West Ham is the Premier League’s Biggest Fraud


West Ham United is not a bad team. In fact, I think they have an opportunity to finish in the top half of the Premier League table this season. They are still the biggest fraud of the League through seven matches.

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The Hammers currently occupy the third place position in the League table with 13 points and a healthy goal differential of six. They feature wins at Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool already in the young season. This would seem to indicate that they are a team capable of mounting a title run, but there is more than meets the eye to their young season.

As impressive as their wins are, their losses are at least as troubling. They’ve lost at home to Bournemouth and Leicester City and only managed a draw their last time out against Norwich City. Their results have been that of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

So which West Ham should we believe in? The side that dominated Liverpool at Anfield or the one that gave up four goals to Bournemouth? To answer this question we must look deeper into the composition of their squad. Per player ratings at who scored.com they have been led by Dimitri Payet, Cheikhou Kouyate, Winston Reid and Diafra Sakho.

While each has been terrific through seven matches, they are not the caliber player who you can build a title assault with. Payet is already 28 and while he is enjoying a great run of form, it’s hard to imagine that he can sustain it for 31 more matches. He has been their engine in the midfield and the only cover they have for him is the very average Mauro Zarate. If they are forced to turn to him, it could mean real trouble for their attack.

Kouyate has also been off to a hot start as a defensive midfielder. He has been a physical presence in the middle of the pitch and is noted in particular for his ability to win the ball in the air. Curiously though, the strength of his performance this season comes from his three goal contribution. It’s nearly impossible to see him cracking double digit goals for the season, much less keeping up this torrid pace.

One West Ham leader I do believe in who has started well is Kiwi center back Winston Reid. He is a rock in defense and despite a slight proclivity to give away silly fouls, does a solid job marshaling the defense. He can be counted on to continue his solid play.

West Ham doesn’t ask him to do much other than being a defender and that protects Reid from making mistakes by trying to do too much offensively. Reid may very well end the season as their second best player behind Payet.

Sakho might be the player who will lead to the Hammers falling back to Earth more than the rest. He, like Kouyate has banged in three goals on the young season. While he is a classy finisher, he can’t be expected to finish this efficiently much longer.

Prior to this year he was primarily applauded for his defensive work rate as opposed to his ability to pile in goals. If he can’t lead the line, it will put too much pressure on other West Ham attackers (Victor Moses, etc) to keep them high up the table.

West Ham fans should be proud of the job that Slaven Bilic has done with this year’s squad. While they can’t hold their current third place position much further into the season, they still have plenty left to play for. Hammer fans should focus their attention on playing for Europa League qualification as opposed to being disappointed when they inevitably fall out of the top four. That high in the table and they are frauds, but just a few spots down they could be legitimate dreamers.

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