Don Hutchison explains why West Ham can reach the Champions League

Don Hutchison of West Ham United celebrates scoring during Nationwide Division One match between Derby and West Ham United on October 4, 2003 at Pride Park in Derby, England.  West Ham...

West Ham United have signed Haller and Fornals during an impressive summer but can Manuel Pellegrini lead them into the Premier League top four?

West ham United Manager Manuel Pellegrini punches the air after West Ham score their third goal during the Premier League Match between Newcastle Unite and West Ham United on December 1,...

Don Hutchison has named his former club West Ham United as a potential challenger for a Champions League place in the Premier League this season, speaking to the BBC’s Football Daily podcast (11 September).

With Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and even Tottenham Hotspur starting the new season in inconsistent fashion, this may be the best opportunity in years for clubs outside the traditional ‘top six’ to break through the glass ceiling.

Everton and Leicester, under the stewardship of Marco Silva and Brendan Rodgers, have been mentioned frequently as potential usurpers. But after making a number of statement signings over the summer, including Pablo Fornals and Sebastien Haller, Hutchison believes Manuel Pellegrini’s Hammers cannot be ruled out.

 

“West Ham,” said the former Scotland international when asked who could break into the top four, while hailing the Chilean’s tactical acumen.

“I like how Pellegrini of late has got a pair in Declan Rice and Mark Noble, that box scenario between the centre-halves and the attack allows Andriy Yarmolenko, Felipe Anderson, Sebastien Haller just go and play.”

Felipe Anderson of West Ham looks dejected after missing a chance during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Brighton & Hove Albion at London Stadium on January 2, 2019 in...

West Ham were left battered by an opening day 5-0 home defeat to Manchester City but they have certainly bounced back in recent weeks, winning 3-1 at Watford before tearing a naïve Norwich City apart at the London Stadium last time out.

£45 million record signing Haller, with three goals already, looks like the prolific goal-scorer they have missed for years. And, if the towering Frenchman can become the first Hammers player in 23 years to hit 20 in a league season, maybe European football isn’t out of the question.

West Ham United's Sebastien Haller celebrates scoring his side's third goal with Declan Rice and Angelo Ogbonna during the Premier League match between Watford FC and West Ham United at...

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