Whisper it quietly but West Ham United might just be kicking their season into gear.
After a summer spending spree of around 100 million pounds from new manager Manuel Pellegrini, losing the first four games and propping up the Premier League can’t have been what owners David’s Gold and Sullivan were expecting as a return on their outlay.
But a three-match unbeaten run before the weekend’s results seems to have the Hammers finally going in the right direction. Much has been made of the amount spent by the East London outfit in a bid to catch up with those clubs expected to compete for European places.
The third of these matches might have been against a lacklustre and struggling Manchester United side, but Pellegrini’s tactics were spot on to take advantage and get his side three more valuable points.
After all, here is a man who has won the Premier League before and while that might be somewhat ambitious to think West Ham will suddenly become title challengers it will be in their thinking they can become a side to compete for a place in Europe given the riches of TV money and backed by the board.
Many will remember last season’s protests against the board at the London Stadium, a stadium which is yet to be accepted by a majority of the club’s fan base as their ‘home’. West Ham will have to deliver a better season than last year, the fans will demand it especially based on the money spent.
Key to their plans is Marko Arnautovic, 4 goals already this season and becoming a cult hero in the stands. Bolstered by the summer signings of Ryan Fredericks, Lukasz Fabianski and Jack Wilshere, although the latter is once again injured, the Hammers have added to players already with a winning pedigree such as Javier Hernandez.
With the famed Hammers Academy starting to produce talent which hasn’t been seen since the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard and Joe Cole came through the ranks, Pellegrini looks to have a balance of youth and winners within his squad but needs to harness it to ensure West Ham don’t just become an average middle of the table outfit.
There is room in the top 6 for challengers, whilst Unai Emery has made a solid start to life as Arsenal manager they are very much a club in transition and life at Old Trafford is uncomfortable for an under-performing United side, the Hammers have to take the opportunity to push on and make themselves a nuisance for the established European competitors.
With the international break coming up after this weekend, the Hammers will have time to reflect on where the season has taken them so far and with two games against Tottenham sandwiching a trip to Leicester for the remainder of October, Pellegrini’s side could well have wiped away their poor start and finally be challenging where they and their fans expect them to be.
Written by Trevor Knell
Follow Trevor on Twitter @trevk37
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