West Ham United can compete for a Champions League place in this season’s Premier League.
That’s according to The Sun’s top sports brain Dave Kidd, who believes the early signs are hugely encouraging for Manuel Pellegrini.
West Ham were thrashed 5-0 by reigning champions Manchester City on the opening day.
The Hammers have recovered impressively since.
West Ham building something special?
Pellegrini’s side drew at bogey team Brighton. They then won 3-1 away at Watford before advancing in the Carabao Cup with a 2-0 victory at Newport County and then dismantled Norwich in another 2-0 win which could and should have been by a more handsome scoreline.
West Ham go into the international break seventh in the fledgling league table.
But they have impressed fans and pundits with their new-found balance and goal threat.
And now Kidd, The Sun’s chief sports writer, has backed West Ham as one of four outsiders capable of gatecrashing the top four.
“During Leicester’s miracle campaign, all of the top six were either in transition or chaos,” Dave Kidd wrote in The Sun on Tuesday September 3rd (page 52).
‘They will create headaches for any opposition’
“And this season, Tottenham, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United are all vulnerable. After Liverpool and Manchester City, the other Champions League places are up for grabs. Not just for Leicester, the most obvious candidates, but for West Ham, Everton and perhaps even Wolves.
“Now all fully fit, the Hammers front four of Felipe Anderson, Manuel Lanzini and Andriy Yarmolenko behind the impressive new centre-forward Sebastien Haller, will create headaches for any opposition.
“Lukasz Fabianski has matured into a top ‘keeper, Issa Diop is a sought-after centre-back and Declan Rice an excellent young holding midfielder. Were West Ham still playing at the atmospheric Upton Park rather than the bland London Stadium, you would fancy them all the more.”
Kidd’s assessment will excite Hammers fans.
Hammers finally greater than the sum of their parts
West Ham do finally look to be greater than the sum of their parts.
And Kidd makes some salient points about how open the league will be this season.
When Leicester lifted the most unexpected of titles they had been written off time and again.
Rival fans and other pundits may scoff at Kidd’s prediction. But West Ham look like they will be a match for anyone on their day.
Consistency in performance and staying free of injuries to key players will ultimately have a big say on whether Pellegrini can prove Kidd right and achieve a feat he has managed at all of his previous clubs in Europe.