Could 2022 be the year to break our 42-year trophy-less curse?

The quadruple dream might be over but we’ve still got the FA Cup and Europa League to play for

The quadruple dream is over following our narrow 2-1 defeat at the New White Hart Lane against Tottenham last month.

We played our best possible team in the circumstances in North London, with Antonio missing through Covid and Coufal missing through suspension for that ludicrous red card received at the Emirates Stadium.

Two sloppy defensive moments and an inspired Hugo Lloris meant the hosts walked away with a semi-final with Chelsea.

The fact we managed to reach the end of December still fighting on all fronts is testament itself to how far David Moyes and this squad has taken us.

2021 has been a year to remember for West Ham United with a record Premier League points haul of 73, qualifying for the Europa League group stage for the first time in our history, and then managing to win the group to qualify for the Round of 16, as well as reaching a League Cup quarter-final beating Manchester United and City along the way. All in all, not much to complain about.

December though did bring a worrying run of form which showed the glaringly obvious issues this squad has.

With three of our four starting defensive line missing and our potent attacking force going off the boil at the same time, we endured a run of just two wins out of a possible eight in all competitions.

The cracks were beginning to show, Dawson and Diop struggled at times. Filling the void left by the ever-impressive Aaron Cresswell has also proved difficult, who has shown his importance to the team whilst missing with an injury.

Despite all that, our 4-1 away win over a poor Watford side meant we ended the year in fifth place.

Of course, there were grumblings over the recent form including boos ringing out the London Stadium following the 3-2 defeat against Southampton and the 1-1 draw against Brighton but it is important for the West Ham faithful to remember where we have come from.

Two years ago, we were staring relegation in the face only for the Covid lockdown break to allow the team to galvanise and recover with some impressive late-season form.

Naturally, expectations have risen, and I am guilty of becoming frustrated at times because I can see the ability this squad has now when we fail to live up to the hype this season and last season performances have shown at times.

Perspective is key as we look ahead to 2022 and what this season could bring. The club is tackling knockout European football for the first time since the 1980s, as well as the ever-competitive Premier League run-in to come.

The squad is threadbare, and investment from Gold, Sullivan and Kretinsky is key in January.

The GSB era has been littered with criticism of a lack of ambition, and now with fresh investment from our new Czech Republican billionaire friend it is time to strike while the iron is hot.

The club is currently riding arguably its highest wave in recent history, and the board must back Moyes and Rob Newman with money to strengthen this squad.

A centre back, a left-sided defender and an out-and-out striker are surely on Rob Newman’s list of requirements. 

If the Hammers can get the right bodies in and they can hit the ground running there is no reason why the rest of the season and the rest of 2022 can be as exciting as 2021 was.

A run in Europe must be seen as a priority in my eyes, after winning the group, we have put ourselves into the position of being seven games away from European glory and a shot at the Champions League. 

It won’t be easy, of course, with some top teams filtering down from the Champions League, but this squad of players at the moment is more than talented enough to take on anyone in a two-game shootout.

Jarrod Bowen is in the form of his life; Declan Rice is probably the best central midfielder in the competition and with players coming back to fitness it must be seen as an opportunity of a lifetime for some of these players.

As for the FA Cup, who knows where we could go in that competition. Leeds will be a difficult game with their thousands of fans roaring them on from the away end and it is conceivable that we could get knocked out in the third round.

I can see Moyes sacrificing that competition further down the line if our league form picks up and we can start challenging for the top six again. However, if we can get through that game and get a kind draw at the next round – you never know what could happen.

A realistic aim though, moving forward, is to establish ourselves as a top-eight club and continue to challenge in Europe. 

A FA Cup win would be great as it’s been too long without any silverware, and whilst it feels like we are on the cusp of something special, that trophy room is still looking pretty threadbare.

Be patient though guys, it is coming sooner rather than later.

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