As I write this before the Wigan match, West Ham United sit in a comfortable in the top half of the table, having won four out of our eight matches and posting three home wins in the process.
But none of us would be so naïve to suggest that we weren’t helped on our way by a rather kind computer working out our fixtures for the first two months. Then, as we were scouring the list, our eyes reached November and a slow horror etched onto our faces as the sting in the tail was revealed to us all. From now until Boxing Day we have a sequence of ten matches that will no doubt ‘re-adjust’ our position in the league table.
If we analyse our opening first eight matches in a little more detail, based on where those teams are in the league now, the highest placed club we’ve faced is eighth place Fulham. The four wins have come against three clubs bound for the relegation fight, Southampton, QPR and Aston Villa, with the fourth coming against Fulham. The great thing the team has been doing is ensuring we are beating the teams we should be beating and this has put us in good stead as we head into a potentially barren run up to Christmas. Again basing the next ten matches on where our opponents are in the league now, we face the top five clubs in the league table along with Newcastle, Arsenal again, Stoke, Liverpool and West Brom.
Undoubtedly we are going to have to hope our home performances will provide us with the majority of our points return but should we be worried that our only home defeat came against Arsenal who, in the end, beat us fairly comfortably? What is important for us as fans is not to panic if things start going awry. We’ve enjoyed a wonderful start to the season but must buckle down now along with the team to face the next two months together.
It could well be tough possibly having to deal with West Ham possibly struggling to find a win after enjoying so many over the first two months of the season but we must keep backing the team 100%. We may well have to deal with reading newspaper articles asking what’s gone wrong with West Ham, pundits suggesting Allardyce is living on borrowed time and seeing our relegation odds slashed.
But then again, maybe not. What is important to remember is that the team playing in the Premier League this season is so much stronger than the outfit that let us down so badly two years ago. Out of interest, I took a quick look over our results from two seasons ago in an unscientific comparison between then and now. What was very clear from the results back then is that we were a team that was easy to beat when we fell behind.
Checking on the next ten matches, if we look at how we did in the corresponding fixtures two years ago our record was Pld 10 W 2 D 3 L 5 F 14 A 21 Pts 9. In amongst those ten we had a horrendous 5-0 away defeat to Newcastle, but a fantastic 3-1 home win against Liverpool. Obviously we did not play all ten in a row like we are doing now but surely claiming anything above nine points this season has to be considered a good return. There is no reason at all why we cannot give Manchester City a run for their money on Saturday – just look how close their matches away from home have been so far, requiring late goals to win against West Brom and Fulham and failing to beat Stoke and Liverpool.
We can target a draw away to Newcastle and three points against Stoke. In our terrible season of two years ago we managed to go White Hart Lane and draw so why not again? Manchester United have shown they are vulnerable in defence, West Brom are not great away and we need to be going for three points at home against Everton. It will be tough but it is doubtful it will be a disaster – lets hope the team do us proud.