Friday, May 26, 2017

West Ham’s struggles seem to be over

David Nugent in Editorial, English Premier League 27 Dec 2016

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England striker Andy Carroll scored the fourth goal to seal West Ham's win at Swansea on Boxing Day

England striker Andy Carroll scored the fourth goal to seal West Ham’s win at Swansea on Boxing Day

A couple of weeks ago it seemed like West Ham were in crisis. The Hammers were just above the relegation zone and there were even question marks over the future of boss Slaven Bilic.

On Boxing Day, though, the Irons recorded their third straight Premier League victory, as they hammered struggling Swansea 4-1 at the Liberty Stadium.

The win moved the Hammers up to the heady heights of 11th in the Premier League table.

Clear of the relegation zone

Talk of relegation seems to have now disappeared, as the Irons are now eight points clear of the drop zone and are looking up rather than down. West Ham have got a decent squad of players. It only seemed a matter of time until they found form.

The first two wins in their three-game winning run against Burnley and Hull were unconvincing, to say the least. However, the victory over Swansea was slightly more convincing, even if Hammers goalkeeper Darren Randolph had to pull off a few saves against the Swans.

The game was a relatively even one when it came to possession and shots on target. However, the Irons quality in front of goal told with goals from Andre Ayew, Winston Reid, Michail Antonio and Andy Carroll securing maximum points for Bilic’s side.

Fit quality forwards make a difference

A big problem in the Hammers poor run was the fact that they simply had no fit strikers. The likes of Andy Carroll and Andre Ayew, both very good forward players were sidelined through injury. Their return to the team has and will make the world of difference to the Irons results.

Carroll on his day will cause any defence problems. His sheer power and strength in the air is frightening. The England international is almost a throwback to the old-fashioned English centre-forward that would dominant defences with their sheer physical presence.

The former Newcastle striker is devastating when on form. He is also a major weapon in his own box when defending set-pieces as well. The problem Carroll has is that he does not stay fit for long. When he gets a run in the team he tends to shine, only to suffer another injury setback.

With Carroll, it is not if he will get injured, but when. It is a major shame for both West Ham and England that he cannot stay injury-free. He is an asset to both if he is injury-free and firing fully.

Ayew was impressive last season for Swansea and is definitely capable of producing great things in the Premier League. The Ghana international was desperately unlucky to be injured so early in his Hammers career having joined for a fee of around £30million in the summer.

The former Marseille star will be a major success with the Irons, as long as he stays injury-free and fit. He definitely seems like a better forward option than Italian flop Simone Zaza that is for sure.

Hammers happy again

It seems those Hammers are happy once again with life. Their team have not been great in their winning run, but they have ground out wins in the end and that is all that matters.

Last season the Irons maybe overachieved by finishing seventh in Bilic’s debut campaign. This season is likely to show what level the Irons are really at. A top-ten finish is not unrealistic. Bilic’s team are currently odds of 6/5 to finish in the top ten of the Premier League this season.

If you would have asked West Ham fans if they would take a top ten finish this season a few weeks ago they probably would have bitten your hand off. Bilic has stated that the Irons cannot rest on their laurels and that they are not yet safe.

However, looking at the league table and the quality in the West Ham squad I very much doubt that the Irons are likely to be sucked back into the relegation battle in the near future.

Where will West Ham finish this season in the Premier League table?

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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