After a truly dismal performance in the FA Cup this weekend, West Ham’s season could well be over if they fail to turn their fortunes around soon.
Nobody would have expected West Bromwich Albion to completely dominate West Ham in what was a very one-sided affair. The 4-0 victory for the Baggies showed the remarkable improvement taking place at the Hawthorns under Tony Pulis, as well as revealing West Ham’s recent plight in form that has left them looking like a shadow of the side that occupied a top four spot on Christmas Day.
West Ham never got going in the game against West Brom, with influential players like Alex Song and Stewart Downing struggling to make any sort of mark on the game. A lack of presence in midfield left both Enner Valencia and Diafra Sakho completely isolated up front, with the former often trying to force the issue by dropping back into a deeper midfield position which was another tactic that failed to pay off against an organised West Brom side.
The performance would have been dim viewing for the most positive group of West Ham fans and their season could be in danger of lacking any real direction from now until May. Currently lying in eighth place, West Ham face a tough trip to White Hart Lane this weekend in a fixture that the team will be desperate to get a result from in order to distract fans from the FA Cup defeat. If the team performs in a similar manner to how they played against West Brom, West Ham’s season could dissolve into a pit of nothingness.
This would be hugely disappointing for Sam Allardyce and West Ham as the club started the season in fine form, rising as high as third in the league with many tipping the East London club to stage a surprise push for the Champions League places this season.
Allardyce will feel that his side are still more than capable of achieving a finish in the top seven, meaning that Europa League qualification is still in their sights. However, without Andy Carroll for the rest of the season and injuries to key defenders Winston Reid and James Collins, West Ham are not looking particularly strong in terms of strength in depth at this stage of the current campaign. West Ham let Mauro Zarate and Ricardo Vaz Te depart the club in January and kept hold of Carlton Cole, despite his desire to leave the club for West Brom.
This now means that the Hammers have Enner Valencia, Diafra Sakho and Carlton Cole as their only senior strikers. Allardyce will be hoping that the front pairing of Valencia and Sakho will hit the goalscoring heights that made them such a formidable attacking force earlier in the season. If these two strikers struggle to find form, though, Allardyce may be forced to play Cole, who has rarely featured for the club this season.
Overall, West Ham will be desperate to avoid losing their way from now until the end of the season. The club currently sit on top of the Premier League’s Fair Play table, with Europa League qualification being the prize for the team who finishes the season top of the table, providing England finish in the top three of UEFA’s Fair Play standings.
Allardyce will be desperate to turn his team’s fortunes around this weekend, and victory against Spurs could be the result that gets West Ham’s season back on track.