West Ham are well within reach to qualify for European football next season, sitting 6th in the Premier League table with 15 games to go.
It is hard to imagine that at this point last season we were 16th in the league, one point adrift from the relegation zone.
Moyes has now won 20 games since arriving for his second spell just over a year ago, and the club have made an incredible u-turn in such a short amount of time.
This season has seen us beat the likes of Leicester, Wolves and Everton to boost our chances of qualifying for European football next season. And the dream continues to stay alive.
One huge difference in this campaign is our ability to take three points from teams below us. West Ham have only lost one game this season against a team that is not in ‘the top six’, which was against Newcastle on the opening day.
Winning these games has given us a massive advantage over teams around us, with only the likes of Man United, Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal getting the better of us.
With 15 games to go, the next step up is to compete against top six opposition. After we play Sheffield United on Monday, we will face four top six sides in five matches and we have to keep winning if we are to stay where we are in the league.
Luckily this season, teams around us haven’t been playing as well as they should. If we are to aim for a top six finish then we will be fighting against the likes of Everton, Tottenham and Aston Villa – all strong teams in their own right.
With this in mind, the team must focus on the task at hand. The last time we were in a similar position, in 2015/16, we failed at the last hurdle, but this season there is a greater belief in the squad that we can do it.
Absolutely devastated. Really wanted to progress in this competition. Apologies for the goal, needed to be better. Proud of the lads tonight, massive effort. Focus back on the league now! We go again. ❤️⚒ @WestHam
— Declan Rice (@_DeclanRice) February 9, 2021
We are also boosted by the introduction of the UEFA Europa Conference League, a new competition for teams that don’t qualify for the Champions/Europa League.
In England’s instance, the winner of the Carabao Cup will enter the competition at the play-off stage. However if the winner already finishes in the top five then it goes to the sixth or seventh placed team.
With Man City and Spurs both in the final, there could be a good chance that this season’s sixth or seventh placed side will qualify for a European competition of some sort next season.
Our biggest downfall could be our lack of squad depth. We have the smallest squad in the league and a few injuries could jeopardise our whole season.
We just have to hope that our FA Cup game against United didn’t trouble us too much. Ogbonna, Diop and Yarmolenko were all replaced after suffering injuries, and Antonio’s hamstrings a constant struggle.
That being said, we must still strive to finish the season strongly and there are plenty of chances to qualify for European football next year.
Given the way we have played so far, we can be genuine top six contenders this season.