West Ham claimed their first points at Upton Park this season with a shocking but massively deserved 3-1 victory over Liverpool on Sunday.
Sam Allardyce was busy in the summer transfer market and it would appear he has rectified the issues within the squad while at the same time getting them playing in a manner that will delight the demanding board and fans.
Goals from Winston Reid and Diafra Sakho gave the hosts a two-goal lead inside seven minutes. Raheem Sterling pulled one back before the break, but Morgan Amalfitano came off the bench to seal the win in the 88th minute.
After a somewhat stumbling start to the campaign with some inconsistent performances, Allardyce may now have found the system to take the club forward.
In Saturday’s win over Liverpool and in the draw against Hull, the side was set up in a diamond and much of their midfield dominance came from the superb, powerful performances of the quartet.
Mark Noble played the holding role to great effect, impressively breaking up the play and always finding the right pass forward.
Stewart Downing has also been given a new lease of life in a central attacking role; he provided two assists and was a constant menace to Liverpool. He was also the man responsible for helping to stifle Steven Gerrard, who was allowed little influence on the match.
The legs of the midfield were the two new signings, Alex Song and Cheikhou Kouyate, and they were simply outstanding. They bring power, presence and pace that this Hammers side lacked last season.
Kouyate was tireless and gave everything he had to the cause at both ends of the pitch. Song looks a superb coup and oozed class; he was the perfect stabiliser to the side when things started to get a bit frantic by playing it simple and retaining possession, but he also looked to provide the creative spark or cutting pass in the final third.
Enner Valencia backed up his exciting display at Hull with another performance full of ideas and positivity. While Sakho, a relatively low-key signing, was once again instrumental and in the thick of the action – he got on the scoresheet with an audacious lob – while Amalfitano’s brief debut display could not have ended any better.
Valencia and Sakho’s pace, energy and movement caused Dejan Lovren and Martin Skrtel problems all afternoon. It is not often foreign recruits hit the ground running in the Premier League but Allardyce will be delighted with the impact all of his new signings have made.
West Ham played neat passing football for the entire match and in the end may have had more than the three goals they finished with. This is a much different team to last season’s and the Hammers should, at this rate, meet their season target of a top-ten finish and provide entertainment in the process.
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