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West Ham have started the season really well. However, it was looking like it was going to be a hard slog once again after they were thumped 5-0 at home by Manchester City on the opening day. Hammers fans needn’t have worried, though. They’ve put a string of wins together and picked up crucial points away from home since to see them mount a top-six challenge. It’s early days of course, but with Manchester United struggling already, who knows?

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are priced at around 5/1 to grab a top six spot this season. If you fancy backing them at that price but are not sure who to bet with, you can learn more with bet365 review to understand how good they are when it comes to these kinds of markets and their odds. They’re right up there with the best that’s for sure. Or check out some other bookie reviews, it’s entirely up to you.

Ok, so, as mentioned, the East Londoners have begun the season excellently. But does anything need to change looking ahead? Have they really been tested yet? Do they have enough strength in depth to keep the pressure on the so-called big six? Are they the best of the rest? Let’s try and answer those questions.

An Average Side from Manchester?

Not City, they were unplayable at the London Stadium in August. We’re talking about Manchester United. The side who came to Stratford played poorly against a West Ham side who were also below their best and were effectively hammered 2-0. But did they play that poorly? Or are United just an average side this season that are going to struggle away from home against so-called lesser teams? Arguably so. Some critics and pundits believe so.

There’s no doubt that the wheels have well and truly come off at Old Trafford, which leaves a potential place in the top six up for grabs. A defeat at home to Palace, a point away at Southampton, and the loss at West Ham. It doesn’t look good, does it? There’s still plenty of time left in the season to put things right, but unless they start playing as a team again with that necessary want and desire, it’s going to be a long season for the red side of Manchester.

West Ham’s Easy Start

Well, it depends on who you ask. On paper, no game is easy. It’s the Premier League. Anyone can beat anyone and that’s why we love it. Norwich’s win over Manchester City is a prime example of that. Let’s look at West Ham’s six games since the Man City defeat:

Brighton (A)

Watford (A)

Norwich (H)

Aston Villa (A)

Manchester United (H)

Bournemouth (A)

If you’re a Hammers fan, you’re probably looking at that run of games before Brighton away hoping for around seven points or so. They got 12. That shows that Mark Noble and co are good enough to mount a serious top-six challenge. It’s never that easy though, is it…

Premier League 2019/20: West Ham vs Man United - tactical analysis tactics

Can the Hammers Cope Without Fabianski?

Manuel Pellegrini expects the Polish goalkeeper to be out of action for around 3 months, which is a huge blow considering he’s been arguably their best player since he signed from Swansea back in 2018. Strength in depth is not really something you associate with West Ham, but minus the goalkeeping situation, the Hammers have good cover in most other areas of the pitch. The defence is fine, the midfield is fine, but up top could be a problem if anything happened to Sebastian Haller.

The French target man is so important to Pellegrini’s side. Especially if they want to push for Europe. It didn’t take him long to get acclimatised to English football at all. Long may that continue. If he continues to stay injury-free, he could well be the difference between a sixth-placed finished another tenth-placed finish. If he gets injured, who is there? Albian Ajeti? Still settling in. Michail Antonio? Not a striker. That’s it. There is nobody else. A forward in January is probably needed, if the funds are there of course.

Who Else is Challenging?

Leicester. Everton. Bournemouth? As it stands, these three will probably be there or thereabouts come the end of the season. Everton have started poorly, granted, but they have the quality to turn their season around. Eddie Howe has got Bournemouth playing some great football, especially at home. And what can we say about Leicester? The talent in that squad is frightening, it really is. On their day they can be anyone. If we were pushed to choose just one side to challenge West Ham for a top-six spot, the Foxes would be that side. Brendan Rogers has got them playing some wonderful football.

We haven’t mentioned Wolves. Well, they’re another team who have started the domestic campaign poorly. But unlike Everton, they have the small matter of the Europa League to worry about, which might stretch their squad a little, thus leading to an average season in the Premier League.

It remains to be seen just how far West Ham can go this season. But a top-six finish is realistic, the odds reflect that. If players can stay fit and they can keep winning home games and picking up points on the road, there’s no reason why they can’t be in the mix come May. Leicester will arguably be their biggest challengers if we’re disregarding Manchester United altogether, but it’s certainly going to be an exciting season. Will the Hammers’ dreams fade and die? Fortune might just be found this season. Watch this space.