George Marchant > As West Ham fans, we are more used to the last few games of our season being a countdown to securing our place in the next Premier League season. However, the 20/21 season has produced one of the most spectacular competitions in English football history. Although it is clear City will win the title and the bottom three look down and out, the football on display has been exciting to watch from start to finish, whoever you have supported.
David Moyes and the team have pulled off an absolute miracle by giving themselves the opportunity to qualify for Champions League football having narrowly scraped survival from relegation last year. Nobody could’ve predicted we would be in this situation but here we are, and we are thriving in it. With four games to go and only three points behind Chelsea, what are our chances of finishing in the top four?
Our remaining four games are arguably all winnable games with Everton being the main concern in the list. Everton on their day can beat anyone but the emphasis is that they are so inconsistent. They have one of the best managers in world football and a squad to complete with the big boys hence why they are seen as the main threat in our run in. The fact that we have managed to consistently perform well throughout the season means that the winds are more in our favour for this fixture, but it is far too tight to tell. If we can find victory in this game, then this should all but confirm our spot in the top seven at least so the incentive is there to finish that part of our objective. We look at the Everton games as the tough one, but we have to realistically look at our final four games and see them as equally tough.
West Brom could still be within a chance of survival when we play them which could provide a tough away fixture to the Hawthorns. No doubt Allardyce would like to get one over the club he used to manage, too. Brighton needs no explanation other than we are yet to beat them in the Premier League. The only fixture which looks in our favour is the final game against Southampton, a team we have a decent overall record against.
We must also keep an eye on the teams around us and their remaining fixtures. Above us in fourth, Chelsea have one of the toughest remaining fixtures with the likes of Man City and an interesting home game against third place Leicester. Since Tuchel took over, Chelsea look like title contenders for next season and they look hard to beat so, despite the tough run in, most people will bet on them to complete the job of making the top four.
Below us are Tottenham and Liverpool, both these teams have had bad seasons compared to what is expected of them. Although they are breathing right on our necks, it is hard to think that they will finish in the top four with Chelsea and Leicester already ahead by a sizeable point gap. The problem with Tottenham and Liverpool is that they put our Europa League qualification into doubt. Their inconsistency will be the factor between us finishing fifth or seventh.
After the fright of a relegation fight last year, who would’ve thought that fighting for the top four was arguably more anxiety and stress inducing. This season has already gone down in West Ham history books after gaining the most victories we have made in a single Premier League season, but the opportunity is there to go much further. Realistically, West Ham need to win all of their remaining games to be within a strong chance of playing Champions League football next year. This could happen but if it doesn’t then we should be unforgettably proud of the team’s achievements this season, even if we are playing in the inaugural Europa Conference League next season.