West Ham United risk relegation battle – Part 1


By Timothy Dehinbo


As Arsene Wenger watched Arsenal stroll comfortably at the Olympic Stadium on Saturday evening in what ought to be a tricky test, surely he was glad at his team’s display. His team had dismantled an
opponents who caused them all sorts of problem in Slaven Bilic’s maiden season in the Premier League. The Hammers famously shocked Arsenal 2-0 at the Emirates on the opening day of last season before
playing out a thrilling 3-3 draw at Upton Park in April this year.

However, the Gunners turned on the style in the second half, thrashing the East Londoners 5-1 with Alexis Sanchez the star of the show as the Chilean bagged a hattrick having laid on the opener for Mesut Ozil which exposed West Ham’s inadequacies at the back that has characterized their play this season. By the end of 90mins, there was inevitably contrasting looks on the faces of both managers.

For Wenger, his team had won and also played out a scintillatig game full of attacking endeavours as they outmanouevered the Hammers on all front. For Slaven Bilic, it isn’t suprising he’s worried. If he wasn’t under pressure prior to this defeat, he’ll surely be now.


A move to the Olympic Stadium in the summer after a successful final season at Upton Park was heralded as one that would see the Hammers break into the upper echelons of Premier League dominance. However, we been treated to quotidian lack of intensity during games, a conspicious lack of swagger and fighting spirit that epitomised their displays last season.

Jonathan Calleri, Edmilson Fernandez, Ashely Fletcher, Arthur Masuaku, Havard Nordveit,
Andre Ayew, Gokhan Tore, Alvaro Arbeloa, Simone Zaza, Sofiane Feghouli and Mannuel Lanzini who was signed permanently were all brought in during the summer transfer window to add depth, increase competition and improve the squad generally to help deal with a concomitant fixture pile-up which would inevitably surface during the season as a result of an expected long and ardous Europa League and domestic cup competitions.

However, that dream was truncated by Romanian minnows, Astra Giurgiu who knocked the Hammers out 2-1 on aggregate, despite drawing 1-1 in Romania in the first leg.
They’ve also been knocked out of the EFL Cup by Manchester United who thrashed them 4-1 at Old Trafford last Wednesday despite playing out a 1-1 in the same fixture three days earlier at the same venue.

Expectations were always gonna be high coming into the new season after an overly-successful season last campaign which they finished 7th and qualified for the Europa League, playing expansive and eye
catching football, plus rubbing shoulders with the Premier League’s ‘Big Boys’. They thrashed Liverpool by an aggregate scoreline of 5-0, having won 3-0 at Anfield.

They were forced to a 2-2 draw at Upton Park by Manchester City after beating the Citizens 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium. Arsenal were the first victim of their giant-killing abilities, beating them 2-0 on the opening day at the Emirates Stadium, before coming from 2-0 down to play out a 3-3 draw in the
reverse in April. They beat Chelsea 2-1 at Upton Park before being denied all three points as Cesc Fabregas’s late penalty secured a point for Chelsea in a 2-2 draw at SW6.


They exacted revenge on Tottenham who spanked them 4-1 by beating the North Londoners in March
which derailed their London rivals title challenge. Manchester United couldn’t beat them too as they followed up a 0-0 draw at Old Trafford with a come-from-behind 3-2 win in May which put paid to the Old Trafford landlord’s Top 4 hopes. They came from 2-0 down at GoodisonnPark to beat Everton 3-2 having drawn 1-1 at Upton Park plus a host of other impressive results which now seem a distant memory despite being just over seven months ago.

Dmitri Payet dazzled the Boelyn Ground faithfuls last season as well as the entire Premier League and the world at large with his silky, mesmerising and lovely skills not to mention his outrageous abilities
at dead balls situations. The squad depend on him for creativity, but so far so good, he hasn’t produced enough. Manuel Lanzini who was signed permanently in the summer after a successful loan spell last season has blown hot and cold while club captain Mark Noble has struggled to exert the same form of dominance and displays from last season.

A year ago, his performances saw lots of pundits and fans clamouring for him to be given an England call-up, and many of the England and West Ham aficionandos grudged and murmured when he was left out of Roy Hodgson’s 23 man squad for England’s ill fated EURO 2016 campaign.

Adrian has been very poor this season. He was a very capable and reliable goalkeeper last season, but his poor form has seen him lose his place as number one to Repulic Of Ireland international and first choice goalkeeper, Darren Randolph.

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