A challenging situation - but far from done and dusted

  • by John Allen
  • Filed: Wednesday, 18th January 2023

Despite the enforced break for the Qatar World Cup at the end of last year, which in effect has split the 2022/23 Premier League season into two, we’re only just reaching the official halfway mark of this current season.

The majority of clubs have now played 19 games – or will have done by the start of the up-coming weekend’s fixtures. Too early we are told by the experts to call the title race just yet – despite Arsenal enjoying a healthy looking lead over reigning champions Manchester City – with probably only two other clubs, Newcastle and Manchester United in with any kind shout to rock their boat.

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At the other end of the table it’s a far more congested and less clear-cut picture – with just two points separating the bottom seven clubs. There are three clubs, Leeds, Leicester and Wolves sitting on 17 points – three more, West Ham, Everton and Southampton sitting on 15 points and Bournemouth sandwiched in the middle on 16 points.

There is no doubt it’s an unwanted and unhealthy-looking picture as far as we are concerned – one none of us really envisaged or expected to be involved in when the season kicked off. David Moyes’ position as manager is clearly precarious – and could eventually become terminal quite soon.

But if there is now no real hope for Moyes – and the noises coming from those said to be close to the Chairman have been playing a ‘Moyes out’ tune for some while now – what for West Ham the team? Are we really destined for the drop as some of our supporters seem to be claiming?

The game might well be up for Moyes – but is it up for West Ham too? With half the season still to play is it curtains already?

We know it’s a dangerous cliche to claim a team is too good to go down. But without tempting fate, isn’t that exactly what West Ham are?

A team with Declan Rice, Lucas Paqueta, Gianluca Scamacca, Jarrod Bowen, Kurt Zouma, Said Benrahma, Nayef Aguerd, Tomas Soucek and Vladimir Coufal in their ranks - all full internationals. Nine players plenty of other teams in the Premier League would be delighted to have in their ranks. With that amount of talent available how can the Hammers be flirting with relegation?

Moyes has strived, and looks to have eventually failed, to find the right blend and style to suit to players available to him and as a result to see us prosper as a team. But the ingredients are surely there – it’s the mixing that’s key to the end product. Good players don’t become bad players overnight.

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Whoever succeeds David Moyes will be encouraged by what he has at his disposal. We have gone down before of course, but not with the quality and experience we have at present. We were all elated when the summer signings arrived – confident of a squad stronger than we’ve ever had before. That hasn’t changed.

The situation is challenging, but we have to take heart that it is still a very long way from being a lost cause.

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