This English underdog is climbing the ranks

For the nearly 32-year-long history of the Premier League, there have always been a select few teams which have dominated the standings. In the early 2010s, Manchester City and Tottenham joined those teams, in what is today known as the “Big Six”.

These six teams typically hold everyone’s attention throughout the season, as fans watch eagerly to see which clubs will end up in the top spot. The other 14 teams are typically an afterthought, only occasionally making it into the top five.

One of these other teams that has been doing surprisingly well this season, is West Ham United. They almost always qualify for the Premier League, usually finishing between 10th and 15th place. However, recently they have begun slowly improving, with this season looking like it could be their best one yet.

West Ham’s surprising rise

The Hammers, traditionally considered mid-table contenders, find themselves in sixth place in the current EPL season. Having only lost to the current first-place holder Liverpool in their last six games, West Ham is making way for what could be one of their best years yet.

At the start of the season, few fans predicted West Ham to be among the frontrunners for the title or even a top four finish. However, the 2023/24 season has shown the impact of their strategic planning and key players such as midfielder James Ward-Prowse and forward Jarrod Bowen.

They currently hold the number six spot in the league, only one spot away from their best placement of fifth place in the 1998/99 season.

Changes made to their squad

The Hammers’ defense, often a point of vulnerability for them in the past, has been one of the focal points for their manager, David Moyes. He solidified their backline with the addition of center back Konstantinos Mavropanos for €20 million.

For their attack, West Ham has discovered a lethal combination that has consistently troubled their opponent’s defenses. The duo of seasoned striker Michail Antonio and rejuvenated Jarrod Bowen has proven to be an important part of the team’s attacking pressure.

Crucially, Moyes has shown that he is instrumental in their recent performances. Although he is often overlooked as a manager, his planning and coaching skills have brought out the best in the squad.

Their recent games against the “Big Six”

The Hammers’ performances against the Big Six have been particularly noteworthy. West Ham’s ability to secure wins in the league has not only bolstered their current standing but also solidified their spot as legitimate competition.

Here is the latest result of each of their games against the Big Six:

  • 2-0 win against Arsenal
  • 2-0 win against Manchester United
  • 5-1 loss against Liverpool
  • 2-1 win against Tottenham
  • 3-1 loss against Manchester City
  • 1-1 draw against Chelsea

While they did lose their most recent match against Liverpool and City, their overall performance shows much improvement compared to previous years.

Moving forward

As West Ham continues to navigate the challenges of a demanding season, the question on everyone’s mind is whether they can sustain this momentum.

Their surprising surge in the Premier League has not quite been discussed as much as it perhaps should be. It will be interesting to see if they are able to keep their progress as consistent as it has been in recent months.

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