As we head into the final few months of the 2020/21 Premier League campaign, things are beginning to heat up. Manchester City have seemingly run away with the title as they continue to extend their gap over their bitter rivals Manchester United at the top of the table. However, the European spots are still wide open, with several teams competing for the Champions League and Europa League positions, whilst there is still somewhat of a relegation scrap at the wrong of the table.
There have been many a surprise package this year, namely Southampton and Everton, who both held the top spot at one point or another. However, they have both fallen off the pace, the Saints more so, and it is now West Ham United who are becoming a thorn in the side of the so-called â€˜bigger sides.â€™
It has been a remarkable run of form from the East London outfit over the last couple of months, and they have climbed the table rapidly as a result. In fact, at the time of writing, David Moyesâ€™ men are occupying fourth place, keeping the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool out of the Champions League spots.
West Ham were 10th when they lost 3-0 to Chelsea just before Christmas. However, their 2-1 defeat to Manchester City last weekend was just their second loss in the 12 league games since then, the other being against Liverpool, and the Hammers are now well in the race for the top four.
West Ham fans were rightfully still delighted with their sideâ€™s performance in the defeat against Manchester City. In previous seasons, Pep Guardiolaâ€™s side have made easy work of the Hammers on numerous occasions. However, last weekend we saw a different side to the London Stadium outfit.
They didnâ€™t lie down to the threat of City, and you could argue that West Ham were unlucky not to come away from the game with a point given their performance, but thatâ€™s the harsh reality of football.
The fact that the Hammersâ€™ midfielder Declan Rice revealed after the defeat to the league leaders that he was â€˜hurt and guttedâ€™ is proof that the attitude is beginning to change at the London Stadium, and perhaps Moyes is beginning to give the side more confidence in the way they play.
â€œI thought you saw a different West Ham, one which was confident and really believed they could take it to City,â€ Rice told the Hammersâ€™ official website. â€œWe had so many good chances and it was one of those that when you come back to the changing room youâ€™re gutted. Iâ€™m hurt and Iâ€™m gutted.
â€œTo have got three points would have been unbelievable but to not get at least a point was so unlucky. A year ago, we had games when we were good, then games when we were poor. Now you can see our performances week in, week out â€“ we are leaving everything on the pitch.
â€œYou saw Vlad (VladimÃr) Coufal at the end with his hands on his head. The lads were gutted in the changing room. Somethingâ€™s really changed, and things are improving.â€
West Ham truly have become a well-drilled, dogged team under Moyes, and the likes of Rice, TomÃ¡Å¡ SouÄek and Coufal are thriving under the guidance of the Scottish gaffer, whilst the January arrival of Jesse Lingard on loan from Manchester United has helped provide a spring in their step going forward.
Lingard has scored three goals and provided an assist in his five games thus far for the Hammers, and if that form continues for the remainder of the season, then youâ€™d imagine Moyes will be doing all he can to lure the 28-year-old to the London Stadium on a permanent basis this summer.
West Ham are still outsiders for the top four with sites like Betdaq, and itâ€™s no surprise really when you look at how many teams have risen up and fallen back down the table so quickly in this weird campaign.
However, given their recent results, they certainly arenâ€™t a team anyone will look forward to facing between now and the end of the season. Competing for the top four still seems a step too far for the Hammers at this stage, but youâ€™d imagine theyâ€™d be hugely disappointed to miss out on a Europa League spot.