Football

West Ham: Sam Allardyce's top three games

Allardyce has had his critics, but is delivering where it matters (©GettyImages)
Allardyce has had his critics, but is delivering where it matters (©GettyImages).

Sam Allardyce reached a century of games in charge of West Ham in the third round League Cup tie with Cardiff, quite a feat in today’s fragile and quick fire circumstances.

With a win record of around 40 percent, it isn’t the most illustrious of management records, but he has achieved what he set out to do, get West Ham promoted at the first time of asking and consolidate their position as a Premier League team.

Most of the draws occurred at home in the Championship, with teams such as Middlesbrough causing somewhat shock results at a team tipped for straight automatic promotion. Despite that, the Hammers got promoted, and most importantly Big Sam has a knack of keeping teams up in the Premier League.

But what are the top three results during his reign at the Boleyn Ground?

- Where else to start other than the play-off final? A game with so much at stake and huge rewards, Big Sam managed to drag West Ham over the line with inspirational signing Ricardo Vaz Te smashing the Hammers back to the Premier League in the 87th minute.

Considering Vaz Te was signed from Barnsley in January for only £500k, a return of 12 goals was not a bad investment for Big Sam at all. It epitomised the whole season and Big Sam’s philosophy, despite West Ham being completely outplayed in the second half, they dug in and managed to nick a goal when it really mattered.

Being hard to break down and setting up from the back proved not only to be how the cockney boys got to the Premier League, but how they stayed there. There is no doubt that game was one of the best ever memories for the fans.

- After managing to nick a well-earned point at home to the champions Manchester City and playing an entertaining match against Arsenal, the big club next up were Chelsea at the Boleyn Ground.

After a dominant Chelsea first half it seemed like there was not a lot West Ham could do to come back into contention against the Champions of Europe. However, with the substitution of Mo Diame at half time and a few tactical tweaks, the Hammers fought back to produce a marvellous come back, winning the game 3-1.

Not only did Diame absolutely run the show in the second half, but substitute Modibo Maiga finished off the scoring - albeit into an open net. Good substitutions from Allardyce and a great result, giving the Hammers bragging rights for a while.

- There are a lot of contenders for the top three, 1-0 away wins at Stoke and Newcastle coupled with a spirited draw away at Anfield certainly were great performances and valuable points in the 2012/2013 season.

But the 3-0 rout away at Tottenham is one of the best West Ham away performances we have probably ever seen at the club, let alone just under Big Sam.

The way that they set up and bamboozled Andre Villas Boas’ Spurs side highlighted Allardyce’s tactical nous. Having to recognisable striker left Michael Dawson and Jan Vertonghen seemingly uncomfortable when dealing with deep runs from Ravel Morrison and Mo Diame.

Furthermore, the variety of goals was something we have not seen too much under Big Sam. A typical set-piece was followed up by a slotted through ball and then rounded off with a superb individual goal.

I’m not going to compare Morrison’s goal to Michael Owen against Argentina, but it certainly was something special and exciting for the Hammers to think about.

I think that the Tottenham win was probably the best result of Sam’s reign so far, whereas the play-off final undoubtedly was the most crucial. It was a joy to watch the Hammers pull off a game plan to perfection.

For West Ham’s sake, it is crucial Big Sam stays at the helm for as long as possible. He is steering the ship extremely well, despite a sluggish start to the season. If West Ham had held onto their Everton lead, nicked a win away at Southampton and drawn against Hull then they would have been near the top of the table.

The crucial thing is that now there is an air of optimism around the Boleyn, fans believe that West Ham can beat anyone, or at least go down fighting.

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Topics:
Football
Premier League
West Ham United

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