Mark Noble has advocated his West Ham United team to draw on the spirit of the 2007 Great Escape as they bid to beat the drop.
The Hammers appeared dead and buried 13 decades back, when they sat ten points from safety with ten matches remaining, but a solid performance in a dramatic defeat by Tottenham Hotspur seemingly galvanised the squad, and they responded by winning seven of the final nine matches to remain up.
After producing a similarly epic performance in Monday’s 3-2 defeat at Liverpool, comparisons are drawn. And while West Ham’s present situation is nowhere near as dire as it was in the spring of 2007, the captain knows they have to begin winning sooner rather than latter to prevent more final-day drama.
“People have been reminding me of our Great Escape of 2007 and the way the Liverpool game can serve as a springboard, such as our match against Spurs did all those years back,” Noble wrote in the column to the Official Programme for Saturday’s visit of Southampton to London Stadium.
“We’re in nowhere near as bad a position this time around, but I understand what they mean. In 2007, we won all but two of our remaining nine matches and there isn’t any reason why we can not do something similar this year. If we do, we will have nothing to worry about!
“I’ve always said that winning games is your main point and that’s correct, more than ever, as we seem to climb the table within the last quarter of the year.
“There are still 33 points to play and we would like to pick up as many as you can. With the players we’ve got, all eleven are winnable, but we need to do our talking on the pitch.
“I thought we played well at Liverpool on Monday night, though we lost the match, and that functionality will have awarded the lad’s confidence going into Saturday’s match. We pushed the best team in the world all the way, scored two great goals, created opportunities, passed the ball well and defended with real dedication. Simply mistakes cost us a point, or even all three. I took a lot more positives from the match than the opposite.”
After the visit of the Saints, West Ham also welcome Wolverhampton Wanderers, Chelsea, Burnley, Watford and Aston Villa to east London, and Noble says home edge will be crucial since the Irons attempt to remain in the Premier League.
“Six of our last eleven games are at home and I only want to emphasise just how much strength it gives to the players if you’ve got 60,000 people behind you,” he reasoned. “The noise we can create at our arena can be very unique and we’re going to want that quantity in our remaining home games, of that there’s not any doubt.”