Wow, that was intense. It’s not often that your team plays consecutive games against Tottenham, United (twice!), Arsenal and Liverpool, but on the rare occasion it does happen, you have to wonder what sort of sadistic creature over at Atos Origin has willed it.
Having said that, the club and all it’s representatives must be reasonably pleased with the two points accrued from such a ludicrous schedule. Despite the tear rendering finale to the Tottenham game, as well as the plain embarrassment of the Arsenal defeat, the team have fared better than many would have expected, and two points from those four league fixtures is certainly better than the expected zero.
Now that it’s over and we can wave goodbye to what has felt like a particularly stressful exam period, the summer holiday equivalent is here to enjoy and make the most of. This is not to say that Burnley, Hull, Swansea and Leicester will be any kind of a stroll in the sand, but in comparison to our previous opponents, and given the morale boosting point claimed at Anfield, there is justifiably some renewed optimism about what’s to come.
A lot could change over the coming weeks, even without potential January moves, and it will be essential for West Ham to pick up a minimum of seven points in the next four fixtures. Burnley, who have only four more points more than us (17) are the highest placed team we face over the coming weeks. Stoke on the other hand, who are sitting in an attainable position of mid-table security (11th), are only six points ahead, hardly an insurmountable deficit. Despite a third encounter with United within the space of a month, January also looks promising, with Crystal Palace at home and Middlesborough away (ignoring City in the cup for the meantime).
Bilic was delighted at the way his team responded after going a goal down against Liverpool, praising what he called a “great reaction in every way”. In what is usually a good litmus test of manager-player relations, Bilic will have been buoyed to see his team pick themselves up after falling behind, and grateful that they have not come apart as a group. Kouyate’s return to fitness will no doubt boost West Hams prospects further against a Burnley side who have only won once in their previous six games, managing only a single goal in the process.