• Dan Tracey


West Ham, Jesse Lingard

When Chelsea lost to West Brom on Saturday, it was assumed that one of their London rivals would take full advantage of such mishap. However, that London rival was not necessarily expected to be West Ham.

With Thomas Tuchel seeing his unbeaten streak at Chelsea come to an end and Tottenham failing to get the better of Newcastle on Tyneside, the opportunity was there for West Ham to mop up the spills elsewhere.

While although they perhaps made life harder than it needed to be on Monday night, they did at least come away from Molineux with all three points and with eight games of the season to go, the Hammers have returned to the Premier League’s top four.

This means that West Ham’s European destiny is now in their own hands and to get this stage of the season and be where they are, is a situation that certainly cannot be considered a fluke in any shape or form.

Neutral observers or supporters of those clubs that are jostling with West Ham, may suggest that the only reason David Moyes’ men are where they currently are, is because of the misfortune of other parties.

Even though there may be a modicum of truth in all of this, it does the Hammers a massive disservice at the same time and now may be the time, when the London Stadium outfit start to earn the praise they deserve.

At the same time, now is not the point in time when West Ham can simply rest on their laurels, as to be back in the top four and flounder away, would only be a point of frustration in a state of exceeded expectations.

Because now those West Ham fans who may have bemoaned the return of Moyes as manager, are now dreaming of the highlife next season and if they are to dine at Europe’s top table, they are going to have to navigate a rather difficult schedule.

A schedule that sees an eight-game stretch start this Sunday, as they play host to Leicester and with both clubs harbouring ambitions of Champions League football next season, it takes on air of “six-pointer”.

Many will feel that West Ham are the outsiders in the race for the top four, even if they are in pole position at present and that is because, they lack the required experience and pedigree to get over the finishing line first.

However, this is a side that has a habit of making a mockery of the pundits and as unfancied as they are, the fact that there is something of a new face in the race, is at least a breath of fresh air for the Premier League as a whole.

Which means there is one pertinent question to ask and that is whether West Ham genuinely can finish in the top four and secure a place in next season’s Champions League. The answer we will all find out on Sunday May 23rd.

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