With survival still not assured, how should we assess West Ham’s season?
After two fantastic campaigns in which West Ham secured European football through their fine Premier League performances, this season has seen the Hammers dragged into a relegation scrap. David Moyes has been unable to inspire a third straight season of success, and the result is that the East London club have struggled to build any kind of momentum.
With just three games remaining at the time of writing, West Ham are still not mathematically assured of survival, but it would take a total catastrophe for them to go down at this stage. Despite that, there are still a lot of questions that need answering after a dismal season.
Of course, West Ham’s exploits in the Europa Conference League mean there is still hope that there could be a glorious European triumph this season. If they could reach the final and lift the trophy in Prague on June 7, it would act as a salve to their domestic failures, but the issues will still need to be addressed in what will be an important summer for Moyes.
After a torrid opening half of the season, there have been some improvements in recent months. A spell of just three defeats in 12 matches from the end of January to the middle of April helped Moyes relieve the pressure on his job and set West Ham on the path to safety.
However, before a timely 1-0 home win over Manchester United, a run of three straight defeats had left West Ham at risk of being dragged into the mire once again, at a time where the relegation odds are increasingly difficult to call.
Inconsistency has been the defining theme of West Ham’s season. At various times it has looked as though they’re rediscovering their best form, but then another poor result will follow and they’ll be back to square one. You can understand the frustrations of the London Stadium faithful when you look at the number of false dawns there have been in the Premier League this season.
There is a sense that the squad Moyes put together which has performed so well has grown a little stale, and for that reason, it will be a big summer transfer window. A new striker may be top of the agenda, as it appears as though last summer’s big signing Gianluca Scamacca is unlikely to be the man to fire West Ham to glory.
The midfield also needs refreshment, with Tomas Soucek failing to reach the heights of previous campaigns. As always, there will be speculation this summer around Declan Rice’s future, with plenty of top clubs expected to circulate once again to try and entice the Hammers midfielder away from the London Stadium.
With a few key additions, West Ham can re-establish themselves as a team capable of challenging in the top half of the Premier League table. As for this season, the sooner the curtain falls the better, and then Moyes and his team can start analysing the lessons learned from what has been a thoroughly dismal campaign.