The Hammers are under enormous pressure just now to pull back from the Premier League relegation zone. Norwich City are most likely to move down to the Championship, with only 18 points thus far this season, with bookies now offering odds of 1/10 that the Canaries will be relegated. But there are two further teams that will be ditched from the Premier League in May. Will West Ham be one of them?
Only three points separate the five teams that are in danger of joining Norwich. Watford and West Ham are both languishing on 24 points, Aston Villa has 25, Bournemouth has 26 and Brighton has 27.
Since beating Bournemouth on New Year’s Day, West Ham have only gained two points from five games and given West Ham’s top half finish in the 2018/19 season, it is sad to see the plunge in form of the London team. Manager David Moyes, who returned to the club in December, replacing Manuel Pellegrini, is facing an uphill task to turn the situation around in the 13 matches that remain.
However, bookies reckon that the Scot has a reasonable chance, and believe that Bournemouth (odds of 5/4 from BetFred) and Aston Villa (evens from Skybet) are marginally more likely to be relegated, despite their slightly higher points score at this stage. The odds are interesting, given that West Ham are facing some very challenging fixtures in the next few weeks and months.
In the next couple of weeks, for example, West Ham will be playing Manchester City away on 19 February (rescheduled from 8 February, thanks to Storm Ciara) and then League leaders Liverpool, at Anfield, on 24 February. After their last match, when the Hammers let a two goal lead slip away to finish 3-3 against Brighton at home, there is a mountain to climb to get West Ham back on winning form and losses against Man City and Liverpool would be hard to bear. The following five matches against Southampton, Chelsea and Wolves at home and Arsenal and Tottenham away, will be no walk in the park either.
That said, David Moyes is an experienced manager who, during his previous stint at West Ham, pulled the team from the relegation zone in the 2017/18 season to finish in 13th place. He has some top class players in his team such as Felipe Anderson, Declan Rice and Issa Diop. Anderson is recovering now from his rib injury and Andriy Yarmolenko is getting back to form also. The recent acquisition of Jarrod Bowen from Hull City and Tomas Soucek, on loan from Slavia Prague, will also assist Moyes’ efforts. Additionally, he has recently bolstered his coaching team with the appointments of ex-West Ham midfielder Kevin Nolan and former England coach Paul Nevin.
Many West Ham fans are frustrated with their team’s performance and blame the club’s woes on under investment by the two principal owners, David Sullivan and David Gold. But in the short term, responsibility for the team’s performance rests on the shoulders of David Moyes. Can he pull the rabbit out of the hat and avoid relegation for West Ham?