The Runner Sports

West Ham’s Success Through Burnley: The Look Ahead

The second international break has concluded and West Ham United are lined up for a possible string of winnable games in their upcoming schedule. After a dismal 0-4 start, West Ham has since run off a 2-1-1 streak, not including a 3-0 win over Bolton Wanderers in the League Cup. The most recent wins, defeating Huddersfield and Swansea, while drawing West Bromwich Albion, all secured necessary points to move West Ham from the bottom three into fifteenth in the table, and just three points out of ninth place Newcastle. What is presented ahead of West Ham is an opportunity to grab the fate of their season by the reins and steer it through the positive trend they are currently on.

What is imperative in possible West Ham success is health. With injuries ever-present in the first segment of their season, West Ham is locked in an only missing center back defender James Collins. Center back is a position of depth with the club, and with Winston Reid, Angelo Ogbonna, and Jose Fonte all fit, Collins was nothing more than an option for substitution. The uber-talented youngster Declan Rice is returning from his time with Ireland’s Under-21 squad and is bringing with him poise, versatility, and growing confidence with his experience gained. He is more likely to factor into the backfield at center back, his natural position, over the midfield now with Mark Noble and Cheikhou Kouyate both fit and Pedro Obiang on the mend as well filling up the middle of the pitch.

What stands in front of West Ham is the most surprising team in the Premier League this season, Burnley. With a 3-3-1 record, Burnley has topped 2016-17 Premier League winners, Chelsea, in the season opener, and have since beaten Everton and Crystal Palace. They currently sit sixth in the table and have done so on the backs of Sam Vokes and Chris Wood’s two goals each, as well as keeper Tom Heaton being in top form. They capitalize on mistakes and are solid in midfield and defense. With a balanced team, they have found success thus far in the season.

What West Ham can use against them is a ready, fit squad. With Marko Arnautovic, Diafra Sakho, Rice, Aaron Cresswell, Joe Hart, amongst others, all returning from great performances representing their countries during this international break. Arnautovic added a goal and two assists in two games for Austria, and Sakho also scored for Senegal. Both players add an offensive spark, with recent examples of Arnautovic driving a dominant win against Bolton, and Sakho securing the 90+ minute winner against Swansea in recent matches.

Burnley is the gate which West Ham not only has to pass, but blow the doors off to kickstart their season. Maybe that is a little over-the-top, as a draw would secure a vital point and continue to push West Ham up the table, but a win would signify a turned page. The return of midfield maestro Manuel Lanzini will undoubtedly boost team morale and help in adding sustained, dangerous, pressure from the East London side.

Adam Smith
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Adam Smith

West Ham United Writer at The Runner Sports
Proud supporter of the Claret and Blue, West Ham United!
Actively interested in transfer news, match reports, developing story lines, and all things West Ham United!
Adam Smith
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