West Ham have played well, but there are limits to everything
Over the last season and a half, West Ham United have been doing some really amazing things on the pitch.
They have been competing bravely with some of the best teams in England and in the Europa League. Up until a month or two ago, things were looking quite bright in each tournament; now, while Europe continues for this hardworking lot, England and the Premier League are starting to slip away in many respects.
West Ham have been struggling in the EPL recently. While they beat Everton last week, their defeat to Brentford was shocking, and losses to Tottenham before the Everton match took some sting out of their ambitions.
The Hammers sit in sixth place, just behind Arsenal and ahead of Manchester United on goal difference. While they are not out of anything yet, they are fading and need some reinvigoration as soon as possible.
In Europe, on the other hand, they are managing to keep pushing through against tough opponents. The first-leg draw against Lyon in the quarterfinals of the UEL was impressive, especially with the red card picked up by West Ham that set them at a clear disadvantage for the entire second half of the match.
Should the team be able to squeak a win out in the second leg, they will be through to the semifinals even as their domestic season hasn’t been the smooth sailing that David Moyes or company hoped for. That would be massive for this team as top-six hopes is looking out of reach. A European trophy would mean that United have a ticket to the UCL no matter where they finish in the league.
What an innovation that would be for this team, and it would be well deserved. It would show what perseverance means and it would hopefully ensure that United could expand their roster and talent levels to really compete in all of their obligations year in and year out. What a right turn that would be for this bunch of Hammers from London – but we are not quite there yet.
Gutting it out in the Premier League
The schedule for this team is unforgiving but vital matches remain to be played and victories in them could set this team on a much greater trajectory than the one they appear to be on. While Burnley and Norwich City remain, so too does future European dates — should they continue past Lyon this week — and matches against Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City and a very feisty, proud Brighton team managed by Graham Potter.
In the Premier League, West Ham will need at least four victories to stay in the top five. That would mean that they beat Arsenal as well as the three teams below them. Beating Chelsea would improve things much more, and to run the table would potentially mean a UCL spot should Tottenham trip up.
But nothing can be known for certain at this point. As it stands , West Ham are fighting for their lives in two major tournaments still, and while the Premier League title is out of reach, European glory remains within reach. Whether they succeed remains to be seen. That they are fighting even as they run out of fuel is both obvious and, in some ways, impressive.