After a number of bad results, culminating in the 5-1 disaster against Arsenal, West Ham fans can breathe again after picking up six points against Hull and Burnley. While 13th place is not where Hammer fans would have imagined the club being at Christmas after last year’s magical run, it is a great result for a team that was recently in the relegation zone.
This year’s troubled start has given many Hammer fans nightmares of the ghosts of relegation battles past, with the “too good to go down” team from the 2002-03 Premier League season seeming to haunt the team in it’s new home. After finishing 7th the year before, the team struggled at the beginning of the season and went down with 42 points, a record result for any relegated team in the Premier League era.
Two clean sheets and two wins have given the team breathing room and vaulted the team up to 13th in the table. Does this mean that the team is finally starting to feel at “home” in the new stadium? Last year the team made Upton Park a literal fortress, with West Ham only losing three league games last season at home and going months between losses. The much criticized move to the London Stadium seemed to have cursed the team, with the team already losing three times at home in the league and crashing out the UEFA Cup to Romanian club FC Astra Giurgiu at home as well.
Hopefully back-to-back wins will put the team at ease and help make the London Stadium feel like home. It’s never easy to transition to a new stadium, but teams all across England and beyond have transitioned to new homes and done fine. In fact, with the number of times Hull hit the woodwork against West Ham on Saturday, maybe the team’s luck is beginning to turn around at home.
After a boxing day trip to struggling Swansea and a New Year’s Eve trip to Leicester, the Hammers are home in the new year to high-flying Manchester United. Hopefully the warm embrace of home will help the Hammers avenge the EFL Cup loss at Old Trafford and prove once and for all that the new home isn’t haunted. Even a repeat of the reverse fixture in the league, a one-all draw, would be a welcome point in East London.