Back in August there was a really good feel factor on the site about West Ham’s chances of a good season. A good pre-season had seen a return to form of Joe Cole and Matt Jarvis, whilst Alou Diarra had been looking fit and eager to start. Whilst Andy Carroll was going to miss the start of the season it was only a matter of a month or so before he was due to return. The signing of Stewart Downing was to compliment Jarvis in supplying Carroll with plenty of ammunition. And then of course there was the emergence in the friendlies of young Ravel Morrison. This was indeed our strongest and deepest squad in many years?
Eleven games in and it has all gone so horribly wrong with the one exception being that wonderful 3-0 win at Spurs. The League table currently shows us level on points with the 3rd bottom club – is relegation looming? The season opening win against Cardiff was just confirmation of what we all thought at the time – top ten for sure. But outside these two aforementioned wins there has been four draws and five defeats and we are still to play away at Arsenal, Man City, Man Utd and Chelsea. In fact we have only played once against last seasons top four home or away (Man City at home) and we were whipped! Include that with the fact we also still have to play Liverpool twice and Everton away and Spurs at home, it is not an easy time ahead. Whilst I am sure we will spring another surprise or two, ala Spurs, the reality is that to reach 40 points we now have to win more than just a point a game from here on in – and that is something that looks quite unlikely on current form and with the upcoming fixture list.
Since the initial pre-season optimism our expectations have faded, but have they died? The injury to Andy Carroll has reoccurred and some pundits even doubt whether he might play again? Worse still is that we have no suitable replacement for him. Diarra suffered a bad injury and one wonders whether he will actually have the fight in him for a relegation battle when he returns? Jarvis and Downing have been bombing in crosses like there is no tomorrow, trouble is, I am sure they think Andy is in the box there somewhere! Actually, if they had looked up, they would have seen there was no one in Claret and Blue there at all. Ravel has shown glimpses of brilliance but as the season has worn on it seems like he may need more time to settle into the week to week battles of the Worlds toughest league. And on top of this we have Mo Diame not looking as though he wants to play, for us anyway, and now even JJ is making mistakes and we have lost Hammer of the Year Winston Reid to an injury. Goodness knows how long he will be out as the charades are flying about as to whether he is injured or just playing “hooky” from the NZ World Cup squad?
So, the ups and the downs of supporting West Ham have not changed one bit. For every silver lining there is another lost lead, an unjust penalty conceded, a once in a season free kick from 30 yards bombed into our goal, or just another injury to one of our best players. The bookies still have us at 6/1 for the drop and their opinion is usually pretty good as it comes from an unbiased viewpoint where it costs them big money if they are wrong. History shows they get it right much more than they get it wrong. At present they rate seven teams more likely than us to go down. This is one bet I am happy for them to win. I am sure there are a lot more ups and downs to come but whatever you do – hang on to your seat because it is going to be a bumpy old ride.