West Ham must make the Boleyn Ground into a fortress if they are to achieve a top half finish in the Premier League this season.
The Hammers are preparing to host Southampton on Saturday and will be keen to build on their impressive performance against Crystal Palace last week – a comfortable 3-1 away win.
Sam Allardyce’s men struggled to pick up points at times last season and although it was their home form that steered them clear of the relegation dogfight it was still not as formidable as the manager would have wanted.
The Irons often struggled to create chances and score goals on their own turf and with the onus on them to go out and attack their opponents, which often produced dour affairs.
They managed 24 points out of a possible 57 at Upton Park, with seven wins, three draws and nine defeats.
While this does not seem terrible at face value, the fact they only scored 25 goals and conceded 26 demonstrates the struggles that they faced when required to dictate matches and take the game by the scruff of the neck.
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West Ham lost their opening match of the new season at home to London rivals Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 despite having dominated the majority of the play in a performance that warranted all three points.
They created a host of chances, missed a penalty and failed to take any of their opportunities, provoking memories of their troubles last season and they paid the ultimate price against Spurs.
The defeat meant that the Hammers have now lost three of their last four Premier League games at home and they will be desperate to get three points against Southampton in front of the home faithful.
Southampton have not particularly enjoyed their visits to east London in the past and have failed to register a win against West Ham in their last five league meetings.
Furthermore the Irons have conceded just eight goals in their last nine league fixtures at home.
West Ham’s transfer activity this summer has been impressive and the fact they have finally addressed their striker issues can only boost their chances of success this season.
Enner Valencia, Mauro Zarate and Diafra Sakho have all been brought in by Allardyce to back-up the injured Andy Carroll, who is again set to miss a large portion of the campaign.
For the Boleyn ground to become a fortress they need their strikers firing on all cylinders and converting chances that come their way, as oppose to against Spurs when Carlton Cole and Ricardo Vaz Te looked like they couldn’t hit a barn door.
Zarate has already got Hammers fans excited with his superb volley against Palace, while Sakho also found the back of the net in their Carling Cup defeat to Sheffield United on Tuesday.
It may take them and Valencia time to produce consistently but once they do West Ham should start providing the entertainment that the board desperately craves.
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