West Ham United’s dip in form has left their European dreams hanging by a thread.
Three defeats and a draw in the last seven games, the latest dropped points coming against a massively depleted Brighton side with nothing to play for – have ended West Ham’s Champions League dream.
And with now even a top six place is out of West Ham’s hands after Tottenham’s win over Wolves.
The Hammers sit seventh after this weekend’s matches.
Misfiring Hammers must win both remaining games and hope for a favour
David Moyes’s side must win both their remaining games and hope Tottenham drop points in one of theirs – against Aston Villa and Leicester.
West Ham have easier games on paper – against West Brom and Southampton.
But as the Hammers proved against Brighton, they have hit indifferent form at the worst possible time.
If they beat West Brom and Saints, West Ham will finish above Everton regardless of their results against Wolves and Man City.
Two wins for Spurs will ensure they finish above the Hammers given their superior goal difference.
Liverpool look certain for a top five place. It now very much looks like a battle for sixth between West Ham, Tottenham and Everton.
West Ham Europa League hopes hang by a thread and Spurs could have the last laugh
Tottenham could end up dumping West Ham into the hugely underwhelming new Europa Conference League.
It is a competition that has just one team from each of Europe’s top five leagues and is geared towards the very smallest minnows across the continent with over 30 of the lowest ranked nations getting two and three sides in the competition.
West Ham would be facing tiny clubs from the likes of Armenia, Lativa, Malta, North Macedonia, Luxembourg, Northern Ireland, Wales and even San Marino to name but a few.
The Europa League has been completely revamped to match the Champions League. There are not only 32 teams, from Europe’s top leagues, so less games from the get go and more quality.
Group winners also advance straight to the last 16 knockout stages.
Plus of course there is the huge carrott of Champions League football for the winners.
While many West Ham fans might welcome any form of European football, the Conference League has more teams, more games and will offer very little benefit to the Hammers in terms of extra revenue. Indeed it may end up costing the club money.
No getting away from the fact Conference League would be a huge anti-climax
There is no getting away from the fact it would be a massive anti-climax finishing in the Conference League position from where West Ham were not so long ago.
West Ham fans are divided over their potential participation in the competition.
Being dumped in it by Spurs and likely being the butt of rival fans’s jokes every Thursday night may soon have West Ham fans questioning the value of qualification.
So West Ham will dearly be hoping for favours from Wolves, Aston Villa, Leicester and Man City over the next seven days.
Relying on other teams has not worked out for the Hammers, though, with almost every result going against Moyes’s side over the last three or four weeks.