Consistency First, Ability Second. Is this the Key for West Ham to Finally Crack the Top 6?
Author: Emily Pulham. Published: 24 October 2019 at 4:14pm
p class=”p1″>Written by: George M.
Since the summer of 2015, West Ham United have spent approximately £320 million on transfers in a bid to make our squad competitive with the top six sides of the Premier League. Yet, since that summer, the highest we have finished was seventh place. That seventh place finish was our highest position since the 1998-99 season. Why are we witnessing our squad get better and better but still struggle to trouble the top six spots? The culprit you ask. CONSISTENCY.
This season has the potential to be one of the most open and interesting Premier League seasons, ever since the bizarre 2015-16 season. The top two are perhaps the only positions which seem to be the most predictable this season. Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal are all currently going through a transition phase of their squads, which arguably, are not much better than West Ham’s, Leicester’s, Everton’s and Wolves’. So, bar Manchester United this season, why are the three transitioning teams still able to compete with gaining a place in the coveted top six? The answer, CONSISTENCY.
If you think back to when Leicester City won the league title back in 2015-16, there were very few (apart from the very lucky) that predicted what was to come. Leicester were favourites to go down and had one of the worst squads in the league. However, after a promising start to the season, Leicester consistently put in fantastic performances for remainder of the campaign and went on to win the title. The next season was very different for Leicester, albeit after losing a few key players but still maintaining a very similar squad. They had lost their consistency.
West Ham could be compared to the Chelsea team of the mid to late 90’s. With such a good squad, Chelsea would lose to a team like Watford, but then beat Manchester Utd 5-0 a week or two later. The inconsistency in that team made a quality squad underperform in some season but then win them silverware in the next. Although further investment ultimately pushed Chelsea into becoming title contenders, the consistency was still key in being able to fend off the much better Arsenal and Manchester United teams. Bringing consistency is easier said than done but Manuel Pellegrini and his staff are now into their second season at the club and after more hefty additions to our squad, we still can’t seem to sustain a certain level of performances during our matches. This must be looked at as a priority by all the coaching team.
Now, it’s not just our club that struggles with this problem. As mentioned before Everton and Wolves both have strong squads, but none are able to cement or even start to scratch at the top . Leicester look the most likely to attempt to crack the top six this season by consistently putting in top performances week-in-week out but in recent seasons they have been too inconsistent to turn any heads. All the teams outside of the top six have been too inconsistent which results in a very unpredictable league. It is also worth noting that 9 out of the past 10 seasons have seen the usual ‘top six’ teams finish no less than seventh place.
This season presents a huge opportunity to have a real crack at the top six, but we will most likely see the familiar names at the top end of the table come May. West Ham have a great squad but are consistently inconsistent, hence, consistency must come first.