June 30 – Relegation-threatened West Ham United’s Premier League survival bid could be decided in their final game against fellow strugglers Aston Villa, manager David Moyes said on Tuesday.
West Ham are 17th in the standings with 27 points with seven games to play, ahead of Bournemouth and Aston Villa in 18th and 19th due to a higher goal difference.
However, the London club are without a win since the season resumed after the COVID-19 hiatus, having lost both their matches ahead of Wednesday’s game against fourth-placed Chelsea.
“I always thought it could, always felt there was a good possibility of that when you looked at the fixtures,” Moyes told reporters in a virtual news conference when asked about a potential relegation decider on the final day.
“The big thing first though is to win our next four or five games and make sure we are a Premier League club.”
Moyes said midfielder Mark Noble would be crucial to West Ham’s fortunes with the 33-year-old having had experience in keeping the club up in past seasons.
“Reliable, resilient, a leader, all words to describe him, he’s got it all,” Moyes said.
“There are times where we will have to look after him because he is a bit older, but the situation we are in at the moment we need Mark Noble because he knows what it means, he has been there.
“He can take on jobs that many others can’t, take responsibility when the chips are down and he’s doing everything he can.”
Moyes added that French striker Sebastien Haller, the club’s top scorer with seven goals this season, and Italian defender Angelo Ogbonna were back in training after recovering from hip and hamstring injuries respectively, but were not yet match fit. (Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru Editing by Toby Davis)