When West Ham United fell to an opening-day defeat at home to Newcastle United back in September, not many would have believed a top-six finish was on the cards for David Moyes and his team. Yet, there they are. The Premier League campaign has drawn to a close and The Irons are sitting pretty – sixth in the table.
Europa League football beckons for Moyes and his men next season. Let’s look back at how they got there.
West Ham United Season Review
Goals Galore as Hammers Struggle to Settle Early On
West Ham’s loss to Newcastle was followed by another tough day for The Hammers as they were beaten 2-1 at Arsenal. Overall, they won four, drew one, and lost three of their first eight matches of the season in all competitions. There were 32 goals in those fixtures, an average of four per game.
Tomáš Souček and Vladimír Coufal had joined the club. Soucek, of course, had spent the second half of the 2019/20 season on loan at West Ham. The Czech Republic midfielder had impressed so much, The Hammers made it their business to secure his services on a permanent deal from Slavia Prague. Right-back Coufal also arrived from the same club.
Everton dumped West Ham out of the League Cup in round four, winning 4-1 at Goodison Park.
By this time, West Ham were eight in the Premier League with 17 points from their opening 11 games.
An Iron-Clad Mid-Season Spell
From early December until late January, David Moyes’ team suffered just one defeat in 11 games in all competitions, winning seven of those matches. They beat Stockport County and Doncaster Rovers in the early rounds of the FA Cup only to lose to Manchester United once again in the fifth round.
West Ham were sixth in the table by that stage so could be forgiven for having their focus on finishing in the European qualification places rather than a good cup run.
Craig Dawson had turned out to be another smart acquisition, albeit on loan from Watford. The experienced centre-half started 22 league games over the season for The Irons.
Another smashing loan signing for West Ham was Jesse Lingard. The England international midfielder arrived from Manchester United in January. He would hit the ground running, getting five goals and two assists in his first seven appearances for Moyes and co.
Lingard would make 16 league starts, scoring a total of nine goals and providing four assists. As reported in the Evening Standard, Lingard is set to make a decision on his future and whether he is prepared to join West Ham permanently once this summer’s Euros is completed for England.
West Ham were in the top four of the Premier League as late as mid-April. With 55 points from their 32 games, they were right in the mix with Chelsea, Leicester City, and Liverpool, battling it out for Champions League qualification. However, three losses in a four-game spell from April into May really quashed those hopes, especially as one of the defeats was against Chelsea.
Moyes and his men were still punching above their weight, though. They bounced back with two wins and a draw in their final three fixtures, holding on for a sixth-place finish above London rivals Spurs and Arsenal. The Hammers had clinched a Europa League spot for next season.
Michail Antonio finished the season with ten league goals, level with midfielder Souček. Antonio has been a consistent performer for West Ham for a few seasons now with his strength and versatility proving priceless for his team.
Souček has to go down as one of the best Premier League transfers of the last few years. The Czech Republic international is now a vital part of the West Ham spine.
Lingard deserves a mention, of course. The Manchester United man brought some added verve and energy to The Hammers, both on the pitch and in the dressing room.
New signing Coufal, along with Aaron Cresswell, Declan Rice, Pablo Fornals, and Jarrod Bowen also turned in consistently good displays. Bowen, in particular, will have Hammers fans excited. The 24-year-old finished the season with eight league goals and five assists over his 38 appearances (30 starts).
Big Season Ahead
West Ham fans will be eager to get stuck into the 2021/22 season. A decent run in the Europa League and another push for a top-six finish domestically may be on the cards. Whether they can add some more talent to their squad pool remains to be seen, however. A more hectic fixture schedule to include European football will take its toll on Moyes’ group of players over the course of a full season. They need to unearth some more hidden gems such as Souček and maybe use the loan market to their benefit as well, as they did for Dawson and Lingard in the past year.
There will be no shortage of excitement at London Stadium over the next year, that’s for sure.