Dubai: West Ham United have made a meteoric rise in the English Premier League and are sitting pretty in the table in third spot with the same number of points as champions Man City who are second and just three points behind leaders Chelsea.
It is odd to see the London club so high up when they always tend to battle for survival and seem pleased with lower half finishes. But for the past two seasons they have not just been making up the numbers, they have improved significantly and some are saying they are now serious title challengers.
We shouldn’t get so carried away, after all we are only 11 games in to the new 2021/22 season, but they have made an incredible start. The Hammers stunned Liverpool last night to leapfrog Jurgen Klopp’s side heading into the international break. For the next two weeks at least their fans can enjoy rubbing shoulders with the best in the league but if they continue to play the way they are then they may well remain in the top four.
There are many reasons why they have done so well in the past two season but the primary one is their coach, David Moyes. While at Everton, he took the club from mid-table to consistently finishing in the top five. For 11 seasons at Goodison Park he made the team competitive, and that too with a tiny budget compared to the likes of Liverpool, Man Utd, Chelsea and Man City. He proved money isn’t a necessity to get results – good coaching can also do it.
It was painful to see Moyes leave my beloved Blues but he only did so because Man Utd came calling and he wanted to challenge for the title. He was only given seven months at Old Trafford before being sacked. Many feel it was a criminally short period but he has rebuilt his reputation at West Ham following spells with Real Socidedad and Sunderland.
He saved the Hammers from relegation in 2018 when he first came to the club on a short-term deal and then left but when they started struggling again they turned to Moyes once more who took over and again saved them. Last season he got them their biggest points haul in the Premier League as they finished sixth and this season they have kicked on and are flying high in third spot.
There is still a long way to go but Moyes’ team is looking like the real deal. They are playing as a team, are robust and hard to break down. They have a good attacking threat too and if they continue fighting in each game then they may dare to dream. They missed out on fourth last season by just two points but Moyes seems determined to get there this time. He took Everton to fourth back in 2004 and knows what it takes to make a good side. Key to that is a combination of a disciplined defence and pace and skill up front. Leicester City proved in 2015 that when everything comes together then the unexpected can happen as they won the title - so why not West Ham this season?
Moyes is getting the best out of the squad he has – just like he did in his Everton days – and there is every chance he will guide them to a Champions League spot this time around. But for that to happen they need to avoid injuries to key players as the squad lacks depth. If they lose Antonio and Benrahma then they will struggle to find goals while if Ogbonna was to miss games then they would become leaky at the back.
But with the big clubs dropping points and plucky West Ham throwing hammer-like blows, we should be in for an exciting and unpredictable title race.