Dark Horse Chronicles – West Ham United

I’m trying not get to get ahead of myself, but it looks like the West Ham team I was so high on at the beginning of the season is finally starting to get into gear. Our Preseason Power Rankings had them at number 9 and the Premier League Primer put them at 13th. Since their last loss (September 1st) they’ve secured 7 out of 9 available points, and they two they dropped were against a highly favored Chelsea side, however, West Ham still secured a point. In that same timeframe, they have only allowed 3 goals while scoring 6. In the 3 games prior, they conceded 9 goals and only scored 2. This level of Jekyll and Hyde is crazy to see, and I ultimately believe that this is likely artifact from the transition between David Moyes and Manuel Pellegrini.
This may also be related to the massive amount of squad movements that occurred during the offseason. West Ham had one of the most active transfer windows (by number of players) of any Premier League team. Part of the change has been Arnautovic in absolutely blistering form, along with some nice help from Andriy Yarmolenko and Felipe Anderson. I had really high hopes for Jack Wilshere, but his injury bug has struck again limiting his ability to change anything other than Hammers fans hopes and dreams. We’ve also witnessed Ryan Fredericks falling from Pellegrini’s grace after starting each of the first 3 games and not having appeared for the side since. Only 2 players have played the full 90 so far this entire season, Lukasz Fabianski and Fabian Balbuena.
Continued Expectations:
I think there’s a very realistic chance that West Ham is able to keep up their recent form  for at least three of the next five games with games against Brighton, Leicester, and Huddersfield. The remaining two games I still think they can win, but they’ll likely need to up their game against Burnley and Tottenham. If they can take even 6 points from the next few games they’ll be right back up in the middle of the table. That said, I also think it’s a possibility that they take more than that and position themselves for a good run. 9th place over the past two years has averaged 46 points, At this rate, they’d need to average only about 0.26 points per match more than they did in the first 7 games of the season. Considering they weren’t really even close in the first 4 games, our preseason prediction could definitely still hold true. Unlike most other teams, West Ham has also played 4 of the 12 matches they will play this season against the big six teams. Even if you assume those remaining matches are all losses (which I don’t think they will be based on current form) that brings the required points per match only to about 1.7, which basically means that they need to have a two to one ration of wins/draws to losses.
Clearly, it’s too early to celebrate a 4 spot improvement over the prior year, the numbers seem to indicate that it could be a very real possibility that some hammers fans get a little extra joy this season. As I talked about in my Monday Musings post a few weeks back about the average points for a manager indicates that as they get sub-1 point per match they’ve been on the “hot seat” and that after a sacking (and subsequent new installation) there is often a buoy-movement back towards the 1.3 point per match rate. 1.7 per game would definite indicate that a team was performing very well, but I think the recent form indicates that this could continue for a while yet.
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