West Ham showed a glimpse of what is to come this season during a thrilling 2-2 draw away at Hull City on Monday night.
Sam Allardyce handed first Premier League starts to new strikers Diafra Sakho and Enner Valencia at the KC Stadium and the pair of them didn’t take long to make an impact, with the latter getting on the scoresheet.
The Hammers set up in a diamond formation and played some exciting and composed football which will please the fans and the board, but as is often the case with the club they made some poor mistakes that in the end cost them the three points.
The pace and power of Valencia and Sakho gave the Hammers a good presence up top and they caused numerous problems for the Hull back four, especially in the second half as they continued to pop up everywhere.
Valencia scored a sensational goal from distance as he was allowed time to weigh up a shot and he thundered it into the top corner, giving the 'keeper absolutely no chance.
The pair of them were at the focal point of everything good that came from West Ham and the more they play together, the better they will become.
It is a strike partnership that will excite Hammers fans after years of relying on the fitness of Andy Carroll in order to score goals.
West Ham certainly had positive intentions throughout the game and never looked to sit back and defend, as they often did last season.
They completed 387 passes in total, which is their highest tally in a Premier League away game since May 2010.
This is a step in the right direction as the club try to distance themselves from the long-ball stigma that they have often been associated with since Sam Allardyce began his reign.
It was clear to see that they made a conscious effort to keep the ball on the ground and build attacks from the back, patiently waiting for Hull to open up, although they just lacked that killer pass.
The onus is on the Irons to keep and use the ball well this season in order to provide the entertainment the board has demanded but it will take some time for them to adapt to and they were caught out at times.
They had 67% possession throughout the game which alludes to the new style that is being implemented this season.
However, Cheikhou Kouyate uncharacteristically gave the ball away on more than a few occasions. Hull’s second goal came from Aaron Cresswell’s throw-in to Kouyate, who allowed Mo Diame to nick it in front of him, the former Hammers man then burst into the penalty area before bending the ball neatly past Adrian into the far corner.
Conceding this type of sloppy goal is reminiscent of last season and it would have infuriated the manager, but the fact the team are trying to play the right way is massively encouraging for the future.
At this stage of the transition there is bound to be mistakes, but as long as they keep improving there can’t be too many complaints.
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