If you asked any top football writer or football pundit which teams would be at the top of the Premier League after 10 matches, I can guarantee you that not one of them would have West Ham United in the top four let alone at number 3. Cast your mind back to this time last year though and the Hammers were on 17 points and sat in 5th place due to goal difference (joint 3rd with Manchester City and Arsenal).
West Ham fans are happy, the new counter attacking football away from home has pulled out wins against the top teams and as we saw against Chelsea, West Ham have got what it takes to play well against top opposition at home.
West Ham are without doubt punching above their weight. It does make the Premier League more interesting for the neutrals who must be happy at seeing new exciting English players come through like Aaron Cresswell, Carl Jenkinson and Reece Oxford to name but a few. Can they keep punching this hard is the main question? I think that their new manager, Slaven Bilic can be the main driving force for them to do so. Slaven Bilic appears to have different tactics for his team, no longer keeping to the plan A but happy to swap to plan B or C if things are not working out as he would like.
Under Sam Allardyce, West Ham would continually use plan A, high pressure, more direct football, hoping that this would break the opposition teams down; which worked in the first part of the season. The issue came when teams realised the plan A and then worked the ball around the Hammers, who at times in the second part of last season looked crude to say the least.
This season under Slaven Bilic, West Ham are hitting teams on the break, happy to build slow from the back, patient even when going behind, creative in midfield, powerful along the spine of the team and adaptable to other teams trying to hit them on the counter.
If you look at the squad, Slaven Bilic has somehow made James Tomkins into a top defender who is finally reaching his potential; even Mauro Zarate seems to be scoring when he gets his chance. The ever dependable Mark Noble is leading the team as Captain and looks like he could be knocking on the England squad door soon.
Praise must go to the new manager who brought in new players that are helping the team play the way the fans want. Over the summer, Victor Moses, Manuel Lanzini, Dimitri Payet have been brought in and as of last week we have seen a rejuvenated Andy Carroll.
The key to the Premier League is squad depth, without it you end up in a relegation fight. We are not talking about a high volume of players in the team, more like additional quality players in key positions; attack, central midfield and central defence. These additions create competition for places to help sharpen and inspire the team especially through the gruelling fixture winter months.
The club owner has mentioned that top four is possible which has got the fans stirred up and maybe hyped up beyond extreme. Bubbles are flying high and are so far within a whisker of the sky for the Irons with fixtures against Watford, Everton and Tottenham next anything IS possible.
In my humble opinion West Ham will finish in the top ten, which would be a fantastic season for them and one that the fans should be proud of. The problem will be in the fact that the premier league season is a long one, fans only remember the first half of the season when things have gone well and will surely be disappointed if West Ham finish outside of the top 6. Lets not pop the bubbles too soon though, lets watch with interest and excitement how high they can fly…..