Firstly, an apology in advance. This piece might be quite negative in tone, for two reasons: (1) I’m looking back as to how West Ham have got on in January and February, which is to say, not very well; and (2) I am suffering with man-flu at the moment. This is not a good combination.
To be fair, over the last couple of months, West Ham United highlights have been pretty thin on the ground, haven’t they? From the agony of being denied victory over Man Utd in the FA Cup thanks to a certain Mr. Van Persie, to the 3-0 humiliation at Sunderland, with the secondhalf shambles at Arsenal, and the capitulation at home to Fulham thrown in, January was testing to say the least. The sole win was a 2-1 victory over Norwich. And February hasn’t been a lot better – an excellent 1-0 win over Swansea was tempered by a 2-1 defeat to quite possibly the most shambolic side in the division, Aston Villa.
Yes, it’s fair to say that it’s been a difficult time to be a West Ham fan recently – we’ve played nine league and FA Cup matches, and we’ve managed only two wins and four defeats. And if you take the league matches alone, it doesn’t take a genius to work out that seven points from seven matches is near to relegation form. To make you feel better, a look at the league table shows that we’re still close to mid-way, although considerably closer in terms of points to the teams in the lower reaches of the Premier League. The team are at risk from chronic neck ache, with the likely amount of “looking over the shoulder” going on.
On the positive side, at least our team isn’t quite so decimated by injuries now – the return of Jack Collison has been very welcome, as has Andy Carroll’s recuperation from injury. Both have scored since they returned to action, but we’ll be looking for more over the remaining matches of the season – you feel that Carroll, in particular, will have an important part to play in any relegation battle that we might be sucked into: he might be the spark that Kevin Nolan seems to have been missing of late, and his goals could prove crucial.
Ah, yes, goals. Something that the team seems to have perpetually struggled with, this season, with us scoring a whopping four of them in our five league matches in January. In our away matches, our season record is particularly dreadful, with eight goals scored in 13 matches, but at least we’re now not the outright worst in this department, having caught up with Stoke’s total in the last few weeks – we’ve scored in each of our last three away league matches, which in our world is some kind of achievement.
This is all pretty harsh. It hasn’t been a great start to the year. So here’s something positive to think about for our game against Spurs: yes, points have been hard to come by of late, but I do get the feeling that a corner is being turned.