With safety assured, after a pretty nervy last few weeks, it’s time to look ahead at the remainder of the season.
Not much to play for, you say? Not true. The gap between finishing 8th and finishing 15th is more than £5million. Every place higher that we finish in the league is worth, roughly, £750,000 – vital funds for the West Ham United coffers.
So, after last weekend’s match against Manchester City, how many more points are we likely to pick up between now and the end of the season, with matches still to come against Newcastle United, Everton and Reading? Newcastle are a team who, surprisingly, are still towards the lower reaches of the league.
They may well be virtually safe by the time you read this, but even if they have won their home match against Liverpool they’ll still be on 40 points and so will still be on the lookout for more. West Ham, however, are a team who’ve been playing with some confidence at home and are more than capable of winning the match. I have a sneaky feeling that this one might end up as a draw, but I don’t expect us to lose.
Following our match against Manchester City, you could argue that the away match against Everton is the toughest remaining test. A European place is still within reach for the Blues but it will be difficult for them. At the time of writing they’ve only lost one match at home all season (against Chelsea) are unbeaten in their last six, winning five and drawing one.
It would take a brave man to bet against another home win in this fixture, but, stranger things have happened and we are capable of taking a point from this one.
Finally, the home match against Reading. I won’t lie – I’m really looking forward to this one. There’s been lots of discussion on Internet forums about this match, so I don’t think I’m the only one. Suggestions for the team that day include a plea for every West Ham player to pull up their socks in front of a Reading opposition player; something I’m personally massively in favour of.
It would be particularly sweet if Jack Collison could score the winner against them, following Jimmy Kebe’s antics in a previous fixture. It’s very difficult to see anything other than a West Ham United win here, which would be the perfect way to round off what’s been a successful, if at times worrying, season.
So, where would that leave us? I’d say that seven points is the top end of our possible achievements, with four being the least. If we end up with five, that’d see us onto 47 points. It is entirely possible that we’ll end up in the top half if we play to our potential, netting us over £8 million at the end of the season. With only two matches left after today, let’s hope that today’s match against Newcastle United is the first step to a solid mid-table finish.