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.”
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.
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