Premier League restart preview # 19: West Ham | Football


What was it like the suspension of the league on the 13th of march? Tense at best, volatile at worst. The supporters were protesting against a council increasingly unpopular and another season at the stadium of London was deep in a relegation battle. However, there have been flashes of positivity in the course of the weeks leading up to the lockout. Jarrod Bowen and Tomas Soucek had impressed after joining in January and there were signs that David Moyes, who replaced Manuel Pellegrini in December after a race in blistering form, was to feel his presence.Of course, the improvement came from nowhere. The mood was very poor after a draw 3-3 at home awful with Brighton on February 1st, but Moyes has found a better balance over weeks and his team has crept among the last three with a 3-1 victory over Southampton at the end of the month. Bowen scored his first goal for the club, Sebastien Haller and Michail Antonio have dazzled before, and West Ham looked dangerous in their last outing of the league, even if it resulted in an unfortunate 1-0 defeat to Arsenal.

And now? Nervy given that West Ham, 16th, is just above Watford and Bournemouth on goal difference and were worried about the financial consequences of relegation even in the pre-pandemic period. Stay in the top flight is vital after the move to the London Stadium and Moyes could have been Jeremy Ngakia, who has done well at right-back after making his debut in January, deciding to go on liberty at the end of the month . The young man of 19 years old is out of contract on June 30 and did not even consider it an extension of short-term, infuriating Moyes. “We’re really surprised and disappointed that Jeremy will not stay at West Ham,” said the manager last week. However, at least Jack Wilshere is in form after having recovered from an operation for hernia. Wilshere has had problems with injuries since he joined West Ham in 2018 and the former midfielder of Arsenal and England, which still has a year on his contract, has had the chance to remind Moyes of his value thanks to the unexpected pause.

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What does it do for an end of season successful? Moyes focuses on improving the defensive shape of his team. He wants clean sheets and is in need of a back set of four. Ryan Fredericks should fold on the right back, while Angelo Ogbonna and Issa Diop must ensure that there are no losses of concentration cost-intensive in the central defence. West Ham have been too open this season and there will be a pressure on Declan Rice to protect the four back – a job facilitated by the arrival of Soucek. There is talent in this team and there are options of attack. Bowen is a dangerous cutting in from the left, Pablo Fornals improves and the defenders will not like playing against the physics of Haller and Antonio.

The players and the staff-they behaved during the lockout? Moyes could have done without that Rice has a kickabout with Chelsea Mason Mount on 15 march.

Unsung heroes / community? Moyes has spent a part of the isolation to deliver fruit and vegetables to his local feed store. “There was something in the window that said that the drivers needed “, said the Scotsman in April. “I volunteered to do this, because my wife was away at the time and I was alone. So I became conductor of fruit and vegetables. ”

The key player in the run-in? Antonio has only two goals this season, but West Ham is never as threatening without his pace and his strength. The attack ran out of momentum when the attacker has been absent for three months after an operation to hamstring in August. The problem is that his hamstrings are very unreliable.

Michail Antonio in action during a friendly match against Crystal Palace on 13 June. Picture: Arfa Griffiths / West Ham United FC / Getty Images

Anticipation of the end of the season Margins remain good but West Ham should have enough talent to stay in place. While they have yet to face Manchester United, Chelsea, Tottenham and Wolves, their rivals have ground joints more difficult. Home games against Burnley, Watford and Aston Villa are likely to be decisive.

Schedule remaining (all times BST): sat 20th June Wolves (h) – 17: 30, Sky Sports Tuesday, June 23, Tottenham (a) – 20: 15, Sky Sports Sea.1 July Chelsea (h) – 20: 15, Sky Sports To confirm Newcastle (a), Burnley (h), Norwich (a), Watford (h), Manchester United (a), Aston Villa (h)


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