Matty Etherington delivers verdict on where West Ham will finish and players of the season

Former West Ham United star Matty Etherington has delivered his verdict on where his old club will finish this season and who have been their best players.

The sixth-placed Hammers are flying high this season and have impressed fans and pundits alike by mounting a serious challenge for the Champions League places.

Slaven Bilic has reinvigorated the East Londoners and with stars such as Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini, the Hammers are playing the 'West Ham way' once more.

The club narrowly missed out on a trip to Wembley after being held by a late goal against Manchester United at Old Trafford before losing 2-1 in the replay at Upton Park last week.

But they are on course for at the very least a Europa League place, winning 3-1 over Watford last time out.

Best of the rest

Now one of their former players Etherington has revealed he thinks the Hammers will be the best of the rest this season.

And the former winger also had his say on West Ham's players of the season in a question and answers session on social networking site Twitter.

When asked where he thinks the East Londoners will end the season, Etherington said: "I'm thinking fifth.. Just outside top four. Come on you Irons.

"Payet (is the) signing of the season, you can't not love the Ginger Pele (James Collins)."

So there you have it the Hammers to secure a Europa League spot and Payet and Etherington's good friend Collins the players of the season.

European permutations

There are a number of permutations regarding what will secure Champions League or Europa League football owing to Manchester City and Liverpool's progress in the respective competitions.

But fifth place would certainly seal a seat at the second tier competition and mark a fine season for Bilic's side which would see them finish as the best of the rest.

The former Stoke City man also showed just how much West Ham still means to him with an emotional one-word reply to another question.

When one Hammers fan asked: "What's the first word that comes to mind when someone says "West Ham"?" Etherington simply replied: "Home."

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