Right, hands up? Who was thinking my West Ham side were in trouble after September? You, you, and you, out. Now that those wasters are gone, let’s recap October and November.
Actually, first: I hadn’t saved before the Aston Villa league cup game, and encountered a crash dump (honest!), so I had to go back and play that and the league game that followed. Happily, I won them both. Onwards…
I can cheerily report that we have finally gelled, and it’s all clicking into place (ish). Three wins, two draws and two losses from seven games is a large improvement on the previous two months and I no longer fear beatings every time I play a match. Happiness.
West Brom, Palace and Leicester were dispatched with ease, while Swansea and Stoke caught us cold after respective European trips. Bournemouth? 3-3? Well that one was just absolutely mental. James Tomkins put us one up after four minutes, before we dissolved and conceded three in twenty minutes. The solution? Andy Carroll on and lump it. The big man inspired absolute chaos in the Bournemouth back four and eventually scored a penalty to rescue us a point. He has a use.
Of course, the Europa League was all looking a little doomed when we last spoke wasn’t it? We’d gone to the Czech Republic and shown absolutely nothing in losing to Viktoria Plzen, and up next were Ajax at home before Monaco home and away.
We adopted a safety-first approach in all three games, and frankly, it went rather nicely indeed. Three successive draws, three excellent performances, and three opportunities to win before we spurned them. Of course, these impressive efforts would mean nothing without securing the victory at home to Plzen. The boys knew that, and they went out to destroy them. That they did, and we cruised to a 3-0 win.
How does that leave us, I hear you ask? Well…
We head to Amsterdam to take on Ajax, while Plzen host Monaco. If we win, we’re guaranteed progress. If we draw, and Monaco win, we go through due to our results over Plzen. If we draw, and Plzen win, it will go down to goal difference with Monaco. If both matches end as a draw, we’re out. I’m stressed just thinking about it.
Elsewhere, we beat Swansea to continue our Capital One Cup run, and now face Norwich in the Quarter Final. Nikica Jelavic wasn’t enjoying being our third-choice striker and kicked up a fuss so he’ll be off to Bournemouth in January for £1.8m. Yes, it’s a two million loss on signing him, but frankly he’s a waste of space.
NEXT UP: December, Capital One Cup Quarter Final, the Europa League showdown, and a set of fixtures including Chelsea, Man City and Man Utd home and away. Ah.