Column: West Ham still being in the race is a minor miracle

Chelsea’s Mason Mount and West Ham United's Ryan Fredericks (left) battle for the ball during the Pr

Chelsea’s Mason Mount and West Ham United's Ryan Fredericks (left) battle for the ball during the Premier League match at London Stadium. Picture date: Saturday April 24, 2021. - Credit: PA

Defeat to Chelsea was a bitter pill to swallow but nothing is decided yet. With five games to go we’re just three points from a Champions League place and that was unfathomable at the start of the season.

The fact we’re still in the race for top four alongside the likes of Chelsea, who spent well over £200 million last summer, and current champions Liverpool, really is nothing short of a minor miracle.

Saturday’s loss was due in part to injuries catching up with us. The Blues have an incredible squad (it does help when you’re bankrolled by a Russian billionaire!) and without the likes of Aaron Cresswell, Arthur Masuaku, Declan Rice and Michail Antonio, beating Chelsea was always going to be tricky to put it mildly.

A draw would’ve have been a cracking result as we have the easier run-in and they still have other commitments.

Perhaps if Fabian Balbuena wasn’t ludicrously sent off we could’ve snuck an equaliser, alas we’ll never know!

Our destiny is no longer in our own hands and even to secure Europa League football will be a tall order with Liverpool, Tottenham and Everton breathing down our necks.

Chelsea’s Mason Mount shoots during the Premier League match at London Stadium. Picture date: Saturd

Chelsea’s Mason Mount shoots during the Premier League match at London Stadium. Picture date: Saturday April 24, 2021. - Credit: PA

We can only hope that by the time we play Burnley next Monday we can get a few bodies back. We’ve done incredibly well to stay in the race and of course a few results have gone for us but we now need to find form again and quickly.

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Regardless of where we finish this season it’s been a triumph, to go from a relegation battle to a top four challenge in less than 12 months is really rather remarkable.

We can still secure a seat at Europe’s top table; our final few fixtures are easier than Leicester’s and Chelsea’s.

Both sides also have the distraction of an FA Cup final and in the latter’s case two ties against Real Madrid and a possible Champions League final.

Whereas we solely have our last quintet of fixtures to focus on, but we desperately need to get a few players off the treatment table if we’re to rediscover the consistency in results and performance that have been the hallmark of our season so far.