West Ham can dream big as waltz towards Europa League knockouts continues

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 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Not for the first time since the return of David Moyes, West Ham are having to reassess what might be possible this season.

The Hammers, new to the Europa League group stages, have three comfortable wins from three without a goal in reply after despatching Genk with minimal fuss to move six points clear in the group and within touching distance of the knockout stages.

It wasn’t supposed to be this easy, but for the final hour supporters at the London Stadium could cheer ‘Ole’, welcome academy graduates for their debut and decide who looks good for a draw in the last 16, which will be the reward for top spot in the group.

The last side to start a Europa League campaign with three straight wins was Sevilla two years ago, with the Spaniards going on to win it.

After Craig Dawson ended a forgettable first half by turning Aaron Cresswell’s corner in with his shoulder, West Ham showed how clinical and professional they can be when they want to.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

By the time an hour was on the clock, the Hammers had sealed another three points in Europe.

Cresswell turned provider again with a perfectly placed delivery from a free-kick won by Nikola Vlasic down the left. No Premier League player has more assists from dead balls than Cresswell’s eight so far this season.

Issa Diop headed his free-kick onto the underside of the bar and in to double the lead. Having wasted a prime chance in the first half, Jarrod Bowen then turned on the style to ensure the Hammers have qualification for the business end of the tournament next year in their grasp with a fantastic driving run and powerful finish to score his first goal in European football - a journey he is keen to extend.

“We knew we needed, well not needed a second goal, but at 1-0 they created some nice chances,” said Bowen. “Issa Diop scored the header then I scored just after so we could enjoy the ball a bit more I think.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

“The main thing is topping the group. The home games are vitally important. We want to win away too. If we can stay strong, keep the confidence then I think teams will be fearing us. We could be the team to look out for. We’re only a few games away from a big cup run.”

Moyes will be keen to ensure his side are still viewed as underdogs as they progress, especially with qualification and top spot not quite sealed yet.

The simple fact, however, is that three games in they are yet to really be tested and have made Europe look like a piece of cake. The Scot wants to see his side competing at this level beyond Christmas, many will feel they can go far further than that.

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