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How West Ham’s complacency could see them go down: Why they’re not ‘too good to be relegated’.

West Ham are quite simply a mess, and many fans would have hoped for the results to have picked up by this point in the season. That is not the case, and they could be sleepwalking their way into the Championship.

The West Ham board are trusting David Moyes, and many of the fans worry, as clubs around them are picking up points – with most making the decision to twist rather than stick with the man in charge.

Everton got Dyche, Leeds got Gracia, Bournemouth have O’Neil, and Southampton captured Selles. All these teams have picked up 7 points from their last 5 games, bar Leeds, and of course West Ham – who have trusted Moyes.

West Ham’s loyalty could be admired, and Moyes deserved time after his record over the past 2 years. It’s becoming needs-must now though, and West Ham are just hoping to stay up now, and it’s the hope that kills you.

David Sullivan, Karren Brady and Daniel Kretinsky might not know it yet – but West Ham are in quicksand, and the longer this form continues, they will be up to their necks with every chance of relegation.

The Hammers can’t be amongst the pack with a few games to go. They need to get themselves out of the relegation battle early. An embarrassing European exit could also be looming; and now is a crucial time in the season for West Ham to re-group before the final run in.

History still haunts the West Ham faithful – as they’ve been ‘too good to go down’ before. A squad packed with talent – with the likes of Jermaine Defoe, Paolo Di Canio, David James, Tomas Repka, Joe Cole, Frederic Kanoute, Michael Carrick and Trevor Sinclair – got relegated the 2002/03 season.

This season, European heroes from last year Jarrod Bowen and Michail Antonio haven’t hit the same heights. World class midfielder Declan Rice and £51m Brazilian international Lucas Paqueta surely can’t go down, can they? To put it simply: they can.

Where has this stemmed from though? Just last year, the Hammers were 7th, in a European semi-final and rarely lost by more than one goal. They were defensively tight, had a devastating counter-attack, had mastered set pieces and never gave up.

There are many factors contributing to the Hammers poor form, such as slow decisions by Moyes – who has been accused of ‘dithering’ and making substitutions and tactical changes too late on in games.

The Scotsman has a defensive, structured and counter-attacking style of play, but this season’s signings suggested that West Ham could become more possession based, with the signings of Lucas Paqueta and Gianluca Scamacca.

The poor start to the season has resulted in Moyes sticking to what he knows and reverting to his old ways. This style doesn’t provide entertaining football but can be an efficient way to grind results.

With West Ham playing this way and not getting the desired output of points on the board, fans are running out of patience with the ‘negative’ style of play.

He is leaving it too late to bring on flair players such as Said Benrahma to provide that much needed spark – a player who has created the 3rd most big chances from open play this season outside of the so-called ‘big six’.

He is making the substitutions that West Ham fans were screaming for 10-15 minutes ago in games; but he is quite the opposite when it comes to shutting up shop. As soon as West Ham take the lead, they’re instantly on the back foot again and scrapping to hold on.

Perhaps even slower to make key decisions are the board, who still valiantly defend Moyes with the upmost devotion, despite the poor run of form. The judgement and timing of their decisions – or lack of them – could financially hurt them a lot if West Ham were to be relegated.

The poor results (especially away from home) and squad mentality are both at their lowest for years. In the Premier League, West Ham are winless in 12 games away from home, and it’s been 198 days since the travelling fans have had something to celebrate on the road.

Overall, they’ve only picked up 6 wins and scored less goals (24) than games played (26) this season and even though Moyes hasn’t lost the boards support, he’s lost the fans.

The day Moyes lost them occurred at away at Brighton, as West Ham’s away section flooded the Amex with boo’s louder than Brighton’s cheers both at half and full-time, along with chanting aimed at the Scotsman.

Moyes knows better than anybody else how difficult it can be to win back a disgruntled and upset fanbase. Quite frankly, so do the board, taking examples of Manuel Pellegrini, Slaven Bilic and Sam Allardyce recently.

It really looks like the board are tainting a good reign, and prolonging the inevitable sacking of David Moyes, who has served West Ham well and given their fans memories that will be cherished for a lifetime.

The fans anger and growing media storm is translating onto the pitch. It wasn’t long ago when Moyes praised Declan Rice as one of the senior players in the squad when he was just 20. Since then he has taken Mark Noble’s captains armband expertly and maturely, playing well ahead of his years – but can he deal with the current pressure?

This season, Declan Rice looks like he is having difficulty coping with noise around the club. As captain, he can’t crack under the lights, and throwing your hands about at other teammates just adds to West Ham’s woes.

His emotional interviews and retaliations to the media shows that he is listening to the negative noise, and despite the enormous pressure on such a young captain, he needs to grow a thicker skin to it.

Brazilian star Lucas Paqueta is another player who isn’t controlling his emotions during a tough time. The star signing has flaunted his star quality in flashes this season, and after positive performance from the midfielder against Aston Villa, he was substituted in the 77th minute – but from his view, quite unfairly.

Paqueta stormed down the tunnel, chased by West Ham’s members of staff. He returned but disappeared again after the final whistle without clapping the fans.

Declan Rice, Lucas Paqueta and Gianluca Scamacca are all showing signs of unhappiness, which is worrying as they are three key players at the London Stadium.

Maybe the team never got the time to gel after the big influx of players, and with such big names at the club, some of the players believe that if West Ham did go down, they can force a move elsewhere – so why care?

It’s a scary period for the East London club, who need to keep their place in the Premier League with the added pressure of European fixtures too. If the worst-case scenario happened, their squad would be briskly dismantled by the big clubs looking for a bargain.

West Ham would be expected to return to the top-flight again, due to the size, structure, and wealth of the club, but not as soon as you would think. It would take a big rebuild after a lot of departures.

Of the last 30 clubs to be relegated, only 9 have bounced back on first attempt. Some have never returned, and for every Fulham or Norwich, there are plenty of Stoke’s and Swansea’s.

West Ham are hoping that it won’t be them though, and that the quality in their squad will be enough to keep them up. One positive is the number of teams in the battle, with just five points separating the bottom nine teams – surely a couple will crumble.

Will West Ham stay up?

  • Yes

  • No


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