Kudus is confident of UEL’s success with West Ham

Ghanaian star boy Mohammed Kudus will be looking to end the season with a piece of silverware after a topsy-turvy campaign at West Ham. Kudus was Ajax’s savior last season, as he helped the club with eleven goals and three assists in 30 appearances. Ultimately, the Godenzonen only managed to qualify for the UEFA Europa League.

Kudus’ brilliance for Ajax made him a target for many top European clubs, but West Ham got him eventually, paying €43 million for his services

That investment has turned out to be a smart one as the 23-year-old Ghana international has returned six goals and two assists in 21 appearances.

West Ham have struggled since the turn of the year

West Ham’s form has dipped significantly since the turn of the year, and their fans are becoming restless and impatient. After a good start to the season, the Hammers started dropping points. 

Their first game of the year was against Brighton at the AMEX Stadium. Then, they lost out to Championship side Bristol City in the FA Cup. It spiraled down since then, with the Hammers failing to win five consecutive matches- they lost three of those games, including a 6-0 mauling in the hands of Arsenal. They only ended their losing streak last weekend with an entertaining 4-2 win over Brentford.

Kudus has been a regular and has featured in all these games because of an early exit from the AFCON, but he failed to deliver the goods for his side. Due to their winless streak, fans already started calling for David Moyes’ sack despite the stability he has brought to the club. However, those talks have reduced following their win against Brentford last week.

How will Premier League commitments affect West Ham in Europe?

West Ham won their first-ever European title last season, claiming the UEFA Conference League, and they will not want to fall short of their achievement. However, it is relatively too early for Moyes to prioritize one competition over the other. 

The Hammers currently occupy the eighth position on the Premier League table with 39 points, 13 points behind the Champions League spots. And with the unpredictable nature of the league, West Ham can care to dream. If they can produce a good run of form, they could climb up the table considerably, and challenge some of the big boys.

West Ham also have some decent fixtures coming up, as their next five fixtures are against Everton, Burnley, Aston Villa, Newcastle United, and Tottenham. West Ham tickets are selling fast as we approach the latter end of the season.

If the Hammers can sustain a positive momentum going into the fixtures, then they could even find themselves in the Europa League spots. 

Besides, it would be foolhardy if they forget the league and focus on Europe.

Can West Ham survive the Freiburg hurdle in the round of 16 of the Europa League?

West Ham have a date with German Bundesliga side Freiburg in the round of 16 of the Europa League, and it seems like a game where the Hammers have a slight upper hand. 

Freiburg currently sits ninth in the German top flight with 29 points from 23 games. They only managed to qualify for the round of 16 after defeating Lens in the playoffs. 

Already, Freiburg have met West Ham in the group stage, and the Hammers were victorious in both legs. So, they have a lot of confidence going into the fixture. 

Also, West Ham has Lucas Paqueta back in action after weeks of being sidelined because of an injury. The Brazilian made a big impact when they met earlier this season, and the Hammers will be banking on him to deliver the goods again.

Freiburg will entertain West Ham in the first leg at the Europa-Park Stadion on March 7, while the second leg will take place at the London Stadium on March 14.

After Freiburg, what next?

West Ham still have a lot of work to do even if they surmount the Freiburg challenge. There are still many big boys in the competition. Bundesliga leaders Bayer Leverkusen, who are still the only unbeaten team in Europe are still going strong, and may be pitched against West Ham later in the competition.

Also, Italian giants AC Milan stand a good chance because of their pedigree in Europe, albeit they have flattered to deceive this season. Benfica, AS Roma, Brighton, and Marseille are also significant threats to West Ham’s quest.

Carabao Cup champions Liverpool are also in the mix. Jurgen Klopp has not won the Europa League since he took charge of the club, and the players will have extra motivation because the German tactician is leaving the club at the end of the season, and it might be the perfect parting gift.

Despite these threats from other top European sides, West Ham star Kudus is optimistic about the Hammers’ chances of silverware in the second tier of European football. He also believes that the team can do well in the Premier League.

“My goals are to help the team as much as I can and win games and get points,” Kudus said.

“We are in Europe now and want to make an impact as we won it last year, while we also want to challenge the top six teams in the league.

“Yes, 100% [we can win the UEFA Europa League]. We won the UEFA Europa Conference League last year, so we have the same mentality and approach every single game the same. It’s very possible.”

Kudus already has three goals in five appearances for West Ham in the Europa League, and he would look to add to his tally as they push for their first-ever title.