Crucial games towards the business end of the season, particularly for those clubs embroiled in a Premier League survival battle, are often called six pointers. If ANY game deserves to be given that name, then West Ham United's game away to fellow strugglers Bournemouth at the Amex Stadium surely lives up to that title! Defeat would plunge Hammers back to the brink of the relegation abyss, a draw or a win could see the club virtually safe and sound depending on other results.
For those NOT directly associated with the teams fighting it out at the bottom of the Premier League it makes for entertaining viewing, for fans who ARE directly affected it is an extremely stressful time. So many clubs have sacked their managers this season, more than any other Premier League season in it's history, such are the financial rewards available.
Fine margins can define success or failure and the inevitable "result from nowhere' is quite a common factor in deciding who stays and who drops out of the richest league in World football, even a late spurt of form can see clubs fall short, so points on the board as opposed to games in hand are crucial. West Ham have TWO GAMES in hand on most of the other clubs that are desperately trying to avoid relegation, however those two games in hand are against Manchester City AND Liverpool!
Even a solitary point from both fixtures would be an achievement, but realistically Moyes and his staff will have metaphorically written both games off, which brings us back to tomorrow's games. Bournemouth have shown how resilient they can be so NOTHING short of a supreme effort will do on Sunday, even then it might not be enough to overcome a good side playing in a stadium that isn't big but has a tremendous atmosphere.
The Liverpool game follows on Wednesday evening so Moyes might be tempted to go 'strong' for the Cherries and 'rest' players up against a Liverpool team that have come into form recently, points on the road or a stirring display at the 'disparate' stadium? That is the question that Dini needs to answer emphatically, there is a groundswell of opinion that 'saving' players is counter productive and that there is a need for the current momentum to be carried on as opposed to the side being re jigged.
From a financial point of view staying in the Premier League IS the be all and end all, however Moyes will be thinking that IF he can win the club's first 'proper trophy' since 1980 then he would be guaranteed of having his contract renewed DESPITE being a very unpopular choice among fans, many of which have VERY SHORT memories, it is NOT personal, it IS what fans of ALL clubs do!
Realistically anything could happen in the club's European adventure in the next two games, but survival IS the most important thing. But given the options most fans would elect the latter rather than the former. The concept might smack of a lack of ambition, but it is what it is.....survival is the key! - Ed