West Ham United have staved off the threat of relegation with a strong run of form over the last six weeks, easing the pressure that has steadily grown on manager Slaven Bilic.
The Croat has managed to get his team to fire up the Premier League table, despite the departure of Dimitri Payet.
The Hammers were in danger of being dragged into the relegation battle at the start of December, while the behaviour of the want-away Payet brought further negativity to the club. However, the return to fitness of Andy Carroll has been a huge factor in their resurgence, scoring six goals in his 12 appearances in the top flight.
Bilic’s men are beginning to overcome their problems at London Stadium that had haunted them at the start of the term, but it has been their form on the road that has guided them into mid-table.
The Hammers have a good following on their travels and their supporters are beginning to be rewarded for the loyalty after paying £590.90 more than they would for just backing their side at home, according to research provided by Voucherbox.
West Ham have reeled off back-to-back wins away from home over Middlesbrough and Southampton to strengthen their foothold on their Premier League status, while sending both other outfits tumbling towards the foot of the table.
The Hammers have managed to build resilience, although their solid run of form was kick-started by two fortunate results on home soil over Burnley and Hull City, securing maximum points from both fixtures despite being outplayed by both teams.
The role of the underdog has seemed to suit Bilic’s men more than being the favourite, which could explain the difference in their confidence away or playing stronger teams than being made to force the issue.
Draws at Manchester United and Liverpool have highlighted this theme, while breaking down fairly solid teams on the road such as Middlesbrough and Southampton, with two thumping 3-1 victories at the Riverside and St Mary’s Stadium respectively.
Carroll’s return has also played a significant role due to his goal threat, whereas Simone Zaza who led the line at the beginning of the year displayed no sign of being able to transition into life in the Premier League. The England international has the strength to be the focal point of the attack, allowing Michal Antonio and Manuel Lanzini to thrive in the space behind him.
Given most teams are encouraged to attack when playing at home the opportunity for those players to thrive on the counter. As a result, Antonio and Lanzini have seen a surge in their production in and around the box, which has consequently seen an upsurge in strikes finding the net for the Hammers.
West Ham have a series of away games against teams that will be desperate for points come the end of the campaign, which should give Bilic’s men ample room to pick those sides apart at the back, adding valuable points late in the season. Their away form could well yet see the Hammers finish in the top half once again.