There are two teams attracting attention from soccer fans the world over, two teams that should be doing far better but who are barely holding on at the bottom of the EPL table. And maybe Stoke City’s presence at the bottom isn’t that great of a surprise, but you do not need to understand the lines for soccer to realize that the bottom of the EPL table is simply too pathetic a position for a team like West Ham United.
Situated at the 19th position in the EPL table, Stoke City hasn’t won a single one of its previous six matches. The team only has two draws to show for its efforts. And it isn’t like the road ahead is going to get any easier. Stoke City faces Manchester United on Sunday. Beyond that, they can look forward to matches with Sunderland, Hull City, and Swansea.
Abysmal as Stoke City’s performance might be, though, most eyes are on West Ham United primarily because they did the impossible and stole a top four spot in the previous season.
The first two months of their campaign have only produced disappointment. The one win they managed to steal is complemented by five painful losses. Currently situated at 18th place, the excitement they experienced last season at their brand new stadium has all but faded.
Manager Slaven Bilic is carrying a lot of responsibilities on his shoulders, the least of which are the complaints the so-called soul-less London Stadium is attracting. Bilic’s team clearly had a lot of fun on Monday night during a sanctioned team-bonding night on the town.
However, Bilic was left to answer some difficult questions all on his own the next morning, specifically with regards to whether the team was drunk. West Ham has a match against Middlesborough on Saturday.
Winning that match could take the pressure off the team, especially in light of a pending investigation. If West Ham cannot win on the weekend, they are less likely to fare any better in the coming days considering the difficult matches awaiting them.
From Southampton to Watford, Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool to mention but a few, West Ham has a very busy schedule ahead of them. At this point, Stoke City is on the verge of losing the interest and attention of EPL fans.
While Stoke City and West Ham have struggled to find their rhythm, Manchester City seems set on running through the campaign unbeaten; and this is hardly an impossible task to accomplish, what with Pep Guardiola on their side.
Manchester City fans have refused to get excited about all this ‘unbeaten’ talk, instead choosing to wait until Pep gets through his first festive period of English football before they can judge his capabilities.
Over at Manchester United, it is quickly becoming obvious that Jose Mourinho might become the manager that drops Wayne Rooney. Rooney isn’t making Mourinho’s job any easier and, at this moment, Mourinho couldn’t be faulted for throwing Rooney on the sidelines.
The EPL is starting to take shape this season. The true contenders of the year have begun separating themselves from the pack. Only time will tell whether or not some of the losers of the first two months have what it takes to turn their fortunes around.