Coming off the back of a top eight finish and a deep Europa League run, there was plenty of optimism surrounding West Ham United’s season in 2022-23. Keeping the nucleus of Michail Antonio, Kurt Zouma, Declan Rice and Jarrod Bowen intact was paramount for the East London club’s success this season – and while they managed to achieve that – it hasn’t translated to the results they anticipated.
Whilst West Ham kickstarted their campaign with an expected loss to reigning champions Manchester City, it has been their form subsequent to that which has drawn the ire of fans and pundits alike. Disappointing losses to Nottingham Forest and Brighton & Hove Albion have been of great concern, prompting many to question whether last season’s feats were purely an aberration.
However, things started to look a little more promising in late August, with the men in claret and blue managing to secure a win over Aston Villa, followed by an admirable effort where they defied the Premier League betting odds to get a draw against a formidable Tottenham Hotspur side. It was their performance against Spurs which was particularly impressive, as they played with a level of confidence that we hadn’t seen in their opening four Premier League fixtures.
Their willingness to move the ball across the park and counterattack when the opportunity presented itself will please their manager David Moyes, and with their recent signing of midfielder Lucas Paquetá showing his class in his limited game time, it bodes well for the Hammers moving forward. They’ll need to continue that type of form if they’re to improve their position on the table – as they have tough upcoming fixtures on the schedule that include Liverpool and a forever-improving Fulham side over the next month.
While a draw is a good result against a top four side like Tottenham, given the amount of possession and pressure they were putting on their north London rivals – Moyes’ men will be slightly deflated that they weren’t able to come away with the three points.
“I’m pleased we got something from the game,” Moyes said. “But I’m also a bit disappointed we didn’t take more from it. I think there was a bit of both in it.
“There was some good stuff, some not so good stuff, but overall I’m pleased we got something from the game.
“I thought the second half was great. I actually thought, after the penalty decision [VAR not awarding Spurs a penalty in the first half] went our way, I thought the crowd helped us and were right behind the team. It was great to have that support.”
Moyes added that the impact of his recent Brazilian acquisition was noticeable, noting that it has provided his team with a much-need spark in the midfield.
“I hope [Lucas Paquetá] can keep adding to it,” he said. “He’s already a very good player and I think he will give us something slightly different.
“We need a link between our midfield and our forward players, and see if we can make better passes or better final choices, and I’m hoping he can help provide that for us.”
Improving to 14th on the ladder after their stalemate against Tottenham, it appeared the Hammers’ season was starting to get back on track. However, they weren’t able to take their form into their match-up with the top 6 outfit Chelsea. They lost 2-1 in controversial fashion, with an 88th-minute penalty given to the Blues courtesy of the VAR proving the difference.
Now sitting in the relegation zone at the time of writing, West Ham will need to brush off the disappointment of their defeat and get some much-needed wins over the next month.