It’s never dull being a West Ham United fan and that’s certainly going to be the case over the next week or so after a major twist in the race for the Champions League.
Arsenal’s brilliant starlet Emile Smith Rowe is probably too young to have seen the Godfather films.
One of Al Pacino’s famous lines from the third film of that classic series was very apt for West Ham fans who are being put through a rollercoaster of emotions right now.
‘Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in’ Pacino says in Godfather Three.
And that very much applies to West Ham after Smith Rowe’s winning goal for the Gunners against Chelsea which blew the Champions League race wide open again.
‘Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in’
After defeat to Everton on Sunday – added to recent losses against Chelsea and Newcastle and Man United’s controversial loss to Leicester – West Ham’s top four dream looked all but over.
But Chelsea’s defeat means that as long as West Ham do their bit and beat a depleted Brighton on Saturday and an already relegated West Brom next midweek, that dream will be very much alive going into the last game of the season, regardless of results elsewhere.
Chelsea losing was the ideal scenario for West Ham as it keeps the Blues and Leicester honest before they face off in the league next Tuesday night.
There will be no farcical settling for a draw at Stamford Bridge as that does not do Chelsea any favours.
West Ham must look to win their last three to give themselves every possible chance of that fourth spot. That would put David Moyes’s side on 67 points, which has been enough to secure a top four place in 15 of the last 25 seasons.
Hammers must do their bit and top four race goes down to the final day – and there’s a real chance
If Chelsea or Leicester reach 67 points it likely ends West Ham’s dreams due to their superior goal differences – unless the Hammers can steamroll Brighton and West Brom.
That can’t happen when they play eachother next week. If West Ham beat Brighton they move up to 61 points, three behind Chelsea and five behind Leicester.
A Chelsea win over Leicester would push Thomas Tuchel’s men out of West Ham’s reach and the Foxes back down to fourth.
If West Ham then beat West Brom 24 hours later they would go two points behind Brendan Rodgers’s side going into the last game of the season.
On that day West Ham face a Southampton side with nothing to play for while Leicester face Tottenham – who themselves are chasing a European spot.
West Ham will be willing Spurs to win while they must beat the Saints to help seal the most remarkable of seasons.
On the flip side if Leicester beat Chelsea or draw they will be uncatchable for West Ham.
Tense last day looms but Man United can right some wrongs – for West Ham at least – if they beat Liverpool
And all eyes would turn to Chelsea’s last game, at Aston Villa just six days before they play in the Champions League final.
So West Ham would just need Aston Villa – boosted by the return of talisman Jack Grealish – to do them a favour by not losing. A Villa win or draw, coupled with a West Ham win over Saints, would secure fourth place for the Hammers.
The only fly in the ointment could be Liverpool. West Ham need Man United to do them a big favour tonight by beating Jurgen Klopp’s side at Old Trafford.
If Liverpool draw or win and go on to win their last three then – unless West Ham can make up eight or nine goals on them in goal difference over the last three games – it will be the Reds taking fourth if either of the above scenarios play out.
But regardless the race will still go down to the last day when the Reds take on Palace at home.
They say it’s the hope that kills you.
Come. On. You. Irons.