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Why West Ham's Relegation Fears Should Be Taken Seriously

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Crystal Palace v West Ham United - Premier League Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

West Ham appears to be ominous relegation candidates at the moment hence sparking a host of hostile reactions from the club’s supporters.

The move to the London stadium hasn’t gone as planned with the team crashing out of the Europa League and being inconsistent in the Premier League.

West Ham’s final outing at Upton Park was incredible to say the very least. The farewell ceremony oozed of immeasurable passion, and the fans present on that occasion were plunged into a wave of ecstasy as the rollercoaster ride through Upton Park’s history resonated with the crowd.

Going into the new campaign, an aura of good cheer loomed around the London Stadium with West Ham seemingly set for a season unlike any other - however London’s culture club has since then found itself in a state of upheaval.

The West Ham side on display this season is evidently a complete contrast to the team that wowed the League and finished 7th last term. The Hammers are currently languishing at 15th place on the table having picked up just seven points in eight games thus far.

Prior to the win against Crystal Palace, Slaven Bilic had led his team to a single victory in seven games following last season’s 7th place finish – a similar chain of events in 2002 saw West Ham succumb to relegation even with the likes of Defoe, Di Canio and Joe Cole being present within their ranks. It’s more or less a curious case of the unlucky number seven for the Irons now.

Then boss Glenn Roeder oversaw West Ham in the early stage of the 2002-03 campaign before Trevor Brooking was appointed to salvage the season - but not much could be done to steer the London outfit away from relegation.

The memory of that incident is somewhat fresh in the minds of West Ham fans hence creating a huge scare which relies heavily on the fear of history repeating itself as it often does in the English top flight.

Dimitri Payet’s spectacular performances haven't been able to keep the supporters at ease despite the French midfielder proving to be one of the few bright sparks in a relatively dim start to the season.

Abysmal Arrivals

Crystal Palace v West Ham United - Premier League Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

A dozen players arrived at the onset, most of whom are either injured or underperforming.

£20m signing Andre Ayew suffered an injury on his debut - loan arrivals Simone Zaza and Johnathan Calleri haven’t made the sort of impact which was expected of them and with Andy Carroll not returning anytime soon, Billic will have to rely on Michail Antonio to lead the attack.

Even when Carroll returns, there’s no guarantee that he’ll hit the ground running.

Gokhan Tore is another signing who has failed to impress. Coming off the back of an impressive season with Besiktas, the Turkey international has been abysmal thus far.

The new arrivals haven’t been able to replicate half of the impact Payet, and Lanzini had on the team last season. Payet came in as a decent midfield option while Lanzini arrived as a relatively unknown player – the rest is history.

Early indicators suggest that West Ham’s summer arrivals aren’t of Premier League quality – having signed a handful of underwhelming players, the relegation warnings should be heeded.

Over-reliance on Payet

West Ham United v Middlesbrough - Premier League Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

West Ham started the season with Payet sidelined due to fitness concerns following his European Championship campaign with France.

His first full start of the season saw him make two sublime assists one of which was a deftly executed rabona cross.

The Hammers are most certainly stronger with Payet, but they’re a tad too reliant on the French magician.

Moments of sheer brilliance are Payet’s speciality as seen against Middlesbrough last time out, but the team can’t hinge on tricks and flicks alone. Michail Antonio has contributed his fair share of goals (5), but it’s far from what’s needed to rise to the top half of the table.

Payet can’t pull everyone’s weight – West Ham’s biggest problem this season is their back four, and as we all know, Payet’s defensive contributions are minimal.

The Hammers have conceded the second most goals in the league this season (17) which is a testament to the faltering backline – Bilic needs to sacrifice either Lanzini or Payet in a bid to utilise an extra defender who would bring some form of stability to the defence and potentially West Ham’s league position.

Home and Away Form

The London stadium doesn’t feel like home, and the trips away have yielded just three points in four games.

The move to the new stadium has been identified as one of the primary causes of the club’s massive dip in form. Relocations have affected teams in the past - Manchester City’s move to the Etihad saw the Citizens drop a handful of points in their first four home games. Arsenal also had a bad start to life at the Emirates after Leaving the old Highbury ground.

But West Ham’s current predicament seems to go beyond the Stadium switch. The London outfit has picked up just three points on the road this season which is quite surprising judging by the fact that last season’s success began with away wins against Arsenal and Liverpool.

Bilic needs to rally the troops in a bid to avoid getting caught in a relegation scrap as the season unfolds.

Will Bilic Get The Axe?

West Ham United v Middlesbrough - Premier League Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Slaven Bilic getting sacked doesn’t appear to be on the cards at the moment with the club’s co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold known for adopting a patient approach with managers.

The Croatian gaffer’s first season in charge will be considered going forward - he’ll be given ample time to get West Ham back on track.

In light of the Irons’ recent performances, Bilic is expected to take a cautious approach in his side’s next couple of fixtures as they could determine how the campaign pans out.

As things stand, relegation is a distant possibility that could turn into the club’s reality if the Hammers fail to rekindle their fire.