Hello, people, I’m Spencer Taylor AKA BadjokesGaming and this is my “Season So Far” for my beloved West Ham United.
The 20/21 season started along much the same lines as most recent seasons have, with the fans being displeased with the direction the club was heading in. This wasn’t helped by the two Davids doing two David things during the transfer window: by constantly haggling over the deal for Saïd Benrahma which one moment was going to be a full transfer immediately and then finally being completed as a loan to buy deal on the final day of the extended loan window, The only other new player who joined the club was the Czech right-back, Vladimir Coufal, who we picked up for what looks like a bargain five point four million pound deal.
The release of the fixture list exacerbated fans’ fears as we were handed a very tough first seven games against Newcastle, Arsenal, Wolves, Leicester, Spurs, Man City & Liverpool. Before the season started, I predicted a maximum of four points from the twenty-one available from that start, as I thought we could beat Newcastle and get a point off Wolverhampton, but according to other fans, even that was optimistic as some feared we wouldn’t get anything from those first seven-games. As for the season overall, I felt we had enough quality to not be troubled by relegation too much, and I thought we would be good enough for a finish between tenth and thirteenth.
Our first two games of the season looked to be a realisation of fans’ worries, as we were so off the pace on the opening day against Newcastle, and we deserved to be beaten two-nil.
We then had a much better performance in our first London derby of the season against Arsenal and should have got a point out of the game, but a late winner from Eddie Nketiah had me worrying that we wouldn’t get anything from the tough start of the season.
All those fears were allayed though, as we put in a cracking performance against Wolves getting a four-nil win thanks mostly to Jarrod Bowen putting in his best performance in claret and blue when he got himself a brace. We knew the game was up just after the hour mark when Jimenez scored an own goal to make it three-nil. Then just to prove our superiority on the night even Seb Haller got on the score sheet to bring that old Simpsons meme “Stop he’s already dead!” rushing to my mind.
Next up we showed that we weren’t satisfied with just beating one Midlands club, so we beat another one when we got a surprise three-nil win over Leicester City. One of the most pleasing aspects of this win for me was the fact that we had three different goal scorers. This showed that we have multiple players capable of sticking the ball in the old onion bag. The David Moyes style was showing through in the games against Wolves and Leicester, as in both wins we had under forty percent of possession, dipping to as low as thirty percent against Leicester, as we were using our speed and pace to counter-attack on teams after they failed to break down our very solid defensive shape.
Those two games just proved to be the calm before the storm, as all the emotions under the sun came out during our game versus Kane and Son FC as I went from furious anger when we found ourselves three-nil down within eighteen minutes as we looked like we were going to be just another victim to the Son and Kane dream team. I then went to boredom for almost an hour as both teams looked like they were just playing the game out. Then came the hope and the excitement when we scored in the eighty-second and eighty-fifth minutes through Balbuena, and an own goal from Sanchez seemed to give us a chance at recovering from three-nil down. That hope drifted away quickly though, as we failed to get an equaliser until the last minute of the game and THAT Lanzini long-range BEAUUUUTYYY of a goal that flew from a different solar system past Lloris to send every hammer in the universe- including myself- wild to where I still have that picture of Lanzini’s celebration as the screensaver on my phone.
Pep Guardiola and Man City were the next high-profile team to fail to take all three points off us. We got a one-one draw after Antonio put us ahead early on with a delightful overhead kick with what our only decent chance of the game. As you would expect, the Citizens dominated the second half, but apart from Foden’s well-taken goal, there wasn’t too much to concern Fabianski in our net.
The draw against Man City made it a very unlikely four games without defeat and Pablo Fornals gave us an unexpected lead early on against the champions Liverpool but goals at the end of both halves from a Salah penalty and Jota from inside the box gave the Merseyside club the win in a game where we finished with only twenty-seven percent of possession despite the game being fairly scrappy and without too many moments of quality.
That result meant that after the dreaded first seven games we had accrued eight points and played a lot better against some wonderful teams than even the most optimistic of West Ham fans could have dreamed of at the start of the season.
We only had three games in November and even before the season started I was confident about winning all three and in very much Un-West Ham fashion we actually won all three games against Fulham, Sheffield United & Aston Villa. There were nerves in all three games, most notably against Fulham where it took an injury-time goal from Soucek and a properly awful penalty from Lookman to get us the win there. We put in a professional performance against bottom team Sheffield United for a one-nil win and got a two-one win against Villa as we scored at the start of both halves either side of a Grealish goal.
Our opening game of December had us up against the team I always want us to beat the most Manchester United. In the first half we played out of our skins and if Antonio wasn’t injured, we would have put the game to bed in the first half, but alas, we only went in one-nil up. That failure to score more came back to haunt us a Paul Pogba equaliser should never have counted as Henderson’s clearance clearly went out for a throw-in, but of course, the officials didn’t see it or look it at it much on the VAR. That then prompted an old school West Ham collapse as the visitors scored twice in the next ten minutes to take the game away from us. Our next two games saw us beat Leeds two-one and get a point against Palace. We then got hammered by Big Fat Frank’s Chelsea as we put in our worst performance of the season so far, as we failed to even got one shot on target, which was probably a big catalyst towards Haller leaving us in January. That game started a decline that saw us end the calendar year with two disappointing draws against Brighton, as we came from behind twice and secured a boring as hell 0-0 draw against Southampton.
The new year has begun for us with an upturn in form as we’ve picked up five wins from five games in the Premier League and the FA Cup. That run started with a later winner from Soucek against a very decent Everton team.
Moyes then selected a strong team for our first game in the FA Cup against Stockport County and we did what we needed to do on a proper non-league pitch to get another one-nil win, even if the goal did come late on again but I was always confident we would get the goal and it was our surprise new star Craig Dawson who got us the winner.
We then made it three one-nil wins in a row when Michail Antonio took only nine minutes to give us the lead against Burnley and we could have had two or three goals by the end but we got the job done as we withstood a late Burnley barrage to get us another win.
Next up, we played against West Bromwich Albion and their manager “Greggs Biggest Fan” Big Fat Sam Allardyce. We got a two-one win with all the goals coming within twenty minutes either side of the half-time break. Jarrod Bowen gave us the lead as he chested the ball into the net just moments before the referee sent everyone inside for their half time oranges.
West Brom got an equaliser out of nothing five minutes into the restart when Pereira’s shot from outside the box went under Fabianski, just as we were looking comfortable in the game.
Just to show how much our mentality has improved this season, we didn’t give up, and we carried on dominating the game. We had two or three chances to regain the lead before we actually did fifteen minutes later, when that man again Antonio scored a weird overhead kick/scissor kick combo to make it two-one and we wrapped the game up without too many issues to make it four wins in a row whilst only conceding one goal!
Our latest game saw us put in a very nice performance against League One Doncaster Rovers as the four-nil was the best performance I can remember us ever having against a lower league team. Not only did we do what we needed to do, we did it with a swagger and a confidence that I haven’t seen many Premier League teams put in against smaller clubs this season.
That is the season so far and with the season being halfway finished it’s been very positive as we have our best ever points tally after nineteen games in the premier league (32), We’re only two points off the champions league spots, still in the FA cup and we’re playing some entertaining football. So with us now being a year into Moyes’ second spell at the club, I’m becoming a believer in him and think he could take us places. It may not be long until we sing Moyes’s Claret And Blue Army!!!