It’s been said before and it’ll probably be said again in the coming days, despite the fact that it is very clearly not true: West Ham is too good to be relegated.
We now know that this is far from the truth. On paper, sure, the Hammers may seem too good to be relegated.
You’ve got Scott Parker, Thomas Hitzlsperger, Matthew Upson, Rob Green, Robbie Keane, Carlton Cole.
But in the world of football, paper doesn’t mean a damn thing unless you can back it up on the pitch, and West Ham has done anything but that in the 2010-11 EPL season.
Other teams in the league have provided West Ham with countless chances to avoid relegation. A few weeks ago, with the Hammers clear of the drop zone, they gave away points to Aston Villa at home.
Last week, tied 1-1 at home against Blackburn, Robbie Keane missed a chance so clear his grandmother could’ve found the back of the net.
And that’s just a sampling.
West Ham is a team renowned for its passion, but passion has been missing on the pitch this season when it mattered most. Over the course of the past three weeks, with the season on the line, West Ham has failed to perform.
The other teams in the relegation, on the other hand, have played with fervor.
Even Wigan, the most obvious candidate for whipping post of the EPL besides West Ham, have pulled results seemingly out of thin air.
Wolves, a team in trouble over the course of the last two seasons, much like West Ham, now sit 16th, a point clear of Blackpool in 17th.
Mathematically, West Ham isn’t relegated yet. This coming weekend, the Hammers face Wigan away. This match may well decide the season for both squads.
Yet things look much better for Wigan. Even if West Ham wins its last two games of the season—away at Wigan, home to Sunderland—the Irons will finish the season on 39 points.
Assuming Wigan loses both of its remaining matches, it finishes on 36. Ditto for Blackpool. But Wolverhampton, a team known for pulling out great performances when the side needs them most, sits on 37 points and faces Sunderland and Blackburn.
Wolverhampton can foreseeably win both of these matches. In fact, if Wolves manage to win one, they best West Ham.
If Wolverhampton ties both matches, the team has the chance to beat West Ham on goal difference.
Any way you want to approach the situation, prospects are dim for West Ham, and while it’s not certain the Hammers will be relegated, it's hard to see them climbing out of this hole.
All of this may seem a little unfair for Scott Parker, who has played with every ounce of passion he possesses during the campaign. Ditto for Rob Green.
But the rest of the squad has failed to play with the same fervor, and in doing so, have let the admirable efforts and spirited play of Parker and Green go to waste.
Indeed, Parker and Green make the whole thing all the more pathetic, as their efforts have gone great lengths to reiterating how little their teammates have tried this season.
A brief mention here for Freddy Piquoinne and Thomas Hitzlesperger, who have also injected some much needed fire into the squad from time to time.
But none of this is enough.
Ultimately, whether the Hammers stay up or not, we can say with some certainty that the side deserves relegation. There is little passion beyond that of Parker and Green, and very little desire to win. If the Irons don’t have desire to win, they don’t deserve to play top-flight football.
Perhaps a season in the Championship will help the team find something to play for.