West Ham has had a resurgence under David Moyes, with European football now expected given the success over the last two seasons. Here are three key matches – all taking place in the space of a month – the Hammers will need to win to be in with a chance of European football again in 2022/23.

Newcastle (A) – 4th February 2023

What may have been considered somewhat of a ‘nothing game’ some seasons ago, the recent transformations on Tyneside and in East London now make Newcastle-West Ham a mouth-watering fixture. Eddie Howe’s side has gone quietly about their business since the infamous Saudi takeover, relying instead on experienced signings such as Kieran Trippier to lead them in their Premier League resurgence.

While the Hammers have odds of 5/1 on Premier League betting site Paddy Power to finish in the top six, the Magpies sit above them at 17/10. They, therefore, represent West Ham’s main rivals and are high on Paddy Power’s Premier League betting tips for a European finish. The match on the 4th of February is set to be fiercely contested, as Newcastle will have a distinct home advantage with a St. James’ Park that will undoubtedly be rocking. Moyes’ side will have to be ready for the challenge, though, if they are serious about their European aspirations.

Chelsea (H) – 11th February 2023

The fixture list doesn’t get any easier for the Hammers, as they host two-time European Champions Chelsea in the following game week. The turmoil at the West London club over the summer appeared to only get worse in 2022/23, as Champions League-winning coach Thomas Tuchel was improbably sacked as the Blues’ boss by the new owners.

The unrest both on and off the pitch led many to believe that Chelsea would find themselves in a race for the top-six come the end of the season, not top-four. While Graham Potter has so far steadied the ship as the new Blues boss, the match on the 11th of February will be a perfect chance to put that to the test. In a time of the season where any ‘new manager bounce’ will have dwindled, the Hammers’ home advantage at the London Stadium could provide a perfect opportunity to get unexpected points on the board.

Brighton (A) – 4th March 2023

Just three weeks later, West Ham come up against Potter’s former team, Brighton, who took the early 2022/23 Premier League season by storm under his management. Brighton’s four wins in six opening matches secured Potter the move and left Brighton sitting pretty at the top of the table, above the likes of Liverpool.

When Brighton host West Ham on the 4th of March, new manager Roberto De Zerbi will have had time to implement his strategy and playing style. This along with their odds of 9/2 from Paddy Power to finish in the top six – again better than West Ham’s – means that the Seagulls will likely prove tough opposition for the Hammers, but one which Moyes’ side will have to overcome in their battle for Europe.

Given West Ham’s slow start to 2022/23, it is vital they utilise the back end of the season to recover. These three matches will certainly provide the bedrock to success, but Moyes’ men will require a serious upturn in form if they are to get back in the European places.

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