With three games to go in the Premier League campaign, West Ham fans will be forgiven for feeling uninspired by the team’s debut season at the London Stadium as Slaven Bilic’s side have struggled to make the stadium feel like home.
After pushing for the continental spots last season, West Ham have flirted with relegation this term and are still not mathematically safe. Whilst it’s unlikely they will be relegated now, the Hammers need a positive end to the season.
West Ham face a stern test this evening as they welcome Tottenham Hotspur to East London and the Hammers should view this match as one with the potential to turn the tide of their fortunes at the London Stadium.
Slaven Bilic stated in his pre-match press conferences that he wants an electrifying atmosphere at the London Stadium this evening, as the Hammers look for a memorable end to the season- in similar fashion to the farewell the Boelyn Ground got last year.
When Manchester United visited Upton Park, the match caught the headlines before a ball was kicked as the Red Devils’ bus received a warm reception. On the field, Louis Van Gaal’s side were ousted in a thrilling game that finished 3-2 in favour of the hosts.
This evening, in a big London derby, a victory for West Ham would leave Tottenham’s title bid in tatters, as they currently sit four points behind leaders Chelsea, and a win would revive the fell-good atmosphere in East London and give the stadium what it needs- positive memories.
West Ham have struggled in their new home but it’s nothing unfamiliar, as Arsenal endured similar problems, though not as extreme, when they moved from Highbury to the Emirates Stadium. When you leave so much history behind, it’s difficult to find your feet.
However, a win over Spurs this evening would be the first major result at the London Stadium and it would give fans something to remember in the coming years. It would help ease the pressure on the squad ahead of next season too, where they’ll be desperate not the encounter the same problems.
Obviously, defeating Mauricio Pochettino’s title-chasers will not be an easy task and the Hammers’ injury problems won’t make things any easier. However, the fans and a hostile atmosphere at the London Stadium could prove to be decisive.
The Boelyn Ground was previously regarded to be one of the most difficult away trips during the Premier League campaign but West Ham’s new home doesn’t have that feel yet, with the size difference and running track making it difficult to replicate.
That’s not to say the London Stadium cannot be intimidating though and the challenge is on the fans to make up for the size by making more noise, which should leave the London Stadium rocking this evening.