The Hammers have enjoyed quite an opening to their season this year.

Now that memories of Big Sam Allardyce are at last starting to fade, the new era under Croatian coach Slaven Bilic can properly begin and has already got off to a more than promising start.

With an opening three away games bringing coupon busting consecutive away day wins at Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City, Irons’ fans are allowing themselves to dream a little. Dreaming of Europe perhaps. Why not? Next year sees the Hammers vacate their famous Boleyn ground, otherwise known as Upton Park, and begin life at Stratford’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, host venue of the London 2012 Games.

A brilliant season that sees them qualify for continental competition would suitably mark their new home, while honouring the old one.

To be fair, West Ham did technically qualify for European football this season through the fair play award. After six red cards already this season, it’s an unlikely route for them to take again. And, after being eliminated before the season even started, their commitment to European competition would need to be re-evaluated should they claim a place again next year. So relying on performances on the pitch would be their only possible line of entry this season.

The rules of European qualification change year on year with so many permeable outcomes but we do know some guaranteed qualification routes. These would include winning the FA Cup or finishing a minimum of 6th in the Premiership. Two entry options that can already be ruled out are through playing nicely (see above) and/or the League Cup (eliminated).

The Hammers have assembled a tidy little squad this year from a sound keeper in Adrian, up to the goal scoring Sakho up top. With Alex Song soon to come into the midfield to offer the impressive Dimitri Payet some protection, this could be the Hammers year.

League Position

Currently sitting third, things could be a lot worse if this was to prove their saving route to Europe. However, home form will need to improve if this to happen with an excellent victory against a very poor Newcastle United being their only win at Upton Park so far.

A top six position would definitely bring with it a Europa league spot, although some sides do consider Thursday night football and jet lagging trips to the edge of Europe more of curse than a blessing. The Hammers look more than capable of a top six finish though, home form aside, and Coral are offering 10/1 for this to happen.

Actually, 7th can do it too, but only if a team that qualifies for continental football by another means, then wins the FA Cup as well allowing their unwanted allocation to drop down a place in the table.

If however, and I do mean if, they can hold on to their current position then its champions League football that will be played in Stratford next autumn. Right now, you can get a best price of 75/1 with BetVictor for a top four finish for Slaven Bilic’s men.

Betting online is a great way of adding to the fun of a live sporting event and really brings so much more to the table than visiting the old fashioned bookmakers like your dad used to. You can even do this on your mobile or tablet, whenever and wherever you want. There is such a saturated market that bookmakers are falling over themselves to offer you – the punter – the value you deserve.

FA Cup

The FA Cup is every school boy’s dream to win. Unfortunately if those school boys grow up to play for West Ham it’s a dream that’s unlikely to come true. Ever.

A trophy West Ham haven’t collected in 35 years, they did make the final in 2006 and finally looked all set to break their horrible run, only for Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard to rob them not once but twice in a particularly painful, if entertaining for the neutral, final.

A good cup run always makes a club its supporters feel better about things and West Ham look like as fine an outside bet for a cup win as your likely to see. Their quick counter attacking playing style has allowed them to fear no one, as demonstrated by their excellent wins against the glamour sides, and Liverpool as well.

The Cup is all about winning on the day rather than longevity over the course of a nine month season and West Ham are certainly good enough to beat anyone on their day.

Success is always determined by the draw however which, judging by their early season form, the harder the opponents the better for the Hammers. 33/1 across the bookies, looks a more than decent price for the Hammers to break their horrible cup hoodoo and enjoy a happy Wembley afternoon in May.

[interaction id=“none”]