Alarm bells ringing: Why defeat to Hull could see West Ham wield the axe
COMMENT By Matt Farr
It has been a rollercoaster campaign for West Ham, and the one area of consistency they have had has been their poor form under Slaven Bilic.
Although Bilic has shown some improvement since December when the club were just one point clear of relegation, he ultimately has failed to deliver a similar campaign to that of last year.
The 48-year-old did wonders for the club last season in leading them to a seventh-placed finish in the Premier League, and earning the right to compete in the Europa League.
However, this season has been a much tougher test for West Ham, and Bilic is failing.
Sitting 12th in the Premier League with 33 points, West Ham are not yet statistically safe from relegation.
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With eight games remaining, they are likely to continue to look over their shoulder, until they pick up the points needed to ensure their survival.
Bilic’s position as manager has come under increased pressure in recent weeks, with West Ham on a run of five Premier League games without a win.
The West Ham hierarchy, particularly co-chairman David Sullivan, vented their frustrations following the 3-2 defeat to Leicester by issuing an apology to fans for the performance.
That outburst made it abundantly clear that the writing is on the wall for Bilic.
His West Ham side are back in action against Hull at the KCOM Stadium on Saturday, but a failure to win the game against one of their relegation rivals could spell the end of Bilic’s tenure in east London.
Whether it be an immediate dismissal of the Croatian following Saturday’s clash, or merely confirmation that he won’t be at the club beyond the current season, West Ham could well come to a decision.
Two of the games that follow the Hull clash will also see West Ham seeking vital wins, going head-to-head against two more sides currently below them in the league table – Swansea and Sunderland.
Finding an answer to the club’s ongoing defensive problems will also be on the mind of the Bilic and the owners, having failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their past eight league games.
If the Hammers can’t shut the door on a Hull side that have managed to score just 26 goals this season, then Bilic could find himself heading for a very different door at the London Stadium.