Three To Play: West Ham United’s Premier League Relegation Run-In Analysed
Following back-to-back 4-1 defeats in the Premier League by Arsenal and Manchester City, David Moyes’ West Ham United find themselves in a spot of bother at the wrong end of the table with three matches left to play.
The Hammers are 15th and the gap between them and Southampton in 18th place is now down to just three points, it is the closest to relegation that the club have been since the last time they fell down to the Sky Bet Championship in the 2010/2011 season, today, we analyse which matches they have left and their chances of beating the drop for the second season running.
Leicester City (A) (Saturday 5 May 2018 3 PM BST)
The run-in will begin this Saturday afternoon with a trip to the King Power Stadium and a game that may be the East Londoners best chance to pick up some much-needed points between now and the season’s end.
Should other results go their way and the Hammers pick up three points on their travels, something they have only done once this year, then it could be enough to all but secure safety for another season.
However, if they don’t and the Saints are victorious over Everton and Swansea City and Huddersfield Town keep up the pressure against AFC Bournemouth and the Citizens respectively, they could end the day level on points with a team in the relegation zone.
The Irons will not take confidence from the pre-game statistics as they have not beaten the Foxes in their last six meetings with them and the KP has not been a happy hunting ground for them, they are without a win there since the 2011/2012 Npower Championship season.
But, Leicester aren’t in the best of situations at this moment themselves, both on and off the pitch despite being safe in ninth in the standings, most recently being thrashed by West Ham’s fellow strugglers Crystal Palace 5-0 at Selhurst Park and reports emerging every day about players unhappy with manager Claude Puel, will they be there for the taking?
Manchester United (H) (Thursday 10 May 2018 7:45 PM BST)
If things go down to the wire, the key thing for the team from East London may indeed be the game-in-hand they possess on some of the other teams around them, however, games in hand don’t come much harder than this one.
Moyes’ men will take to the field next Thursday evening against Jose Mourinho’s Red Devils in a match that was re-arranged from the middle of March due to the visitors’ Emirates FA Cup commitments.
The hosts will be thankful that this and their season finale against Everton are at London Stadium, having lost at home only three times since Scot Moyes took over from Slaven Bilic last November and improved their fortunes.
Although Manchester clubs do have an impressive record in Stratford, currently 1-15 up on aggregate against the home side, but only two of those goals belong to United and came in their controversial narrow 0-2 victory at the ground over a year ago.
By the time of kick-off in East London, the away side may well have secured second place behind their City rivals the Citizens, and therefore, have very little to play for and players to rest ahead of an FA Cup Final with Chelsea, should they need it, opportunity may knock for the Hammers.
Everton (H) (Sunday 13 May 2018 3 PM BST)
Earlier in the season, this final day clash was being built-up as a momentous occasion, Toffees manager Sam Allardyce returning to the club he left on unhappy terms at the end of the 2014/2015 campaign with a chance to relegate them.
At the time of this ambitious billing, the Blue Boys of Merseyside were also deep in the relegation battle after the sacking of Ronald Koeman, although “Big Sam” has steadied the ship and they now find themselves closer to European football than the drop zone in eighth.
The first time that the Liverpool side visited London Stadium also came when the Hammers were yet to guarantee their safety in April 2017 when a rather uninspiring goalless draw was played out, one that many Hammers would probably take this time around.
The Claret & Blue Army will desperately be hoping that their fate doesn’t still hang in the balance heading into this encounter, especially given the fact that their team haven’t won a game against that particular opposition in over two years now.
Furthermore, the last time that they’ve won a home game against Everton didn’t even come in normal time, a penalties victory over the Merseysiders in the third round of the FA Cup in January 2015, if the Irons need a result to keep their noses above the water in this one, it will be far from easy against a determined Allardyce looking to prove a point.
So, now that you’ve been given the full lowdown on the who, when and where of West Ham’s relegation run-in, which will take place over the next two weeks, do you think the Hammers have what it takes to stay up? Or perhaps not? Find us on Twitter @WestHamMatters_ to let us know your opinion and join the discussion.