Ahead of the first Premier League (PL) game since the passing of Pelé, West Ham United will join the world in paying tribute to the Brazilian legend. Although the three-time World Cup winner only shone briefly on English shores, his 1970 World Cup battle with the Hammers’ own icon, Bobby Moore, has gone down in history and their post-match embrace is one of football’s enduring images.
West Ham played his Santos side in a friendly three months afterward in the United States, drawing 2-2, so hold closer links with Pelé than other clubs, even though all will rightly take the opportunity to recognize his contribution to the game this weekend, which starts with Hammers manager David Moyes under pressure following their 3-1 Boxing Day defeat to Arsenal.
Brentford were also disappointed with their Boxing Day for similar reasons as they also let a lead slip, squandering a 2-0 advantage to draw 2-2 against Tottenham, although manager Thomas Frank nevertheless described the result as “impressive”. Frank’s side continue to punch above their weight in the PL though, as their four-match unbeaten run (W1, D3) saw them end Boxing Day in an impressive tenth place.
The Bees should be buzzing about heading to West Ham on the back of last term’s win here and their 2-1 away victory over Manchester City prior to the World Cup break, an extraordinary way to claim their first league away win of the season (D4, L3). That was the latest of many “magic moments” that Frank wants to continue creating after recently extending his contract with the London club until 2027.