Entering this season with plenty of expectations, West Ham United has been anything but impressive through 17 weeks. The east London club finds themselves floundering in 16th position in the Premier League table and just one point clear of the relegation zone.
That’s a far cry from the Hammers we have become accustomed to in recent times, which has seen them finish inside the top seven in the two seasons prior to 2022/23. Additionally, their semi-final berth in the Europa League earlier this year appeared to show that the club was heading in the right direction.
However, with their backs against the wall and talks of manager David Moyes getting sacked at the time of writing, is there any way the famed club can salvage their season? Fortunately for them, the break for the World Cup in Qatar couldn’t have come at a more opportune time, and with the likes of Declan Rice and Lucas Paqueta getting some further experience on the world’s biggest stage, hopefully, they will return to the Premier League reinvigorated and can light a much-needed fire underneath their teammates.
Their return to competition is a mix of tough games and winnable ones. It’s their first game back that has the potential to set them up for a strong second half of the season. They take on league leaders Arsenal at Emirates Stadium – and if they can secure an upset against an undermanned and possibly rusty Gunners outfit – it will instill an enormous amount of belief in Moyes’ squad as they look to improve their position in the table.
For those who bet on football, West Ham is big underdogs in the Boxing Day fixture against Mikel Arteta’s side, with Rice and company at 19/4, while their opponents are a short 1/2.
Their second match-up upon their return is against a top-ten team in Brentford, a side who will be brimming with confidence after defeating Premier League favorites Manchester City 2-1 away from home last time out. While they are back-to-back games, you try and avoid if you’re West Ham, a baptism of fire like that is something that could benefit them if they want to return to form.
It does get easier after their match-up with the Bees, however, with Leeds United, Wolves, and Everton rounding out their January fixtures – all three of whom are below them on the table (at the time of writing).
Not only will their performances on the pitch be paramount for the club in 2023, but their moves off it will be just as important. With the likes of Netherlands star Memphis Depay and Welsh international Rhys Norrington-Davies just a couple of players linked with a move to London Stadium, West Ham’s season could receive a huge boost if either of those men is in claret and blue come January.
Depay, in particular, is also reportedly receiving interest from heavyweight clubs such as Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, and the red-hot Newcastle United. While the four aforementioned clubs are currently in a better position than the Hammers – coupled with the fact that a relegation battle may not be the most tempting of situations for the 28-year-old to be in – it appears to be a long shot that he will join West Ham at this stage.
However, if they can somehow manage to secure the Dutchman’s services for 2023 – West Ham will immediately improve their chances of finishing in the top ten at the conclusion of the season.
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