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“I don’t think there’s any chance of us being in a battle at the bottom”

West Ham star backs team to come out ahead this winter

Liverpool v West Ham United - Premier League Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

The grounds at London stadium seem to permeate a renewed sense of self. Attribute that confidence to whatever you’d like. The fact is ever since Andy Carroll suited up in claret and blue, for the first time this season against Arsenal, the Hammers have been a more prolific side. The mood is infectious in East London and even Slaven is allowing himself to be a bit more optimistic than weeks prior. Bilic on Andy Carroll after the win on Wednesday:

The mood around the club after the thrashing against Alexi Sanchez and the rest of the Gunners was dire. However, a positive showing at Liverpool seemed to propel the club against an overachieving Burnley side. The truth is West Ham have yet to hit their full stride. There is plenty of football left in the year and many more stories to tell.

Andy Carroll will play either the role of hero or villain down the stretch. If you step back and really look at the club’s form over the last few weeks you have to be optimistic. While they haven’t been playing elite football, they have been squeaking out vital points where they can. Draws against Manchester United and Liverpool, while perhaps lucky, yielded two points that could have easily been zero. However, looking ahead at their next fixtures after Burnley, the Iron side can remain strong and steal another 6, 7, or even 9 points against a few struggling sides.

The future is definitely bright in East London but it’s important to stay focused on the task at hand. Hull City, Swansea, and Leicester are all very winnable. The biggest unknown for West Ham United going forward will be expectation. The question isn’t about relegation, or even staying mid table, it’s about identity.