George Parris: ‘Our fight for Premier League survival is still very much in our own hands’

We just haven't been consistent this season but I'm hoping our momentum from February will be the catalyst to help us kick on again

Vladimir Coufal (WHU) at the West Ham United v Chelsea EPL match, at the London Stadium, London, UK on February 11, 2023.

Making my way to the Forest game at the end of last month, I just thought it was set up for us to go out there and pick up three much needed points. I predicted a comfortable 2-0 win because I felt we were due a good performance following the Spurs debacle but also because Forest don’t travel well.

In truth, we could’ve gone in at half time at least one goal up, but to get all those goals in quick succession, it was job done in a matter of minutes. It was good to see Danny Ings get off the mark for us in his first start.  

In the first half, he had a couple of half chances that you’d expect him to hit the target with but didn’t. It felt like he couldn’t buy a goal. But then he took his first goal well considering it was behind him, and the second one was a striker’s goal; Six yard box, right place, right time, doesn’t matter how it goes in.  

He might prove to be the missing ingredient for us but who knows. We’ll have to wait and see. Paqueta also impressed against Forest. Playing him in this deeper role certainly worked against Forest but only time will tell if we can continue to do what we did against Forest.

If we can replicate this performance and attitude for a number of games, then you might say how we were set up against Forest is the way forward. We just haven’t been consistent this season but I’m hoping our momentum from February will be the catalyst to help us kick on again.

I was also impressed with the players who came off the bench against Forest once the game was pretty much done and dusted. Antonio came on and scored a goal to remind Moyes he can still hit the back of the net. Almost like he had a point to prove.

It just shows we can now change the side if it’s not going well, or if it is going well then we can put other people on to do a similar job. Our battle to avoid relegation now is still very much in our hands.  

There are plenty of games left, enough games that we need only to worry about ourselves and how we’re doing, and not anyone else. We’re definitely heading into March in a better place than we have been this season, and we’ve got a few games coming up that we could and should be winning.

If we can pick up a few more wins, before you know it, we can get ourselves away from the relegation zone and in mid-table. We are in Conference League action this month and I would have thought we can rest a few players and give some of our squad players more minutes on the pitch.

It can sometimes be difficult to chop and change. It’s a fine balance but possibly for the first leg, away in Cyprus, there will be a few players who won’t travel so they can rest their legs. I would imagine that’ll be in David Moyes’ thoughts and then if we need the big guns for the home leg, then so be it.

Looking at the table, one thing that stood out to me was our goal difference compared to others in the bottom half of the table. It’s certainly a plus to not be conceding too many goals. There’s always the hope that if you aren’t conceding many goals, you can nick a goal at the other end to win the game.

Hopefully with a bit more potency in front of goal from now on, we have more chance of winning games. At the top of the table, I think the title race will go down to the wire. Arsenal are in pole position now but Man City have overcome other teams time and time again.

They also have to play each other again, which will be a key moment in their seasons, but from Arsenal’s perspective if they keep winning then they can’t be caught can they? Then sitting in third place there’s Manchester United. After their poor start to the season, they have just knuckled down and got on with it, and fair play to them.

Rashford can’t stop scoring and they are probably the form side at the moment. I wouldn’t completely rule them out of the title race but they have a little bit more to do than Arsenal or City. But who knows. They are flying and they’ve also picked up the League Cup after beating Newcastle who have now fallen out of the top four.

They’ve got games in hand although sometimes games in hand don’t mean too much. They’ve got a lot of points on the board already, and they’ve had a great season. I’m sure Eddie Howe will want to get them back on track after the cup disappointment..

He’ll want to maintain their good home form and if they can carry this on, it’ll give them a great chance of staying in the top five.

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