West Ham United have received very few plaudits for what is their best start to a season for 22 years.
The Hammers have earned respect under David Moyes.
The Scot has actively worked tirelessly to try and rid West Ham of their reputation as a soft touch.
It is a case of so far, so good on that front.
Hammers heroics being ignored by lazy mainstream
West Ham are just three points off the Champions League places nearing the halfway stage of the season.
Indeed they are only seven points off league leaders Liverpool.
With back-to-back home games against strugglers Burnley and West Brom to come, there is every chance West Ham could be right in the European mix by next Tuesday night.
But you wouldn’t know it based on coverage of the Hammers this season.
The likes of Everton, Aston Villa, Southampton and even Leeds have received big billing.
At one stage or another this season Sky Sports have dedicated entire shows or in-depth articles to each of those clubs posing the question ‘Could they win the title?’. Yes even Leeds, Google it if you want to have a laugh.
Some fans happy to fly under the radar. And maybe even Moyes too
When West Ham played Everton last week it was their third game in six days. It was a second away game in three days, travelling back from Southampton on the south coast before heading off almost straightaway for Merseyside in the north west.
Everton had a full week’s rest before the game. But instead of praising West Ham’s durability as they controlled the game to secure a deserved 1-0 win, some pundits suggested the Toffees were not at it because they hadn’t played for a week.
You couldn’t make it up.
So West Ham are very much going under the radar. And some Hammers fans prefer it that way.
But does it all come down to perception and prejudice?
Moyes is seen as a dour, old school manager reluctant to put the fun into functional.
West Ham have been described as a defensive side by many pundits this season. Lazy analysis points to Moyes having his ‘new Fellaini’ in the shape of Tomas Soucek and infer that the Hammers like to pump it long.
That jars because as well as being dogged, committed, hard-working, obdurate and good from set pieces West Ham do play some good stuff as well.
Ogbonna hits out at suggestions West Ham are a defensive team
One of the stars of West Ham’s season so far, Angelo Ogbonna, has had enough of the side being labelled defensive.
The man nicknamed the wall and West Ham’s man mountain went on the offensive to tackle what he believes are misconceptions about the Hammers in an interview with the club’s official website this week.
“We’ve played well this year and started the season well,” Ogbonna told whufc.com.
“I think since the manager came in everything has changed. If you see it from the background, you can feel the new mentality, and this is what we want…
“Shape is really important, in all football – not just the Premier League. I heard we are a defensive team, but I don’t think we do anything that Man City or Liverpool don’t do. When they lose the ball, they have everyone behind the ball. When we take the ball, we try to do our best.
“People say we are a counter-attacking team, but I don’t think so – we try to do just our game.
“We have been playing nice football when we have the ball. If you see the game against Everton, we played and coped with them totally.
“We even coped with Chelsea, but we were unlucky. We conceded the first and for 70 minutes we played well. Even Chelsea were struggling to get the ball.
“If you compare West Ham to two years ago, when we conceded one, we used to concede two, three, four… but now the reaction is totally different. As soon as we concede one, we want to get back together as a team, and I think people can see this.”
Well said Angelo.
Beat Burnley and West Brom and others will be forced to sit up and take notice.