The festive period offers an ideal opportunity to predict where certain Premier League clubs may end up when the dust settles at the end of the season.
For the first time in Manuel Pellegrini’s reign, West Ham have been in relegation peril this season. The Chilean was supposed to establish the Hammers as an upwardly-mobile, ambitious club, free from the dangers of the drop.
His passing style is yet to provide consistency and the soft centre that has plagued West Ham for years is still eating away at progress.
But should the fans be genuinely worried about their club being relegated this season? Or can they use the festive period as a springboard towards getting towards mid-table, where a squad of their ability should reside?
TBR’s View – There very much should prove to be three worse teams than West Ham
West Ham fans are unlikely to believe they are ‘too good to go down’ – they remember 2003 – but there are many worse squads in the Premier League than theirs.
Greater consistency would get the Hammers closer to mid-table, but recent 1-0 away wins have shown that they have the fight and the quality to get the results which should see them avoid being caught up in the dogfight at the business end of the season.
The likes of Newcastle should regress as the season wears on, and West Ham are more than capable of leaving the likes of Norwich, Watford, Southampton and Aston Villa cut adrift.
West Ham have been shocking since beating Manchester United, but they will likely improve enough to leave those sides in the dust, putting enough clear water between themselves and the bottom three to exist in relative comfort once the relegation battle enters its final months.