Football

Don’t start writing Hammers’ obituary just yet

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In Avram Grant's programme notes this week he suggested that some of Chelsea’s success was down to the fact that they had been together as a team for a few years; something West Ham cannot claim to have.

Three players were playing their first league games for the Hammers while only three others have managed over 100 league games for West Ham.

If you look back to the corresponding fixture five years ago, also a 3-1 defeat, four Chelsea players played in that game and, if it wasn’t for Frank Lampard’s, injury it would have been five.

In this transfer window alone West Ham brought in eight players and - added to the players signed in January – the Hammers have signed almost a completely new team.

Perhaps this is the reason why for some periods of the games so far they have played like strangers.

Armed with this knowledge, I do struggle to believe the criticism aimed at Grant not only by the restless fans but also by the press who choose to ignore the tough fixtures handed out to West Ham to start the season.

Yes, when you look at the league table it does not look good especially when you see Blackpool are currently fourth with seven points. But last season Burnley had six points after four games and Hull had managed four, yet both teams still went down.

After the game when questioned by some sections of the media if he was worried, Grant rightly said if we are in this position after 20 games then maybe, but after only four games no he is not worried.

Every Hammers fan at the game would say that in the second half we played the more attacking football, maybe without creating clear cut chance.

But we were playing the reigning champions after all who, until Scott Parker's late goal, hadn’t conceded this season and if Freddie Piquionne had not hit the bar when it seemed easier to score the last few minutes of the game would have been a lot tenser for Chelsea than they were.

The fans have witnessed 90 minutes of pretty decent football at Upton Park in the two games that have been played there, it is just a shame that the first 45 came in the first half against Bolton and the second came in the second half against Chelsea.

I have said it before and I will say it again, West Ham will not go down this season, by the end of November I expect us to be sitting out of the bottom three quite comfortably.

In 2008-09, Franco Zola’s first season, at Christmas West Ham were 17th - one point above Man city with 19 points. Six league games later, four wins and two draws, we were sitting 8th with 33 points.

When Zola took over as manager he won his first two Premier League games but then only won once in the next 12 games and yet we still managed to finish 9th at the end of the season.

So as you see now is not the time to be writing our obituary, there is a lot of life left in this season with any more twist and turns to come.

The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.

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