Victory Against Wolves Crucial to Giving West Ham Relegation Momentum

Prior to the Premier League's enforced three-month hiatus, West Ham were actually playing pretty well.

A solid 4-4-2 formation had been settled on by manager David Moyes, the players were knocking the ball around with more confidence and, overall, the Hammers looked pretty dangerous going forward.

But as so often happens at West Ham, the results didn't marry up with the nature of the performances.

West Ham were on top against Arsenal, but David Moyes' side slipped to defeat.

Resolute displays at Liverpool and Arsenal went unrewarded, and a comprehensive victory over Southampton aside, things had not really improved before the severity of COVID-19 became apparent.

Now, with a heightened sense of perspective of what's important in our lives, things are slowly going back to normal. Lockdown restrictions across the country have been eased, loved ones can be seen again and for us football fanatics, our real bread and butter - the Premier League - is about to restart.

And with that restart comes that feeling of dread in the pit of every West Ham fan's stomach.

That feeling of worry, trepidation and outright fear that a slow start - something that the club are renowned for (see opening day results over the past 30 years or so) - could see the club relegated to the Championship.

West Ham were last relegated to the Championship in 2011.

Only this time, relegation to the Championship wouldn't just be disappointing, it would be outright crippling.

That's why it's so important for West Ham to break rank, discard the notion that a tepid start is anywhere near acceptable and ensure they attack this latest flirt with danger with real verve and gusto - beginning with this weekend's clash with Wolves at the London Stadium.

Granted, Nuno Espirito Santo's side are one of the last side's that West Ham would want travelling down to the capital first, given the recent head-to-head record between the pair. Wolves are awkward to play against, are well drilled defensively and have a lot of pace on the counter (basically everything that seems to undo the Hammers' defence on a regular basis).

But one positive for West Ham is that this game - and the club's remaining home fixtures - will be played in a cauldron of silence. That's a strange thing to say, given that a team usually thrives on the atmosphere generated at home. But positive vocal support has long been lacking in the east end, and given the scale of the protests and demonstrations about the club's ownership before we went into isolation, it's probably (definitely) a good thing that the players will be able to focus.

The London Stadium will be empty until the end of the season.

If they don't, difficult games against Tottenham and Chelsea could see the Hammers drop into the relegation zone in the blink of an eye, before a run of - on paper - very winnable games.

Newcastle, Burnley, Norwich, Watford - four games on the spin that West Ham must pick up at least two wins and a draw from - follow in quick succession, before a trip to Manchester United and final day hosting of Aston Villa, who are also deep in the mire.

Momentum in football is key, so it'll be an interesting spectacle to see how West Ham - and every club in danger - deal with the pressure and need to pick up immediate points.

From the Hammers' perspective, they need to enter this mini-season with clear minds, clear plans and a positive mindset. Because anything other than proactive football and impactful performances from the likes of Sebastien Haller, Felipe Anderson and Pablo Fornals - the club's three big money acquisitions - could lead to unmitigated disaster.

Source : 90min