George Marchant > What a time it is to be a West Ham fan. Fourth in the league, quality players in the squad and just a general good feeling amongst the club. Our win at Tottenham was a massive one. It showed that when the pressure is up against the players, they can still go out and put in a great performance. The win took us into a concrete fourth place with no one in the table able to overtake us until the next round of fixtures. The players have managed to get us into a position where we can credibly fight for a place in the Champions League next season. Our end of season form is of course vital in deciding whether us fans need to get our passports out and expect an away trip to Astra Giurgiu! So, let’s look at the next four games in the calendar and what points haulage we can assume to gain from them.
Man City – Away
This is no doubt the toughest fixture in our upcoming four games. City are absolutely flying having won 18 in a row in all competitions at time of writing and are going to take some stopping. We are witnessing City getting back to their best and already have one hand on the Premier League trophy. However, this fixture should have plenty of eyes focused on it. Although City find themselves in excellent form, West Ham have shown this season that we can give any team a game depending on how we approach it. West Ham can fall victim to treating some teams with too much respect; the Liverpool game being a prime example of this. The game against the current champions was a frustrating one because everyone apart from David Moyes saw this game as an opportunity to go at the Reds and very likely come away with a win. Unfortunately, Moyes set the team up to try and nick a late win or hold out for a draw. This resulted in us getting turned over and not look as threatening as we can be. The problem with the City fixture is that this is the one team we need to treat with respect because they are playing so well at the moment. Our previous games at the Etihad have never been thrashings and we usually hold them off enough to not be embarrassed.
Prediction: 2-0 Loss
Leeds – Home
Leeds at home should be the game we are eyeing up as the must win game in this run of fixtures. Despite Leeds’s ability to score goals, their leaky defence will give us a good opportunity to win this game. The fact that we are at home will give us a boost, as clearly we are performing well at the London Stadium with West Ham having the second-best home record this season. Leeds however have a fairly good away record just like most teams in the Prem this season. Although their away form and firepower could cause upsets, our home form and sturdy defence should get the job done in this fixture.
Prediction: 1-0 Win
Man Utd – Away
Having lost in the reverse fixture and in our FA Cup fifth round tie to Man Utd, us fans are gasping to try and get something out of this game, and why shouldn’t we? United are certainly a much-improved team in comparison to the past few seasons but they still have the inconsistency in their team that opposing teams look to exploit. Yes Old Trafford is a tough place to go on paper, but Sheffield United and Everton have recently proved otherwise. Man Utd look to be all set to advance to the next round of the Europa League. The round of 16 fixtures take place in and around our game against them. Playing a team so close to their European fixtures has its benefits. Let’s just hope Moyes sets the team up to try and give them a game or otherwise a defeat will be looming. Man Utd have quality in their squad but so do we so this could be a very tight game if managed properly.
Prediction: 1-1 Draw
Arsenal – Home
Our previous fixture at the start of the season is now seen as a disappointment in hindsight. Arsenal are so hit and miss, and are more frequently the latter this season. Their squad seems to be lacking cohesion and consistent performers. They still hold some fantastic attacking prowess in Aubameyang and Lacazette but look shaky elsewhere. This fixture could hold a similar importance as the Tottenham game where West Ham are given a real opportunity to beat an out of form ‘top six’ club and move forward to acquiring a top four spot. Arsenal could also be involved in the Round of 16 of the Europa League if they were to beat Benfica in their next game. If so, our fixture against them would only be three days after their Europa League game which could potentially be played outside of the UK due to Covid restrictions. We really need to have a good go at this Arsenal team. At time of writing, West Ham are 11 points ahead of them so this fixture would put clear distance between us and a potential European positions rival. Again, Arsenal are struggling away at the moment and our Home form screams that we should be winning this game. A win here will set up the final 10 games of our season nicely and will give us the momentum to get the job done.
Prediction: 2-1 Win