Sam Allardyce has been praised heavily by jubilant West Ham fans in recent weeks, the same fans that were calling for his sacking earlier in the year.
The 60-year-old manager was the victim of some heavy criticism last campaign as the Hammers played some dour football that certainly did not please the fans or board.
Allardyce was given a stay of execution by the club’s owners in May on the basis that he served up more attacking football and the majority believed he could not meet the demands, but eight games into the Premier League season and many will be eating their words.
The Irons found themselves in a relegation scrap for a large portion of last season and rather than put their faith in Allardyce to get them out of trouble many wanted him out the door.
He is a proven Premier League manager and has even had Bolton challenging for European places in the past. It is perhaps the stigma which has been attached to him that he plays boring, robust, percentage football that is why many were quick to throw him under the bus, but in the past that has often not been the case.
Allardyce’s priority has always been to win football matches by utilising the talent that he has available to him and last season he tried to do just that. Without a fit Andy Carroll it made things much harder, though, and resulted in some awful performances.
But with the new signings having provided a much needed injection of pace, quality and most importantly, goals, the team is now playing entertaining football and the board’s decision to keep him at the helm has been justified.
Big Sam has changed the complexion of West Ham in a short few months, with a little help from a summer signing who has scored six goals in six games – Diafra Sakho. All the newbies have hit the ground running in east London but it has been the strikers that have had the most conspicuous impact.
Allardyce deserves massive credit for the players he brought into the club in the summer and the new system he has implemented which seemingly caters to everyone’s abilities.
Stewart Downing has been a revelation in the new central role the manager has assigned him, while he is even keeping captain Kevin Nolan on the bench, too, to the delight of some critical fans.
The Hammers are currently sitting pretty in a UEFA Champions League spot after eight games and have a total of eight ‘winnable’ matches taking them up to the Boxing Day clash at Stamford Bridge.
At the standard they are currently playing it wouldn’t be inconceivable for them to win more than half of those eight and if they do they will be in a very healthy position come January.
Putting Southampton and Sheffield United aside you cannot fault any of West Ham’s performances this season, they have been fascinating to watch.
What makes the start even more impressive is that they have had a number of injuries and when the likes of Cheikhou Kouyate and Carroll are pushing for first-team places again the squad will look extremely formidable.
You can’t help but feel delighted for Allardyce, he continued to make all the right decisions in the win at Burnley and even bringing on Carlton Cole for Enner Valencia turned out to be a masterstroke.
It could be argued that he has earned a new deal at the club with his old one teetering down to its end. If West Ham are still playing in this manner come Christmas then even the most anti-Allardyce fan would struggle to put an argument together against giving him a contract extension.
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