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West Ham can't let this season be a fluke campaign

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Ask any West Ham fan about their thoughts on their team's performance this season, and you will more often than not be met with a positive response.

A team where you are never sure what you will get, Hammers' fans will surely be cherishing this season as a rare spell at the summit of the Premier League.

It must be remembered that the east London club were only promoted back into the top flight in 2012, and many fans wouldn't have predicted their club would be fighting for Champions League qualification only four years later.

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However, it hasn't always been an upward climb for the Hammers since 2012, during the 2013/14 season, they finished 13th in the League, lost 9-0 on aggregate to Man City in the League Cup as well as a humiliating 5-0 defeat at the hands of Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup.

Many West Ham fans thought that Sam Allardyce couldn't take the club any further and wasn't the type of manager that could realistically challenge for European football.

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His unattractive brand of football and growing unpopularity with the fans meant that his contract wasn't renewed at the end of last season, and Slaven Bilic was appointed to take over at the Boleyn.

Since then, West Ham have surpassed everyone's expectations in the league, beating Arsenal, Man City and Liverpool away from home, as well as overturning Tottenham, Chelsea and Liverpool (again) at home.

They have signed a contender for player of the season in Dimitri Payet, with newcomers such as Angelo Ogbonna, Michail Antonio and Manuel Lanzini also catching the eye.

Everton v West Ham United - Premier League

West Ham's transformation is no better exemplified than by their recent 3-2 victory at Everton.

The old West Ham would have thrown in the towel at 75 minutes when they were 2-0 down and away against an impressive Everton side, and would have gone into damage limitation mode.

The new West Ham ended up scoring three times in 15 minutes including a 90-minute winner from star man - Payet.

With the club also moving into the Olympic Stadium for the 2016/17 season, this West Ham is turning into a very different team from the one under Allardyce, or indeed any other manager.

What most Hammers will be wondering is whether this season is an exception to the mediocre mid-table finishes of the past, or a basis from which the club will build on in order to challenge the best teams in England, maybe even Europe.

FBL-ENG-FACUP-MAN UTD-WEST HAM

Sceptics will claim this season to be a rare 'time in the sun' at the business end of the league, a memorable final season at the Boleyn Ground but expect the 'real' West Ham will return next season.

However, with an ambitious and clearly talented manager as well as a spine of some very high-quality players, it's very hard to see how the Hammers won't be at least challenging for the Europa League next year.

Amidst all the uncertainty, one thing is for sure - now is a very exciting time to be a West Ham fan.

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Topics:
Premier League
Sam Allardyce
Mark Noble
Europa League
Football
Andrew Carroll
West Ham United

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