West Ham United all but secured safety with two Premier League games to spare following their 3-1 victory over Watford at the London Stadium last Friday.
The Hammers have picked up 37 points after winning 10 games and drawing seven times in 36 games, and their superior goal difference has put them in a commanding position ahead of tonight’s clash against Manchester United and Sunday’s game with Aston Villa.
While they aren’t mathematically safe, their goal difference of -13 is vastly superior to Villa (-26) and Watford (-27) and the victory against the Hornets has proven very crucial.
West Ham found themselves 3-nil up 36 minutes into the game, but the visitors threatened to hit back and mount a comeback after scoring four minutes into the second-half.
David Moyes’ side held on to their vital two-goal lead, but skipper Mark Noble didn’t enjoy any bit of the second 45 minutes.
“I knew at half-time of the Watford game we might be poor in the second half,” the midfielder wrote in his Standard Sports column.
“Because of the pressure all the players were under, I knew we’d sit back and protect our lead. Better teams than us have done something similar and it is human nature to protect what you have.
“I didn’t enjoy the second half one little bit — I hated it — but when that final whistle went, just the emotion of it all, was too much for me.”
Avoiding defeat at Old Trafford tonight will ensure that they are mathematically safe, but they won’t be doing Villa any favours on the final matchday.