West Ham United: an unlikely European force

Published on 2 September 2023 at 20:00

West Ham United have had a dream start to this season's Premier League. The East-London side have secured ten points from a possible twelve, including victories over Chelsea and Brighton. In the week where The Hammers found out their opponents for the upcoming Europa League, could they be on course to embark on their fourth European tour in a row?


The Story so Far

West Ham's Europa Conference League victory may have came as a slight shock to their fans, who hadn't seen their club lift a European trophy since their victory over 1860 Munich in the 1965 Cup Winners' Cup final. However, their Conference League glory was by no means a fluke. 

The Irons had a great run in the 2021/22 Europa League campaign, winning memorable ties against Lyon and Sevilla, before a narrow loss to eventual winners, Eintracht Frankfurt in the semi finals. Despite the agonising defeat, it was clear to see that David Moyes had built a side tailor made for European football.

By defeating Fiorentina 2-1 in last year's nail biting final, West Ham not only won their first European trophy for 58 years, but also guaranteed Europa League football for this season. The Hammers will face Freiburg, Olympiakos and Backa Topola in a group stage they will be favourites to top.


No Rice, No Problem

Of all the clubs in the Premier League, West Ham were the last to make a summer signing, so when the club lost their captain, Declan Rice for £100m to Arsenal - alarm bells started to ring around the London Stadium.


Read more: Declan Rice destined for the Emirates as City take a back seat 


Since then however, David Moyes has made a number of new additions; the most notable of which being James Ward-Prowse. The former Southampton captain has got off to a flyer and seems a perfect fit for West Ham, with the number of aerial threats he has to aim at from dead-ball situations. 

In addition to Ward-Prowse, The Irons have signed Edson Alvarez from Ajax; a no-nonsense, hard-tackling midfielder who has also had an impressive start. To replace Declan Rice was always going to be an impossible task, but with the creativity of Ward-Prowse and physicality of Alvarez, Moyes has invested very wisely in filling that particular void.


22% Possession

It's fair to say that West Ham under Moyes have generally been a counter-attacking side, but the team took this tactic to new levels in their recent 3-1 win over in-form Brighton. In a bizarre victory at The Amex, The Hammers only had 22% possession the entire match, a figure that could've been even lower had they not strung some passes together in the dying minutes of the game.


Read more: getting to know YOUR club at the start of the season - West Ham


This match epitomises exactly what we can expect to see from West Ham against the bigger clubs this season. While it might not be the most attractive football in the world, Moyes is one of the best in the business at getting his team to play to their strengths. With one of the best strikers in the league at holding the ball up in Michail Antonio, the goal scoring knack of Jarrod Bowen and the genius of fan-favourite Lucas Paqueta; West Ham have the perfect formula to become a successful counter-attacking side.



It wasn't so long ago that West Ham failed to qualify for Europe after losing to Romanian side Astra Giurgiu. Fast forward six years and they are now consistent performers on the European stage.

With David Moyes at the wheel, who's to say West Ham can't counter attack their way into Europe again this season?


Can West Ham keep up their scintillating form? Or will their bubbles burst soon? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments below...


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