Overachieving West Ham's Lack Of Squad Depth Will Cost Them A Top Four Finish

The Hammers look like fading away from the Champions League spots
09:30, 19 Feb 2022

As West Ham United welcome a revitalised Newcastle United to the London Stadium this afternoon, the Hammers will face one of the biggest tests of strength in their quest to qualify for the Champions League. Performances have been inconsistent in recent weeks, with poor displays against both Kidderminster Harriers and Leicester City asking questions of their top-four charge.

David Moyes’ side have been impressive to watch this season but with a recent setback against the struggling Foxes, in which they had to rescue a late and quite undeserving draw, concerns will start to grow regarding their squad depth as the race for the top four becomes increasingly tight. With their rivals Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur dropping points before they kicked off at the King Power Stadium, they had a great opportunity to edge ahead of the other top-four hopefuls and they then turned in one of their worst performances of the season.

After United defeated Brighton & Hove Albion in midweek, the Red Devils leapfrogged the Hammers into fourth. Now there are just seven points separating United and Spurs in seventh as the final run-in of the season is set for plenty of twists and turns. 

Back on home soil, West Ham need to rediscover their strength that has carried them to this position and they need to show that they have what it takes to continue the fight until the very last. It seemed apparent that the regular attacking cohort have looked fatigued in recent matches and when they are not firing, West Ham struggle to have a strong impact on matches and the substitutes who come on to replace them won’t make a splash either. This makes it difficult for Moyes to manage a game if things are not going his team’s way because any changes he could make are not going to be as beneficial to proceedings as he would like.

Eddie Howe’s Magpies will provide another difficult challenge for Moyes’ men as they have enjoyed some strong results recently, with the new recruits already having an impact at St James’ Park. They have lifted the squad and the fans and as a unit, Newcastle are growing in confidence. They are unbeaten in their last five and won three on the bounce with a very impressive victory over Aston Villa last time out. They are now four points clear of the relegation zone and they will be looking to further distance themselves from the bottom three before starting to think about just how strongly they can finish as they will want to start planning for what is looking to be a bright future on Tyneside. A boost for the visitors heading into this clash is that they have won at the London Stadium on their last two visits in the league and this could add another interesting dynamic to what is already going to be an exciting contest.

This fixture is already shaping up to be crucial for both teams’ seasons and right now it is the Magpies who are on the ascendency and are in much better form than the Hammers and this match could mark a significant turning point for either side. Another win for Newcastle relieves a significant amount of pressure regarding relegation worry off their shoulders and they would be able to start thinking about a highest possible finish in the table. As for the hosts, they need three points to give the dressing room a much-needed lift after some sub-par performances in recent games.

Unfortunately for Moyes and co, it looks as though squad depth will be the reason they don't finish in the top four. 

West Ham are 15/2 to finish in the top 4 with Betfred*

*18+ | BeGambleAware | Odds Subject To Change 

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