Monday, April 24, 2017

Are West Ham realistic relegation candidates?

David Nugent in Editorial, English Premier League 6 Apr 2017

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Questions have been asked about the future of West Ham boss Slaven Bilic with the club on a run of five straight defeats in the Premier League

West Ham suffered a 3-0 hammering at Arsenal on Wednesday night. The defeat was not unexpected, as the Hammers have been on a poor run of form of late in the Premier League.

In fact, Slaven Bilic’s side have now lost their last five league games.

The Hammers poor run of form has seen them slip to 15th in the top-flight table. They are now just five points above the relegation zone.

Poor run of form

The Hammers recent form has quite frankly been awful. Not only have the Irons lost their last five league outings, they have failed to win any of their last seven games.

At least five of those seven games will have been considered as winnable fixtures for the Hammers.

Games against Chelsea and Arsenal would be regarded as difficult fixtures. However, games against West Brom, Watford, Bournemouth, Leicester and Hull City were games that the Hammers will have looked at as ones they could have picked up maximum points.

The Hammers cause has not been helped by a number of injuries of late. Winston Reid, Angelo Ogbonna, Aaron Cresswell and Pedro Obiang are all sidelined through injury. The versatile Michail Antonio has also just returned from injury, while the likes Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho look to be struggling for match fitness.

All-in-all it has not been a great few weeks for the Irons. The players who are fully fit need to stand up and be counted.

Questions over Bilic

West Ham’s poor recent form has inevitably led to question marks over the future of boss Bilic. The Croatian boss was such a success last season in his debut campaign that he still seems to retain the support of the majority of the Irons fans.

Bilic has also had a lot to deal with this season. The clubs move to the London Stadium has been a failure both on and off the pitch. The team have struggled for results and the fans have struggled to recreate the same atmosphere of the Hammers old ground at Upton Park.

The Hammers results on home soil of late have been very poor, as they have lost four of their last six top-flight outings at the London Stadium, winning just once in the process.

One of the other problems that the club and particularly Bilic had to deal with was losing French playmaker Dimitri Payet to Marseille in January. He was the Irons key player last season and on form one of the best players in the top-flight.

Bilic tried to handle the situation the best way he could. However, losing such an influential player was always going to be a massive blow for the Hammers. Payet looked disinterested towards the end of his West Ham career, so Bilic was in a no-win situation.

The West Ham board have backed the former Hammers centre-back. However, it would be interesting to see if he was still backed if they lurch any closer to the relegation zone in the near future.

Two crucial games coming up

West Ham never really looked like relegation candidates until the midweek results in the top-flight. Judging by the Hammers odds of 14/1 to be relegated, the bookmakers do not believe that the Irons will be relegated this season.

However, the Irons next two games could be crucial, as they host fellow strugglers Swansea and Sunderland. Usually, home games would be a bonus for clubs in need of points at this point of the season.

For West Ham home advantage means very little, considering their recent record at the London Stadium. Quite simply if Bilic’s team can muster two wins then they are virtually assured of staying in the Premier League this season. If they fail to win one or even both then the Irons could still be in major trouble.

At the moment I cannot see West Ham being relegated. However, there is still likely to be a lot of twists and turns left in the battle of the bottom and the Hammers are not yet safe from the dreaded drop just yet.

Are West Ham realistic relegation candidates?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Nugent


David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The 33-year-old has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.

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