5 Moments that spoiled West Ham’s European ambitions

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At Christmas West Ham occupied a Champions League spot, with nine wins from 17 matches and looked on course to bag a European qualification spot, if only they could maintain that form.

Alas, it wasn’t to be, with Sam Allardyce’s men now on a run of just one win in 11 games they have fallen down to 10th place in the table and are now a 50/1 shot to make the top six.

But while their latest performances haven’t been particularly inspiring, five moments stick in the mind that could have altered the course of the Hammers’ season, had they gone that way.

Saturday 16th August 2014 – One point dropped

West Ham’s opening game against Tottenham wasn’t a classic, but the hosts matched their local rivals for much of the proceedings.

A draw may have been the fairest result, but when Eric Dier popped up in an unlikely position to take it past Adrian in the 93rd minute, a late defeat got the season off to the worst possible start.

Saturday 28th December 2014 – One point dropped

When Alex Song slotted home against Arsenal with the score still 0-0 at Upton Park, it took the intervention of the fourth official to indicate that Diafra Sakho was offside in an ‘active’ position.

Even Arsene Wenger admitted he didn’t know why the goal was disallowed, and safe to say, Big Sam was not happy, with the game poised at a crucial stage at the time.

Sunday 8th February – Two points dropped

Even the most ardent Manchester United supporter would be hard pushed to deny that West ham deserved anything other than the three points when the pair clashed at the Boleyn Ground.

The hosts had looked on top, and had gone ahead courtesy of Cheik Kouyate’s goal, and it looked as if back-to-back home wins were on the cards. That was, until Daley Blind popped up in LVG-time to steal a point.

Sunday 22nd February – Another two points dropped

You would have thought Sam Allardyce would have drilled into his side the importance of not throwing away leads.

However, 2-0 up as the game approached the final 10 minutes they looked like getting revenge on Tottenham.

But throw in a Danny Rose goal and a silly penalty given away in injury time and it was back to square one for the Hammers.

Wednesday 4th March – Potentially one point dropped

The Irons may look to have continued their poor run of form in their latest tie against Chelsea, but their performance was a far cry of some of the embarrassments in recent weeks.

Who knows what would have happened if the linesman had noticed Eden Hazard had strayed into an offside position for the Blues’ only goal of the game?

Had the Hammers not dropped those points, they would have 46 points, and Spurs would have 44. What a difference these small moments make in a campaign.

Sure, every team will have moments of bad luck this season, but this quintet of events that went against Sam Allardyce’s men look to have dealt a fatal blow to any hope of competing in Europe in their final season at the Boleyn Ground.

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.