West Ham United’s 3-0 win over Sheffield United moved the club into joint fourth place in the Premier League and sparked fresh talk of potential Champions League qualification.
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The Hammers are enjoying their best top flight campaign for 35 years.
And David Moyes’s side now sit fifth in the table with 14 games remaining, behind fourth-placed Chelsea on goal difference.
West Ham’s comfortable win over improved Blades sent a message
The win over the Blades silenced doubters who felt West Ham would choke as we enter the business end of the season.
Many pundits – from Jamie Redknapp and Bobby Zamora to Adrian Durham and Rio Ferdinand – have backed West Ham to finish in the Champions League places given the wide open nature of this campaign.
But it seems football fans don’t share that opinion.
Before the victory over Sheffield United, just one per cent of football fans think West Ham have what it takes to make the top four this season (The Mirror).
Of course there is still a long way to go. And some tough games to come in the next two months as well.
A long way to go but Hammers have it all to play for in this wide open season
But there has been little to suggest West Ham’s season will be derailed anytime soon.
Monday night’s result has seen the debate reignited as to whether West Ham can finish in the top four and qualify for Europe’s top competition.
West Ham don’t often find themselves in this position at this stage of a season.
So what will it take for the Hammers to make it?
Hammers News has look back at the last 25 seasons to analyse the kind of points needed to make the top four over the course of a 38-game Premier League season.
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West Ham currently sit on 42 points with 12 wins, six draws and six defeats so far.
And there is good news and bad news for West Ham.
The highest number of points needed to make the top four in the last 25 years was 1995/96 when it took a mammoth 79.
But that was an era of true dominance for the top clubs whereas this season is wide open with bottom half clubs regularly taking points off the top half sides.
West Ham fans will also want to know the lowest number of points that have been needed for the top four.
Well that was a lowly 57 points in the 2003/4 campaign. A repeat of that would mean West Ham would need just 15 points from their remaining 14 matches.
The number of points needed has only dipped below 60 twice in the last 25 years.
Revealed: Highest, lowest, most common, ball park and average top four points totals
To give West Ham a clearer idea of the kind of ballpark they will need to be in for a competitive season such as this, the threshold is between 65 and 70 points.
But the biggest indicator of a more precise points total that may be required comes from the average over that time. That works out (rounded up) at 68 points.
That would be enough to have made the top four in 15 of the last 25 seasons.
So if West Ham aim for that figure they will be very unlucky not to make it.
The closest they have ever got to that was just five years ago in the emotional Farewell Boleyn campaign.
West Ham finished seventh that season on 62 points – their highest ever Premier League points total.
Slaven Bilic’s side ended up just four points off fourth-placed Man City. And the season was tinged with regret as the Hammers should and could have quite easily made it.
They ended the 2015/16 season with 14 draws – the joint most in the division.
Turning just two or three of those into wins would have been enough.
So West Ham look likely to need 68 points as a sensible target.
That’s another 26 from their remaining 14 games. It’s a big ask but if the Hammers can maintain their form it certainly looks more than doable.
Particularly given how Moyes’s side has started 2021.
It’s all to play for and now there is a clear goal in sight.