West Ham can have a big say in who stays up this season

The Irons are safe but still have to play several of those struggling

The countdown is on. The end of the season is closing in on us, and West Ham are looking nice and comfy. We could get used to this. The pressure’s off, which is unfortunately when our lads in claret and blue can’t quite get their heads together — perhaps their minds are already in that Caribbean beach hut, mojito in hand.

But wait, there’s fun to be had in the coming weeks. Our fixtures have been sneakily cruel to clubs battling against the drop, and the coming weeks see us face QPR, Burnley, and Aston Villa. But having already given Leicester the lift they so needed, can West Ham play havoc with the bottom three, or are we just going to roll over and let seemingly doomed teams take an invaluable three points? Let’s take the side that would be deemed ‘too big to go down’. As we well know, that’s a load of nonsense. Aston Villa are in as much doo-doo as anyone and ‘headless-chicken’ mode is bound to set in soon. Unless of course, they can show the character that West Ham have proved to have over the years, and step up when it really matters.

West Ham face Villa on May 9th, with just two games remaining after that to seal their fate. Tim Sherwood makes all the right noises, but nails could be very short by the time Villa face Burnley on the last day of the season. You could throw all the six-pointer clichés in the world at that fixture! In the two games ahead of the clash at Villa Park, the Hammers welcome Burnley to Upton Park, but first pay a visit to Loftus Road to face QPR, a side whose results are as hard to forecast as the great British weather.

What may swing in favour of our boys on that weekend is the recent dyer home form of the Hoops. What will certainly be of benefit to QPR, however, is their nice two-week break-inplay beforehand, thanks to Aston Villa’s surprise run in the FA Cup pushing forward that particular fixture. What more can I say — both West Ham and QPR seem to lack consistency, so who knows where this one is heading? But if West Ham can inflict some damage on a poor home side, Rangers have some difficult teams to play, namely Chelsea, Liverpool and Man City. It’s no exaggeration to say that defeat to West Ham will leave QPR fans quaking.

Sandwiched in between those games, we welcome Burnley to Upton Park. Their season has been spent precariously situated in the bottom half of the table. Their run-in for the final few weeks sees them facing many of the sides around them, which is a fate worse than facing sides with either nothing to play for or heading for glory at the opposite end of the league. I’m going to put my neck on the line and say that if West Ham can gain a win, albeit an unimportant one for us, Burnley are going to struggle to keep afloat. But if Burnley can gain three points, then who knows what momentum they will carry into the final games.

Momentum is a huge boost in football and, at the time of writing, it seems that Leicester are finding a bit of form. After convincingly beating West Ham, their season could take a positive swerve, and those three points could have been the lift their players needed. Shame it was ours that had to hand it to them! With all this in mind, I predicted the outcome of the lower end of this season’s Premier League. I stuck on the rose-tinted specs for this one, and I’m going to hope that West Ham’s season isn’t as done and dusted as it already seems. I’d like to think we can challenge the teams at the bottom, and not just give each one an easy win.

Should West Ham win upcoming fixtures against relegation candidates, there could be considerable shake-up in the bottom five. My predictions are, optimistically, based upon West Ham winning against teams they should be winning against, albeit by a slight margin. What could possibly go wrong?

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