West Ham United v Leeds United: The Emirates FA Cup Third Round
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West Ham suffer double blow to top four hopes as Man United and Spurs get big incentives

West Ham suffered a double blow to their top four hopes as Man United and Spurs get big incentives in battle for a Champions League spot.

The Hammers have had several opportunities to really cement their place in the Premier League top four over the last couple of months.

But each time – like last season – they have failed to grasp the nettle.

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Fans are well aware the club is punching well above its weight.

But David Moyes has put together a side which has proved over the last two seasons that it is capable of competing for the top four.

And as the old saying goes, you should never look a gift horse in the mouth.

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West Ham suffer double blow to top four hopes as Man United and Spurs get big incentives

After a run of four wins on the spin, West Ham came unstuck in that topsy turvy 3-2 defeat at home to Leeds on Sunday.

It opened the door for the likes of Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United and Arsenal to all leapfrog West Ham at the weekend – depending on results in the meantime.

Well it could not have gone much worse for Moyes’s boys last night.

West Ham suffered a double blow to their top four hopes as rivals Spurs and Man United got huge incentives with wins over Leicester and Brentford respectively pulling them within touching distance of the Hammers.

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The manner of the victories was mildly sickening.

Spurs were losing 2-1 in the 95th minute and Leicester somehow conspired to ship two goals in two minutes to lose 3-2 at the death.

Brentford could and should have been out of sight against Man United. But they too somehow lost 3-1.

It gives Man United a huge incentive to beat West Ham at Old Trafford on Saturday knowing they will leapfrog their old manager’s side into the top four with a game in hand.

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Spurs face an out of sorts Chelsea on Sunday knowing a point will draw them level with the Hammers – if they lose at Man United – while a win will put them above their bitter rivals with THREE games in hand.

Arsenal face Burnley on Sunday – Covid permitting – knowing they too could leapfrog West Ham with a win and have two games in hand.

It is clear that there is now so much riding on West Ham’s result at Man United as the top four battle really starts to intensify.

It is a minor miracle that West Ham are even in the conversation. But they are. And fans are desperate to take advantage of several so-called top clubs being in transitional periods.

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If West Ham fall away they will surely look back at losing at home to the likes of Brentford, Southampton and Leeds and failing to beat Brighton and Crystal Palace as pivotal moments.

But as things stand West Ham occupy fourth spot and they must do everything to get a result at Man United to keep the pressure on their rivals.

West Ham opened the door with that result against Leeds and they must slam it shut this weekend.

It’s tough at the top, though, and this squad has been giving everything for the last two years.

Photo by Matt McNulty – Manchester City/Manchester City FC via Getty Images

If it is not to be again via the league this season, West Ham will have a second shot at Champions League qualification when the Europa League resumes in March.

The Hammers are three ties from the final in Seville and the winners get an automatic spot at Europe’s top table next season.

Let’s hope we can prove our anthem wrong and our dreams don’t fade and die again.

More West Ham news:

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Clear as day that West Ham should move for striker now as rivals mull future.

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