Tottenham host bitter rivals Arsenal in what looms to be another enthralling North London derby early Monday morning (AEST) as both sides continue their fight for the remaining European places.
A 3-0 victory at Liverpool and a 2-0 ambush of Arsenal on the opening day. Who can’t West Ham beat?
While it’s not necessarily the ‘win’ that has surprised people the most – upsets happen all the time in the Premier League these days – it’s the sheer ease in which the Hammers have dispatched their heavyweight opponents.
West Ham United look like a club that is about to transition from a bunch of mid-table street fighters, but a comfortable expansive Premier League side, following the footsteps of Southampton and Swansea.
Their new manager Slaven Bilic has brought an attacking philosophy to the club and departed from the reactionary football of Sam Allardyce. Though make no exception ‘Big Sam’ is the reason that West Ham are in the fine situation they are – despite what their supporters say. The new man Bilic, one of his first comments was “Sam’s left me a good team”. Take it from him – he has.
The 2014-15 season was when everybody could see that this team had some real potential. The acquisitions of Enner Valencia and Diafra Sakho were telling and the loan signing of Alex Song showed real intent. This team challenged the big boys for a while and were in and around the top four until a slump towards the end of the season saw them finish a very disappointing 12th with 47 points.
They crashed out of the Europa League early on against Astra Giurgiu (4-3 agg), but I would not have been surprised if they threw the tie. It’s been proven that teams with the Europa League on their mind (like Everton last season) will do poorly. Bilic must have identified the potential for his side’s success in their domestic competition and decided that a longshot in Europe would be a silly endeavor and got out.
West Ham have tonnes of goals in them. One of their revelations last season was their swashbuckling strikeforce. In 14-15 they scored 44 goals. After four matches in this campaign they are up to 9.
With their pending move to the Olympic Stadium, West Ham have a platform for success. Not just pat-on the backs for another season in the top flight, but I can see them challenging the Top four very soon. They are attracting some really big names. Dimtri Payet, Angelo Ogbonna are two of their new signings both played Champions League football last season.
They play Manchester City away on the 20th of September and with the Citizens having taken an early season lead, I can see the Hammers turning out another potentially giant killing performance. With Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Spurs all having a spluttering start West Ham could make a real charge.
Let’s talk about this new manager. Mr Slaven Bilic is a Slovak who was brought in from a successful stint at Besiktas. He is familiar to the Hammers faithful, representing the club in his playing career 48 times in a one year stay in East London before moving to Everton.
The man often sports a fine beard. Relatively young for a manager (46) he is ready to really put his name out there and with some excellent early results I expect him only to spur his team on with a ravenous hunger.
Additionally they have some fine youngsters. The chief prospect I believe being Diego Poyet, the son of Sunderland savior Gus Poyet. Lots of top clubs went for his signature but ultimately missed out.
If West Ham can be a bit more consistent this season I predict them to be easily challenging for the top four. They have already gotten two of their most challenging fixtures out of the way, why not? They have the attacking muscle, they could shoot their way out of trouble need be.
Now begins the attack. West Ham assault the world.