The Wigan game at Upton Park this weekend was billed as an S.O.S. (Save Our Season) game for West Ham, and the Hammers duly obliged with a fairly convincing 3-1 win over the Latics. Now you only need to take one glance at the Premier League table to realise the ‘Save Our Season’ part of the match was merely a marketing ploy to tie-in with ticket incentives, but will what was only West Ham’s second win of the season really begin to turn things around at the Boleyn Ground, or is it just delaying the inevitable.
I should quickly say, given all the negative press West Ham have attracted this season with regards to performances on the pitch, and some of the debacles that have happened off it, that the side dutifully stepped up and dispatched Wigan, in a game made all the more pertinent by Wolves’ late comeback against Sunderland. Wigan may well have been below par and under strength, but the Hammers have played better than that this season and not come away with the result, so it was nice to grab the win. Having said that, even at 3-0 up the tension was palpable, with many utterances of ‘surely even we can’t throw this away’.
If this season has proven one thing at Upton Park, it is that confidence is a fragile entity, and this one victory is not even enough to steer West Ham’s ship on course, let alone lead it away from the rocks entirely. But perhaps this result will restore some belief in the side, and begin to galvanise the support in the stands. But this side can in no way rest on its laurels, and needs to follow the Wigan victory up with not only results, but decent and inspiring displays, starting with Tuesday night’s Carling Cup clash against Manchester United.
After it was all change behind the scenes last week with the departure of Zeljko Petrovic and the arrival of Wally Downes, the bench, appeared at least, to be a little more dynamic, and a little more involved with matters occurring on the pitch. Although he must have been disappointed with the late Tom Cleverley goal that deprived West Ham of only their third clean sheet of the season, Wally Downes must be fairly pleased with his first day at the office, and was an active presence on the touchline.
So although West Ham are far from out of the woods yet, there is plenty of food for thought after a convincing victory, the question surely is whether this type of result will be made into a regular occurrence, or whether the Hammers faithful will be made to wait for another 3 points, by which time their fate may well have already been sealed.