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If we have learned anything during the first months of the 2020/21 Premier League season, it’s that anything can happen in football.
Sure, we’ve heard that analogy so many times before, but this crazy year has seen it ring truer than ever; You just need to look at the results of Liverpool’s roller coaster so far this season (the 7-2 loss at Aston Villa and the 7-0 win at Crystal Palace, we’re looking at you) to see that the proof is there. pudding in particular.
You’ll also know those pearls of wisdom are accurate if you’re a West Ham supporter.
There won’t be many who can admit that they had full confidence in manager David Moyes heading into the season, despite the fact that he had pulled a Michail Antonio-shaped rabbit out of the hat to steer the club away from relegation problems last time out.
Hell, even this writer was full of skepticism and dismay at his management after a disjointed and utterly terrible loss to Newcastle on the first day of the season.
But since that shocking September night, things have improved significantly, and Moyes is now deservedly receiving widespread praise for how he transformed West Ham into a team capable of beating anyone.
That’s why Monday night’s journey through the capital to face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge shouldn’t be scary, despite many suggesting that Frank Lampard’s team has the firepower to get into the race. for the title.
The Blues have spent a great deal of money and own one of the strongest teams in the Premier League on paper. They also looked much better at the rear after the arrivals of Thiago Silva and Edouard Mendy, and no longer have that feeling in their stomachs that a goalkeeping calamity is just around the corner.
But Chelsea are far from the end product, and have already shown many times this season that they have failed to do so in the future, despite scoring 26 Premier League goals to date.
Timo Werner has looked good on the patches, but hasn’t scored in his last eight in all competitions, Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic have been in and out of the squad due to injury, and the least said about Kai Havertz’s early life. in west London. best. In 13 games, Chelsea have won just six, falling to back-to-back losses to Everton and Wolves in their last two.
West Ham, meanwhile, have also won six and savored defeat four times, although it is worth noting that those defeats (apart from Newcastle) have come at Arsenal, before they went into crisis, at the Liverpool, who are leading the Table again and playing like the champions they are, and at home to Manchester United, who have won six straight Premier League games away from home. They also struggled to tie at Tottenham, having lost 3-0 after 82 minutes.
Most significantly, the Hammers look much more organized, determined and together, something that had been lacking in the club for a long, long time. Tomas Soucek and Vladimir Coufal have added some steel and class in defense and midfield, while the impressively high pace of work from Jarrod Bowen, Pablo Fornals and Declan Rice has rubbed off on the rest of the team.
This is no longer a team heading to the big games, or any game for that matter, hoping to come out with a point, there is a genuine game plan that gives West Ham every chance at a victory. Whether it’s four backs or five, Moyes makes their side hard to break through, but he also gives them a lot of license to move through the transition and hit teams on the counter.
Keep in mind that West Ham have only lost to Chelsea three times in their last 11 meetings in all competitions, and there is even more reason to think that the visitors have every chance of claiming a piece of the loot this time.
It won’t be easy, but there is absolutely nothing to fear.