Currently sat in fourth place within the Premier League and first in Group H of the Europa League competition, West Ham have found themselves enjoying the perfect start to the season, where they are achieving better results than the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur.
15 games into the campaign, David Moyes and his men have impressively beaten both Chelsea and Liverpool within the last four weeks, showing their resilience defensively and their qualities going forward. Although they conceded four goals across both fixtures, it is more proof of the potency of the teams in second and third than West Ham’s frailty.
West Ham were close to being relegated during the 2019/20 campaign, when Manuel Pellegrini was managing the side with his outdated tactics but was sacked halfway through the season for leading the squad to just five league wins. In came Moyes, who instantly set the foundations on the defensive phase and implemented a way to be productive on the counter, leading to crucial results against teams such as Bournemouth, Southampton, Chelsea and Watford to finish in 16th place.
Despite the West Ham faithful not being convinced with the arrival of the former Manchester United and Everton manager following his previous stint at the club which rsulted in a 29% win percentage over 31 league games, he has proven all the critics wrong as he is making full use out of a talented squad and the board are fully committed towards his project.
We now look into the three key factors leading to the remarkable rise of West Ham so far this season.
Proving himself to be one of the best midfielders within the Premier League and one of the best West Ham players so far this season, Declan Rice has taken his game to the next level on the pitch. The statistics are there to back up how complete he is becoming, with one goal and three assists in 15 league matches, as well as achieving more interceptions (30) and carries into the final third (40) than any other midfielder in the league.
With his ability to dominate the middle of the pitch on his own, he has played a crucial role in helping the side defensively through his knack of winning the ball in the key areas. Indeed, just six teams have conceded fewer goals than the Hammers so far this season.
Constantly being linked to the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United, Rice is valued by the club owners at a whopping £100million+, which leaves the question of whether one of the two Premier League giants are willing to pay a large sum for his qualities or will the 22-year-old push for a big move soon rather than later.
Kurt Zouma proving his worth
Kurt Zouma, who arrived at West Ham in the summer window for a fee of £25million, is establishing himself as a solid signing for David Moyes’ side this season. From showing great leadership skills from the get-go to providing the needed aggression and consistency in the backline, the Frenchman has become a huge addition for West Ham, especially when considering the team were leaking too many goals last season. And following his vital goal in the 3-2 victory over Liverpool, he has instantly become a fan favourite.
Despite the injury issues he has suffered in the past at Chelsea, Zouma is at the age where he will want to be playing on a consistent basis, which made the move in the summer sense for all parties. The 27-year-old has been up against the likes of Diogo Jota, Harry Kane, Kai Havertz and Ollie Watkins and used his intelligence and experience to contain such dangerous attackers.
Impressive away form
It’s normal for majority of the teams to pick up most of their points in the home matches. However, it’s been a different situation for West Ham this season, who have achieved the same number of wins away from home as they have at the London Stadium.
The side have shown that they can adapt to various circumstances, whether they have to dominate possession through short periods of the game, to siting deep and countering effectively through both Jarrod Bowen and Michail Antonio.
As the team continues to show their qualities on both sides of the pitch, they have notably picked up key victories away to Aston Villa, Everton and Leeds in the league, who normally provide a hostile experience when visiting their stadiums. Also, the squad have managed to forge a strong character about how they get on with their business, which has been shown in the successful season they are having in Europe and by beating both Manchester United and Manchester City in the Carabao Cup.
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