Enter the pressure cooker! David Moyes running out of Premier League life-saving chances at West Ham
West Ham season ticket holder and talkSPORT host Mark Webster takes a (nervous) look at the clash with Southampton
Practical jokes are out of the way, we can all skip to the April showers part.
Which, as far as West Ham is concerned, is actually more of a case of it never raining, but pouring. The crazy nature of this season, coupled with another run at European competition, means the Hammers have four nine-game weeks ahead of them.
And this Europa League Cup campaign, coupled with a pack-of-dog fight at the bottom of the table, means every game will be as crucial as the next. Starting today when Saints enter the London stadium for a relegation thriller.
Of course, fighting on two fronts had become quite the thing for David Moyes’ side during his second spell at the club. However, chasing a top six or seven is clearly a lot more fun than trying to stay in the Premier League.
As the team has often proven with their dogged attempts to secure valuable points by any means necessary. It hasn’t always been pretty, and most worryingly for us Hammers fans, it hasn’t always been effective.
Which, perversely enough, is at odds with the freedom with which they essentially qualified for the Europa League quarter-finals.
This is where much of the frustration with Stratford lies. For us in the stands and, I can easily imagine, for those downstairs in the workshop. How do these players achieve such contrasting performances?
Well, the answer is simple, isn’t it? Pressure. Both on the individual players and on a manager who has to help those individuals become a cohesive group again.
And this pressure will not have been particularly released after the results of Saturday. With Bournemouth and Crystal Palace getting late wins, and Nottingham Forest and Wolves drawing.
That leaves West Ham second from bottom, but also three points behind 14th. So all of us at the burgundy and blue persuasion hope they can start April the way they want to go.
And not like a full April shower.