West Ham United’s 1-1 draw against Premier League leaders Liverpool at the London Stadium was a fantastic result for the east London club. However, the Hammers may be disappointed in its wake given they were the better team and probably deserved all three points.
The draw with the Reds was a continuation of the fine home record Manuel Pellegrini’s side have enjoyed against ‘big six’ opposition so far this season. Earlier in the campaign they’d also drawn with Chelsea and taken all three points against Arsenal and Manchester United.
For all their impressive work against the giants of English football though, the Irons currently find themselves in 12th place. Such a position is far from disastrous, but considering what this side have proven themselves to be capable of, it must be considered an underachievement.
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For every positive showing against big six opposition there have been limp defeats against the likes of Bournemouth, Wolves, Brighton, Watford and Burnley. That’s not to mention the FA Cup fourth round exit at the hands of League One strugglers AFC Wimbledon.
Considering West Ham spent £99million in the summer – the fifth highest amount of all top flight clubs – this failure to achieve consistency must be especially disappointing. The summer arrivals of the likes of Felipe Anderson, Jack Wilshere, Andriy Yarmolenko, Lukasz Fabianski, Issa Diop and Fabian Balbuena, amongst others, along with the appointment of a former Premier League-winning manager in Pellegrini, ought to have yielded greater results by now, even with injury woes taken into account.
Being a West Ham fan this season must be far more fun than it has been in previous years, with plenty of fresh faces and high-profile wins to enjoy and get excited about. The mood in Stratford is certainly far better than at this point last season, when tensions were about to manifest themselves in mass protests inside and outside the stadium (and on the pitch).
This unrest may have sparked the club’s majority owners, David Gold and David Sullivan, into action in the summer. Their spending spree certainly suggests they were keen to appease the fanbase. However, they may now be feeling a level of vindication for their previous thriftiness.
£99million is a lot to spend for 12th place – in fact, it’s only one position better than the club’s final standing at the end of last season. Of course, things could improve between now and the end of the campaign, but as things stand they aren’t actually receiving a strong return on their investment.
Before the summer, West Ham could have been described as a stagnating club. They still are, or at least that is what their inconsistency suggests – their stagnation is simply being masked by a handful of good, high-profile results.
They certainly aren’t progressing smoothly. Until their strides forward aren’t immediately followed by an awkward stumble, Gold and Sullivan will continue to feel that their reluctant investments are failing to pay off.