West Ham United sit third in the Premier League table and after their superb win against Liverpool, confidence is high at the London Stadium.
Just don’t say that to David Moyes.
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The West Ham boss is keen to keep the feet of his players, staff and fans on the ground, but after their sixth-place finish last season and already reaching the UEFA Europa League knockout rounds this season, belief is in the air in east London.
Along with plenty of bubbles.
Speaking after their rousing 3-2 win against Liverpool — the defeat was Jurgen Klopp’s first in 25 games in all competitions — David Moyes believes anything is possible for the Hammers who sit three points off the top of the table and are enjoying their best-ever start to a PL season after 11 games. But he is trying to stay realistic. He’s trying.
Can Hammers challenge for the title?
David Moyes was asked by the BBC after the game if West Ham can win the Premier League title this season.
“I want to be really positive all the time, I would like to say that is what we can do. I don’t see that at the moment,” Moyes said. “We can challenge the top four but whoever they are I want to see if we can give us an opportunity, we missed out on Champions League football by two points so why can we not be there? We are not getting carried away but this it is feeling good at the moment.
“This result shows that we’re really in with a good chance of challenging for the top places. I’m hugely proud [that I’ve turned West Ham around]. The way the players have gone about it, you talk about me turning it around, these players were close to relegation. Now we’re pushing for Europe.”
West Ham’s players have totally bought in to that underdog mentality and want more.
“Obviously we don’t need to win, because we are not the favorites in any case,” Pablo Fornals said. “But whoever wants to be ahead of us has to come here and fight against us. That is us and how we are playing this season. That is what brings us here.”
Kurt Zouma, a summer acquisition from Chelsea, has been sensational and he likened the spirit at West Ham to a family.
“We gave our all, we had many chances to score, we stayed strong at the end and we got the win. We are very happy. That is why I came here, to help the team grow up. Keep improving and it is like a family here,” Zouma said.
Two years after returning to West Ham for a second spell, Moyes has transformed the Hammers from relegation fodder to top four candidates.
What can West Ham achieve?
West Ham have have made the fewest changes to their lineup and used the fewest players of any Premier League club this season. The main problem everyone has with West Ham is that ‘their squad is too small’ to push for a top four finish.
But what if it isn’t?
On Sunday they had Vladimir Coufal, Alphonse Areola, Mark Noble, Manuel Lanzini, Issa Diop, Craig Dawson and Alex Kral on the bench. Andriy Yarmolenko couldn’t get on the bench. That is a very strong list of subs and if the Hammers get lucky with injuries, they can sustain this push.
23 – West Ham have accumulated 23 points from their 11 Premier League games this season (W7 D2 L2); only in 1975-76 and 1980-81 (both 24 when adjusted to three points for a win) have they ever had more at this stage of a Football League campaign. Deserved. pic.twitter.com/EakLdt4Joi
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 7, 2021
They were very close to getting into the top four last season (just two points off it) and with their qualification to the Europa League last 16 all but secured, plus their spot in the League Cup quarterfinals after beating Man United and Man City, everything is heading in the right direction.
This is not an overnight success story. Moyes’ side have a clear plan, a strong identity, are dangerous from set pieces and have solid players playing at, or close to, their peak. They are fun to watch, attack in numbers and aren’t just a counter-attacking team.
They have balance, control and poise. This is now a peak Moyes team and he’s grinding every ounce of effort and skill out of his players.
Declan Rice, Michail Antonio and Kurt Zouma give them an incredibly strong spine and all of the other moving parts around them are firing on all cylinders. Continuity is breeding success at West Ham.
The scary thing is, this West Ham team believes they can play even better than this.
They may not ‘do a Leicester’ and win the title, but they’re going to be right up there in the top four hunt this season. That would be an amazing achievement. The Hammers are chipping away at the Premier League’s elite.
With Wolves, Manchester City, Brighton and Chelsea in their next four games, there’s a real chance the Hammers could be in the title race as we roll into December. Seriously.