Garth Crooks selects West Ham duo in TOTW, doubts Champions League chances
Garth Crooks has selected a couple of West Ham players in his Premier League Team of the Week, but doesn’t back them to finish in the top four.
After a mini-stumble of successive defeats against Newcastle United and Chelsea the Irons got themselves back on track with a 2-1 win over Burnley on Monday night.
That victory put them back within three points of Chelsea with some favourable fixtures remaining, but while paying tribute to Michail Antonio and Craig Dawson, Crooks backed West Ham to miss out on Champions League football and end up in the Europa League.
“When Michail Antonio plays for West Ham, they look a different outfit – especially going forward,” he told the BBC Sport website.
“His two against Burnley have put West Ham in a glorious position and European football now looks very much on the cards.”
On Dawson, he said: “Against Burnley, in difficult conditions, he was a composed figure and one of the reasons the Irons look destined for a Europa League place.”
Not giving up the CL dream
It’s a bit of a back-handed compliment by Crooks.
On the one hand he’s pretty certain of our European credentials and paid tribute to a couple of Monday night’s stars.
But he’s also been dismissive of our Champions League chances.
Does he know there’s only three points separating us and Chelsea?
Our London rivals still have to play runaway Premier League leaders Manchester City as well third-placed Leicester City, who are also not certain of Champions League football yet.
Meanwhile, our run-in is a bit kinder, with Everton our only top 10 opponents left to face in our last four games.
As such, we are surely still well and truly in the mix for a place in next season’s prestigious competition, and Crooks may well be left surprised by the final standings.
In other West Ham news, ESPN: Irons favourites to sign ‘phenomenal’ £18m-rated ace over big PL rivals.