London team have had a succession of disappointing seasons. It’s become fairly inevitable to see West Ham ending the season in the bottom half of the table. The only notable recent exception has been when the team managed to reach seventh-place in the 2015/16 campaign.
Things reached a real low-point last season when West Ham slumped to 16th in the league table. This came after a string of weak performances that saw Manuel Pellegrini getting the sack in December 2019. The recall of David Moyes to his second appointment as West Ham manager might have been an underwhelming decision in the eyes of many West Ham fans. But remarkably, Moyes has managed to turn around the team into being one of the surprise packages of the 2020/21 season.
While West Ham used to appear weak and lethargic, Moyes has managed to get the players to work together as a whole. The Hammers might not have any out-and-out star players, but they have managed to become more than the sum of their parts.
Stand-out performances in the current season include a 4-0 defeat of Wolverhampton Wanderers, a 3-1 away win over Aston Villa, and an outstanding 3-0 win at Leicester that ended the Foxes 100% winning record since the start of the season.
West Ham managed to do some smart business in the recent winter transfer period. The incoming of Jesse Lingard on loan from Manchester United already looks like being an inspired move. The forward managed to score two goals on his debut against Aston Villa and is looking to be enjoying his time at the London Stadium compared to being sat on the bench at Old Trafford.
There were plenty of criticisms that West Ham had failed to bring in a much-needed striker over the winter transfer period. This was made all the more evident when record signing forward Sebastien Haller was sold at a loss to Ajax. Haller never really settled at the London Stadium, and while he scored some exceptional goals, he lacked the goalscoring consistency necessary from an out-and-out forward.
Thankfully Michail Antonio has once again shown himself to be one of the Premier League’s most underrated players. His commanding runs and ruthless goalscoring touch have helped the Hammers out of many a tight spot over the past few months. While Antonio never seems to be too far away from injury, he has the restless spirit necessary to guide West Ham onto further success.
But it could be Tomas Soucek that has become the East London club’s greatest asset. The Czech player is supposed to be a defensive midfielder, but he has managed to pick up eight important goals so far this season. His red card against against Fulham was inexplicable, and it’s little surprise that the decision was overturned just a couple of days later. It once again shows that West Ham’s recruitment has been effective over the past couple of years by opting for value rather than getting the headline-grabbing players.
It remains to be seen whether West Ham can continue the impressive run of form that they’ve shown throughout 2020/21. In the team’s five upcoming Premier League matches, there include tough tests against the likes of Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City and Manchester United.
But anybody who saw West Ham’s incredible fightback from 3-0 down to draw 3-3 in the last ten minutes against Tottenham will know that this team have a newfound determination. Even if the Hammers fail to crack the top-four, it seems that David Moyes has managed to reverse the negativity of previous years. All of which makes for some exciting times at the London Stadium.